Which Massage Chair is the Quietest?

Southern California showroom
Southern California showroom

A few years ago, I downloaded a sound meter app on my phone and took readings from all of the chairs on my Utah showroom floor to determine which one was the quietest. It was an interesting study. It’s been awhile now and we have a whole new crop of massage chairs in that same showroom so I figured it would be a good time to redo this little study to see which of the current line-up is the quietest. Before I go into the results, I want to go over a few pieces of information for greater context of what these numbers are based on.

Ground Rules

  • I used the app “dB Meter” to make the measurements. My phone is an iPhone 6 version.
  • The readings are made in decibels, which are sound measurement units.
  • These measurements were made in my Utah showroom. The store is on a busy street, separated from that street by an easement and a parking lot with 2 sides of parking stalls, so there is some ambient traffic noise which may or may not have come into play within the dB ranges.
  • The measurement range takes into account air bag compressor sounds, air bag inflation and deflation sounds, roller modalities like kneading and tapping, and body sounds created by the chair back and/or ottoman moving or chair body frame sounds. It also takes into account times when the chair is relatively silent without those additional sounds.
  • The measurements began AFTER the body scan feature had completed.
  • The normal dB range, when the chairs were all off with only the ambient sounds of the showroom, was 38-39 dB’s.
  • The measurements were made with the chairs in full recline and the microphone of my cell phone facing the head area, which is location from where the user would be listening when using the massage chair.
  • I removed the highest and lowest figures of each chair.
  • The measurements were made without a body in the chairs so that all the sounds could be picked up by the phone. When an actual body is in the chair, some of those sounds will be muted by the user’s body mass.
  • All the head/neck pads (and cervical massage units, i.e. DreamWave M.8) were removed. Full back pads were also removed.
  • No changes were made to the default roller and air bag settings of each chair.
  • For chairs that had a “Demo” or “Quick” program, that particular program was deployed. For those that didn’t, the first program on the auto program list was chosen. The program for each chair is listed next to the chair model and dB range.

Chair Models & dB Ranges

  1. Luraco iRobotics 7 Plus: 46-51 dB (Demo program)
  2. Luraco Legend Plus: 48-51 dB (Demo program)
  3. DreamWave Classic: 50-53 dB (Quick program)
  4. DreamWave M.8: 48-60 dB (Quick program)
  5. Positive Posture Brio: 48-54 dB (Quick program)
  6. Human Touch Novo XT2: 50-60 dB (Demo program)
  7. Infinity Riage x3: 48-54 dB (Working Relief program)
  8. Infinity Overture: 47-60 dB (Demo program)
  9. Infinity Genesis: 48-55 dB (Sport Refresh program)
  10. Osaki Maestro: 49-54 dB (Demo program)
  11. Osaki Ekon: 51-63 dB (Sports Refresh program)
  12. Titan Jupiter: 49-63 dB (Power program)
  13. Panasonic MA73: 50-61 dB (Deep program)

Notes & Observations

The ranges are attributed to the fact that at some moments during the chair programs the air bags are being deployed or the chair back and/or ottoman are moving. During the lower end of the ranges, it was typically just the rollers that were in play. Conversely, the air bags and chair movements could be attributed to the numbers at the higher end of the ranges.

Luraco Massage ChairsOnce again, the Luraco chairs have proven to be the quietest. That didn’t completely surprise me since they are noticeably quieter than the others to everyone who sits in them. Though quieter, they were not that far ahead of some of the other models. The Brio and DreamWave Classic were very close at the higher end of their ranges.

Although some chairs were quieter than others, it surprised me how close they really all were when looking at the objective dB results. For example, I had expected the Infinity Genesis and Osaki Maestro to be quite a bit louder than the Luraco chairs since they sounded louder to my ears when I sat in them. However, they were only a few dB’s higher than the Luraco chairs.

