When it comes to massage chairs, the words “zero gravity” are extremely misleading. According to the dictionary zero gravity is “the state or condition in which there is no apparent force of gravity acting on a body, either because the force is locally weak, or because both the body and its surroundings are freely and equally accelerating under the force.”
When you are in a massage chair, you still experience gravity. You may feel like you are floating, but you have not managed to escape the gravitational force of the earth.
Also, you are (thankfully) not in free acceleration when you are in a massage chair. You are simply sitting in a comfortable space.
So what is a zero gravity massage chair? Why do they call them “zero gravity” if you are not actually experiencing zero gravity? Is it actually a good feature to have on a massage chair or is it just a gimmick?
It may not be what you think…
In order to understand what a zero gravity massage chair is, we must look to NASA and the astronauts, where everything started.
When astronauts are in space they experience very little gravity and naturally float because they are in freefall. Scientists noticed that the astronauts tended to float in the same relaxed position- a position with a trunk to thigh angle of 128°.
When massage chair manufacturers talk about zero gravity, they are referring to this position.
So does it actually have any benefits?
The interesting thing about the zero gravity position is that pressure is evened out across the body and the musculoskeletal system is in its most rested state. As a result, there are many health benefits that coincide with it. According to NASA, some of the these health benefits are:
- Correctly aligned vertebrae
- Better breathing
- Better circulation
- Improved digestion
Since this position spreads pressure across the body more evenly, it is fantastic for people who have back pain, especially is the pain is caused by poor posture (nowadays they have massage chairs that actually claim to improve posture. Check it out here). This position manages to take the pressure off of the back, even if it is only temporary.
Since the legs are elevated above the heart, it is also great for improving the circulation. The arteries have lots of smooth muscle that helps push the blood through, but the veins are more passive. This position is great for helping the blood return to the heart from the veins.
With all of the benefits that zero gravity massage chairs have to offer it is no wonder that they are becoming more and more popular. When they first came out, you could expect to pay about $5000 for this feature. Now, it is not unusual to see zero gravity massage chairs for less than $2000.
Even better, many massage chairs offer more than one zero gravity position, so you have options for finding the position that you enjoy the most.
If you are interested in getting a massage chair, be sure to check out my Amazon massage chair guide. This guide shows you some of the best massage chairs Amazon has to offer organized by price. It is extremely helpful for finding a massage chair that is the right fit for you.
In conclusion, the zero gravity feature of massage chairs are becoming more and more popular, but it is often misunderstood. This feature doesn’t actually take away gravity, but rather mimics the body positions of astronauts in orbit. With all of the health benefits that it provides, it is a fantastic feature for a massage chair.
So, do you find the definition of a zero gravity when it refers to a massage chair confusing? Have you ever tried one out? Let me know in the comments section below.