Let’s Talk About Tracks
If you’ve done any amount of massage chair shopping, you’ve likely encountered the words S-Track and L-Track. Sometimes, even if you’ve been researching chairs, telling the difference between them can be really challenging. Here, we’ll talk about what sets each track apart and how they’re designed to serve your massage needs.
What is a Roller Track?
A massage chair has a long roller track that extends from the head down to the lower back and, in some models, the glutes and hamstrings. The track is similar to a train track because it guides the rollers up and down the back like train wheels like over the ground.
When you’re getting a massage from a chair, it’s these roller that do most of the work, particularly on your back. The rollers glide along the track and based on its shape they can work different areas.
This is where the S vs. L-Track comes into play. Additionally, there are 2D, 3D, and 4D tracks. If you’re looking for more information about them, you can click here.
Nowadays, the most common track is the S-Track. It’s named after the shape of the human spine, since when you look at it from the side it looks like the letter S. The S-Track rollers move up and down your back and won’t lose contact because they follow the natural curvature of your spine.
It moves more forward at your neck and lower back and comes back a bit at the middle back and tailbone. This technology allows for the most comfortable, most effective massage.
Spines aren’t straight lines, so you don’t want the track to be a straight line. It would be extremely uncomfortable if the rollers just went up and down and didn’t take the human shape into account.
As developments in massage chairs continued to improve, the S-Track saw an addition known as the L-Track. The L-Track was showcased a few years back and demonstrated the ability to travel down the spine in addition to under the seat to reach the glutes and hamstrings. That chair was an Inada, the first manufacturer to have an L-Track prototype.
Inada took time to perfect their chair, and as a result Infinite Therapeutics, or Infinity, introduced it’s Iyashi model, which became the first commercially available massage chair with an L-Track.
More and more models have come out since then, and the Max Track found in the new Dreamwave M8 Series has branched out from that original L-Track design and made it even better. This advancement has been one of the biggest in massage chair history and allows for a much more comprehensive massage experience.
S-Track vs. L-Track
When you’re comparing models, think of it this way. The L-Track is nothing an extension of the S-Track that addresses the seat and top of the hamstrings. It’s still one continuous roller track that mimics the shape of your spine.
The rollers work the glutes, piriformis, and hamstrings just as vigorously as the neck, mid back, and lower back where previously these areas were attended to by airbags.
If you suffer from tight or sore glutes, or if you have piriformis syndrome or sciatica, you might find the L-Track to be an amazing feature.
Something to keep in mind when you’re looking at chairs that most people don’t realize, is that when you’re purchasing an L-Track chair you will still receive the benefits of an S-Track chair. After all, the L-Track is just an extension on the S-Track.
You choice will come down to whether or not you want to pay the extra cost for the extended track or if you are comfortable with the S-Track that stops at the lower back. We hope this helps make your massage chair purchase easier. If you have other questions be sure to check out the Massage Chair Buying Guide.