Let's face it, there are worse day jobs than having to sit in thousands of massage chairs in order to compile a review of the very best. There are thousands out there, and that's a lot of walking.
Thankfully at the end of it all, you get to sit down and have your entire body massaged with the latest technology. After hours of testing and researching the current top-of-the-line zero gravity models, we found they share a similar feature set.
What sets them apart comes down to where and how each component was manufactured. Zero gravity engineering allows the chair to recline into a fully flat position; and in many chairs, one level further, so that your feet rest above your heart.
This decompresses the spine and allows space to be created between each vertebra. This weightlessness is ideal for easing lower back pain and enhancing relaxation. After countless hours of research, here's a list of the best chairs of 2021 and how they compare.
Best Zero Gravity Chairs
Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7
Our choice for the number one spot is the Luraco Technologies iRobotics 7 Medical Massage. Researched, manufactured, built, and supported in the United States, this is the most technologically advanced chair you can buy. It's also the only one that is approved by both the FDA and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for its medical therapeutic use and safety.
The computer scanning feature scans your body and then provides a personalized massaged, tailored to your exact dimensions and preferences.
You can adjust it to fit your exact height. It has five memory settings, so everyone in the family can set up their own individualized program.
Choose the preferred intensity, type, and length of massage, and with a touch of a button on the smart remote, it's programmed right in. There are nine pre-set programs to enjoy, or you can create your own, wherein the options and combinations are limitless.
There are five different levels of 3D intensity, which delivers the closest you can get to a human massage. From neck to toe, this advanced robotic massage relieves sore and tight muscles and delivers ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation.
There is adjustable heat throughout the entire surface, not just in the back or seat. There are two rollers that massage the soles of the feet, and the footpad is removable.
There is a unique swivel and twist function that you can't find in any other model anywhere, and the arms are massaged via targeted acupuncture points.
It's incredibly quiet, so rather than hearing a motor or the sound of compressed airbags, all you hear is the music you choose to listen to through the built-in MP3 player. It's covered under an unparalleled warranty, so you're covered for five years on parts and three on labor. It's available on Amazon for just under $8500.
How Long Should You Sit on a Massage Chair?
For many, it's that cozy, relaxing position of your favorite chair or corner of the sofa that instantly fills you with relaxation and warmth, ready for Netflix and chill. But before you snuggle into those sheets with a glass of wine and your blanket, you have to go to the back of the line for the massage chair. "Air Massage chairs with kneading, tapping are a great addition to your home," says Adam Rosen, owner, and director of LilyPad Massage. "I love that they're easy to use, easy to move around and the size is perfect for guests and students." On the contrary, you may want to tread lightly before using one to stay safe and healthy.
As Business Insider reports, the amount of bacteria on your average massager is actually high enough to potentially cause illness. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to clean it properly. Here's what you need to know. When to use a massager. If you're looking for an office-friendly tool, Rosen recommends using a standing massage chair. "This gives you more options and also allows your hands to be free for filing, folding, or cleaning while you relax," he says. And if you're looking to get your nails or feet done, you'll want to opt for a standing massage chair that locks onto the floor for safety. And if you've ever used a standing massage chair, you'll know they're popular for a reason: they are difficult to maneuver.
Human Touch NovoXT
A close second is the Human Touch NovoXT. It has similar features and is an excellent massager, saving the absence of an all-encompassing heat feature.
What sets it apart is its space-saving capability. Built on a unique and advanced glide platform, you only need two inches between the wall and the chair to fully recline. It takes up ten fewer inches in length and seven in width, making this the perfect selection for small spaces or apartments.
The heat feature is only available in the lumbar region, so while excellent for low back pain, it's lacking in the rest of the body areas, and it has no adjustment capability.
It comes with 30 built-in automatic programs, including those specially designed for recovery, therapeutic relaxation, and whole-body immersion. It also has a rocking feature.
It also has an excellent warranty, covering five years on parts, structural components, and in-house repair. You can pick it up on Amazon for just under $9,000.
Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer
Another good choice for two-stage zero gravity benefits is the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer - click here for a full review. Also utilizing computer scan and acupoint technology provides two levels of zero gravity reclining. It too has a built-in MP3 player, so you can enjoy your favorite music or nature sounds while relaxing and unwinding with a therapeutic end or start to your day.
A few unique and standout qualities in the OS-3D are the addition of automatic computerized leg scanning, a heated roller massage on the quad area, and the stretch massage, which is excellent for full-body decompression.
It also features the waist squeeze delivered by airbag compression.
There are 10 automatic programs to choose from as well as a power recline option. At just under $7,000 on Amazon, the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer is a good alternative.
Similar to the Human Touch, the DreamWave is one of the most expensive chairs on the list at just under $9,000.
This is the ultimate in shiatsu massage, targeting the pressure points in the neck, back, arms, shoulders, feet, and calves. You won't get the full-body heart function, but the lumbar and seat areas are heated.
The airbag compression massage is great for feet, calves, and the soles of the feet, providing top-notch reflexology massage.
The coverage makes this chair an optimal pick, encompassing more than 1,200 square inches. There are 16 automatic programs, all accessible from the remote control, and myriad possibilities for creating your own customized massage from the various techniques and options.
There's even a pocket for your phone. And with a youth setting, this one is even great for young adults.
Best On a Budget
If you're looking for quality and features but budget is a concern, here are a few good bets that won't break the bank.
