Massage Chair Industry Update – 12/19/22

December 23, 2022
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
December 23, 2022
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – 12/19/22

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly massage chair industry update for Monday, December 19th. This is the week of Christmas, and I know a lot of people are trying to get chairs before the 25th. And 25th is a Sunday, 24th is Christmas Eve. There will be deliveries all the way up until Friday. However, if you don’t live in Southern California or gee, I guess, Southern California, where many of the distributors have their warehouses, is where we can go and get the chairs for you quickly and you can still have them by the end of this week. But if you are anywhere else around the country, unless, of course, you come to one of our showrooms and we have a floor model for sale, you can come to our store and we can deliver that chair to you within the next day or so.


So, anyways, it is a little late for … Well, not a little late, it’s a lot late, if you’re ordering a chair to have it shipped to you, it will not get there by Friday. And I can pretty much guarantee that from any massage chair or distributor, regardless of whether we carry them or not, getting a chair to you in five days or four days is going to be very, very difficult. But there are still hope to get a chair by Christmas. If you want it, you can go to, like I say, one of our showrooms if you live local to our showrooms. That would be Utah, Southern California, the Bay Area, and Arizona. And we do have floor models for sale that you can pick up and we can have delivered within a couple of days. Or if you live in Southern California and you want a new chair, either the Daiwa chair, Human Touch chair, Ogawa, JPMedics, those distributors are all in Southern California. We can get those chairs for you pretty quick as long as they’re in stock.


Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. It’s a big time of the year for massage chairs. Like I say, it’s down to the last minutes and so … But regardless, there will still be stock after the 25th. January is typically a busy month for massage chairs as well, and there’s usually good stock coming back in to replenish the end-of-the-year holiday rush. So anyways, be aware of that. We still have some sales going on that for the most part, go to the end of December. Osaki, Titan, have some sales. Infiniti has some sales. They’re good deals, good pricing on chairs that are already reasonably priced points. So, those are still available.


Right now, with Furniture for Life, they have a free five-year extended warranty on almost every chair they carry with a few exceptions, mostly because there are back-ordered. But they have a free five-year extended warranty. And then on the 23rd, the promotion for Furniture for Life will be 48 months financing. But I want to talk a little bit about that because that’s 48 months financing on the list price of the chair. Now, one of the questions I get in this business is people will want to get a big discount on a chair, and then they’ll want 48 months financing. And we can’t do both. We can give you discounts on chairs. As a matter of fact, we have in-store discounts all the time. But we cannot give you a significant discount and give you high terms for financing.


I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but financing, if it’s 0% interest financing, someone’s paying something, right? Nothing is for free. There’s no offer that is free for anyone. It’s going to cost somebody something. And with financing, for example, if you want 4 to 8 months financing, the typical rate for 48 months financing is 14.87%. So, we pay that. That’s the processing fee. So, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but when you buy something on a credit card or you buy something on financing, the credit card company or the financing company charges the merchant that processing fee. So, for credit cards, it could be anywhere from 2.5 up to 4%, depending on the type of card you have, the type of perks you have with your card. But the vendor or the retailer, us, we pay for that. It comes out of the price that we charge for the chair.


Some companies, now you will see they’ll start to charge you a surcharge of three and a half percent if you pay with a credit card. That is not something we do. We eat that in the overall price of the chair. However, when it comes to financing, we primarily offer 12-month financing on any chair we sell at any price we sell it at because the financing rate for 12 months is around 3 to 3 and a half percent. So, that’s like a credit card fee. So, if we’re willing to eat that on a credit card, we’ll eat that on the 12-month financing. But when you get up to 48 months and you’re looking at almost 15%, on some of our tiers, that’s almost all of our profit margin. So, we cannot give you a good discount on a chair and give you high terms of financing, because we would lose profit on both ends, right? Because we’d lose the profit on the discount and we would lose profit on the financing.


And that, in some cases, would bring us down to below our cost on a price of a chair. And of course, you can’t do that if you want to stay in business. Unless of course, you’re the government, then you can do that. But I just want you to know that I get asked this all the time, “Hey, can you give me a discount and give me 48 months financing?” Someone might say, “Well, they’re giving 48 months financing over there. Can you match that?” Well, we can’t because I know that that company is not discounting their chair. You can’t have both. You have one or the other. You have a high financing term at 0%, like 48 months or 36 months, or you get a good discount on the chair. You cannot have the best of both worlds. And I hate to say it, but that’s kind of how it works. And that is why you will find pushback from a company if you say, “Well, I want a better discount, but I also want 48 months financing.”


