Every time a new, exciting massage chair model hits the market I invariably get asked how it compares to the Inada Sogno, widely considered the iconic chair of the industry. Well, recently I have had a lot of questions about the new Infinity Iyashi and how it compares to the Inada Sogno.
They are both very different chairs. Of course, every chair has similarities, i.e. rollers and airbags, but these two chairs differ quite radically and I’ll go into that in detail in this comparative review. I happen to love both of these chairs – both unique in their own right. Since there is so much to talk about with these two chairs, I have broken this article up into 2 parts.
1. Roller Track – Low Back Massage
Both chairs have quad rollers, which are pretty standard in most chairs nowadays, but the Iyashi has a unique feature – a 49″ roller track. Prior to the Iyashi, 29-31″ roller tracks were the norm (the Sogno has a 28.5″ roller track, FYI). What this extended track allows for is roller massage down into the buttocks as far as the top of the hamstrings. We had never seen a chair with feature before and for those of us who suffer from gluteal, piriformis, and/or sacral pain, this chair has been a revelation. I love having rollers that can extend down into my buttocks and work the pelvic region of my spine.
The Sogno’s shorter track prevents the chair from giving the same kind of pelvic massage that you get with the Iyashi, but for a “regular” roller track the Sogno rollers do go down to the sacrum, which is better than most other chairs. In my opinion, the reason it does that is because the Sogno does not have the zero gravity function. With the 30 degree tilt of the seat in zero gravity, the distance between the low back and the pelvis is longer than it is in a horizontal/non-zero gravity seat…so the rollers can travel further down the pelvis than it could on a zero gravity seat.
Bottom line, the Iyashi roller track goes further than any other chair with or without zero gravity seat tilting. I would have to give the Iyashi the advantage when it comes to lower back/pelvis massage.
2. Neck & Shoulder Massage
Both chairs offer roller massage that extends up to the neck and suboccipital region, with the Sogno also offering airbag massage of the neck thanks to it’s headpiece, also called it’s Cervical Traction Device. I was a little disappointed in the intensity of the neck roller massage of the Iyashi. I love how vigorous the rollers are in the mid and low back, but it left wanting for more depth in the roller massage of the neck.
The Sogno, on the other hand, has a great roller massage in the neck region, the intensity of which can be adjusted from the remote control (I’ll refer more to this feature in the next point). But, the Sogno also has something that no other chair offers, a headpiece with airbags that can massage the neck muscles instead of using the rollers. I liken that airbag massage to someone rubbing your neck with their thumb and forefinger when your head is upright.
The headpiece also has airbags that inflate down onto the top of the shoulders (traps), another feature very unique to the Sogno. For these reasons, I would have to give the Sogno the nod for neck massage.
3. Mechanical Foot Rollers
The Iyashi integrates the latest rage in massage chairs, which is the mechanical foot rollers. Both the Iyashi and Sogno have airbags in the calves and feet, but only the Iyashi has the mechanical foot rollers. The airbags in the Sogno are good, including a hard rubber plate with nobules under the sole of each foot, but it is not at all like foot rollers. They really are pretty cool.
The Iyashi also uses it’s foot airbags to slide your feet across the rollers while they are in motion. It utilizes this same principle with the butt massage too…the thigh airbags push the pelvis across the butt rollers, concurrently.
4. IT Band Massage
I mentioned the thigh airbags of the Iyashi, in point #3, being used to push the hips across the rollers. In the Sogno, the thigh airbags actually inflate to massage the IlioTibial Bands located on the outside of each thigh. If you have ever had low back problems, knee issues, or hip pain, I can almost 100% guarantee that your IT Bands will be tight and you won’t even know it until you sit in the Sogno and have the airbags sequentially massage those muscles. Oh man, it can be sore…but oh, so good!
5. 3D Roller Massage
So far, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the rollers of these two chairs. There is just so much to talk about! The one thing that the Sogno has, that it really pioneered in the industry, is the 3D roller technology. All chairs have rollers that can move side-to-side and up-and-down, but not many chairs have had rollers that can move forward-and-back. This allows the user to increase or decrease the intensity of the roller massage. All chairs have airbag intensity adjustments, but to move the rollers forward and back is a relatively new technology.
The rollers in the Iyashi are fixed, meaning that you cannot move them forward or back. I’m basically saying “what you see is what you get” as far as the roller intensity goes. If the Iyashi roller intensity is too light for you, too bad. If it is too strong, then you can at least use pads or folded towels or throw blankets to damper the intensity until your spine is accustomed to the vigorous massage. With the Sogno, you can adjust it for whatever sensitivity the user may have.
It is a great feature that we are seeing more and more in newer massage chair models.
Well, that’s it for Part 1. In Part 2, I will discuss airbags, bluetooth technology, body styling, warranty, country of origin, and some other cool stuff. Stay tuned!
Dr. Alan Weidner