Massage Chair L Track or S Track? — Your Choices Explained

by Mary Lou | Last Updated: June 12, 2016 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

If you’ve started shopping around for a massage chair, you’ve come across these terms for sure. And like everybody else, you’re probably scratching your head asking what the hell is a massage chair L track or S track?

It doesn’t help when your sources don’t explain too well (if at all), or worse, don’t know themselves. So, we wrote this little post to give you the skinny on what an L track is and how it’s different to an S track.

What is a track?

First things, first, let’s talk about tracks.

A massage chair is built with tracks inside as part of its mechanism. This is where the rollers that do the massage work are mounted.

massage chair roller track

A long time ago, massage chairs had straight roller tracks. This made for very uncomfortable massages. As you can imagine, this setup meant that the rollers didn’t quite reach the neck and the lower back (because they curve in) while the midback got a harder pounding (because it curves out).

S-track roller technology nowadays follows the curvature of the body for a balanced and improved massage experience.

What is an S-track?

massage chair s track

The S in S-track stands for “sinusoidal” or a wave in mathematical terms. (1) It is a reference to the wavy curvature of the human body. (2)

Most massage chairs nowadays have the S-track roller system. The track follows the curve of the body and the spine as they travel up and down a person’s back. The track moves forward in the neck portion, retracts in the middle back and tailbone region, and moves forward again for the lower back. On average, the typical S-track measures 28-31 inches in length.

What is an L-track?

The L-track is a recent innovation in massage chair technology. Massage chair expert Dr. Alan Weidner thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. (3) (To be specific, he said it’s the greatest advancement in massage chair technology in the last 10 years!)

infinity iyashi

Ironically, reading reviews or doing massage chair research might lead you to the wrong assumption that S-tracks and L-tracks are two completely different things. In reality, an L-track is simply a track that extends for longer. If the S-track stops at the lower back, the L-track continues on to a person’s hamstrings. Progressing in the shape of the letter “L”, the rollers get to work on the glutes, the piriformis, and the hamstrings.

With that understanding, we can see that in the case of the S and L tracks, it’s not a matter of getting either one. Whether you get a chair with an L-track system or not, you’re guaranteed to get an S-track roller system anyways.

See the actual tracks on a stripped down massage chair in the good doctor’s video.

S-Track vs. L-Track - The Massage Chair Dictionary

So which is better? S-track or L-track?

The L-track is an excellent option for people who can benefit from an added massage of the glutes and hamstrings. This includes those who are suffering from lower back pain, piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac pain, or even simply just tight buttock muscles or hamstrings. For people who are suffering from conditions and pain that can be alleviated by a massage chair with an L Track, it’s a no-brainer.

lower back pain

Otherwise, massage chairs with S-tracks can still be worth pride of place in your home. This is because of added features that may not be available in your L-track massage chair of choice. In addition, there are other variables in the mix like price, availability in your area, warranty coverage, brand names, feedback on customer support reliability and so on…

To cite an excellent example of an awesome massage chair with an S-track is the Osaki OS-4000T. It comes from Osaki, one of the best brands for massage chairs, has quality design and assembly, and has a reputation for durability. It also has premium features including a zero gravity system, 30-inch roller strokes, and an amazing 48 airbags cushioning your whole body.

In the final analysis, it’s important to consider all of these factors and then make your decision based on your resources and why you need a massage chair in the first place. By taking everything into consideration and understanding your priorities, you should be able to choose between getting a massage chair with the S-track roller system or a massage chair with the L-track roller system.

Happy massage chair shopping, everyone! If you’re still needing tips and advice on what massage chair to buy, check out our Top 10 list!


  1. Sinusoidal Signal; Science Direct
  2. Calculating the Curvature Shape Characteristics of the Human Body from 3D Scanner Data; Ioannis Douros; University of London
  3. Dr. Alan Weidner

Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.