When you’re shopping for a new massage chair, one of the first things you should consider is whether you want a 3D vs 4D massage chair. But if you’re new to massage chair technology, then you may not know the key differences between these two types of chairs, which one offers the best benefits or the type of massage that can provide the relief you’re looking for.
Massage chair 3D vs 4D: There’s no clear winner here. For many, the 3D massage chair will be a huge step up from the 2D chairs of the past. The 3D chairs provide a more interactive massage because the rollers can actually protrude into the muscles. This design more realistically mimics the feel of fingers and hands. With 4D chairs, the only real difference is the ability to not only adjust the intensity of the massage but the speed as well. For some, this added dimension will be worth a higher price tag, while others will be satisfied with the features and the type of adjustability that the 3D chair has to offer.
Now that you know about the main differences between 3D and 4D massage chair technology, let’s learn more about how these chairs perform when put to the test and how this newer level of massage adjustability can have a positive impact on the quality of massage these chairs are able to offer.
How Do Massage Chair Rollers Work?
The rollers in a massage chair handle all of the motions during a massage including tapping and kneading. These rollers can move throughout the chair in order to reach different areas of the body. The type of rollers used and the shape of the roller’s tracks will significantly influence the type and quality of massage you’ll get. 3D and 4D roller technology mean that you can enjoy a more authentic, deeper massage, so you can experience all of the benefits of a deep tissue massage has to offer.
These rollers are used primarily to target specific areas of the body, with the use of a massage program that tells the rollers to go where the user needs them to the most. The intensity of the massage can also be adjusted, so if you prefer a lighter or deeper massage you can adjust this feature to meet your needs. Some models can also adjust the chair’s roller system to accommodate the shape of a user’s body, providing a more custom massage.
The rollers can be used to target specific areas of the body, directing the massage to where you need it most. The intensity of the massage can be varied using the rollers as well, so if you prefer a deeper or lighter massage, this can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Some massage chairs also adjust the rollers to fit your body shape, for a more personalized massage.
Massage Chair Technology
Massage chair technology has come a long way. In the past, 2D massage chair technology was the standard. That is until 3D roller technology shut it down. 3D roller technology has been around for a few years, but recently, 4D style chairs have become more popular.
3D Roller Design
By far, the 3D roller design is considered one of the most important advancements in massage chair design. The 2D roller style systems simply move back and forth and up and down, while 3D models work by protruding into the body anywhere from two to five inches. The goal of this design was to more closely mimic the feel of human hands and fingers. With the 3D roller systems, the user is able to enjoy a more intense massage compared to the 2D roller systems of the past. With a 3D roller system, you can adjust the depth of the rollers in order to decrease or increase massage intensity. This type of versatility will allow every massage chair user to create a more custom massage program based on their specific needs. If one person prefers a gentle massage, while another family member is in need of a deep Shiatsu massage, then the 3D chair can easily accommodate both people.
With the 4D style chairs, the type of massage the chair provides is said to easily surpass what 3D models have to offer.
Benefits of 3D Technology
- 3D massage chairs are designed to provide a deeper massage
- This style of massage chair will work along the X, Y, and Z axis
- Many 3D models will have retract action and roller extract, they can also offer the intensity level adjustment that allows the rollers to work your muscles at a much deeper level, offering a third plane of motion.
- Many also come with the body scan feature which will scan the body of every user in order to provide a more custom massage based on the user’s height and weight.
- 3D technology gives the user more control over the quality of their massage and allows them to adjust the depth from gentle to deep. The massage depth can range anywhere from two inches to five inches. A deeper depth option usually equals a more expensive chair.
4D Massage Chairs
These chairs really aren’t much different than the 3D models. However, the user will have more control over the rhythm and depth of a massage. Most 4D chairs feature more massage intensity options, in addition to the ability to control the speed of the rollers. Originally 3D and 4D technology were developed in Japan. This technology was developed using thousands of algorithms from other massage chairs in order to create 4D technology which is able to slow down or speed up at different times in a massage program.
In terms of motion, the 4D chair can do everything that the 3D chair can. The rollers can go back and forth, side to side, and up and down. However, by adding the fourth dimension 4D technology takes it a step further in terms of movement technology. As we mentioned, this comes in the form of speed control. The ability to adjust the speed of the rollers also adds a more realistic element to a massage since, with traditional massages, the massage therapist will often slow down or speed up hand movements and pay special attention to certain areas of the body such as the back and shoulders.
