The length of the roller track in a massage chair determines how high and how low the rollers will travel along your spine. It goes
without saying that the longer the roller track, the more of your spine will get massaged by the rollers. For example, the Panasonic MA70 has a roller track of 31 inches, whereas the HT-7450 from Human Touch has a roller track length of only 24 inches. When you sit on the two chairs, one after the other, and compare the feel of the rollers, it is obvious that the rollers of the HT-7450 do a great job reaching the top of the neck, but only get down to the belt line of the low back area.
The Panasonic MA70, with it’s 31 inch track, on the other hand, also reaches up to the base of the skull at the top end of the roller track, but hits the buttocks and sacral area very well. When comparing these two chair models, one can see that the difference in length of the roller track is felt primarily in the low back area. The HT-7450 only goes as low as the belt line; the Panasonic MA70 gets down into the buttocks. Now, let me muddy the waters a bit.
When you sit on the Panasonic MA70 and then compare it’s roller’s reach to that of the Osaki OS-7075R, which also has a 31 inch roller track, why does it feel like the rollers hit the buttocks on the MA70 but it doesn’t feel like they go that low on the OS-7075R? This is something you notice when you test both of them side by side.
Zero gravity is the answer to that question!
Part of the zero gravity feature in a massage chair is that the seat of the chair tilts up 30 degrees from horizontal. The OS-7075R has the zero gravity feature, therefore it’s seat tilts up. The Panasonic MA70 does not have the seat tilting feature so it’s seat remains horizontal. You may be asking “What does this have to do with anything?” Well, a lot when it comes to getting a massage deeper down into the buttock area.
You see, when the seat remains horizontal the rollers have a straight shot from the back down to the buttock area. It is a straight line and the rollers don’t have any additional distance to travel than right from the chair back linearly to the buttock and sacral areas of the seat. On the other hand, the OS-7075R rollers need to travel down the distance of the chair back and then, because of the zero gravity positioning of the seat with it’s associated 30 degree tilt up, the rollers have to travel “around the bend” between the chair back and the chair seat and head in a different direction altogether to get to the buttocks area.
We all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (“as the eagle flies”) and if you add a bend in the line between two points, the distance increases. So, when you add a bend in the horizontal line between the chair back and the chair seat (i.e. a 30 degree bend!) the rollers have a greater distance to travel in the OS-7075R to hit the the same areas that the Panasonic MA70 rollers hit. But, since both chairs only have the same 31 inch roller tracks to work with, the MA70 track reaches further down into the buttocks because the rollers don’t have as far to travel. The rollers of the OS-7075R have to travel “around the bend”, which keeps the 31″ track from reaching as low as the “straight shot” of the MA70.
Does that make sense? I hope I have explained it satisfactorily.
The long and short of this message is…if you want the rollers of your new massage chair to reach further down into your buttock and sacral area, then you better consider two things:
1. Make sure the track is as long as it can be (and 31 inches is the longest track we have seen so far), and
2. Decide if zero gravity is more important than getting your buttocks massaged, cause you can’t have both…at least not with the massage chair technology we have at our disposal today.
UPDATE: As of 08/26/13 Infinite Therapeutics has come out with a new model, the Iyashi, which boasts a 49″ roller track!! It is the longest I’ve seen…by far. The massage in the buttocks and pelvis is unparalleled. I just love it. Check it out in this YouTube video of the Infinity Iyashi.
Dr. Alan Weidner
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