When it comes to massage chairs, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. And if you’ve done any research, you’ve probably come across specific terms to describe the different massage technologies behind the scenes.
Two of the most common questions we’re asked about are L Track vs. S Track designs and 3D vs. 4D technology. Read on for our explanations and recommendations.
First, Massage Rollers!
Inside every massage chair, you’ll find rollers on a long track in the back, and short tracks in the foot rests. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on just the back rollers since that’s where most of the massage magic really happens.
Most massage chairs offer a selection of massage techniques — like kneading, shiatsu, tapping and knocking — that are carried out through the rollers. The extent to which the rollers travel down your back is determined by the type of track in the massage chair, while the intensity and movement is determined by the technology.
S Track vs. L Track Massage Chairs
The design of the back roller track varies from chair to chair, but will likely be categorized as either an S Track or an L Track massage chair.
S Track Massage Chairs
The S in S Track stands for “sinusoidal,” which is just a fancy way to say “wave.” These roller tracks follow the curve of the spine, moving up and down from the neck to the lower back.
L Track Massage Chairs
L Track massage chairs work the same way as S Tracks, but can extend further down the body. An S Track massage chair would only go as far down as your lower back, but an L Track can travel down to your glutes or hamstrings.
|S Track||L Track|
Which Track is Better?
An L Track is really just an extension of the S Track, and can massage more areas of your body. Massage chairs with S Track designs may be a little more affordable, but they won’t give you as much coverage. If you’re looking for a massage chair to help your lower back, hamstrings or glutes, you’ll want to select an L Track.
2D vs. 3D vs. 4D Massage Chairs
Roller technology is continually evolving so that massage chairs feel more like your own personal masseuse than a stationary piece of furniture. Even in the last few years, the technology has grown light-years from basic 2D to 4D. Here’s an overview of your options:
2D Massage Chairs
2D massage chair rollers move in two dimensions: up and down from your neck to your back and side to side. You might see this referred to as the rollers working on X and Y axes. Traditional back massagers and the first massage chairs used 2D technology.
3D Massage Chairs
Where a 2D massage chair works on X and Y axes, 3D runs on X, Y and Z axes. This massage technology was designed to make it feel more like an actual human is massaging you, rather than a chair.
The rollers are able to push out further into your back, and you can adjust the intensity level of the rollers from very gentle to deep tissue. 3D massage chairs are great for homes with multiple users, since everyone can easily find the perfect intensity level for their personal preference.
4D Massage Chairs
Taking 3D to the next level, the rollers in a 4D massage chair protrude further out and can move up and down, side to side and back and forth. 4D incorporates variations of massage styles and speeds, giving you more control of the strength, depth and delivery of your massage. This deeper reach can be especially beneficial if you have back and shoulder issues.
Which Technology is Better?
For a human-like, personalized massage, a 3D or 4D massage chair will be your best bet.
Purchasing a massage chair involves a lot of decision making, and we’re here to help you make the right choice. You can take this survey to receive a personalized report of your top 5 massage chair matches. Or if you’d like to speak with one of our trusted massage chair specialists, give us a call at 877-633-9055 and we’ll recommend the perfect brand and model for your needs!