An inexpensive, off-brand massage chair. While the Real Relax Massage Chair has a few features hobbyists might like, most users will probably gravitate to a different model. Recommended for hobbyists, if you don’t mind its limitations.
If you’re looking for a bargain-priced chair, and you absolutely must have one today, the Real Relax Shiatsu massage chair might serve you in a pinch.
As you will see, however, it’s not fair to call this a proper massage chair, as compared with most of the others we review on this site. It lacks some of the most basic features that go into making a serious massage chair, and as such, this one should be considered a casual/hobbyist chair only.
If you’ve read other Real Relax massage chair review online, our tone might strike you as a surprise, since the chair seems to get mostly glowing reviews.
We regard it as an oddity and a curiosity, although since it does get a few things right, there’s probably a relatively narrow segment of the market for whom this chair would work well and be a sound investment.
We’ll get into the details just below so you can judge for yourself.
Overview of the Real Relax Shiatsu Massage Chair
The first thing to understand is that this off-brand chair is made in China and has no real marketing support in the United States. While the chair comes with a three-year warranty, should anything go wrong, you’re going to have a hard time getting work done on it.
That gives it a couple of strikes against it right off the bat, but as you’ll see when we start talking about features, the designers have done a few things that will leave you scratching your head.
No Massage Track (Or Rollers) At All
Here’s the first curious thing. Every massage chair review we’ve done to this point has been on a chair with either an S-Track or a Hybrid L/S Track. The Real Relax chair has no track. It doesn’t even have rollers.
The massage is rendered via eight “zones” in the chair back, which contain stationary Shiatsu massage heads mounted onto a fixed frame. When you activate the chair, the heads begin to move, and you get your massage.
This is problematic on several levels, but the biggest issue is simply this:
Because everyone’s body is shaped differently, the massage heads may or may not hit where you want, or need them to. Because they’re stationary, they cannot be adjusted in any way, so you’re left wiggling around in the seat in an attempt to get them to hit your pressure points.
Clearly, this was done as a cost-saving measure, but massage rollers are such a fundamental component of a massage chair that their absence is jarring, to say the least.
Who knows? If your body shape closely matches the shape of the chair back, and if your pain happens to be centered where the massage heads are located, it might give you a good massage, but that’s a lot of “ifs.” It’s just not something you can count on.
This is a surprise, especially in light of the lack of a massage track. The zero-gravity seating is a solid feature and welcome addition to the chair.
It undoubtedly improves the massage experience, but the amount of improvement is limited because, again, the massage heads are stationary. If the heads aren’t hitting the right spots on your back when reclining normally, then Zero-G isn’t going to change that.