In a Nutshell:
The Bodyfriend Phantom 2 massage chair is a superb piece of design and engineering—packed with therapeutic options.
Recommended for anybody weighing 265 pounds or less who has a therapeutic need, IF you can afford it.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Are you tired of just living with your aching back? Have you had enough of having to schedule regular chiropractic appointments and shelling out money month after month in a quest to find relief?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then that’s what has likely prompted your quest to find the “right” massage chair for you. The Bodyfriend Phantom 2 may well be that chair, but there are a couple of caveats to get out of the way right off the bat.
First, the company behind the product. Bodyfriend hasn’t been in the game as long as some of the other industry players, but they have quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
Their design teams are top-notch, and their chairs are full-featured and sport cutting-edge technology.
This is a great company, and if you get one of their chairs, you can be confident that they’ll provide plenty of post-sales support if you need it.
Second, there’s the matter of price. And we might as well just pull the Band-Aid off at the very beginning.
This is an expensive massage chair.
No, it’s not the most expensive on the market, but it’s not cheap either, and the hefty price tag is going to put it out of the reach of many people who can really benefit from it.
That said, it is packed with hard-hitting therapeutic features, and we’ll talk about all of them and everything else this model brings to the table in the sections below.
If your interest is piqued, read on, and let’s take a closer look.
An Overview Of The Bodyfriend Massage Chair Phantom 2
While most people don’t buy a massage chair for the looks, first impressions matter, and aesthetics are naturally a part of that.
Although the designers of this model didn’t stray outside the lines much when it came to the overall design, they did manage to create a fairly attractive massage chair in the Phantom 2. And that’s no easy feat, given that these types of chairs don’t have a reputation for being head-turning.
It looks futuristic—more like a command chair you’d find on the bridge of a starship than in your living room. But it does have a cool, subdued aesthetic, which is enhanced, in our view, by the two color options the company makes available.
If you decide you’ve got to have one of these, you can order yours in either white or silver. The white variant sports white vinyl upholstery, while the silver variant features cream-colored vinyl upholstery, and both have brassy accents. It’s a good, compelling look.
That’s a good thing because this is a beast of a chair, measuring 61” L x 33.5” W x 47.2” H when sitting upright and 78.7” L x 33.5” w x 39” H when fully reclined.
The Phantom 2 also weighs 335 pounds, so you’re almost certainly going to need some help getting it where you want it to go, and if you ever need to move it, you’ll need help with that too (and probably a nice massage when you’re done!).
All that to say, this chair is going to stand out in whatever room you place it in. It’s going to be noticed. That’s not a bad thing, but owing to its impressive size, it may be hard to find a home for it if you live in a smaller home or apartment.
Not necessarily a deal-breaker but definitely something to keep in mind.
The upshot is that the chair was designed with “Zero Wall” technology, which means that as it reclines, it pivots on its base. With recliners built sans this kind of technology, you typically need one and a half to two feet of clearance between the back of the chair and whatever wall you place it near.
Here, you need all of four inches, and that’s fantastic.
One area of genuine disappointment for us is the fact that the Bodyfriend Phantom massage chair only supports users weighing up to 265 pounds.
Naturally, this won’t matter in the slightest if you weigh less than that, but if you happen to weigh more, the chair’s relatively modest weight limit will prove to be an absolute deal-breaker. So we definitely wanted to mention it here, so you could factor it into the equation.
Oh, and before we leave this section, we should briefly mention the Bodyfriend Marvel variant of this chair. The company has licensed the use of Iron Man and Captain America, and they’ve created a couple of chairs that are styled after those two superheroes.
They had initially offered a variant of the Phantom 2 with “Marvel styling”, but at the time this review was written, that page was returning a 404 error.
If you absolutely have to have a Marvel-themed massage chair, though, you can take a look at the Bodyfriend Hugchair, which comes in both an Iron Man and a Captain America variant.
The Bodyfriend Phantom 2 Sports Industry-Standard Tech, Plus…
For the most part, the Phantom massage chair uses industry-standard tech, but in a couple of particular areas, which we’ll outline a bit later in this review, it offers bleeding-edge technology you’ll be hard-pressed to find in any other chair. Let’s talk about the basics first.
