When it comes to massage chairs, zero-gravity, 0-gravity, anti-gravity, and neutral-posture all meant to mean the very same thing. Are some zero-gravity massage chairs more faithful to the position than others? You bet. The good brands take the claim very seriously. ...
If you’ve experienced that wonderful feeling of weightlessness when you lie back in a pool or hot tub, then your body knows what the zero-gravity posture is all about. No, you aren’t about to float away into deep space, but you feel relaxation that is both psychological and physiological.
In this natural reclining posture—one your body instinctively understands as healing —your weight is distributed evenly, and your spine relieved of body weight. The legs-above-heart position of zero-gravity reduces the strain on your heart, allowing it to more efficiently pump energizing oxygen through the body, providing relief to tired, sore muscles, as well as reducing the effects of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, varicose veins, and edema. As your body experiences this relief, you can rest, relax and truly heal.
You may have heard that zero-gravity in a massage chair was inspired by NASA, or that it’s the position that astronauts sit in before take-off. This is partially accurate. NASA’s investigations into body posture began with Skylab in the 1980s, long after the seminal Mercury and Gemini missions, and the Apollo lunar missions. These Skylab video analyses formed the basis of what is today known as “neutral body posture.” So, if you are lying completely flat, that is not “zero-G.” Quite simply, “zero-gravity posture” refers to what our bodies do when relaxed in a weightless environment. It’s that simple.
You might have noticed that your body takes this position when you are submerged in water and totally relaxed. It’s also the position a fetus takes in the womb. It is the most natural and relaxing body position to humans.
NASA may indeed have introduced the public to the concept of a zero-gravity position, so thanks to NASA, you can now enjoy the benefit of recliners or full-body massage recliners that bring the zero-gravity posture (or neutral posture) into the design of the furniture in your own home.
So what is zero-G in a massage chair?
Many brands claim to offer zero-gravity massage chairs, but not all claims are made by serious companies that are serious about massage chairs. Here’s a description of the zero-gravity position that may help you navigate through the sea of massage chairs to find the best zero-gravity massage chair.
A properly described zero-gravity massage chair (or regular recliner) must have the following attributes:
The back rest must be capable of a deep recline position that places your spine in a position that is almost parallel to the floor. For comparison, most ordinary recliners lean back about 60-degrees, and most people describe this as a deep recline. In the world of zero-gravity designs, it is not. To make a legitimate zero-gravity claim, recline angles must be able to go from the upright posture to about 90-degrees of recline. This deep recline is NECESSARY if the chair is to get your legs even with or above your heart, and being able to do this is the next requirement we’ll stress.
A zero-gravity massage recliner must be able to get the user’s legs (and feet) even with or above the level of their heart. Only in this instance can a user enjoy the circulatory benefits of the zero-gravity posture. In some instances, the footrest or ottoman design of a zero-G massage chair is the means by which to raise the legs to the level of (or above) the heart.
The angle between the backrest and the seat should be about 115-degrees. In other words, the massage chair should maintain a slightly “open” posture between your legs and your torso. Almost all zero-gravity massage chair designs have a fixed angle between the seat and the backrest. A very few — the OHCO M-Series are examples of this — can vary the seat-to-back angle and offer users additional benefits and flexibility.
The first zero-G, full body massage chair available in the US came out in 2004, but the technology back then was primitive, difficult, and clunky. Today many massage chairs are zero-G and the technology has improved considerably since the early days. Many models are presented as 3-D zero-gravity massage chairs, 4-D zero-gravity massage chairs, heated zero-gravity massage chairs, anti-gravity massage chairs, shiatsu zero-G massage chairs, wall-hugging zero-gravity massage chairs…the list of descriptors and claims can be bewildering. But, we want you to know this about the Furniture For Life ethos: our Comfort Consultants have DEDICATED themselves to the task of matching you to your BEST zero-gravity massage chair choice. We also confidently assert that our zero-gravity massage chair selection meets all the above criteria of the definition of zero-gravity.
With many massage chair models and manufacturers to choose from, we want to make sure you find the best zero-gravity massage chair for your needs. Most zero-G chairs offer full-body shiatsu massage. Many offer pervasive air massage features and are heated massage chairs — heat can enhance the overall sense of relaxation you feel. And, all massage chair track types (S-track, L-track, and MaxTrack) can be found on zero-gravity chairs.
Before your mind is set adrift by the myriad of options available in the space of zero-gravity massage chairs, talk to an expert — one of ours— and let us help guide you toward clarity and toward the right massage chair for you!