Massage Chair Myth

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Massage Chairs with More Motors are Better: Myth Buster Challenge

The massage chair industry has a few myths that have been sustained over a number of years. One particularly interesting one is the number of motors in a massage chair. The myth claims that the more motors in the shiatsu massage chair the better. Certainly, an increase in the number of motors can enable more functions. Practical reality suggests that more motors means more cost and more real estate and weight of the massage chair. This myth will be explored in this article.
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 are high end luxury massage chairs designed with motors? Most manufacturers use 3 high quality motors. One for the kneading massage, one for the tapping massage and the third motor for moving the roller unit up and down. Software synchronizes the movements of the motors and running the tapping and kneading motors together produces the shiatsu massage.
If you examine the top of the line massage chairs, most use 1 motor to move the rollers up and down the chair back and 2 motors are used for the kneading and for the tapping. If the design runs each left and right roller independent, then this is done with 5 motors. The motors in this case do not provide any further massage capabilities, but will put less wear and tear on the motors, since their duties are split. Again, neat design, but no real improvement in the actual massage delivered.
Some massage chair companies started this fad and some how it caught on and became perpertuated into myth. We still see massage chair companies hyping that they have 12 or 15 motors. It is obvious that these motors cannot all drive the massage mechanisms. These companies think that if it moves, we can count it as a motor. Having motors is not enough, what do they actually do? This is a myth built on hype and unsubstantiated facts. Why would someone want an overly complex chair with low quality motors? Simple is the elegant solution.

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