If you're shopping for a massage chair, you’ve probably heard the terms 2D, 3D, and 4D massage rollers. Which one is the best massage chair for you? And are 4D massage chairs worth the extra expense?
We'll break down the massage chair technology. Then we will give some insight on how the cost of different massage techniques has dropped over the past 12 months.
First, let's start with breaking down the difference between the massage chair rollers.
What’s the Difference Between 2D, 3D, and 4D Massage Chairs?
It's easier to understand 2D, 3D, and 4D massage chairs if we break down the basics of how massage chairs work.
When you sit down in a full body massage chair, you feel the rollers go up and down your back. These rollers travel up and down your spine in an S-shaped or sinusoidal curve.
When the roller tracks stop at about your tailbone (coccyx), the chair is called an S-track chair.
When the roller tracks are longer, extending down to your glutes, piriformis, and hamstrings, the chair is called an L-track chair.
In addition to going up and down your back, the rollers can also go side-to-side, meaning they can move in two dimensions (up/down and side to side). These customized massage chair styles are what makes a massage feel more like masseuse.
When we talk about 2D vs. 3D. vs. 4D, the customized style is what we are referencing.
Entry level massage chairs are typically 2D. This is where the rollers move up and down and side to side, without any other movements. The massage chair rollers will go from your neck down your spine, possibly as far as your legs.
A 2D chairs provide a solid massage. One which will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and energized. The side-to-side motions, combined with the up and down motions help ease stress.
3D Massage Chairs
Now we are talking about more advanced massage techniques. And one that won't break the bank.
Recent massage chair advancements have pushed the cost of some 3D massage chairs below $3,000, which is great for consumers.
3D massage chairs (sometimes called z plane) build upon the 2D technology, plus an in-out motion, creating a truly three-dimensional space of movement. This allows you to adjust for depth. Meaning you have more control of the massage intensity level.
Depending on the model of chair, the depth may range from 2.2 inches on the shallow end to 4.7 inches. These chairs also have better, more accurate body scanning technology.
This feature becomes more valuable when you have multiple users. Whether you like a light relaxation massage or a deep tissue massage, you will be covered.
What Makes A Massage Chair 4D?
If you’ve heard references to a fourth dimension before, you’ve probably heard it described as time.
A 4D massage chair mimics a deep tissue massage delivered by human hands. While a 3D massage chairs have rollers that can go up and down, in and out as well as adjust for depth.
4D adds in variable speeds on the rollers, which mimics an in person massage. 4D adds a lot more control into the massage intensity to work on areas of pain. The increase in control helps provide a variety of massage styles you can tailor to your your preferences.
4D massage chairs are popular in older users who want a gentle massage intensity.
How Do I Choose Between 2D, 3D, and a 4D massage chair?
We are asked frequently: Should I get a 2D, 3D, or a 4D chair?
The long and the short answer of it comes down to this fact: people have different massage chair preferences and budgets. All massage chairs will help with tight muscles.
But, after being in the industry for over 20 years, here's what we've found:
The key is to get something that fits your needs of you and your family.
As prices go up we are going to see added benefits. For some, the added benefit of variable roller speed and the ability to control intensity is a must have.
The best bet when you have multiple users is to go for at-least a 3D massage chair. The number one reason why someone returns a massage chair is that the massage rollers are too rough.
This makes the massage experience unpleasant as people don't get the relaxation they deserve. A good rule of thumb is the right chair has a massage intensity 3 levels below your preference.
With that said, there are some things to keep in mind when picking out the right massage chair.
Advanced Massage Rollers Price Drop
There is good news with the advanced technology. The costs are coming down. A good 4D chair used to set you back $8,000 or more a few years back. Now massage chair brands are providing solid 4D massage chairs for under $4,000.
This has pushed the costs for 2D and 3D chairs even further down as well. Also there is improved quality with the 2D and 3D chairs on the market.
This makes it much easier to get the perfect massage chair at a solid price.
Owning a massage chair is really about pain relief and loosening up sore muscles after a long day. Do you need a great shiatsu massage? Or the gentle kneading action on your neck and shoulders? Maybe a deep massage on the lower back to help with sciatica?
The good news is that the massage experience has improved A LOT.
There was a big push for massage chairs that feel more lifelike over the past few years. This brought rapid advancement with variable speed roller technology. Long track chairs become standard as well. It's rare that a new chair comes with only an S-track.
A great massage has never been so cheap. Example - For the first time we saw a deep tissue 4D massage for under $4,000. 3D and 2D massage chairs have even dropped to lower prices.
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