In a Nutshell:
The Inner Balance Wellness Ji Massage Chair is better than we expected it to be, with surprising therapeutic value. Recommended for anyone on a budget, looking for a chair to address therapeutic needs, provided that you weigh 285 pounds or less.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Are you on a budget? Do you suffer from chronic pain that sees you paying regular visits to your local chiropractor?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you might be on the hunt for a reasonably priced massage chair that has genuine therapeutic value. If that describes your situation, you’re going to be intrigued by what you read in this, our Inner Balance Ji massage chair review.
Haven’t heard of Inner Balance? We’d be surprised if you had. The brand doesn’t have a huge presence in the massage chair market. But its pedigree is interesting because its parent company, Johnson Health Tech, is well known in the home gym equipment space.
The parent company’s extensive body of experience in the exercise market gives them a great deal of knowledge about human musculature, which has allowed them to design and build surprisingly effective chairs that have a lot of therapeutic value.
We’ll be the first to admit that the Ji isn’t going to be for everyone but for the right user, it offers an incredible amount of value.
Are you the type of user this chair was built for? In the sections that follow, we’ll explore exactly that question, so you’ll have all the information you need to decide for yourself. Intrigued? If so, read on, and let’s take a closer look.
Overview of Inner Balance Wellness Ji Zero Wall Heated L Track Massage Chair
First impressions matter, and while tastes and preferences vary, we’re not huge fans of the overall look of this chair. It kinda reminds us of a brown (or black) deviled egg with the filling scooped out to give you a place to sit.
Also, this chair makes no attempt to hide its true function. The presence of the leg massage ports on the front marks it unmistakably as a massage chair.
It would probably be going too far to say it’s outright ugly, but unless you’ve got your living room decorated with a Star Trek theme, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Most people who are considering buying a massage chair are much more interested in what it can do than how it looks. But if aesthetics are important to you and you’re looking for a chair that will at least make some effort to blend into your existing décor scheme, the Inner Balance Ji massage chair isn’t the model you want.
Assuming you don’t have an issue with the overall look of the thing, the next thing to draw your attention to is the dimensions of the Ji. The chair measures 57” L x 31.5” W x 46” H, and it weighs 198.5 pounds.
While it’s a fairly big piece of furniture, it’s also lightly built. If you’ve done even a modest amount of massage chair research, you’ve probably run across models that weigh upwards of three hundred pounds, with a few weighing even more than that.
Despite the fact that it is relatively lightweight, it can support up to 297 pounds of user weight.
Note that Inner Balance lists the recommended maximum weight as 285 pounds. According to the user manual, though, the chair can support a little more than that.
One final point to mention before we leave this section is the fact that the Ji is designed with “wall hugging” technology built in, but its implementation isn’t as good here as you’ll find on other models.
Even so, chairs without this design feature often require 18” or more of space between the seatback and whatever wall you plan on placing it near. Here, you’ll only need 6” of clearance, which makes finding a permanent home for the chair a bit easier.
Featuring an L-Track Design With 2D Quad Rollers
This will be a short but fairly important component of our Inner Balance Ji massage chair review. The Ji sports an impressive 50” massage track (L-Track) that starts at your neck and shoulders and runs down and under the seat, which allows the quad rollers to massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs.
The length of the track is fantastic given the surprisingly modest price of this model, but note that this is a 2D massage chair rather than a 3D model. That means that the rollers only move on the X- and Y-axis.
There is no Z-axis motion, so this chair cannot render a true deep tissue massage.
Even so, quad rollers deliver an excellent massage experience, and this chair has a secret weapon that improves massage quality further, which we’ll talk about in just a moment.
Body Scanning Tech & Manual Adjustments Via The Remote
This will be another pretty short section of our review, but it’s an important one. Most smaller brands with a limited market presence really struggle with body scanning technology.
That’s significant because when a chair gets the body scan wrong, the rollers wind up in the wrong positions. And the quality of the massage the chair delivers is dramatically reduced because the rollers simply aren’t hitting your pressure points the way they should be.
Here, the parent company’s background in exercise equipment serves Inner Balance well. This company has outstanding body scanning tech that almost always gets the rollers exactly where they need to be.
Even better, in those rare instances where the rollers aren’t in exactly the right positions, you’ll find controls on the handheld remote that allow you to tweak them. This virtually guarantees that you’ll get the best massage this chair is capable of delivering every time you use it. Bravo, and kudos to Inner Balance for that!
Only Basic Massage Options On Offer
Unfortunately, we find this aspect of the Ji to be a little underwhelming. The chair only offers a few basic massage techniques. These include:
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that selection, but it does represent the lowest common denominator in the massage chair world. Literally, every proper massage chair on the market today offers at least that much, and a few offer more.
Given the relatively modest price of this one, we weren’t expecting much, but it would have been nice if at least one additional advanced technique (Swedish, perhaps) had been included.
On the other hand, Inner Balance Wellness makes the most of those options, offering six different auto programs, called:
Most of the pre-programmed massage routines are pretty standard fare, similar to the pre-programmed routines offered in most of the chairs on the market today.
The body stretch is the real standout here and represents the first of this model’s therapeutic features.
While the stretch function isn’t best in class (Kahuna massage chairs do it better), the stretch offered here is quite good, and it does an admirable job of replicating a chiropractic adjustment.
Only about a quarter of the chairs on the market today feature a body stretch, so this is an incredibly high-value addition.
On top of the techniques and the pre-programmed options, you can customize your massage experience by selecting from five different speed and intensity settings that define the action of the rollers.
