When I left my Nursing career to pursue my business, I thought I would finally set myself free from the hazards of that profession. I mean, you can’t be on your feet for at least 12 hours a day without putting a strain on your back, feet and calves.
To cut the long story short, I decided to work from home because sitting in front of the computer all day sounded like a good idea. But boy was I wrong.
Soon, the back pain I was so familiar with came back. I suffered muscle aches specifically on my lower back and buttocks. Worse, everyone in my family is too busy to give me even a quick back rub.
In desperation, I tried looking for the best massage chairs that cover the entire back–including the buttocks. One of the massage chairs I discovered was the Brookstone Renew Zero Gravity Massage Chair. This in-depth review is my attempt to explore everything it has to offer, warts and all.
Who is it for?
This Brookstone zero gravity chair came from a reputable company that is 50 years in the making. In my book, Brookstone is a tried and tested brand known for its high-quality products. This can be attested by my previous reviews of the best foot massagers and foot spa machines, where Brookstone products emerged as the cream of the crop.
As its name suggests, this Brookstone massage chair has a zero gravity recline feature, named after the position that astronauts take during liftoff on space missions. In layman’s term, zero gravity is best described as a recline position wherein the legs are higher than the heart.
Apart from improving circulation, this position also lifts the pressure off the spine and distributes the weight over the entire body. It also means stronger, deeper massage for your back. If you’re looking for a zero gravity massage chair, the Brookstone Renew could be the right one.
Although it’s not as intense as other chairs that offer 3D massage, the Brookstone Renew Massage Chair still works deep into your back. It has also earned praises from consumers who love how it massages the buttocks. In fact, it’s one of only a few chairs that offer glute massage.
If you prefer a gentler massage from the same manufacturer, you might want to give Brookstone Renew 2 Massage Chair a try. Another alternative worth trying and which also massages the buttocks is the Inada Sogno.
On the other hand, people who may need to consult their doctors first before considering this chair include expectant mothers, those who had recent surgery, and people with diabetes, pacemaker, spinal disorders, osteoporosis and high risk of blood clots, among others.
*8 auto-massage programs, each of which uses a combination of different massage techniques to release tension in different areas of the body.
Choose from Full Body, which works from head to toe; Stress Relief, a program focusing on neck, shoulders and feet; Back Relief, which applies kneading massage and stretching on the lower back; Renew, designed to boost circulation through rolling and tapping; Stretch, which mainly uses the air cells to stretch the muscles; All Air, a program that activates all 42 air cells to boost circulation; Soothe, which is a combination of different massage techniques; and Sleep, intended to help you relax and sleep easier.
*Quick Session button which you can select if you want instant full body massage experience in 5 minutes.
*Custom massage options which you can adjust in terms of speed, roller width, intensity, and body zone. Choose from different massage techniques that include Shiatsu, Kneading, Tapping, Rolling and Kneading with Tapping.
*Zero gravity recline elevates the legs over your heart to improve circulation, increase the intensity of the massage, remove the pressure off your spine and distribute weight evenly throughout your body. Reclining angle is from 98 to 145 degrees. (Also Read: Zero Gravity Massage Chair: What It Is, And What It Is Not)
*Automatic detection system that scans the body and identifies specific pressure points, all for the purpose of delivering customized massage.
*Full length L-track massage provides deep relaxation from the base of the neck all the way down to your glutes/buttocks.
*Dynamic Squeeze™ which is basically a combination of 42 air cells or air bags that inflate/deflate to improve circulation on your back, seat, palms, arms, and feet. Intensity is adjustable and you can also choose whether to focus on a specific area or apply air massage on a combination of different body parts.
*Optional heat on the lower back area designed to relieve muscle tension and boost circulation.
*Timer button allows you to add up to 15 minutes to the default time in case you prefer a longer massage. Custom massage programs have 15-minute default while auto-massage programs usually last for 15 or 20 minutes.
*Removable cushion on the backrest and seat helps you adjust the intensity of the massage. You can either remove it for a stronger massage or insert it if you feel the massage is too intense.
*Remote control has clear LCD display and intuitive buttons.
Product Dimensions: Upright – 68”L x 31.5”W x 41”H, Reclined -55”L x 31.5”W x 49”H | Chair Weight: 218 pounds (net weight) | Recommended maximum user weight: approximately 275 pounds.
⊕Comes with a 2-year limited product warranty plus optional 2- to 3-year extended warranty for an additional cost.
⊕The L-track massage is the best feature this massage chair has to offer. It has one of the most effective and intense glut (buttocks) massages, which you can enhance by removing the seat cushion and using the lumbar heat feature. Great for those suffering pain on their buttocks or people who spend most of the day sitting in front of their computers.
⊕The back massage from the shoulder blades down to the hips are equally amazing.
⊕Although it can be a tight fit for those with broad shoulders, people who are 6’0″ tall or above can enjoy sitting in this chair by adjusting the height of the foot section.
⊗The design and overall look are a bit underwhelming compared to other similar massage chairs.
⊗There’s no button/option in the remote that lets you adjust the intensity of the back and hip massage. The only way to do it is by removing/inserting the cushion layer from the backrest or the seat.
⊗Not ideal for those who are shorter than 5’3.”
⊗The remote control is difficult to use in a dark room because it doesn’t have a backlit screen. This is self-defeating since most users prefer to use massage chairs in dimly lit rooms with a relaxing music played in the background.
⊗The airbags and chair movements throughout the massage create a noise that can be annoying during the night when most people are already sleeping.
⊗The massage rollers on the feet are a bit too vigorous, only made worse by air bags designed to push the feet further against the rollers. It can be uncomfortable, especially for ladies with smaller feet sizes.
The Bottom Line.
Overall, this Brookstone Zero Gravity Chair provides one of the best back and glut massages, but somehow forgets to focus on the user experience. The noise, the vigorous foot massage and the remote control with no backlight are some of the weak spots the manufacturer might consider working on.
Nonetheless, the Renew massage chair is commendable on its own, serving as a reminder that the quality of massage is what separates good chairs from the bad at the end of the day.