About a month and a half ago, when I first received the new Inada Flex 3S massage chair in my showroom and after having visited Inada for the Grand Opening of their new headquarters in Boulder, CO, I wrote a preliminary review of that chair on this blog. In that review, I mentioned that the Flex seems to be a blend of features from the Sogno and Inada’s discontinued Doctor’s Choice 3A models.
Well, I recently spent a couple of hours on the chair and reading the owner’s manual to be able to provide you with a more comprehensive review of the chair. Here is Part 1 of that review.
I will begin by saying that after having sat on the chair for as long as I did, I grew to love the massage it provided. Although this chair has an outer appearance that is in the similitude of the Sogno, the massage underneath the surface is quite different than the Dreamwave chair. Different, but fabulous.
It’s strengths, in my humble opinion, are 1.) in the low back and shoulder areas and 2.) it’s stretching function.
The roller track extends down into the sacral area, just like the Sogno, but it spends a lot more time in that area. When I have spinal pain it is usually in that sacral area, so this chair really did me some good working as much as it did in that region of my spine. The sacrum (from where the term “sacral” comes from) is that hard bone at the very bottom of your spine, just above your tailbone. It is a triangular shaped bone that serves as the base of the spinal vertebrae.
I’ll get more in to the low back massage later on in this piece (Part 2), but let’s move on to some of the basic initial observations of the chair:
1. The owner’s manual is very, very easy to read and follow. It is written, and reads, very well. I learned a lot about the chair even before I sat in it for this review and it only took 20 minutes or so to go through the manual. It is written in very clear English (which is a problem for a lot of the Chinese-made chairs, which seem to have a literal and direct English translation from Chinese to English). Inada has also explained more about how the functions work and what they are supposed to do. I wasn’t left wondering if there was more about the chair that wasn’t being explained in a weak owner’s manual. Great owner’s manual.
2. Although the chair has an outer appearance similar to that of the Sogno, the chair is quite a bit smaller than it’s counterpart. It doesn’t take up as much space and leaves a smaller footprint in your room. With that smaller size comes a smaller user height limit of only 6’2″ (compared to 6’5″ for the Sogno).
In the picture to the left, the chairs appear to be similar in size, but the Flex 3S, in this picture, is forward of the Sogno by a couple of feet, thus giving the illusion that it is comparable in size. Truthfully, though, the Flex is quite a bit smaller than the Sogno.
3. The chair is very quiet when running. I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet the airbags were while inflating and deflating. Usually the airbags are the loudest thing in a massage chair. They were surprisingly quiet in the Flex 3S.
4. The chair has an “Auto Upright” button on the remote control that, when pressed after the chair is turned on, will allow the chair to restore to it’s upright position when a program ends. If you shut off the chair before a program ends on it’s own, the chair will not auto restore to the upright position, even if you have “Auto Upright” selected. In that case, you will have to press the “Recline” button to bring the chair upright. If you hold that button for 2 seconds the chair will then restore the chair to the upright position without you having to hold the button down the whole time.
The chair has separate leg rest and chair back recline and incline buttons. Both will auto-restore to upright when the remote button for each segment is held for 2 seconds.
You may ask why the Flex has the option to use the “Auto Upright” button, rather than just automatically restore the chair to upright after every program ends. Well, some folks want to stay reclined in the chair after a program ends so that they can immediately start another program while in that same position. This way they won’t have to “start over”, so to speak, and reset the chair’s position. It really is a clever convenience for the user. If that is what you want, then just don’t turn on the “Auto Upright” button and the chair will stay reclined after the program ends.
Otherwise, just turn on the button once the chair is powered up and the chair will automatically restore to upright when your selected massage program ends.
5. You can adjust the intensity of the rollers and airbags in this chair in two ways. You can either use the separate “INTENSITY” adjustment buttons on the remote control to adjust the intensity of either function, independent of each other. OR, you can use the new “Max Intensity” button which will immediately increase the roller and airbag intensity, simultaneously.
The “Max Intensity” automatically puts both roller intensity and airbag intensity to “High”. Of course, you can still go into the separate “INTENSITY” buttons to adjust either one to “Low” or “Medium”, but the gist of this feature is to give those who want full intensity just that with the push of one button.
6. The chair has a heating element in the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands, including the fingers. I noticed that feature the first time I sat on this chair. It is rather unique. Most chairs have low or middle back heating elements. The only other chair I remember having sole heat was the old Sanyo 7700 model. Inada tells me that this feature was designed to mimic hot stone massage on the feet and hands. It’s different but certainly not a game changer, in my humble opinion.
In Part 2 of this review, I will go into a few more minor features of the chair before going into the quality of the massage and stretch programs in greater depth.
Dr. Alan Weidner
P.S. Give us a “Like” or “+1” and leave me a comment below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so your friends and associates can benefit from this material.