For under $5,000, this is a top pick if you're watching your wallet. With its array of high-tech features, therapeutic benefits, and durability, this competes well even among luxury brands.
High-end models will all feature 3D roller technology, which most closely mimics human massage. The rollers work in multiple planes, so the massage doesn't just glide along your body, it penetrates deep into your soft tissue and muscles.
The Infinity IT-8500 has 2D rollers instead, but you still get all the great features of the more expensive brands. Built-in sound system speakers, body scan, neck and head massage, foot rollers, and heat are all on par.
So, if you're willing to make one concession on the rollers, this is a fantastic choice. If 3D rollers are a must-have, however, and you still want to save a bit of money over the Luraco, for an extra $1,000 you can buy the IT-8500 3X and get the 3D massage rollers.
For less than a third of what you'd pay for the Luraco or Human Touch, the Osaki OS-4000 is a top-rated unit at $2,300. You get the same computerized body scan for a personalized massage just as you get in the higher-end models, as well as two stages of zero gravity recline.
Delivered via the s-track system, the massage is delivered by way of rollers that are designed to follow the contours of your spine and back.
The shoulders, arms, and hips are massaged with compression airbags, and the lumbar and hip areas also feature squeezing. You can just from five levels of intensity and set the automatic timer for anywhere from five to 30 minutes.
There's heat in the lower back, and like the OS-3D, you get computer scanning for a custom leg massage.
Can You Overuse a Massage Chair?
Any health-conscious person can agree that massages are great, but even the most faithful massage-goer has his limits. But just how much can you overdo it? "There are a lot of things I say to my clients when they complain about soreness or pain in specific muscles: Drink more water. You need to take your vitamins. I don't want to overdo it," says celebrity massage therapist, Dr. Jack Zamudio, founder of Pine Ridge Massage.
The good news is that sometimes all you have to do is take a little break, give your body a little time, and "maintain a really great stretching routine so you're getting that proper circulation." He adds, "I have patients that tell me they don't know how to stretch. I tell them to get on their yoga mat. Stretch your shoulders, your wrists, your neck, whatever you're sore in.
Lacking many of the features that you'll get in the other budget and luxury models, the LM-6800 is still a great choice. For under $2,000 this is the best for the money.
Massage is good for us no matter how technologically advanced the features are, so you should never be discouraged by chair price alone. Massage will increase your relaxation, you'll sleep better, and you'll find your immune system will become much stronger.
If you're tight on space, the LM-6800 will be a boon. You only need five inches from your wall to recline.
The lumbar and calf sections are heated, which aids in loosening tight, overworked muscles and increasing circulation. The massage functions feature 36 airbags and four rollers. This is a top-selling chair for good reason.
What are Some of the Cons of Chair Massage?
Chair massage, while generally considered safe and beneficial for many individuals, does have some potential drawbacks and cons that should be taken into consideration. These cons include:
- Limited Coverage: Chair massages typically focus on the upper body, including the neck, shoulders, back, and arms. While this is beneficial for relieving tension and stress in these areas, it does not address the entire body. Individuals with specific issues in their lower back, legs, or other areas may find chair massage less effective in targeting those areas.
- Short Duration: Chair massages are often relatively short, typically lasting 15 to 30 minutes. While this can be convenient for busy individuals, it may not provide enough time for a thorough and deep massage, especially for those with chronic or severe muscle tension.
- Limited Techniques: Chair massage therapists may use a limited range of massage techniques due to the seated position and time constraints. This can be a limitation for individuals who benefit from specific massage modalities or techniques that cannot be effectively performed in a chair.
- Privacy Concerns: Chair massages are usually conducted in open or semi-public settings, such as workplaces or public events. Some individuals may feel uncomfortable receiving a massage in front of others or prefer a more private and relaxing environment.
- Not Suitable for All Conditions: Chair massage may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions or injuries. People with open wounds, skin infections, or certain medical issues should avoid massage therapy or consult with a healthcare provider before receiving a chair massage.
- Cost: While chair massages are generally more affordable than full-body table massages, the cost can still add up over time if received regularly. For some, the cost may be a barrier to accessing this type of therapy on a consistent basis.
- Temporary Relief: Chair massages provide temporary relief from muscle tension and stress but may not offer long-term benefits without regular and ongoing sessions. Individuals seeking lasting improvements in chronic conditions may require more comprehensive treatment plans.
- Lack of Personalization: In a chair massage setting, therapists may not have the opportunity to thoroughly assess each client's unique needs and tailor the massage accordingly. This lack of personalization can limit the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Risk of Overuse: Some individuals may become overly reliant on chair massages as a quick fix for stress or tension, potentially neglecting other self-care practices or therapies that could address underlying issues more effectively.
In conclusion, while chair massage can provide valuable benefits, it is essential to consider its limitations and potential drawbacks. Depending on an individual's specific needs and preferences, a full-body table massage or other therapeutic modalities may be more suitable for addressing certain conditions or achieving more comprehensive relaxation and relief. Always consult with a qualified massage therapist or healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate massage therapy for your individual circumstances.
Whether you're able to spend the money for the best, top-of-the-line luxury zero gravity massage chair on the market or want all the great features for a little less money, there's a quality chair out that's just right for you.
With the prevalence and availability, you can now easily pick up a great unit at Amazon or Costco, and be on your way to hours of relaxation and wellness in no time.
Make this year the year you invest in more healthful living.