Foot and Calf Therapy in Massage Chairs
Most massage chairs, nowadays, have some type of a foot and calf massaging mechanism within their feature set. Some chairs might just have the calf massage, but many of them have some sort of lower extremity massage function. These calf and foot massaging mechanisms are often called an ottoman.
Several types of Ottomans in Massage Chairs
Some ottomans are designed to have the foot and calf massaging mechanism all-in-one and completely attached as one solid unit, like the Human Touch Actouch HT-9500 massage chair and the Omega Aires, but others have the foot detached from the calf massager, thus facilitating the power of a taller person to stretch out their legs by flattening out the foot portion of the ottoman, rendering it parallel to the massager for the calf. An example of this sort of foot and calf massager will be the Panasonic 30007. The down side with this type of usage of the foot massager is that the foot massager eventually ends up massaging the sides of the ankles of the user.
Inada has found a happy medium by engineering an “accordion-like” attachment between the foot and the calf massagers, allowing a taller person to simply extend their longer legs with the foot massager staying perpendicular to the calf massager.
The vast majority of the foot and calf massagers use airbags to create the massaging effect. Each manufacturer has its proprietary setup of the airbags to provide their own unique feel, however the basic gist of every massager for foot and calf is that the airbags compress the calves and feet in one form or another. Some compression happens all at once, while some inflate in a sequence mode so that it feels as though the airbags are “rolling” up and down the legs.
A very small number of massage chairs actually claim to have rollers in the feet bottoms. So, the feet end up getting the same sort of therapy that the trunk does with the standard back rollers. I really believe the Elite Optima and one of the King Kong chairs have the foot rollers as well as the airbags. Human Touch claims that their HT-9500 robotic massage chair has “paddles” in the ottoman that induce a very unique feel when you use that chair. That chair, for me and in line with the many, many chairs I’ve sat in, gets the best foot and calf massager of any of the massage chairs we’ve seen. deweyshouse.com This can be a wonderful experience for the feet.
Inada recently came out with a new model, the Inada Yume, which adds a fascinating twist to the complete ottoman massage field. They have added what they call Thera-Elliptical-Kneading, wherein the sides of the calf massage wells actually move up and down in an elliptical motion to really massage the calf muscles along with the airbag compression massage. It is very interesting and feels phenomenal.
A Drawback of the Foot and Calf Feature in Massage Chairs
Massage chair foot and calf massagers will be the biggest reason that massage chairs don’t look like regular recliners. It is kinda hard to hide a big foot and calf massager! Some companies have certainly tried to hide the “ugly” ottomans. For instance, Human Touch has created a retractable ottoman on the brand new Acutouch HT-9500. They have also created a rotating ottoman on models like the HT-7120 and HT-7450 in order that these calf-only massagers can rotate underneath thus hiding the calf wells from view.
It may take some getting used to if you are not accustomed to having a mechanical foot and calf massage, but once you have used it a few times you’ll get used to it and thoroughly benefit from the therapeutic benefit of this feature in massage chairs.