Massage Chairs for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)??

Old man suffering from knee pain
Old man suffering from knee pain

As a practicing chiropractor I had always been very sensitive to colleagues in the chiropractic profession proclaiming that they could cure various and sundry physical ailments. To be honest, it made me very nervous. I’m not denying that a chiropractor’s anecdotal experience with a patient didn’t really happen. I’m just saying that what worked for one patient and one practitioner may not work for all the others.

For example, by definition chiropractic is not a cure for ear aches, but I saw a few times in my own practice when a chiropractic adjustment/manipulation helped relieve an ear ache in a child. That does not mean it will do that for every child nor does it mean that it is a cure for that ailment. But for that incident and that patient it worked.

I find the same sort of things happening with massage chairs. I have had headaches sufferers tell me that their headaches went away after sitting for just a few minutes in a massage chair. I have heard from more than one diabetic tell me that numbness in their leg(s) had subsided after using our massage chairs. This does not mean that massage chairs are a cure for diabetic neuropathy or headaches. It obviously helped someone so it can’t be altogether discredited.

The reason I am preambling this article with these thoughts is because I recently had a new review left on my website by a customer who bought an Infinity IT-8500 massage chair from me a few years back. He bought the chair originally for his wife’s headaches, but it eventually helped much more than that.

My review is not for a recent purchase, but for years of experience with a chair that has prompted me to share some feelings that have stemmed from using a massage chair. Four years ago after an exhaustive internet search for a massage chair I stumbled across Dr. Alan Weidner – the experience then turned from me trying to buy a massage chair and sales people trying to sell me one to Dr. Weidner trying to match me with the best piece of equipment that would match my needs. It wasn’t about this chair or that chair it was about what I was looking for and how to match that need. In the end I purchased an infinity 8500 chair – I purchased it as a gift for my wife who uses it for relaxing and when she feels the onset of a headache.

However, I didn’t realize when I purchased the massage chair for my wife what it would do for myself. I have struggled with restless leg syndrome (RLS) – on a daily basis for years. When I sit in the massage chair at night before going to sleep the airbags on my legs and rollers on my feet allow me to go to sleep. Sometimes I still feel the (RLS) when I am in the chair, but I don’t have to keep myself tense – if you have (RLS) you know what I mean. This chair has changed my life in my ability to get to sleep at night. I love the Infinity 8500 chair, but honestly I think any of the higher quality chairs with the airbags and feet rollers would provide me with the relief I get for (RLS) as well as the relaxation and comforts your seeking for in a massage chair.

I appreciate Dr. Weidner’s knowledge and desire to match a persons needs with a chair that will accommodate them. About myself – I am a very active person, physically fit, for years I have run 6-7 miles a day 6 days a week. I pride myself on being self sustaining, but the massage chair is something I don’t want to live without. I love to vacation and travel and the only thing I miss when I am away from home is the massage chair at night when I am going to sleep.

Tracy King
Idaho

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition characterized by an insatiable desire to move one’s legs, typically in the evening. It is more obvious when a person is sitting or lying down, gets worse with age, and can interfere with sleep. From the testimonial above it would appear that Tracy has had this issue diagnosed and that “treatment” has not been successful. I find it fascinating that the massage chair helped him out. This is not the first time I’ve heard this, by the way. Other customers have related similar experiences to me.

Going back to my earlier preamble, does this make massage chairs a cure for RLS? No, but if it helps someone deal with their condition, that experience should not and cannot be discounted. Pretty cool stuff, though, eh?

If you’ve had any similar experiences with your massage chair, please feel free to add them to our comments section below. I’d love to hear about it.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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Mail Bag – Poor Posture; Stretch; Zero Gravity

Mail
Mail

Here are some great email questions with my responses. I hope this helps someone out there!

Customer Question #1

We are in the market for a chair. Which chair would be best for counteracting [my wife’s] poor posture once she’s home and able to use the massage chair? Specifically Dowager’s hump.

My Response #1

Infinity IT-8500X3
Infinity Smart Chair x3

Pretty much all massage chairs will work on the Dowager Hump (accentuated mid back spinal curve) because the thoracic spine curves INTO the roller track. As a matter of fact, I’d say I’ve never heard of a chair that didn’t work the thoracic spine well! But, if you want to work on reversing a forward head carriage in conjunction with a Dowager Hump, the full-body stretch programs are typically better. The greater the recline of the chair back, the greater the pull on the stretch and, in my opinion, the greater the effect on reversing a slumping posture. So, that is why the Infinity Smart Chair x3 offers such a great stretch program (arguably the best stretch program in the industry). But, after having said all that, any massage chair will work on the Dowager Hump and, to some degree, the forward head carriage and slumping shoulders. An effective stretch program just accentuates the correction. Other chairs that offer good full body stretches include the Ogawa Touch 3D, the DreamWave Classic, the Luraco iRobotics 7 Plus,  the Infinity IT-8500×3, and the Titan Executive, to name a few.

Customer Question #2

My new massage chair does not have any memory function which means that I have to change the settings every time I use the chair. I thought memory function was found on every chair. I was also told that L-track chairs don’t have zero gravity. Is that true?

My Response #2

The memory function is not on many chairs. Most of the chinese-made chairs don’t have it. I think it will become more common in the future, but for now there isn’t much in that department.
Strictly speaking, zero gravity is a 30 degree tilt of the seat with an approximate 120 degree articulation between the seat and the chair back. So, in those terms, the L-tracks are not true zero gravity chairs. Having said that, the L-shape of the track comes close to a zero gravity position but the seat tilts higher and the articulation between seat and chair back is typically less than 120 degrees. The S-track chairs are not limited by the L-track configuration, so they can offer you a more true zero gravity position. Most chairs have a zero gravity option, whether it’s S-track or L-track, and whether it is truly zero gravity, but by the above definition the zero gravity option is not exact. The J-track chairs, i.e. Infinity Presidential and Infinity Overture, have a different L-track configuration that is perhaps more closely configured to a true zero gravity position.

Also, the S-track allows for a far better stretch program than any L-track or J-track can offer. So, there is a trade-off. You can have true zero gravity positioning and an excellent stretch program of the S-track chairs or have the butt rollers of the L-track without the benefit of an optimal stretch or a true zero gravity positioning.

Customer Question #3

I broke my L4 into 3 pieces years ago and am now suffer with degenerative discs and sciatic problems. Would an L track be better than one that lays down 180 degrees? Which would give the most stretch?

My Response #3

Any chair will massage the L4 area. The L-track will reach beyond that and massage the sacrum area as well as the glutes and piriformis muscles, but that won’t have a lot to do with your L4 area. The stretch program of some S-track chairs may feel wonderful for you, but the stretch of an L-track chair is typically weaker and may leave you wanting.
L-track
L-track

So, for your situation, a regular S-track or an L-track would be fine for massaging the L4 area, but the stretch program would be superior on an S-track, which I think you will more fully appreciate (see My Response #1 above for S-track chairs with good stretch programs).

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.