Massage Chair Heat
A very common question from massage chairshoppers is “Does this or that model have heat?” I am going to discuss the different
types of heat that are available in the massage chair market and whether or not it is helpful or an overrated feature.
Surprising to many is that not all massage chairs have heat. I would say it is about half and half for those that do and those that don’t (based on my experience in this industry). I will only speak of the name-brand massage chairs, which are the only ones you can consistently and regularly trust for quality and warranty support.
Most massage chairs that have a heat function have it situated in or close to the low back. For example, the Human Touch HT-7450 massage chair and HT-7120 massage chair have a low back heater in the lower lumbar portion of the spine, which is around the belt line.
The Inada Sogno massage chair has a very interesting heat function, wherein there is a small heating element at the back of the seat, in the area of the sacrum, which is the hard bone in the middle of your spine just at the top of your buttocks. Some folks say that they don’t feel the heater in the Sogno, but it is there. Inada suggests a simple test if you don’t believe them. Put a dishtowel or washcloth over the back part of the seat and then sit in the chair for a session. When you are finished with the session feel the towel and you will feel heat in that one spot where the heating element is located.
A Massage Chair With Heat in the Feet!
Sanyo massage chairs do not have heat in the back, which is intuitively where you think a massage chair heater should be, but in the souls of the feet! Yes, at the very bottom of the chair underneath both feet is located a heating element. I suspect that this is geared towards the whole reflexology aspect of foot massage, which is a pretty popular thing in alternative health systems.
The Omega Montage has heat in the low back, the buttocks, and in the legs and feet. When you sit in that chair you will feel very warm, very fast. There is no doubt of the heat function when you are using the Omega massage chair. It can almost get too hot and you may need to shut off that feature if you want to sit for an extended period of time in that model.
Does Heat In A Massage Chair Really Do Anything?
Now, the big question is…is the heat function all that important? Well, I have a couple of opinions on that. The purpose of heat is to increase blood flow to an area. Cold is used to decrease blood flow to an area. You can tell when there is increased blood flow to an area by how red that area becomes when heat is applied or, as in the example of a soft tissue injury, when you see red swelling around the injured area.
As far as massage chairs are concerned, just the repetitive action of the rollers on your back will increase blood flow to the back muscles and skin. When you are finished a massage chair session and you look at your back in the mirror you will probably see red lines from the rollers going up and down your back. That is a sign of increased blood flow, which is indicative of increased heat to that region. That will happen with our without a heating mechanism. You will also feel hotter in the massage chair while you are getting your therapy because of that increased blood flow.
So, if you are after heat when you are in your massage chair, you will get it no matter what, so long as the chair is on and the rollers are working. Adding a heating element will, in my opinion, just speed up the effects of heat. It will be introduced to your body as soon as you turn on that function on your chair anyway.
So, when it is all said and done, you will feel heat and benefit from the effects of heat regardless of whether your chair has a heating element or not. Of course, for every extra feature that you get on a massage chair, you will pay a little bit more too. So, if cost is an issue, reducing features like heat will most likely save you some money in the process.
Dr. Alan Weidner