I’m lying there, vibrating and arching my back because I’m being poked in it too hard. A man that I don’t know is taking my picture. Yet I still don’t regret what I’m doing.
See, before I came to CES 2019, all the writers at TechRadar met to decide what kind of stuff we were going to be checking out.
I grabbed the world’s first flexible phone (awesome and terrible in equal measure) and headphones that make swimming easier. I saw another level of virtual reality, but I also had a secret mission.
While I was using my Hyperice Vyper vibrating roller (which I love) after a long run before I took a flight to Vegas, I lazily wished I could have someone – or something – to do it for me.
Then I remembered that CES is filled with massage chairs, and I felt that the time was right for someone to step up and properly test out as many as he could find.
The important thing when signing up for critical missions like this is that you have to have a hook for it – so I decided that I needed to check out the recovery aspects of these very expensive chairs.
That’s how I ended up ‘testing’ the Super Nova from Human Touch, a $10,000 chair that was I was lying in only to see how well it helped me recover from my stressful 4.5 mile easy run this morning.
As I lay there, taking in the ‘sports massage’ mode, having my butt rubbed by robot hands, I was overcome with a sense of recovery, a feeling that I was definitely an athlete doing the best for his body.
It’s hard to not feel elite when you’re relaxing along to the soothing sounds of thunderstorms from the high-end Altec Lansing speakers in the headrest, or while your arms are being gently pressed and your circulation stimulated – because blood is important for running.
(It also crushed my Garmin watch into my arm a little and set off the GPS mode. This chair was so advanced it knew to prep me for my next run by removing the energy it would take me press another button before I worked out again).
Watch my feet, watch my feet
The feet are also important for my favored form of exercise, and the small motors caressing my tired tootsies with a little bit of heat made me more willing to go for a long, strenuous run the next day. Definitely.
I won’t lie: the neck and back massage was a little on the painful side as it arched my back upwards in front of around 10 people who had gathered to watch a top-level sportsman clearly getting a recovery massage and in no way just having a lovely rub down on an expensive chair while pretending he was doing it for work.
The ironic thing: it didn’t leave my legs feeling any more rejuvenated, as the calf rubbing wasn’t all that strong – my Hyperice roller is, annoyingly, far better at the job.
So even if I did feel the need to spend this much money on a chair, it wouldn’t actually be the best thing to help me recover.
Despite doing this just to get free massages despite my valiant efforts to help find my readers the next wave of wellness tech to help runners and other extreme athletes recover quicker, I didn't quite get the recovery I needed.
I did feel a lot more bouncy and free after the run though, my aches and pains dissipated by the ease with which I was able to change the music I was listening to… or the actual massage, possibly, I don’t know.
Oh, and I definitely didn’t forget to try the fact that the Super Nova chair is Alexa-enabled, so you don’t even need to press anything to start the massage or change the music… nope, definitely tried that out and didn’t spend the whole time getting a lovely, relaxing robo-rub. Nope. Not at all.
Stay tuned to see if I can plunder the halls of this Las Vegas convention, finding the perfect massage chair that you should buy if you run maybe once or twice a year. We all need to recover, after all…
- Gareth Beavis is TechRadar's Running Man of Tech, testing the latest in fitness technology in a never-ending quest to run further and faster and bringing you the results in this column.
- If you want to say hi, he's @superbeav on Twitter
- You can see his stumblings on Strava
- And for more data, follow him on Smashrun
- And if you want to get the full lowdown on the latest and greatest running tech, read the rest of the Running Man of Tech story here