The company describes the massage track that the rollers travel on as an “SL” design. The “S” really isn’t needed here because the L-track covers the “S” part as well, but we’ll chalk that up to a language difference.
The point, though, is that the track is long. It allows the rollers to start massaging at your neck, travel down the full length of your back, and then under the chair, where it allows the rollers to massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs.
That, combined with additional rollers (and airbags) in the leg massage ports, gives you a head-to-toe massage that feels absolutely amazing.
The rollers on this model are quad, which is also the current industry standard, and quad rollers do an admirable job of replicating the feel of human hands. In addition to that, this chair sports body sensing technology, so when you sit down to order a massage, it will scan your body quickly to automatically determine where the rollers need to be.
In practice, the technology gets it right almost every time, but if you run into a situation where the rollers just aren’t hitting where you want or need them to, you’ll find manual adjustment options on your remote, so you can tweak as needed.
We like this. If you live by yourself, you may not notice how convenient this is, but if you live in a busy household and several people in your family wind up using the chair, the presence of the body scan tech will make it very convenient.
You’ll almost never have to worry about the position of the rollers. The chair simply takes care of that for you, adjusting automatically to the body shape and size of each new person who sits in the chair. Without the tech, you’ll have to fiddle with it every time you want a massage, which isn’t the end of the world, but which will certainly get old quickly.
4D Massage Rollers
Earlier, we mentioned that Bodyfriend incorporates a couple of bleeding-edge tech features into the design of the Bodyfriend Phantom 2. This is the first example, but to understand why this matters, we need to provide a little background.
When you’re shopping for a massage chair, you’ll see some models listed as 2D, other models listed as 3D, and a growing number listed as 4D. But what does that mean, exactly?
Well, a 2D massage chair has a track that allows the rollers to move along two dimensions only—X- and Y-.
The rollers can move up and down or left and right, and that’s all.
In a 3D massage chair, the rollers can do everything a 2D model can do, but they can also move “in and out” on the Z-Axis, which means that they can press more firmly into your back, giving you a deeper massage.
If someone tries to sell you a “2D Deep Tissue Massage Chair,” don’t fall for it. Without Z-axis motion, the massage you get from that chair isn’t going to be as deep as you’d like.
The industry hasn’t quite settled on a standard definition for 4D yet, so you’ll find different companies using it in different ways. For some companies, it’s little more than a marketing gimmick, but for others, like Bodyfriend, they really mean that the rollers offer a new and different experience.
The Phantom 2 features “smart” quad rollers that can change their configuration from 3D to 2D, depending on what your needs are and the part of your back that’s getting massaged.
So, for example, if you need the finesse that quad rollers provide, you can have that, but if you need raw power to really grind into those sore muscles and take your deep tissue massage to the next level, these rollers can do that too.
They do that by putting the chair into what the company calls “XD Mode”. XD mode cannot be used with any of the pre-programmed massage routines.
It’s only for manual mode massages, and when you need a maximum concentration of power, two of the rollers will retract, allowing the motors to put more power behind those that remain.
Even better, XD mode offers five different levels of intensity, which means that on the highest setting, the deep tissue massage you get here is going to blow the doors off of the deep tissue massage offered by almost any other chair on the market today.
In fact, it might prove to be too intense for some users. Definitely experiment with it to see which setting works for you, but if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and a good deep tissue massage helps, then this is going to be one of the features you like best, and we think it’s a fantastic use of the 4D designation.
The company has really offered up something new and unique here.
We’ll count this as the first therapeutic feature the chair offers, and, as you will see, there are many more to talk about!
The Phantom 2 Massage Chair Has Tons Of Pre-Programmed Massages, But…
This is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of our Bodyfriend Phantom 2 review. On balance, though, we like what we see here.
First, the one disappointment we have about this section relates to the number of massage options on offer.
Specifically, there are fewer than we’d like to see on a chair this expensive. This chair doesn’t offer any more in the way of techniques than models costing one-fifth the price, which is a missed opportunity in our book. In any case, here are the techniques you’ll find on this chair:
As mentioned, this is all pretty standard, with the only technique that stands out being Acupressure, which serves as the Phantom 2’s advanced technique.
