In a Nutshell:
A solid, therapeutic chair with two powerful features you’ll love. The Daiwa Massage Chair is recommended for chronic pain sufferers up to 6’4” in height. This is not a hobbyist chair designed for casual use.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Are you looking for a feature-rich massage chair, packed with therapeutic benefits?
If so, the Daiwa Legacy may have what you’re looking for, but there are a few catches and caveats.
It’s an unquestionably solid design, and it has a number of powerful features that will help you feel better. Having said that, it also has some quirks and limitations you should be aware of.
That matters because this is a high-end model and when you’re thinking about shelling out the kind of money it would take to get one of these in your home, you should know exactly what you’re getting.
We’ll cover every feature this design brings to the table, tell you what its strongest points are, and let you know where it comes up short, so you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision.
We’ll start with the basics, then drill down into the inner workings, leaving no stone unturned.
Daiwa Massage Chair Variants
Daiwa Massage Chair Legacy Features
Hybrid L/S-Track Design & Quad Rollers
This is the heart and soul of any massage chair. The decision about which track and what kind of rollers to build the model around influence virtually every other feature it contains.
In this case, the Legacy gets it right. The Hybrid-Track design gives you a long massage stroke that extends under the seat, to your glutes and the backs of your thighs, which is excellent.
In addition to this, the model also features quad rollers, which closely mimic the feel of human hands, and render an exquisite basic massage experience.
As you will see, Daiwa employs other technologies that build on this, enhancing the core massage experience the chair makes possible.
3D Body Scan
This isn’t quite ubiquitous enough to be called an industry standard, but it’s getting there. Before a massage begins, the Daiwa massage chair 9100 takes a scan of your body and makes small adjustments to the positions of the rollers and the width of the massage field, based on your body shape and type.
If that fails, you’ll also find buttons on the remote that allow you to make manual adjustments. This two-pronged approach guarantees that the rollers will always hit exactly where you need them to.
This is another technology that enhances the core massage experience. By placing you in a position where your knees are elevated slightly above your heart, most of your body’s weight presses down against the rollers, allowing for a deeper, more penetrating massage.
While we’re always glad to see this feature, we were disappointed that the Legacy only offers a single seating position. Since it sells at the top end of the pricing scale, we were expecting two, and possibly three. In our view, this is the first of several missed opportunities.
An Underwhelming Number of Options
This is another missed opportunity, for a couple of different reasons. First, in looking at the massage techniques on offer, we find:
This is all fairly basic. Even many low-end massage chairs offer this configuration of techniques, so there’s nothing remarkable here.
In terms of pre-programmed options, the Legacy offers:
That’s about average, which again, for a chair at this price range, is disappointing.
Even worse, there’s no way to adjust the intensity settings. The chair offers a deep tissue massage, and the only way you can adjust the massage strength is to increase it by removing the extra pads in the seat.
It does allow you to modify the roller speed via the remote, through five different speed settings, but this doesn’t do much to expand the total number of massage combinations possible. We rate this as a very weak feature implementation.
Air Massage Mode
The Daiwa Legacy massage chair has 48 Second Generation Airbags strategically positioned throughout, and is capable of delivering something close to a full body air massage, adjustable through three different intensity levels via the remote.
That’s slightly below average, given the price of the chair. The massage you get is certainly acceptable, but there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it.
As is the case with many other models, you can selectively activate airbags by body region if you don’t want a full-body experience. These regions are defined as follows:
Spot and Partial Modes
This is a nice feature addition, adding tremendous therapeutic value to the design.
The ability to interrupt any massage program and focus the rollers exactly on the areas you’re hurting gives you great flexibility. You can work on those areas as long as you need to, get the relief you’re looking for, then continue with the rest of the massage program.
Spot massage focuses the rollers on an area roughly six-inches in diameter from where you activate the mode. Partial works the same way, but covers approximately one third of your back.
Rocking Rotation Technology
The Rocking feature is uncommon, only found in about 15% of the massage chairs being sold today.
While it is relaxing, there’s no evidence that it provides any therapeutic benefit.
This is one of those things you’re either going to love, and use just about every time you sit in the chair, or you’re not going to like it at all, and it’ll just be a button you never bother pushing.