Among the “loudest” were the Osaki Ekon and the Titan Jupiter. The Ekon’s high end can be attributed to the “creaking” of the plastic body shell of the shoulder airbags. When those air bags deploy with the body of the user offering resistance, the creaking becomes obvious. To replicate that during the testing, I used my hands to push against the shoulder airbags to mimic that resistance. Since the shoulder air bags are near the ears of the user, this was a measurement that needed to be considered when assessing sound levels. The Jupiter’s air bag deployment was the cause of it’s higher dB measurement.

I was surprised that the DreamWave M.8, Infinity Overture, and Human Touch Novo XT2 were as “loud” as they were. I had pre-supposed that they would have measured quieter at the high end.

In closing, I will say that as the massage chair user, you will be more acutely aware of the sounds of your new chair during the honeymoon phase of your chair ownership. After a short time, you will become oblivious to those sounds and the chair will be just “normal” and “perfect” for your home or business.

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.

 

 

 

Review of Infinity Overture Massage Chair

Infinity logo
Infinity logo
Infinity Overture

We received the new Infinity Overture massage chair in our California and Utah showrooms this past week. I’ve been excited about this new model since I saw it at the Las Vegas Furniture Market in January. It has been a popular pre-sell model for us since it was announced there. It has virtually the same silhouette as the Infinity Presidential but with a slightly different feature set. I spent 2 hours on it this morning feverishly writing notes about it’s function. This article is the final product of those notes. By the way, you have no idea how hard it is to write notes when sitting on an operating massage chair! I hope you find this review helpful.

  1. Quad (4) Rollers – Although the roller system is a 3D/4D L-track with quad (4 ) rollers, like the Presidential, it has a somewhat different feel. Because of that, I suspect it uses an altogether different roller mechanism. I can’t be sure, but it felt different in the neck and low back, which made me think it is a different mech. I’m not saying it’s better or worse…just different. It reached down to the bottom of my buttocks and all the way up to the middle of the back of my skull. Their literature says this chair will fit someone up to 6’6″ tall. I have no doubt that it will, but, like the literature from most companies whose chairs we carry, the height limits are a bit high for actually getting the neck massaged in a tall body. In other words, someone 6’6″ tall will surely fit in the chair, but the roller track may not reach the top of their neck.
  2. Roller Track Build Quality – I couldn’t help but feel that the build quality of this chair is very good. The rollers seem very solid. Sometimes a chair can feel like the rollers are going to fall off any moment, but the Overture felt solid throughout. By the way, when the chair is shut off, the rollers park under the buttocks. I could actually feel the rollers lifting my butt up from the cavernous cavity that is the roller track home. For folks who say that massage chairs don’t support your back all that well when the rollers aren’t being used, it may ease your mind (and back) a bit knowing that you are getting some low back and pelvic support from the rollers, albeit very simple.
  3. J-Track vs. L-Track Roller Technology – I’ve spoken about the differences between the L-track and it’s variant, the J-track. The Overture is one of the few J-tracks that is out there. You can watch this video I made a while back explaining the differences between the S-track, L-track, and J-track roller systems… http://track.reviews/jtrackltrack. The glute and piriformis massage is virtually the same, but the more obtuse angle (approx. 135 degrees vs. 90 degrees) facilitates a better stretch program, for which L-tracks are notoriously bad! A perfect segue into this next point…
  4. Stretch Program – L-track models cannot offer the kind of stretch programs that
    Reclined stretch program

    S-track chairs have for one primary reason: the L-track cannot flatten out to a horizontal position allowing the chair to fully extend the user’s body to get an effective stretch. The J-track changes that. The chair can get much closer to a horizontal position because the J-track does not have a hard 90 angle between torso and seat. It is more like 135 degrees, which is a heck of a lot closer to the 180 degree horizontal position than 90 degrees. That is a large reason why the stretch in the Infinity Overture is the best I’ve seen in any extended roller track configuration. The other reason is that the ottoman is high enough off the ground that it can drop down quite a bit to really give the spine a pull, while the shoulder airbags are pinning the shoulders down. I really loved it. It was quite strong and felt akin to an S-track stretch. I noticed that the heel airbags didn’t grab my foot as much as the Presidential, but the overall pull on the legs was quite satisfactory.

