Car seat massage systemsPrint
Back massage while driving
Do you also travel a lot by car? We live in a country where people drive frequently, and this has an impact on our health! Monotonous sitting on a conventional car seat inevitably leads to tension. Not only do your concentration and attention suffer as a result, but back problems can also develop in the long run. In the search for a solution, some motorists use additional functions and retrofitted tools, whose manufacturers all promise miracles. But the majority of these tools are ineffective, and sometimes they even have the opposite effect and pose a risk to safety.
But there are other ways: Integrated massage systems and a massage mat fitted to an existing car seat can help to prevent tension. However, they are not a replacement for an ergonomic car seat and the individual customisation that such a seat can offer you. They literally go on top of the seat.
Millions of affected individuals
Day after day, millions of people use cars to get from point A to point B. Around 40 per cent of all German citizens drive for more than 90 minutes at a time, and nearly 20 per cent rack up more than 20,000 kilometres a year. More than 90 per cent of these frequent drivers complain about back pain. The cervical and lumbar spine regions are most commonly affected.
Promote circulation – prevent tension
Few can avoid driving a car. Yet riding in a car is considered one of the worst forms of sitting according to medical experts. The reason: Since we can hardly change our sitting position while driving, we are pretty much immobile as we sit behind the wheel – poison for our body over the long term.
What can you do to influence a rigid sitting posture while driving?
Massages promote blood circulation in muscles and connective tissue, regulate muscle tension and can ease pain. They also reduce the release of stress hormones and promote the production of feel-good hormones, such as endorphins and oxytocin. Obviously a treatment from a certified massage therapist is not possible whilst driving. However, there are some mechanical options that can do the job. We essentially refer to two different systems that can be used in a car. The systems integrated into the vehicle seat and the massage seat cushions that can be fitted on almost any vehicle seat.
Function and comfort
You basically don’t have to make any compromises on comfort with integrated systems. This may however be the case with cushions. Make sure that the massage cushion is comfy and doesn’t cause you any problems whilst driving. Ideally, a massage mat equipped with air chambers, for example, must be integrated so that the seat comfort is not affected, but rather is improved. This should, among other things, give you lumbar support, which a standard seat does not provide. It is also important that you can adjust the intensity, speed and type of massage to suit you. This is because everyone responds differently to the pressure and intensity of a massage. This can be done using different massage programmes or ones that can be installed subsequently, which ensure you have the variety you want. The latter is equally advantageous with integrated systems.
The active part of a massage cushion, and even in integrated systems, should cover the area of the thoracic and lumbar spine so that the majority of the muscles benefit from the massage. It is desirable for the seat surface to also be included here.
Regardless of the system you end up using, make sure that the systems allow you to experience
- an invigorating back massage,
- have a positive impact on body posture and body awareness and
- do not adversely affect your attention to traffic and safe driving.
These systems improve the general feeling of well-being and the focus of the driver on the road.
What’s important to note with a massage seat cushion: when you don’t want to use it, it shouldn’t feel like it’s out of place. The mat should fit the seat geometry virtually unnoticed.
Operation must comply with the law regardless of the system you prefer to use:
- In the case of systems already integrated into vehicle seats, this ensures that the vehicle has been approved by the Federal Office for Motor Traffic (in the case of Germany).
- For massage cushions, it means that the setting must be performed prior to driving or activated via an app, voice control or similar. This ensures that you are not distracted while driving, and can concentrate on steering the vehicle.
Pleasant sitting climate
It is also advantageous when the massage mat or the vehicle seat consists of breathable materials, as sweating cannot always be avoided during a car journey, even when the interior is air-conditioned. This ensures you have a pleasant seat temperature. Ideally, there would be an integrated temperature function that ensures a pleasant temperature between body and seat.
As already mentioned, in Germany, the Federal Office for Motor Traffic authorises vehicle seats and thereby tests the functionality of the safety systems.
However, a safety test is often not required for accessory parts. Nevertheless, you should observe corresponding advice provided by the manufacturers so that there is no additional risk of injury in the event of a collision. The seat features and any seat protective equipment that is present should not be negatively affected. As an accessory, it should be possible to fit massage mats onto an existing standard driver or passenger seat easily and reliably so as not to slip.
- Only a rested driver can drive safely.
- A regeneration and exercise break is essential for the body and soul after one and half hours of driving, two hours at the very most.
- Massage cushions in a car can help to ease back pain, but should not be considered the only solution. They are not a replacement for regular exercise
- You can find other tips for an exercise break and also for the correct seat setting under ‘Downloads and Links’.