It’s something worth experimenting with, but don’t be surprised if you give this feature a pass.
Deep Tissue Massage + Manual Adjustment Options
We talked about this in the section on massage techniques and options, but it deserves a second mention here.
Since the Daiwa zero gravity massage chair has only one intensity setting, and since it is incredibly strong, this is not a hobbyist chair. Casual users will simply find it too strong.
It requires a bit of manual adjustment, but if you’re a chronic pain sufferer and want an even more intense massage, the Legacy comes with extra padding in the seats that can be removed. That’s the only (indirect) method of increasing massage strength though, which is a bit of a disappointment, given its price.
This is one of the two most powerful features the chair brings to the table. If you suffer from chronic pain, the one you’ll probably be most drawn to.
Body stretching provides almost immediate pain relief in the same way that a chiropractic adjustment does. It takes pressure off compressed discs in your spine.
The Legacy’s stretch function is quite intense, and depending on your pain level, may be too much for you without a warmup. If that’s the case, start with a regular massage with heat (outlined below) to loosen your back up before using this feature.
Full Track Heat
It’s hard to pick between this and the Body Stretch, identifying one or the other as the stand-out feature of the model. Both are excellent and provide tremendous therapeutic value.
Many chairs on the market today offer heat, but most of the time, it’s just in the lumbar region.
What sets the Legacy apart is that this model provides heat along the entire massage track, from your upper shoulders to the backs of your thighs. That’s tremendous and gives the Legacy one of the most comprehensive heat systems on the market today.
We were surprised to find that most other Daiwa Legacy massage chair reviews don’t call special attention to this fact, so we wanted to highlight it. Even with the model’s other shortcomings, this alone makes it well worth considering.
Calf and Foot Massage
More than half of the Legacy’s airbags are in the leg massage ports, so the calf massage (rendered entirely via airbags) is quite good, but you’ll really enjoy the foot massage.
Most models that offer a roller-based foot massage utilize a simple dual roller system. The Legacy stands out in this category because it uses a combination of airbags for the tops of your feet, tri-rollers in each foot well, and stationary massage pads in addition to that.
The stationary pads are the weakest element here, but the combination is fantastic. If you spend several hours of each day on your feet, this will give you something to look forward to when you get home, and will probably wind up being your favorite feature. A great implementation!
This is a small addition, but a very important one for a specific segment of the market.
Thanks to the inclusion of the extension module on the ottoman, the Legacy will accommodate users up to 6’4” in height.
Taller users have a somewhat more limited selection where massage chairs are concerned, so this is always good to see!
This is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, it’s true that the Legacy’s remote is well organized and designed so that every feature is easy to find. On the other, it’s also true that part of what makes that possible is the fact that this model doesn’t have nearly as many features on tap as other top end models.
We give Daiwa partial credit on this front. It’s clear they put some serious thought into button layout and making the remote easy to use, but we’d love to see a more robust feature set in this design.
Pros & Cons of the Daiwa Massage Chair
So where does that leave us?
If you’ve read other Daiwa massage chair reviews on the ‘net’, you might be surprised at our somewhat negative tone, because most of the other reviews we’ve seen talk about the Daiwa Legacy in glowing terms.
Admittedly, it’s a solid design, and for therapeutic users, it’s got a lot to offer.
Having said that, there are instances where the company missed opportunities and implemented features poorly.
It’s not that we dislike this model, it’s just that we wish they’d done a better job on certain fronts. The following are what we see as the chair’s greatest shortcomings:
Requiring users to physically remove padding from the chair is a crude implementation. Also, giving users some means of getting a milder massage would make it more appealing to a broad cross-section of the market.
Daiwa Massage Chair Legacy Review Conclusion
On the whole, we like this chair, and would recommend it to people who suffer from chronic pain, provided you can live with the limitations we outlined in our review.
Our final verdict is that this model has a lot of unrealized potential. It’s okay as it is, and for a certain subset of users, it’s very good, but it could become truly great with further refinement.
References & Resources
- Daiwa Massage Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Massage can have significant benefit for muscle pain and other ills, studies find, Washington Post.
- Healing With Shiatsu Massage, SheKnows.
- Foot Massage Benefits, AZ Central.