Or some will offer even 36 months. It’s going to be very difficult to offer you that kind of deal. Just so you know, in your search for a chair and the search for best deal. I also wanted to say that CES is coming up. That’s the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s in Las Vegas. I will not be attending that this year because of the family issues that we’ve had to deal with over the last couple of months, which I’ve alluded to in my previous updates. We’re going to be staying home and then just grieving and going through the mourning process. However, one of my staff from the California showroom will be to the CES, and I have asked him to let me know about new models, new brands, anything like that. And when we get that information, I will share that with you on an update, or on a blog post, or on my weekly newsletter.


By the way, if you want to get my weekly newsletter where I send out all the latest updates on sales and chair models and discontinued models and whatnot, just go on our website and scroll down to the bottom of the home page, and you’ll see a place here where you can sign up for my free report, 11 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Massage Chair. But whether you want that or not, if you download that then you’ll get on our weekly massage chair newsletter. And then also furniture markets at the end of January, I will be going to that. That’s the end of January, beginning of February. That’s also in Las Vegas and at a different venue. But I like going there because I get to visit with my distributors also and get the chit-chat, and the gossip, and the behind-the-scenes chatter that’s going on in the massage industry. And I really enjoy that. And I will share with you, probably, most likely, a video of that experience, of that visit.


And any information that is new and that you’ll need to know about, I will let you know for from either of those events. And they’re big events. The Consumer Electronics Show is a huge event. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s not just for furniture or for massage chairs. It’s all electronic, technological things. And man, there’s a lot. I go for usually one and a half days when I go in, and that’s just to visit my distributors. I cannot imagine going through the entire CES. I’m exhausted after a day and a half. Of course, I’m an older geezer, but I just don’t have the energy to go for the whole week and visit vendors and check out what’s new. It’s exhausting. So, I just go for my industry. But it’s a big event. The Furniture Market is a different event. That’s mostly … Well, that’s all just furniture and things related to furniture. And so, I like to go there to see what’s going on from my vendors as well. Some of my vendors will go to the Furniture Market, but don’t go to CES.


So, anyways, I will keep you posted on both of them with anything that we find out that’s new and exciting or things that you should be aware of. As you know, the Kai GTS9 is on backorder till like April, and they’re not even taking new orders on it right now. And I don’t know what the holdups are with logistics or with manufacturing, I’m not sure. But that’s just the GTS9. The GTS7 is available and there is stock. We’re selling off all of our GTS9s. We have one left in our Southern California store. So, if you want the GTS9, we’re selling it, of course, at a discounted good price to get it off our floor. We’ll be replacing it with the GTS7, which is like I say, a chair that has better stock availability and is essentially the same chair, except it doesn’t have the sonic waves coming out of the foot. Oh, that reminds me, I made a mistake on my last update, and a customer caught me on that, and I appreciated that.


I said that the difference between the GTS7 and GTS9 is that the GTS9 has the sonic wave emissions coming from the calf rollers. It’s the foot rollers. I messed up on that. It is the foot rollers, not the calf rollers. So, anyways, needless to say, we will have the GTS7 on our floor in all of our stores. And if you want the GTS9, call our Southern California store, or go there and go get it because we’re selling it for … I can’t remember what the price is, but my manager there can let you know. And lastly, I wanted to talk a little bit about stretches. There are different types of stretches. Every massage chair has a stretch program of some sort. And the typical stretch, well, there is no typical stretch anymore. The stretches used to be, back in the days when it was just Panasonic and Sanyo around, you would get what we call segmental stretches. So, there would be a stretch of the neck, a stretch of the back, and then a stretch of the hips.


And it would be a full-body stretch, but it would be broken up into these segments. And most of the Japanese-designed and engineered chairs like Panasonic, and Sanyo, and the Synca JP1100, those chairs are all designed and engineered in Japan, and they have that style of stretch. Well, then along came Human Touch, many years ago, I think it was … Like when I first got in the business back in … I had my first massage chair in 02/03, and then started this business in 05, and they had an extension stretch, which means the chair … And I want to be able to show this understandably. But if you have the chair seat and a chair back, and it’s reclined like this, and you can recline the chair back all the way, you see that the chair goes to a horizontal position.


