4D vs 3D + Things to Consider when Buying a Massage Chair
What's the difference between a 3D and 4D massage chair?
If you've been searching for a massage chair at all lately, you would have come across a few terms that might seem confusing. We're here to break it all down for you in a very easy to understand manner.
One of the first things to consider when thinking about a massage chair is what type roller you would like. 2D rollers were the standard among massage chairs until 3D rollers a few years ago. 4D rollers have more recently become popular. Here's a good tutorial on what it all means.
Perhaps one of the most important advancements to the industry is the 3D roller. 2D rollers move back and forth along the X-Y plane (back and forth + up and down) while the 3D roller actually protrudes into the body from 2.2 inches to 5 inches closely mimicking the feel of human hands. With a 3D roller, you are able to enjoy a much deeper tissue massage than ever before possible from a massage chair. 4D massage chairs take this experience to an entirely new level with speed variation and more control.
Until recently, almost all massage chairs were 2D. With this type of roller, you cannot adjust the intensity of the massage very well as the rollers are just able to move back and forth + up and down because the rollers remain on a flat plane in two dimensions.
3D rollers allow you to access the Z-plane and 3rd dimension of a massage creating the most realistic experience possible. The depth of the rollers can be adjusted forward or backward to increase/decrease the intensity of the massage. This flexibility allows each user of the chair to create and customize the intensity to their liking. if you prefer a very deep massage and your significant other wants gentle, you have the flexibility in this chair to cater to both of you in the manual mode! The 3D Roller Technology found in premium massage chairs and provide outstanding deep tissue massage to the upper / lower back and neck area.
4D massage chairs are not really all that different from 3D massage chairs except the user has a lot more control over the depth and rhythm of the massage. There are often more strength adjustments with 4D chairs as well as the ability to adjust roller speed. The original technology was developed in Japan by taking the algorithm of 1000s of massage therapists in order to create the 4D massage chair which speeds up and slows down at different points during a given automatic program. With this option, you have much more control over the speed and intensity of the rollers.
Here’s a little secret: most, if not all, massage chairs have a button that can be pressed on the remote to speed up or slow down the roller function in play. For example, if you are enjoying a kneading and tapping mode in your chair, press the speed button and the speed of the kneading and tapping increases oftentimes increasing the intensity of the massage. With 4D, the speed changes are built into any given program and allow for much more control of the rollers.
The next big thing to consider is what type of track you would like.
S-Track Massage Chairs follow the curvature of the spine starting from neck all the way down to the bottom of the spine in an S-shaped pattern. S-Track Rollers range in length from 26 inches all the way up to 32” long. The longer rollers will actually be able to massage from your neck all the way down to the top of your glutes. An S-Track is actually what is seen in the majority of high-quality chairs currently available.
Don’t let an S-track roller deter you from certain massage chairs—some of our very best massage chairs (award-winning massage chairs) are S-Tracks. In fact, in Japan, most of the massage chairs are S-Tracks as they don't even trust L-Track Rollers.
As you can see from this diagram, the rollers of an L-Track chair typically begin just below the neck, follow the curvature of the spine and around the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. The rollers of L-Track chairs range in length from 42 inches all the way up to 58 inches in length. The most common L-Track roller length is between 50-53 inches long. The longest roller in the industry is now the Luraco Legend at 58” long.
If you like the idea of getting a deep tissue, therapeutic massage to the glute area then an L-track is definitely for you. The Luraco Legend will actually massage into your hamstrings. Until recently (late last year), it was very rare to find a 3D L-Track massage chair. Now, we have even seen the first 4D L-Track massage with heated rollers in the new Osaki Pro Maestro.
There are many other features available in our massage chairs such as zero gravity, bed position, bluetooth, Space Saver for those with smaller spaces and even extended heat therapy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions as you're making this important decision. We're happy to help you get into the right chair at the right price.
- Joanna Walters