The 10 Best Zero Gravity Massage Chairs
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in November of 2017. Getting regular massages can relieve stress, alleviate muscle tension, improve your posture, boost your metabolism, and do so much more for your body and mind. But not everybody has the time or money to visit a masseuse every day. Fortunately, we found some zero gravity massage chairs that will make you feel like you're in a luxury spa without having to leave the comfort of your home or office. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 16, 2019:
In this year's update, we had to remove a few items that made our list last time. The Relaxonchair MK-IV has been discontinued by the manufacturer and replaced by the MV-V. However, we didn't feel the MK-V deserved a spot in our rankings for a couple of reasons and instead included the RelaxOnChair MK Classic, which has more air bags and has proven itself as a great massage chair. We also removed the BestMassage Full Body because there have been some reports that the models the company is shipping are not accurately reflected in the images and product description. Since there are many other good models on the market, we didn't see a reason our readers should take the chance of receiving a different item than what they ordered.
On the topic of good models, we want to make special mention of the Kahuna SM-7300, which includes a combination S and L track system, giving it some of the most versatility in the massage path. It also has dedicated lifestyle modes, such as golfer and senior, that may be easier for people to understand than having to choose between various massage methods they may not be familiar with. The Real Relax Favor 03 is a great value option, considering it provides heat, vibration, and has eight rollers, but take note that it doesn't get very deep into the muscles in the neck area. When it comes to the sheer number of features, the Medical Breakthrough 6 v4 and Osaki OS-4000T are hard to beat. Both of these models start with a full-body scan so they can customize the treatment to your size. They also provide you with a nice stretch to help elongate the muscles. The Medical Breakthrough 6 v4 has the added bonus of Bluetooth and integrated speakers, so you can play relaxing music or nature sounds during your massage.
FujiMedic Kumo Utilizing cutting edge Japanese technology, the Kumo has a 44-inch L-track to reach more points in your body than many other models. Also, rather than a simple heating pad, it actually features heated rollers to really get deep into those sore muscles. Plus, a handy dial lets you adjust the intensity of the massage without even having to open your eyes. fujimedic.com
Panasonic MAJ7 Real Pro Ultra Premium A highly advanced model, this chair features a position and force micro processor that allows it to adjust its movements and pressure based on feedback it receives from your body, so you'll get a truly customized experience. Also, it has been specifically designed to mimic the kneading motions of the human hand as accurately as possible. panasonicmassage.com
A Brief History Of Massage Therapy
Johann Georg Mezger, a Dutch physician, took Ling's ideas and codified them into the five modalities that are currently in use.
The first written reference to massage comes from Ayurvedic medicine in ancient India. Early Ayurvedic texts dating back to 3000 B.C.E. detail the practice of trying to reestablish physical balance and harmony using touch therapy, as well as other techniques like herbalism.
These techniques quickly spread to surrounding regions, including China, where massage has been an element of traditional medicine since at least 2700 B.C.E. Meanwhile, the Egyptians invented reflexology a few centuries later, and it's unlikely that their massage practices stopped at the feet.
The Greeks were big fans of therapeutic touch, as well. Beginning around the 8th century B.C.E., healers used techniques designed to forcefully remove knots from muscle tissue. These practices can be considered the forebear to modern-day sports massage therapy, which shouldn't be surprising, given the importance the Greeks placed on athletic endeavors.
Massage's popularity ebbed and flowed for the next 1,000 years or so, but it saw quite the uptick in the 19th century C.E. At that time, a doctor named Per Henrik Ling created the "Swedish Movement System," which became the backbone of modern Swedish massage. Johann Georg Mezger, a Dutch physician, took Ling's ideas and codified them into the five modalities that are currently in use.
Today, massage is prized both for its therapeutic benefit and as a luxurious escape from daily stress. Most high-level athletes incorporate it into their training and recovery regimens, and it's used by countless regular people to soothe chronic aches and pains.
You'll be hard-pressed to find any sort of therapy that feels better — well, maybe except for retail therapy, that is.
Things To Consider Before You Buy
While having a massage chair in your home may seem like the height of luxury, that doesn't mean you should buy the first one you come across. Not all models are created equal, so it's worth taking the time to do a little comparison shopping before you make your purchase.
One of the biggest things to consider is the question of space. Most of these chairs aren't exactly compact (although you can find some options that have a relatively small footprint), so be sure you have room for it beforehand. You'll need plenty of clearance, especially if you plan on lying prone, so you may need to clear some junk away from the walls before you can use it comfortably.
Be sure that all those airbags and kneading apparatuses are located where you need them.
Of course, if you get one of the smaller models, that means you'll likely have to skimp on some cushioning. Many of the more diminutive versions get that way by omitting a few airbags, which could detract from the overall comfort level of the chair — or you could find the airbags create a sense of overkill. It's entirely a matter of personal preference.
Be sure that all those airbags and kneading apparatuses are located where you need them. Each chair has a different configuration, just like each user will have different sore spots they want to be targeted. It does you no good to buy one to fix pain in your calves only to find out that the chair you purchased ignores that area entirely.
They don't all have the same accessories, either. Some boast heat and vibration in addition to kneading actions, and many offer different intensity levels. Higher-end models are even able to scan your body to find out where you need relief the most, and a few can remember your favorite settings.
Regardless of the size and features you end up getting, check to see what kind of safeguarding the motor has. These chairs aren't cheap, and if the motor burns out, you'll just have an expensive recliner on your hands. Some have overheat protection that shuts things down before any damage can occur, while others are protected by manufacturer warranties of various lengths.
Ultimately, it's not likely that you'll go too far wrong with any chair you buy, but be sure to do your homework first — especially when it comes to any protection you'll get on your purchase. After all, you're buying a massage chair to reduce your stress, not add to it.
Benefits Of A Zero Gravity Massage Chair
The primary benefit of a zero gravity massage chair is obvious (it feels fantastic), but there are several other reasons to consider purchasing one besides merely feeling good.
The kneading action of the chair can help work out knots and pressure points, helping to relieve chronic aches and pains. Many people find the process quite soothing, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
The only downside is that eventually you'll have to get up.
If you use the chair in the zero gravity position, it can take quite a bit of strain off your back, as there's very little weight pressing against your spine. Those with poor posture can use this setting to help "reset" some of their habits, as well, such as bringing rounded shoulders back into proper position, since there's no need for slumping.
Raising the feet of the chair and reclining the backrest brings all of your limbs level with your heart, which helps increase your circulation without making your ticker work harder. It also boosts the lymphatic system, so if you often suffer from inflammation, staying flat on your back can help redistribute fluids around your body. The lying position can open your chest as well, making breathing more effortless.
All of this can spur your body to release endorphins. These feel-good chemicals do more than just put you on cloud nine; they can also improve your immune response, helping you to ward off illnesses.
Of course, none of this is a replacement for a sensible diet, plenty of exercise, and faithful adherence to your doctor's orders. However, there are few easier — or more enjoyable — ways to boost your health than lying in a zero gravity massage chair.
The only downside is that eventually you'll have to get up.