Well, while that’s happening on that, on that original Human Touch chair, the airbags and the calves would grab your calves and pull your legs down. The ottoman would drop down and it would really … That was what we would call an extension stretch. Well, then along came shoulder airbags. So, now, when you’re when your body is horizontal and the chair is doing this to you, and the calf and foot airbags are grabbing you. Back then the Human Touch chairs just had calf airbags. Actually, they weren’t even airbags, they were paddles. But now they’re airbags for most chairs. And while the airbags are grabbing your feet and calves and dropping down with the ottoman, the shoulders are pushing you back against your shoulders, or from the side holding your shoulders in, to traction your upper body. So, before, when the legs dropped down, before the shoulder airbags were around, it kind of pulled your body a little bit down the chair. Now, the airbags in the shoulders pin you down, and the airbags in the calves and the feet grab you and pull down, and the ottoman drops. And that gives you what we call a full body extension stretch. And it’s fantastic.


Like the Infinity IT-8500, the 8500 X3, the smart chair X3, those chairs have the best stretches of any chair that we ever worked with. They’re fantastic. Well, then along comes the L track chair. And as you may or may not know, the L track chair (I’m going to show this) it has the chair back and the seat, but they are one unit. They are fixed. It’s an L track. It’s a fixed L. So, when you recline the chair back, the seat comes up too so you’re always maintaining that 120-degree angle. Well, you can’t go flat, so you can’t get the full-body extension stretch. So, what happens is that the whole chair tilts, and then the airbags in the calves and the feet grab your legs and pull down. And the shoulder airbags also pin you, but it doesn’t really pull your whole body. It just pulls your hips. So, we call that a hip distraction stretch.


So, the S tracks, the chairs where the rollers were just in the back and they work independent of the seat, that’s an S track chair. Those would give you the best stretches, but you would not geta roller massage on your butt like the L tracks too. But the L tracks, you couldn’t flatten them out for the full body extension stretch. So, there was a trade-off between a full body extension stretch or getting your butt massaged by the rollers. Well, along come the split track chairs like the Diawa Supreme hybrid, the Infinity Circadian Syner-D, and the Luraco i9 Max. These chairs have split tracks, so you’ve got two separate tracks, one for the back and one for the butt, and they work independently of each other. So, the idea is that they can flatten out like the original S track chairs did from Human Touch, and now you get a full body stretch and you get your butt massage. So, that’s the best of both worlds.


So, that is kind of how the evolution of stretching has come to pass in the massage industry. Well, of course originally there was no stretch. The first massage chair was like 1959, and it was a chair with a roller built in that went up and down your back. That was it. It was designed by a Japanese sewing machine parts salesman. And his daughter had terrible headaches and he said, “Oh, I’m going to get something to work on my daughter’s head and neck.” So, he took a chair, a regular chair, and put rollers on the back that kind of stayed around here and just worked on her neck. Well, that was the birth in Japan of the massage chair. Well, then you’ve got the Japanese design and engineered chairs that have that segmental stretch. And by the way, an example of a segmental stretch (and I told you about that in the beginning) is that the airbags in the seat would push the body up, and then the rollers would come underneath the base of your skull and tilt you back and then hold you, and then the airbags would drop in the seat and it would pull your neck, so it kind of felt like your neck was getting pulled.


It’s a great stretch. I think Panasonic and … Well, Sanyo has been eaten up by Panasonic. So, Panasonic and the Synca JP1100, they have that type of stretch still. And it’s a good stretch. I like that stretch. The JP, the Panasonic NAJ7 had it. The MAK1, I haven’t tried out, but I haven’t heard that the stretch is any different. But they have the segmental stretches and it’s very, very nice. But it’s very different from that full-body extension stretch I was telling you about. So, you’ve got the segmental stretch, you’ve got the full body extension stretch, you’ve got the hip distraction stretch of the L tracks, and now you’ve got the best of both worlds with an L track that can also do the full body extension stretch. That has probably confused the crap out of you. And I apologize if I’ve done that. I didn’t mean to, but that is essentially what the stretch programs are.


So, when someone says “This chair has a stretch program,” make sure you know what they’re talking about. A stretch is not like a hamstring stretch like you do at the gym or bending over stretch like this. It’s not like that. It’s a spinal stretch. And there are different types and different ways of going about doing the stretches. So, I hope that makes sense to you. Feel free to reach out to me any time if you have any questions, or call us on our toll-free number at 888-259-5380, and I’ll be happy to explain it even more or confuse you even more, as the case may be. But that’s it for this week’s Massage Chair Industry Update. I hope you found it helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel, and help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this or any of our other videos with your friends and family through your various and sundry social media platforms. A safe, happy Holiday and New Year. And I’m Dr. Alan Weidner, from, and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye.

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