Believe it or not, there are people looking for the best zero gravity massage chair who don’t even know what it’s for in the first place.
For the clueless among us, “zero gravity” often conjures up images of astronauts floating in space. But when applied to massage chairs, how exactly does zero gravity help in relieving back pain?
This in-depth guide takes the guesswork out of choosing the best zero gravity massage chair by exploring its definition and what exactly it was designed to do.
Zero Gravity Massage Chair: What It Is, And What It Is Not.
Contrary to popular belief, zero gravity doesn’t necessarily mean weightlessness when used in the context of massage chairs.
It takes its roots from NASA who discovered that strapping the astronauts into reclined seats helps counteract the extreme pressures they encounter during liftoffs. As they escape the Earth’s gravitational pull, these astronauts rely on this technology to evenly distribute the pressure of gravity across their bodies, thereby eliminating any adverse effect.
Soon, massage chair designers used the same principle and incorporated it into their creations. They later named them zero gravity massage chairs.
Just like astronauts, all of us experience the adverse effects of gravity on a daily basis. No matter what we do, we can’t escape gravitational pull, with the spine and lower back carrying most of our body weight everyday. This is the reason why back pain is common among people who mostly spend their working hours either sitting or standing.
A zero gravity massage chair is designed to put you into a neutral position, with your legs elevated above the heart.
Zero gravity is different from a usual recline position wherein the seat stays horizontally. In order for it to qualify as a true zero gravity position, the seat should have a 30-degree tilt and there also should be a 120-degree articulation between the seat and chair back. In some definitions, zero gravity also requires the leg rest to be raised above the heart at a 28-degree angle.
Aside from improving blood circulation on your legs, zero gravity position also distributes the weight evenly across your body, thereby removing the pressure off your spine. It also allows your back, specifically the lumbar area, to come in full contact with the rollers for a deeper, more intense massage experience.
Although sitting in a zero gravity massage chair doesn’t mean you’ll be in a state of weightlessness, your body weight will be evenly distributed–so much so that you’ll feel like you’re floating in the air!
Health Benefits Of Zero Gravity Massage Chair.
⊕Decompresses the spine. This means the pressure of your body weight will be evenly distributed, allowing your spine to relax and the tired, sore lower back muscles to heal.
⊕Relieves pain and tension on your neck and shoulders. With continuous use, a zero gravity massage chair can help prevent wrong posture, which is one of the major culprits why people suffer from neck and shoulder pain.
⊕Improves blood circulation on your legs and body. By elevating the legs above your heart, zero gravity massage chairs help prevent blood from pooling in your feet and calves, which often leads to formation of varicose veins.
⊕Promotes overall wellness. Unlike the reclined seats used by the astronauts, zero gravity massage chairs are also equipped with airbags, massage rollers and other features that provide ultimate relaxation. A zero gravity combined with massage is the perfect recipe to eliminate stress, improve sleep, enhance breathing and basically help you feel healthier.
Zero Gravity Massage Chairs: The Good, The Bad And The Bottom Line.
Zero gravity massage chairs are designed mainly to provide relief from low back pain. If you’ve ever experienced sitting in an ordinary chair for a long period of time, then you’re probably familiar with the pain that comes afterwards. As the weight of your body burdens your lower back, the muscles as well as joints become overpowered by the downward pressure, resulting into tired, sore muscles.
With the use of a zero gravity massage chair, the same pressure will be equally distributed across your body. The recline position gives your lower back and spine ample time to “decompress.” The massage will then improve blood circulation and provide further healing to the sore low back muscles.
However, there’s one downside in having a zero gravity recline feature.
Most massage chairs have an average track length (i.e. the distance covered by the massage rollers) of 30 inches. Once the chair bends on the waist area to assume a zero gravity position, this distance significantly increases.
As a result, some zero gravity massage chairs have rollers that can’t adequately massage the buttocks (glutes), while others can’t even extend to the buttocks at all.
Therefore, it’s crucial to know your priorities when shopping for the best zero gravity massage chair.
If you suffer from persistent lower back, then a zero gravity massage chair (ideally with doctor’s recommendation) is apparently the better option. The same can not be said for those suffering from sacral pain who would benefit more from chairs that can massage the buttocks.
On the bright side, there are now massage chairs in the market that offer the best of both worlds. These chairs can be reclined into a zero gravity position and at the same time, provide adequate massage to the buttocks. The Infinity Iyashi, for example, is a zero gravity massage chair with a 49″ roller track–the longest in the industry–that extends from the neck all the way down to the hamstrings (thighs).