  5. 3D/4D Rollers – It appears as though the roller depth can only be adjusted in the Manual settings and not during any of the Auto programs. I’ve asked Infinity about this to make sure I’m not missing something. I like it when I can adjust the depth of the rollers in any program I am in, be it Auto or Manual programs.  Having said that, the overall intensity of the chair’s rollers is strong. Even with the 3D/4D depth adjustment capability in the Manual programs only, the difference between highest and lowest intensity is not that much. The 4D menu is located in the Manual settings of the remote. When you want to adjust the depth of the rollers, and you are in the Manual 4D menu, just tap the “OK” button on the remote to increase or decrease the depth one level. You do not need to push and hold the “OK” button. It won’t help. You have to momentarily tap/push it only once for each depth change.
  6. Wireless Remote Control – A very nice feature. Other than the concern for
    Infinity Overture remote control
    Remote control

    misplacing or outright losing the remote (ala TV remotes that go missing from time to time!), I found the freedom from the wire “leash” to be quite refreshing. It is a heavy remote that has the feeling of quality in that heaviness alone. I like it very much. It feels good in my hands. It comes with a charging cord that plugs into a USB port at the inside front of the right arm rest and into the remote control. I suppose you could charge any device through that USB port, like your phone, while you are enjoying your splendid massage program. The power button needs to be held down for 4-5 seconds to turn on and about the same to turn off. If, during one of your chair sessions, the remote control display goes black, just push any button on the remote and the screen will “wake up” again for you.

  7. Pair Your Wireless Remote With Your Chair – To pair your remote control to your new chair for the first time, do the following: a.) Turn on the chair, b.) Hold the MENU and OK buttons at the same time for 4 seconds. The screen should indicate that the Bluetooth pairing has begun. c.) The Bluetooth icon will light up on the screen display. d.) After successful pairing is complete, turn the controller off and on again and your wireless remote is now ready to operate your massage chair. Your remote and chair will connect every time after the pairing is done. One of our customers had trouble getting the remote paired with the chair. What finally worked was laying the remote at the back of the chair by the power switch and the pairing eventually happened. After it’s paired, you are in good shape. Just a tip if you have trouble pairing the remote.
  8. Quick Keys – The Infinity Overture has another, more simple remote control
    Infinity Overture quick keys
    Quick Keys

    built into the top of the right arm rest. I like to call these types of controls “Quick Keys”. It contains just enough buttons to get you started in an Auto program as well as position the chairback and the ottoman/footrest to where you want it. It also has a button for the 2-stage zero gravity positioning (2-stage means the chair has two different zero gravity positions). The Quick Keys also include a power button as well as an emergency stop button. Very convenient for fast and easy chair operations.