On the sales page of the Phantom 2 and the other chairs that offer this technique, they refer to it as “Open Palm Shiatsu”. We don’t think that’s a 100% accurate description, though. Yes, the two techniques are similar, but Acupressure is its own “thing”, and it’s something that not many other chairs on the market offer.
So, in our view, Bodyfriend is selling themselves short by not highlighting it more!
While the chair may be a little lacking in terms of overall techniques, Bodyfriend almost over-delivers on pre-programmed massage options, which we love. Here’s what you’ll find on offer on that front:
Sixteen auto-programs is impressive, but there’s actually even more than that. We’ll get to the others in just a moment, but first, there’s quite a lot to talk about here, just with the options we’ve mentioned so far.
First and foremost, the chair comes with a body stretch. This is functionally similar to the chiropractic adjustment you get when you go to the chiropractor’s office, and it’s exceptional.
We still like Kahuna’s body stretching routine better, but Bodyfriend is no slouch on this front, and its presence in the auto-program lineup adds a second powerful therapeutic feature to the design.
In addition to that, note that there are two different routines that focus on your body’s lymphatic system. We’d count those two together as a third therapeutic benefit, with the digestive massage counting as a fourth therapeutic feature on offer. As good as that is, we’re still not done talking about all the therapeutic features the Phantom 2 has.
At this point in the review, you may be scratching your head because you’ve probably seen that the sales material for the Phantom 2 talks about 24 auto programs, and we’ve only listed sixteen above, so where are the remaining eight?
Well, remember when we mentioned bleeding-edge tech features? The other eight are in a separate grouping of pre-programmed massage techniques designed to help recharge your brain. They’re literally called “Brain Massages” in the user manual. Here’s how it works:
To render these “Brain Massages”, the company pairs the roller action to what they call “binaural beat music”. It supposedly relaxes you but also helps to improve and increase your brain activity.
While we have no doubt that the company poured a ton of time and money researching this new feature, we’re not completely sold on it. There’s just not enough data for our liking to suggest that these massages do what the company says they do.
Even so, these massages are all excellent additions to the pre-programmed options the chair brings to the table, and you’ll find them very relaxing, even if they don’t supercharge your brain. Here are the eight “Brain Massages” on offer:
And there are your 24 different massage options.
What’s cool about this is that these are the same options the company offers on their flagship model, the mighty Pharaoh II, so you get the same capabilities for less money, which is awesome.
Even better, though, you can adjust any of the massage options listed above via the remote, choosing from six different intensity settings, and the chair features a “spot massage mode” that allows you to interrupt any massage routine to move the rollers to a specific spot on your back or thighs that needs extra attention to loosen up those knots.
Combine that with XD mode and you’ve got all kinds of options available to you where this chair is concerned. We love it (even if we wish it offered more in the way of techniques), and we think you will too.
Well Implemented Heat Too!
By itself, massage is great.
It feels amazing, but if you want to take it to the next level, add heat. That’s exactly what this chair does.
There are two heating elements low in the seatback that the heat radiates out from. While your lower back gets most of the attention, you’ll definitely feel it up through your midback and possibly slightly beyond, depending on your specific build and body type.
Even better, Bodyfriend has taken the step of offering multiple heat levels. While you can’t dial in an exact temperature, you can choose from low, medium, or high heat, just like you can on most heating pads, which is awesome and something that not many heated massage chairs offer.
This is a very well-implemented feature that serves to make the massage you get from this chair even better, and heat adds yet another therapeutic benefit (we’re up to five now!) to the design.
A Very Good Airbag Massage
We like this feature, but it’s not one of the chair’s best. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it; it’s just that the roller-based massage is the reason you’ll wind up picking this model over some other. The air massage is solid but unremarkable.
Nonetheless, there are times when you just want to be hugged by a big mass of cotton balls, and that’s kind of what the air massage feels like. If you just want to sit back and relax, listening to your favorite music while enjoying a gentle massage (or not so gentle—you can adjust the air massage via five levels of intensity), then this is the feature you want.
