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Massage Chairs with More Motors are Better: Myth Buster Challenge

Jun 24, 2008
There is a massage chair myth that has been permeated through time about the number of motors. This myth claims that the more motors contained in the massage chair, the better the massage chair. At the height of this myth, companies were claiming to have more and more motors in their massage chairs. The thought being that with more motors, the massage is greatly enhanced. Claims were made to have a massage chair with 6, 8 and even 18 motors. Of course, having more motors could enable more varied movements in the shiatsu massage chairs, but is this actually true?

The more motors the better the chair myth is going to be put to the myth buster test. Obviously, having more motors enables more massage options to be possible. Motors are not cheap, in fact they are expensive. Immediately, there is a quality versus quantity tradeoff. Having 18 motors versus 3 motors would make the cost of the 18 motor chair skyrocket, if they use the same quality motor. First concern is the quality level of motors in a massage chair with 18 motors.

Weight is a consideration since motors weigh between 2 lbs to 5 lbs each. Imagine a massage chair with 18 motors, each weighing 5 lbs for a total of 90 lbs just in motors. Motors can quickly add more weight. Space is another important consideration. There is only so much space in a shiatsu massage chair for the motors and the mechanisms driven by the motor. Shiatsu assage chairs with 3 motors in the chair back are already constrained, where do the other 15 motors go?

How is the quality of massage with more or less motors? High end luxury massage chairs generally have 3 high quality motors to power the back massage rollers. There are individual motors to run the kneading massage and to run the tapping massage. The third motor drives the roller unit up and down the chair back. The tapping and kneading motors can be run simultaneously for the shiatsu massage.

There is a 5 motor design where the kneading and tapping use two motors each. This is done by having a motor on both the left and right side rollers for both the kneading and tapping. Having 2 motors for kneading splits the duty and should lead to longer motor life. Did it make any difference in the massage capabilities? There was no noticeable difference. Is more better?

If the motor does not create a new and unique massage, then what value does it add? Why have more motors and potentially more problems? The simpler the design, the higher the quality and the less problems down the road. Remember, each motor needs to have controls, software, wiring, etc. to integrate it into the overall massage chair. This drives complexity, increases the testing required to ensure quality and if cheaper motors are substituted, then reduces reliability. Do not buy into the myth that more motors the better for a shiatsu massage chair. Simple is always better!
About the Author
James has a broad range of Shiatsu Massage Chairs from Panasonic, Sanyo, Omega and Human Touch. Find informative articles, Massage Chairs Reviews and more to educate and inform his customers.
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