Under the microscope: ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle
The seats actively keep the passengers fit
The numerous world firsts in the S-Class include the ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle.
Combining warmth with a massage leads to wellbeing and active relaxation – especially on long journeys.
In addition there are programmes to mobilise and activate the torso (abdominal and back muscles).
Thomas Geisel, who is responsible for S-Class seat development at Mercedes-Benz: “The car seat has by no means reached the end of its development.”
Massage on the hot-stone principle is a widespread tradition found on every continent, and has been developed further in recent years to enhance relaxation and wellbeing.
With this technique, the spine is covered with stones heated to up to 55 degrees C and massaged. In 2007 developers at Mercedes-Benz began to consider how this technique might be applied to car seat functions.
Daimler employee Dr. Gudrun Schönherr, a physiotherapist and psychologist, explains: “Sitting in a car in a position imposing sternocostal stresses (i.e. with the back arched) often leads to tension in the neck/shoulder area, a constrained chest cavity and therefore less freedom to breathe.”
The innovative solution arrived at by the seat specialists and Dr. Schönherr is the pneumatic 14-cell massage mat, which is based on the massage function already available previously.
Each air chamber can be individually inflated, which allows considerably more scope when configuring the massage programmes.
The four cells in the middle act in combination with a fast-action seat heating function.
In the Hot Relaxing Massage Back and Hot Relaxing Massage Shoulder programmes of the ENERGIZING massage function, a defined amount of heat is applied.
How the hot-stone principle is applied
Following a pre-massage, heat is centrally and locally applied along the entire spine from the coccyx to the neck vertebrae.
The centre chambers are fully inflated with air. Thanks to this pressure the warmth from the seat heating Plus function is perceived very intensively — feeling similar to successively laid-down, heated stones on the hot-stone principle.
While the heat and pressure of the “hot stones” are taking effect, the back, pelvis and shoulder areas are massaged and mobilised.
To this end a row of five air chambers is arranged to the left and right of the central cells. Each chamber can be separately actuated.
The occupants of the four seats in the new S-Class available with the ENERGIZING massage function have an individual choice of six programmes.
These differ in their massage sequence (the sequence in which the cells are inflated), speed and therefore effect.
There is also a choice of “weak” or “strong” intensity settings for each programme. Depending on the actuation mode the massage takes the form of double waves, strokes and percussion, based on kneading movements, pressure point massage and classic massage holds.
Two of the six programmes also offer the addition of heat on the hot-stone principle. The programmes of the ENERGIZING massage function have a duration of 12 to 15 minutes.
The six programmes of the ENERGIZING massage function:
1) Hot Relaxing Massage Back
2) Hot Relaxing Massage Shoulder
3) Activating Massage
4) Classic Massage
5) Mobilizing Massage
6) Active Workout
Depending on the programme, the warmth, massage and mobilisation of the spine relieve the shoulder/neck muscles and vertebral discs of stress, manipulating the spine in the chest and lumbar areas.
Tests with volunteers have shown that there is a particularly active workout in programme 6 thanks to activation of the torso muscles.
One challenge during the realisation of the ENERGIZING massage function was to develop the pneumatic system, whose pump must not only be powerful for the available installation space, but also quiet and very durable.
Individual inflation and deflation of the 14 air chambers is controlled by solenoid valves.
Like the lumbar support, multicontour and dynamic functions of the seat, the ENERGIZING massage function is controlled via COMAND Online.
A function key in the centre console gives direct access to the control menu for the seat functions.
The Mercedes-Benz active multicontour seat (multicontour, massage function and dynamic adaptation) has the EGR seal of approval.