Even better, if you don’t want to activate all of the airbags, you don’t have to. The remote has controls that allow you to selectively activate airbags by the following body regions:
And Zero-G Seating
About a third of the massage chairs on the market offer at least one Zero-G seating option, and almost all of the high-end models do, so we weren’t surprised at all to see this feature make an appearance here.
What we do find a bit disappointing, though, is the fact that there aren’t multiple Zero-G seating options available. Given the price of the chair, we were hoping and expecting to see more than one.
Even so, this isn’t a deal-breaker in our book, and we’re happy to see it on the list of features.
Even better, you can use Zero-G mode to squeeze out even more intensity from your deep tissue massage if it’s still not enough for you, even on XD mode at the highest intensity level.
Just put the chair into Zero-G position, then fire up the massage and set the intensity to max, and add heat too, if you’re feeling up to it. Again, this might be too intense for some. But if the main reason you’re interested in a massage chair is to gain access to an on-demand deep tissue massage, this feature will help take it to an even higher level.
The Calf and Foot Massage Is Mind-Blowing
In our book, this is the signature feature of the chair, and if you have sore feet at the end of each day, you’re probably going to agree.
Most companies take a two-step approach to the calf and foot massage: airbags on your calves and rollers for the soles of your feet. It’s a good approach. It feels nice.
This chair does it way better. You get both airbags and rollers for your calves and airbags and rollers for your feet.
Even better, you can adjust the intensity of each via three levels of intensity.
Honestly, it’s going to blow your mind and send you to foot massage nirvana. The only way to make it better would be to put heat in the footwells, at which point you may just order takeout and never leave the chair again.
It’s that good. It’s amazing. It’s our favorite feature, and we can’t say enough good things about it!
Don’t Forget Extras!
Of course, a high-end chair like this isn’t going to leave you hanging without any extras and finishing touches. Here, you’ll find two: Bluetooth speakers, which allow you to wirelessly sync your phone with the speakers and enjoy your favorite music, listen to an audiobook or catch up on your podcasts while getting a massage.
And then there’s the massage timer, which allows you to set almost any massage to either 10, 20, or 30 minutes in duration. We say “almost any massage” because curiously, the “Rest Mode” (one of the auto-programs) is hardcoded to be 30 minutes long, and it can’t be changed. Everything else can, though!
Pros & Cons of Phantom 2
This review has been almost entirely about the strong points of the Phantom 2. That’s because it really doesn’t have any serious weaknesses.
The two design flaws that might be truly deal-breaking are the modest 265-pound supported weight limit and the hefty price tag.
We regard everything else—only one Zero-G seating position, not as many techniques as we like to see, no memory slots, which will allow you to save your preferred massage settings for one-touch recall later—as being relatively minor complaints in the greater scheme of things.
It’s an amazing chair as long as you don’t exceed the maximum supported weight limit and you can afford it.
Bodyfriend Phantom 2 Review Conclusion
This is a superb massage chair, by any definition. It’s absolutely loaded with therapeutic features, and if you’re a chronic pain sufferer, this one belongs on your shortlist of options to consider. We absolutely recommend it.
Other Options To Consider
So if you’ve read to this point and you’re not completely convinced that the Phantom 2 is a good fit, here are a couple of other options that are well worth a closer look:
This one is highly similar to the chair we just reviewed but with a couple of subtle differences. Plus, it’s always worth checking to see if the company has one of these two models on sale and picking up whichever one offers you the better price!
No conversation about therapeutic massage chairs would be complete without at least giving the Luraco i7 a mention. While this model is a bit long in the tooth, it’s still one of the very best therapeutic chairs available at any price and is another one we absolutely recommend.
Reference & Resources
- Bodyfriend Phantom 2 Massage Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Bodyfriend Phantom 2 Massage Chair User Manual
- Effects of Low Back Massage on Perceived Birth Pain and Satisfaction, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- Acupressure: A Safe Alternative Therapy, Spine Universe.
- Massage Benefits for Leg Pain in a Nutshell, The Urban Guide.