Additionally, while the default massage duration is 15 minutes, this chair does offer a massage timer that allows you to decrease this to as little as fifteen minutes or increase it to a maximum of 30 minutes. Each time you press the button on the remote, it will add or subtract five minutes from the total massage time.
One thing notably absent from this design is the fact that there are no means available to direct the rollers to specific regions of your body. You either get a full body massage or you don’t.
Most other models allow you to set, say, lower back, neck, and shoulders, and a few other options if you don’t want a full body massage. You can’t do that here. Other Inner Balance Ji massage chair reviews you may have read tend to make a big deal about this, but we honestly don’t regard it as a deal-breaker. Even so, it is a limitation to be aware of.
One pleasant surprise in Ji’s design is the presence of three different Zero-G seating options. Although few prospective buyers would gravitate to this model on the basis of this feature, we love it, and it definitely enhances the design.
Zero-G counts as a therapeutic feature because it fosters improved circulation and promotes faster healing if you’ve recently had surgery of any kind. On top of that, it feels amazing.
About half of the massage chairs on the market today offer Zero-G seating, but most of the chairs that do only make a single seating position available.
The fact that the Ji massage chair offers three different options is a testament to the care that the design team took. It’s clear that they really wanted to make something that focused on therapeutic value. Kudos to Inner Balance for an exceptional implementation.
One final thing to draw your attention to before we leave this section is that although the chair cannot deliver a deep tissue massage (it doesn’t have a 3D track), you can approximate that experience with this chair.
Simply place yourself in one of the Zero-G seating positions before your massage begins, which uses your body weight to press you more firmly into the seatback, allowing the rollers to press more firmly into your back.
A Decent Air Massage
This will be a relatively short component of our Inner Balance Ji massage chair review. The chair has a total of 22 airbags. It can render a decent but not exceptional air massage that you can customize via the remote through five different intensity levels.
The air massage feels good and is quite relaxing, but by itself, it’s not something that will prompt anyone to pick the Ji over any other massage chair capable of delivering an air massage. We’ll rate this as a strictly average feature implementation.
While we regard the air massage as an uninspiring feature implementation, the heat function on the Ji zero wall heated L track massage chair is absolutely glorious.
Only about a third of the massage chairs on the market today offer heat and most of those only offer lumbar heat. The Ji takes things a huge step further by also incorporating heat into the leg massage ports.
We’ll have more to say about the calf and foot massage in just a moment. For now, though, we’ll simply say that heat represents another therapeutic feature offered by the Ji and is one of this model’s strongest selling points.
The only thing that would make it better would be if the company offered some means of precise temperature control, but only a handful of chairs on the market today do that, so its absence isn’t something we can really count against this design.
The bottom line, though, is that the massage you get from this chair feels good. When you add heat, though, it feels amazing.
An Excellent Calf & Foot Massage
In our view, this is the main selling point of the Inner Balance Ji. The calf massage is rendered by airbags, while rollers render the foot massage. That’s a fairly common feature implementation, but what really elevates this implementation is the addition of heat in the footwells.
If you have a job that sees you spending several hours a day on your feet, this will probably wind up being your favorite aspect of Ji’s design. It’s exceptional.
No Extras and Finishing Touches Offered
The Ji makes a relatively poor hobbyist chair because casual users and hobbyists tend to appreciate chairs that have finishing touches like ionized air, chromotherapy lights, USB ports, and built-in speakers.
This chair has exactly none of that. In our view, the design isn’t hurt in the least by their absence. (Note – the manual does reference speakers; there are none to be found on the chair).
The closest thing you’ll find to an “extra” here is the fact that there’s a control panel on the inside arm of the chair with a few basic chair controls in case your remote isn’t within easy reach.
Pros & Cons of Ji Zero Wall Heated L Track Massage Chair
In our view, the single biggest downside of this design is that there aren’t many massage options available. Yes, it has the basics covered, but we would love to have seen at least one more advanced technique for a chair specifically designed to meet therapeutic needs.
We don’t really regard the lack of 3D capability as negative because the 3 Zero-G settings help to counteract that somewhat, but opinions will vary on that point.
The single best feature, in our view, is the calf and foot massage, owing to the heated footwells. But more broadly, it’s important to remember that although this chair is fairly inexpensive as massage chairs go, it sports three therapeutic features – a trio of Zero-G seating options, body stretching, and heat both in the lumbar region and the footwells.
That’s nothing short of amazing.
Inner Balance Ji Conclusion
While we’re not absolutely in love with the Ji, we readily acknowledge that it’s a rock-solid design offered by a company you’ve probably never heard of.
There’s not enough here for us to recommend it to casual or hobbyist users, but if you suffer from chronic pain and have a therapeutic need, the Ji has a lot going for it and is very impressive. We recommend it for those users.
Other Options To Consider
If the Ji isn’t a good fit for you, here are a couple of other options to consider:
This is the bigger brother and slightly more expensive upgraded version of the chair we just talked about. It has more of everything we liked about the Ji and is an even better value for those with therapeutic needs.
We recommend the mighty 6800 all the time because it is, in our view, the best value on the massage chair market today. It’s got a wonderful mix of features and enough finishing touches to please hobbyist and casual users too. Combine that with the fact that Kahuna chairs offer the best body stretch in the industry, and it’s hard to say no to this one!
References & Resources:
- Inner Balance Wellness Ji Massage Chair User Manual.
- Massage’s Multiple Ways to Increase Energy, Institute for Integrative Healthcare.
- Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment: What Was That Pop?, Spine Universe.
- Top 10 Benefits of Stretching, American Council on Exercise.