  9. Speech Recognition Feature – If using the remote or even the Quick Keys are too cumbersome, you can activate the Speech Recognition Feature by simply saying aloud the words “Turn on speech recognition mode”. Once you do, the chair will speak back to you through the speakers that it is activated. Then, you can speak any of a list of commands to get the chair to respond. Words like “Voice Off”, or “Massage Chair Shut Down”, or “Body Stretch”, or “Pain Relief”, etc. The list of commands are conveniently located on the back of the remote control. I tried it today and it was VERY easy to use…not to mention that it’s kinda cool.
  10. Air Ionizer – The ionizer is a feature that uses some kind of ionizing technology to clean the air, around your face, of pollutants. Or, at the very least, it blows “fresh” air around your face. The ports for air passage are located on either side of the your head, just below the music system speakers. To turn on this feature, you just have to press the “OK” button before selecting anything from the chair’s menu. You turn it off the same way.
  11. Bluetooth Music System – You can also pair your personal device with the chair in order to play your playlists over the stereo speaker system of the chair. The speakers are pretty decent. Just go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings and look for a device with the word “Overture” included in the device name. On my Utah chair, the Infinity Overture chair is called “overture1810020”. I’m not sure if it is the same on every Overture chair or unique to your chair.
  12. Calf Massage – This model has a great combination of modalities to make your calf massage a truly therapeutic experience. Of course, as with pretty much all massage chairs, the Infinity Overture has calf airbags that compress the calf muscles. Well, additionally, this model facilitates the up-and-down movement of the calf airbags, creating a kneading or, in Infinity’s terms, “oscillating” of the calf muscles by said air bags. To top it all off, this model has 4 rollers behind each calf that add to the whole therapeutic experience. If you stand, walk, or run a lot during your day, you will love the calf massage.
  13. Mechanical Foot Rollers – Nowadays, we certainly expect a massage chair to have mechanical foot rollers, but something that not many chairs have is the ability to adjust the speed/intensity of those foot rollers. The Infinity Overture has “Quick”, “Slow”, and “Off” options for that feature. Nice to have some choice since feet can be quite sensitive for many different folks.
  14. Heat – You have 3 independent heating options: back, waist, and feet. You can have 1,2, or 3 of the heating elements working at the same time. You can also adjust the temperature of the heating elements through the remote control. I was a bit confused by the ON and OFF menu items. I didn’t feel heat after using the chair for quite a few minutes. I went into the Heat menu item and it said “Back ON”, “Waist ON”, and “Feet ON”. I figure they were on! Well, it actually meant that the heating elements were off and, to turn them on, I had to select the “ON” display option, at which time the display changed to “Back OFF”, “Waist OFF”, and “Feet OFF”. A little confusing at first but quite manageable once you get the hang of it. As a side note, the feet heat combined with the mechanical foot rollers and the foot airbags makes for a wonderfully therapeutic experience.
  15. Massage Quality – I found that the neck massage was strong, with the suboccipital muscles (under the skull – I like to call them the headache muscles) getting a great massage. The midback area, like with all chairs, is quite strong, but I really noticed and enjoyed how far out laterally the rollers traveled during the kneading; it felt like the rollers were hitting the outer third of my rib cage. The low back/lumbar massage was a bit lighter than I had expected. The strength of the roller massage in the buttock area was very good.
  16. Sequential Arm Massage – I like arm massage that employs more than one air cell per side because this air cell configuration creates a sequential massage. It gives you the feeling that the movement of your blood and lymph circulation is being supported and encouraged by successive compression of those air cells. The arm massage also has rubber nobules on the surface of the material that touches your skin. These nobules act as “grippers” to keep your arm in place during the air cell compression.
  17. “Quick Relaxation” Program – This is an auto program with it’s own button on the remote control. It is an easy way to get started in the chair without having to mess around with the remote. It is an 8 minutes program that is ideal for a quick in-and-out massage (a great “Demo” program for our showrooms!).
  18. “Pain Relief” Program – I gave all the programs a try and I really liked the way the “Pain Relief” program worked my low & mid back. It was quite vigorous in terms of roller activity and intensity in conjunction with concurrent air bag deployment and body positioning. Something I didn’t even notice until I tried this program was the hip airbags. A lot of L-track chairs do not have hip airbags. These ones grabbed the sides of my hips during the “Pain Relief” program and anchored my pelvis into the chair while the rollers worked the area over and the chair positioning changed from flexion to extension. I really like this program. I would recommend it to those of you who have low and/or mid back pain.

Of course, this chair comes with all the other things you’d expect in an L-track (or J-track) chair today, like body scanning, auto restore, session timer display on remote, zero gravity (2-stage), space saver, nice color options, 5 year limited warranty, and great customer support from Infinity.

I hope this review helps you in your decision-making process of buying a new massage chair!

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.

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.