Benefits of 4D Technology
- Provides a more realistic massage compared to 2D and 3D massage chair technology
- These chairs often offer more massage technique options
- They provide a more effective back massage and can also reach up to the neck and shoulders for the type of total body massage many people are looking for in a home massage chair.
- While some 3D models claim they can offer the same exact features that the 4D chair can, most are not able to provide the same type of intensity adjustability and speed control that the 4D models do.
Which Technology is Right for You?
If you’re looking for a chair that can provide the most realistic, custom massage possibly, then a 4D massage chair is the best option. But keep in mind, most 4D chairs are pretty expensive. But if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and you need a chair that allows you to precisely adjust the speed of the rollers, then you can’t go wrong with a 4D model. Remember, the 3D chair also has rollers that can move up and down, side to side, and back and forth, so, if roller speed isn’t a priority, then you may be better off with a more affordable 3D massage chair. In the end, your choice should be based on your massage needs and your budget.
What are Zero Gravity Massage Chairs?
The zero gravity massage chair was inspired by NASA because the chair utilizes the same position that an astronaut uses when they are launched into space, which is called the Zero G position. This position was carefully designed by engineers to distribute the user’s weight evenly across their body. During a launch, the astronaut’s body is placed under a severe level of stress. By sitting in this type of reclined position, the body is able to handle a higher level of stress and pressure, while working to minimize pain and discomfort.
With massage chairs, the zero gravity position helps by removing stress and pressure off the spine, making this type of chair a great choice for chronic pain sufferers. There are two different zero gravity reclined positions that all zero gravity chairs will offer. The first recline option will place the user’s thighs relative to their back in order to reduce pressure. The other zero gravity reclined position will place the user’s legs above their heart in order to improve blood flow.
What’s the Best 4D Massage Chair Currently on the Market?
Osaki Japan Premium Massage Chair is a feature-packed 4D massage chair that’s said to provide one of the most realistic deep tissue massages out of any massage chair currently on the market. The chair also comes with the popular scan mode, which will scan the user’s body prior to a massage in order to precisely adjust the roller system and allow it to closely follow the contours of the user’s body. To learn more about the leading 4D massage chairs on the market, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Can a Massage Chair Really Mimic a Realistic Massage?
Obviously, higher priced models will provide a more realistic massage compared to lower priced chairs. These high priced models are the ones that feature 3D or 4D technology. But can these chairs really provide a massage that can compare to one that you get from your massage therapist? Yes and no. You won’t enjoy the same realistic touch that you will when your massage therapist works on your sore muscles, however, you can experience the same results. To learn more, click here to read our article on Massage chair versus human masseuse
How Do Massage Track Systems Work?
When you’re shopping for a new massage chair, you’ll come across chairs that feature an S or L track system. But manufacturers don’t usually take the time to explain the differences between track designs and how they work. Every massage chair is built with a track system. The tracks is where the rollers are mounted. In the past, massage chairs used only straight tracks, which made massages feel very mechanical and uncomfortable. These days, you can choose between S and L track systems, both of which can provide a more realistic massage. S track systems are designed to follow the contours of the body for a better massage experience. Most massage chairs use this track style because it can offer a more intense massage by moving forward in the neck area, then retracting in the tailbone region and in the middle back, while then moving forward once again in the lower back. The L track is a newer track design and it has a much longer reach than the S track systems. While S tracks stop at the lower back, L track systems are able to continue down to the hamstrings and move back up to work the piriformis and the glutes, providing the type of total body massage that many people are looking for.
In terms of 3D vs 4D massage chairs, the 4D models offer many of the same features that a 3D massage chair does. The biggest difference between the two types of massage chair technology is the fact that the 4D chairs allow you to adjust the speed of a massage in addition to the intensity. Both chairs have roller systems that can move back and forth, up and down, and side to side. Each also has protruding rollers that can control the depth of the massage in terms of how deep the rollers will protrude into muscles and soft tissue. Each technology offers a whole new level of realism to a home massage, however, 4D massage chairs often come with a much steeper price tag. In the end, if you’re looking for a more realistic massage chair, then 4D is the way to go.