More and more folks are asking about a massage chair that doesn’t look like a massage chair, but can double as a regular recliner. I think that as more shoppers come into the marketplace, there will be more of a relative demand for that type of massage chair. Aesthetics are important to people and making a massage chair fit in with existing decorum can be quite a challenge.
There is a trade-off when a massage chair chooses aesthetics over feature-set. Obviously, you can’t have a full-feature massage chair, with all the bells and whistles, and still have a chair that doesn’t resemble a massage chair at all. So, the trade off is aesthetics for features. The manufacturers are getting more and more clever in their ability to hide blatant massage chair features, but for a full service feature-set, you will most likely have to compromise on looks.
I thought that today I might discuss some massage chair options that would provide therapeutic benefit while at the same time providing some looks that don’t so blatantly scream “therapeutic massage chair” and can soothe the savage beast of your home or business decorator.
1. Human Touch HT-9500x
This is Human Touch’s top-of-the-line massage chair and, quite frankly, doesn’t look like a massage chair at all. It looks like a classic looking recliner. This chair used to be known as the HT-1650 and was VERY popular with my showroom customers priced at under $4K. But, there have been some changes made to the inner workings of the chair and with improvements usually come price increases and, in this case, a model number change. The demand for the chair has dropped somewhat since the $5499 price tag was introduced but aesthetically it is still the cream of the crop for decorum-conscious folks.
Here is what Human Touch has done to make this such a cool recliner-looking massage chair:
a.) Retractable and rotating ottoman. Not only can you hide the ottoman under the seat completely, you can also rotate the ottoman when the it is fully deployed to hide the foot and calf wells.
b.) No arm airbags at all – just regular cushioned arm rests.
c.) No blatant airbags that can be seen from a mile away. The seat is the only part of this chair that has airbags and you can’t tell that from first glance.
By the way, the foot and calf massage in this model is phenomenal. Human Touch has it’s patented massage “paddle” technology in the feet and calves and it is second to none in the industry.
2. Panasonic MA70/Panasonic MA73
Panasonic still has an older school chair design. A lot of the new style massage chair designs are patterned after the wildly successful Inada DreamWave award-winning design. But, with that cool design comes the tough task of trying to make it look like a regular recliner. At this time, that is pretty much impossible to do. But, Panasonic has retained some of the older, more traditional body design. And, I think they have taken that older-school design and done a fabulous job and creating a massage chair that doubles as a recliner.
Here is what they’ve done:
a.) arm airbags that are hidden underneath the arm rests. Most folks who sit in this model have no idea that the chair even has arm airbag massage.
b.) Rotating ottoman. Human Touch are the masters of rotating and retracting ottomans. Panasonic has applied that technology to the foot and calf massager of their MA70 and MA73 models. The biggest complaint most folks have with massage chair looks, is the calf and foot wells overtly yelling out “I am a massage chair!!” The rotating ottoman remedies that.
c.) Back pad that can be used to give lumbar and cervical support when the chair is not in use. Just flip it over the back when you want a massage, and then flip it back over the front when you want to just sit and read.
3. Human Touch HT-7450
This chair looks like a regular office chair. There is no foot massage mechanism, but the ottoman can be rotated under to obscure the calf wells. Of course, the trade-off, as I mentioned before, is that there are no arm or shoulder airbags. The seat has airbags but you’ll never know by looking at the chair. Nice, clean, executive-looking chair.
The Human Touch HT-7120 and HT-5040 offer the same aesthetic features as the HT-7450.
4. Osaki OS-3D Pro Intelligent
This is a pretty cool chair. It is Osaki’s only chair that offers a good blend of massage and aesthetics. Here is what they’ve done with the Intelligent to make it more recliner-ish:
a.) Arm massage air cells hidden inside the arm rests. The arm massage mechanism actually pops up out of the arm rests when deployed. The arm massage is not sophisticated but very adequate. When you are finished with the massage, you just push the arm massage mechanism back into the arm rests and back into hiding.
b.) Rotating and retractable ottoman. What makes this one kinda cool is that you can retract/deploy the ottoman half way and have the root rollers actually massage the back of your calves. It’s the only chair I’ve seen that does this. There is a soft linen material that separates the back of your calves from the foot rollers in the semi-retracted position. The rollers can be turned on in this position and the back of your calves get the benefit of the rollers.
I suppose if Osaki hadn’t had the remote control sticking out on a pedestal, immediately giving away that this is a massage chair, they could have fooled a lot of us with this model. The Panasonic chair also has a big, bad remote control pedestal, which also gives it all away to the unsuspecting shopper.
By the way, Osaki is offering some phenomenal pricing on this model until the first of December, 2014. If you are interested, give me a call and I’ll tell you about the pricing over the phone.
5. ZeroG 4.0
A great little massage chair that does not look at all like a massage chair. It also doesn’t take up a lot of space, which is a nice change from the large, more bulky massage chairs. Here is what they’ve done with this model:
a.) Rotating and retractable ottoman
b.) No arm or shoulder airbags
c.) The shape of the chair looks contemporary but doesn’t give up it’s massage chair secrets.
6. Omega Skyline
Not really a full fledged massage chair as we know them, but this chair is a handsome alternative to a full-blown massage chair. It doesn’t have a full roller track (low back only) and it really has not calf or foot wells to hide, but since it is a massage chair by definition, I’ve included it in our list.
Here are the aesthetic features:
a.) Ottoman that has airbags but not calf or foot wells. It is a flat surface with some undulating airbags underneath the uphostery.
b.) No arm or shoulder airbags.
c.) Chrome legs. No other massage chair offers 4 chrome legs upon which the chair rests. This is a great feature that will never give your massage chair secret away.
I hope I’ve given you some good alternatives to the traditional massage chair.
Dr. Alan Weidner
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