In a Nutshell:
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.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
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 compared to 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, so this one should be considered a casual/hobbyist chair only.
If you’ve read other Real Relax massage chair reviews 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 below so you can judge yourself.
Overview of the Real Relax Shiatsu Massage Chair
First, 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 a welcome addition to the chair.
It undoubtedly improves the massage experience, but the amount of improvement is limited because 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.
The massage you get will be slightly more intense, and the position is relaxing. Both of those are good things, but in this case, the absence of the track and rollers makes the Zero-G seating option not nearly as effective or synergistic as it would otherwise be.
No Options To Speak Of
Because the massage heads are stationary and capable of delivering a Shiatsu-style massage, there isn’t much room to add options.
The Real Relax massage chair touts four pre-programmed massages, but these amount to minor variations of speed and intensity. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to tell much difference between one and the next, so essentially, there are no options.
You turn it on and get a 30-minute Shiatsu massage at fixed points on your back. If the massage heads happen to align with your pressure points, it’ll be a good massage. If they don’t, it’ll be an average massage at best.
Air Massage Mode
However, our Real Relax massage chair review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t give the company well-deserved kudos for its air massage mode.
As limited as the back massage is, the company got this feature right, and the air massage is much better than you might expect from a budget-priced chair.
With thirty First Generation Airbags, it is capable of delivering a quite solid massage experience, and if you’re looking for the cheapest possible way to get a great air massage, then you can stop looking because the Real Relax will get it done for you.
Most people want more out of a massage chair, but if that’s the only feature you care about, this is a solid choice.
Comprehensive Calf & Foot Massage
The calf and foot massage is more comprehensive than you’d expect to find in an entry-level chair, utilizing airbags and rollers for the calves, and additional rollers for the soles of the feet.
That’s great in theory, but the implementation is a little unpolished, and while the result is generally good, a significant percentage of users have complained that it’s too harsh a massage and that they’ve had to manually apply padding to the footwells and leg ports in order to use the feature on a regular basis.
The ottoman comes with an extension module that allows the chair to accommodate users up to 6’3” tall, which is a small but noteworthy plus. Credit should be given where it is due, and while this chair is lacking in other areas, kudos to Real Relax for this addition.
As you might expect on a chair with few features, the remote is easy to use, and the chair is easy to master. There’s no learning curve here. Sit down, lean back, and keep your fingers crossed that you enjoy your massage!
The chair has casters mounted to the bottom. There’s not a lot of clearance, so if you have plush carpet, it might not help much when you go to move it, but if you’re using an area rug, or have hardwood floors, then moving it from one area to another is a snap.
Real Relax Massage Chair Variants
Real Relax Massage Chair Pros & Cons
As you’ve seen in our Real Relax massage chair review, this chair has a couple of standout features, a few instances where they made a good effort, but their implementation was less-than-perfect, and…some genuine head-scratchers.
It’s not a horrible massage chair. If you’re a casual user, and all you want is Zero-G seating and a good air massage, this chair will give you those features at a price you’ll be hard-pressed to match anywhere else.
On the other hand, the lack of an actual massage track (or rollers for that matter), and the absence of other features like MP3 support, multiple massage techniques, advanced controls, and genuinely different massage programs to choose from make it hard to give this chair a solid recommendation for most segments of the market.
Real Relax Massage Chair Review Conclusion
Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for in a massage chair. If, having read this review, you decide you can live with the limitations we’ve outlined, then this would be a decent massage chair that should serve you fairly well.
Our sense, however, is that most people will want more from a massage chair than just two good features, and unfortunately, the Real Relax is unable to provide more.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES