Calf Massage of the Inada Yume
Nowadays, pretty much every massage chair has a calf massage of some sort. Not every chair has foot massage, but calf massage is pretty standard. Even on chairs like the Serenity or Skyline by Omega, there are small airbags that push against the back of your calves even though those chairs don't have traditional calf wells.
Calf massage typically has airbags within 2 calf wells that surround, inflate, and then compress the calf muscles. Most of the technologies of the massage chairs have the airbags compress in a distal to medial direction. In other words, the airbags inflate initially at the bottom of the calf and then, in a milking or figure 8 pattern, move up the calf towards the heart. The idea here is to enhance circulation from the legs to the heart (of course, for some folks, swollen ankles is an example of poor circulation that is readily visible and for which calf airbag massage has worked wonders).
Thera-Elliptical Kneading of the Calves...
This has been the way that calf massage has worked for as long as I have been in the business. Inada has recently added a very cool twist to the calf massage experience. In their new offering, the Inada Yume massage chair, Inada has introduced what they coin "Thera-Elliptical Kneading", or TEK, which adds a very interesting and, what I feel, a very therapeutic tweak to the existing airbag massage. Here is how it works:
The airbags inflate, as with any other massage chair. These airbags compress the leg musculature. But, then something unique happens...the inside wall of each calf well begins moving up and down, along the length of the leg thus inducing a kneading motion to the large calf muscles. So, now you have not only a compression feature coming at you from the side, but it is accompanied by an up and down kneading motion along the leg's axes.
And, I 've got to tell you that it is fantastic. I have large calf muscles and I do a lot of walking. This TEK is fantastic! It gives my legs a workout that leaves my legs feeling alive and tingling. It is an intense massage but nothing like anything you've ever experienced in a leg massage.
Inada has always been a progressive innovator in our massage chair industry. They are the oldest massage chair company in the world (heck, Mr. Inada invented the first massage chair in 1962) and have been the pioneers of many of the features that are considered standard on massage chairs today. This TEK is one of those innovative ideas that will probably be copied in the near future.
The only drawback is that to allow for the TEK, their is no foot massage component on the Inada Yume chair. When you see the calf massage in motion, you'll understand why it is so. But, you can always bend your knees and put your feet into the calf wells, which will still give you a very good and very unique massage experience for your feet.
Dr. Alan Weidner