I have to admit that when I come across a massage chair that’s relatively inexpensive I immediately question the quality of the product, as any device that is as complicated as one of these you would expect to set you back a little. That doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable massage chairs – there are – it’s just that I’m a little skeptical about them. For a massage chair to be effective it has to target different areas of your body and it has to allow you the option of taking over the controls when you want to focus on a particular area of the body. For me, these are the minimum requirements of a massage chair that’s actually worth purchasing.
Having already discussed my skepticism towards affordable massage chairs, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I was a little leery when I came across the iJOY® Active 2.0 Massage Chair. The manufacturer of this chair claims that it has some of the same features that you’ll find in chairs that cost more than $1000. When I read this I immediately thought it was a bold claim but I tried to keep an open mind, and it turns out it’s actually not bad for the money. This chair will only cost you about $400, which makes it one of the most affordable fully-functioning massage chairs on the market.
The whole idea of a massage chair is to help you remove the aches and pains from your body and remove the stress from a hectic work week. In order to make that transition simpler the iJOY® Active 2.0 comes with a handy built-in remote for controlling all of the chair’s main functions. It’s also got a custom pocket for storing the remote when it’s not in use, which ensures it’s always right there where you left it for the next time.
Three Different Auto Programs
This chair also includes three different auto programs that allow you to focus on different parts of the body and apply different techniques when needed. Each auto program lasts for about 15 minutes, which is okay, but I prefer the option to keep my massage going for at least 30 minutes – a common standard in more expensive chairs. With this chair, if you want to achieve the same level of relaxation you’ll have to start up again after your 15 minutes expires. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re fully relaxed after a decent start to your massage it can be a little disruptive to have to reach for that remote and get things going again, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Another feature that may be a little off-putting for some people is the fact that this chair does not include an automatic recline feature. The chair is fully reclinable, but it’s a manual feature that you have to control yourself. This may not be a major concern for people looking to find a great product at an affordable price, but it’s certainly a little disappointing at the very least.
A feature of this chair that I did find encouraging is the inclusion of automatic width adjustment – after all, human beings come in all shapes and sizes so you need this type of feature if the chair’s going to truly target your problem areas. It’s a feature that I was surprised to find in such an affordable model and it was definitely a welcome surprise.
The Human Touch
This isn’t a chair that uses simple vibration to massage your body; it actually has built-in rollers that work just underneath the surface, simulating the feel of human hands massaging your body. This is a technology that the manufacturer calls the human touch, and by most accounts it’s quite successful at accomplishing its purpose. You can choose between kneading settings, rolling settings, percussion settings, and compression settings. These are all techniques used by professional massage therapists, so in theory you should be able to get quite an effective massage while sitting in this chair.
Where’s the Heat?
A feature that’s quite common in more expensive massage chairs is the ability to turn on the heat. As you probably already know, heat is often used to relax the body and make it more pliant. It’s one of the features that I really look for in a massage chair, so I was disappointed to find out that this chair doesn’t have this at all. I understand that at this price point you’re going to face some compromises, but this is one area that’s a bit of a deal breaker for me, although it may not be for others.
Where’s the Vibration?
While vibration may not be an actual technique used by professional massage therapists, it’s a common feature in most massage chairs and so I was very surprised to find that this chair doesn’t offer that type of feature. The massage chair we currently have in our basement may be getting a little older, but it does have this most basic of features and I’ve always been a big fan of how good that vibration makes the body feel.
Not Bad If You’re on a Tight Budget
In spite of the shortcomings which we’ve outlined above I still think this chair is a pretty good bargain for the price. I like the fact that it includes the human touch technology that simulates the actions of a real massage therapist. I was also particularly impressed by the fact that it includes a width adjustment that acknowledges that we all have different body types. The fact that it’s missing a vibration feature is a little disappointing, but it’s probably not the end of the world.