Those that know me know that I have a constant pain condition – namely, that I whine constantly whenever I’m in pain. My back is the most common culprit. I’ve pulled a back muscle many times (once while on vacation with Ted) and had a couple bouts of sciatica. I recently decided to try to eliminate my back pain with a zero-gravity chair after trying one at my mother-in-law’s.
For those that don’t know, a zero-gravity chair is a chair that lets you recline so far as to extend your legs above your spine, allowing spinal decompression and relaxation of the back muscles. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of non-surgical spinal decompression in clinical trials, but the health effects of relaxation are well-documented. Anecdotally, I always felt better after using my mother-in-law’s chair. Health benefits aside, I figured at the very least I would get a comfortable chair. After reviewing higher-end chairs like the Human Touch Perfect Chair and the Human Touch 7450, as well as budget chairs like the Faulkner Executive Recliner, I settled on the Inner Balance Wellness zg550, which I found at AppliancesConnection for $799 with free shipping.
After purchase, it took about 1 week to arrive. It shipped in a huge box weighing around 100 pounds. Part of the chair had punctured the box during shipping and the plastic cover had broken: Despite the damage, I accepted the shipment. As it turns out, this part of the chair is covered by a cushion once the chair is assembled, so I just taped it up so that the metal wouldn’t puncture the leather sheath of the cushion. Assembly was straightforward and took around 1 hour, with most of that being unboxing. Here is the assembled chair: Here is the side view with the chair fully upright: and fully reclined: and here’s a close-up of the controls:
The chair is very comfortable, both in the zero-gravity position and upright. Although the chair has a button to alternate between the two, I find the zero-gravity setting to be a little too far back and typically use the manual recline until I’m almost there. The motor is sometimes a little slow to recline and sit up, but it’s a minor annoyance and probably a safety feature. My dogs have plenty of time to move if they’re under the chair. The build quality is very good. The chair’s wood base and steel frame feel solid, and the leather cushion and removable head pillow are soft and comfy. The one feature that is a little disappointing is the vibrating massage. There is no controllability – if you press the massage button, it runs a standard program which pulses the motors up and down your body in a preset pattern. With all the motors already in place, it would be have been so simple for Inner Balance Wellness to add a controller to customize motor strength and perhaps give a choice of several different patterns. Despite this, the massage is soothing and the preset pattern is a good one. It just would have been nice to change it up a little every once in a while. At $799, this is one of the cheaper chairs and I had my doubts given the relatively unknown manufacturer. But overall, I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with the purchase. My wife and I have already gotten a lot of use out of it, and the dogs like it too. Now all I need is one of these and I’ll be able to compute in comfort.