Foot and Calf Therapy in Massage Chairs
The feet and calves massage experience you enjoy depends largely on the mechanism used in your massage chair. You can get an idea of how extensive your massage might be by examining different chairs. The more the chair looks like a regular recliner in the calf and foot area, the less likely it will provide as intense a massage.
Nearly every massage chair does include some form of lower extremity massage. The calf massage feature alone is found on many chairs. Many users insist that the foot and calf chair massage is the feature they like most in any chair. Since most of us spend a fair amount of time on our feet, massaging the lower extremeties can make a world of difference in our quality of life.
Different Types of Massage Chair Ottomans
Many creative ideas have spawned the mechanisms that provide foot and calf massage. Sometimes, rollers are used, other times, airbags. Airbags are more common and create a wonderful experience by pressing on the feet and calves, sometimes sequentially, so you get the sensation of movement from one end of the massage area to the other.
Every company has a different take on the use of airbags to produce a good massage. The apparatus for lower extremities is generally referred to as an ottoman.
This typically is all one piece that attaches to the chair. Examples are the Omega Aires and Human Touch model - Acutouch HT-9500. These chairs massage both the feet and calves. Because this is the feature that makes a recliner look less than attractive, Human Touch has produced several models to deal with the problem.
The HT-9500 massage chair boasts an ottoman that retracts. Their HT-7450 and HT-7120 both feature an ottoman that rotates. They only massage the calves, but at least the calf wells aren't visible.
To accommodate taller statures, some models like the Panasonic 30007 offer a detachable foot massager. This allows a person to position their calves for a proper massage of that area. The problem arising is that the ankle sides are massaged by the foot massager.
Inada has dealt with the needs of tall folks by designing a flexible attachment positioned between the calf massage mechanism
and that of the foot. This lets the person stretch the legs out while the foot mechanism remains perpendicular to the massage mechanism of the calf.
Also, Inada has a new technology on their Inada Yume massage chair, I've not seen before. They have named it Thera-Elliptical-Kneading. Using a combination of figure eight motions of the calf wells and compression of airbags, an amazing calf massage is the result.
A few companies utilize rollers for the bottoms of the feet. The effect is similar to that you get on your back with the usual rollers. The new Omega Montage Pro, the King Kong (now defunct), and Elite Optima chairs have advertised both airbags and rollers for the feet.
Having tried many massage chairs in my years as a chiropractor, I have never found a better foot and calf massage than that of the Human Touch HT-9500 mentioned several times above. The ottoman "paddles" are one of the features that make it special.
With so many variations available, you can see why there are so many types of massage chairs in the marketplace. Every individual has needs and there are certain chairs better for you than others. That is why we recommend your investigation of all the possibilities out there so you end up with the best massage chair for your calves and feet.
Dr. Alan Weidner