Massage Chair Industry Update – 4/27/2023

May 1, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
May 1, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – 4/27/2023

Good morning. I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief. And today is our bi-weekly massage chair industry update for Thursday, April 27th, 2023. Thank you so much for joining me today. As I mentioned, I believe on the last industry update, I had a visit scheduled to Infinity Massage Chairs, and my wife and I flew out to Boston and visited with Michael Malone and Michael Garceau and Jim Coppens and Ian Patterson, and many of the people who are associated with the business that we deal with relatively regularly. And I just really appreciate the kindness that they expressed to us and showed us in hosting us that Thursday, two weeks ago.


Anyways, while we were there, of course, we talked shop for most of the day, but we also did a video. And Michael Malone, who’s the VP of Sales and our account manager, I sat in the Luminary™ chair, which is their latest split track massage chair. And he explained the chair as I was sitting in it. And then I asked him a few questions and other inquiries about the chair throughout that conversation. It was all recorded. So, we created a video that discusses the Luminary™ in quite some detail. And it’s made in the same factory as their Circadian™ chair. And so, there are a lot of similarities between the two chairs. But what this one has that makes it a little different than the Circadian™ is that it has the calf airbags oscillating. They call it oscillating, we call it kneading. But they move up and down to rub your calves, which is a quite, I think, a wonderful therapeutic idea.


So, they’ve taken the calf and foot roller mechanism from the Infinity Genesis Max™ or the Evolution Max™, if you’ve heard of those, and they’ve deployed it in Luminary™ Syner-D® massage chair. And it’s a very nice chair. I believe the listed price is 12,999. We don’t have that in any of our showrooms yet. We will be hopefully getting one in at least a couple of the showrooms. We’ve got too many chairs and a lot of our showrooms and we have to make room for it, so we’re working on that right now. There are sales right now going on, and I think I talked about some of them last week. Ogawa had introduced a new sale since we last spoke. You can get the Master Drive AI 2.0 from Ogawa for 8,999 and the Active L Plus for 2,899.


And I believe we have also a sale on the Refresh Plus and … Or the Refresh L. And then there’s another one I can’t remember now. They’ve introduced some new models and my mind gets a little goofy when I try to remember them all. Oh, the Active L 3D. And I think the sale price on that one is 3,799. So, there are some good sales. It is a slow time for massage chairs. I have been to Human Touch® and Infinity within the last month and visited with their higher-ups. And to a person, the industry has slowed down. And I have heard that this inflationary, I don’t know if you’d call it a recession, but this inflationary slowdown of the economy has affected the spend habits of people that ordinarily wouldn’t have a problem spending money on a massage chair.


So, we are seeing a bit of a slowdown in business. So, a lot of companies are coming out with sales. And so, Ogawa has come out with a sale, Kyota Massage Chairs has come out with a sale. Kyota is one of the sub-brands of Infinity, and their Yosei is priced at 4,999, the Genki at 3,499, and the Kenko at 2,999. Now, that sounds like I’m speaking in another language, which I am. I think those are all Japanese words. Osaki has the sale right now also on the Titan Fleetwood for 5,999, the Osaki Ekon Plus for 5,999. And by the way, they just announced that they are discontinuing the Ekon Plus. So, you still get the two-year extended warranty with that chair and the Fleetwood and the Maestro LE and the High Pointe …. Or not the High Pointe, I can’t remember. But they have some chairs that they include the extended warranty with. The Admiral, I believe is one of them also.


But the Ekon Plus has been discontinued so once the stock is gone, the chair will be gone. Of course, they will have parts for it for a certain period of time should anything happen to your chair with the factory warranty, and of course, with our lifetime labor warranty. Also, remember that Luraco has a very good sale. And we haven’t seen a sale like this from them. But it’s for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It is 1,500 off their Luraco i9 Max Special Edition, which is the chair that we have in all of our showrooms. And then the regular i9 Max has $1,000 off. Now the reason we have the special edition in our showrooms and not the cheaper standard model is because it has a split track with the dual rollers similar to the Daiwa Supreme Hybrid, the Infinity Luminary™, the Infinity Circadian™. We wanted to have that Luraco in our showroom because it is … All those other chairs I just mentioned are all built in the same factory so the technology is similar.


Luraco has come out with their own technology, so it’s their own proprietary technology of the split track idea. And so, we wanted to have that alternative feel for our customers, not just all the same from the same factory. So, that’s why we have the Special Edition. The regular i9 Max, I believe it has a split track, but it has four rollers all the way up and down. It does not have a dual track with two rollers on the top and four rollers on the bottom. So anyways, that explains that. Speaking of Osaki, we added the Xrest chair to our website a few weeks ago. Now, the Xrest is the one that has the shoulder airbags that come down and push and rotate on your traps. And it’s a unique feature. The closest thing we’ve come to that in the past was the old Inada Sogno Dreamwave that had airbags that pushed out from a large headpiece, that pushed down on the traps and repeatedly dug in there. And then since then, the OHCO M.8 has airbags that push down on the shoulders.


But what makes the Xrest interesting is that they use 20 airbags in that mechanism and it’s not a headpiece. It comes around and sits on the shoulders and inflates upon the traps and then rubs it. And so, it’s definitely unique. Anyways, we added that chair onto our website. We don’t have it in our showroom just yet. Again, we have to make space for it. But that chair is also available on our website. Let’s see what else have we got cooking. Oh, I don’t know how many of you remember, but some years ago we sold some massage chairs to a stress relief center in … I believe they call it a stress relief center at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.


And the director of that facility, Dr. Michael Olpin, reached out to me about getting some chairs for his stress relief center. They have different things in there. They have a chi massager. I believe they have an aqua bed. They have a number of different things to help stress relief. And over the years, they have entertained thousands, literally thousands of people, primarily students who are dealing with stress at school. They’ve come in and had certain measurements made of the blood pressure, pulse, stress rating, and pain rating. And they would take before and after measurements of these metrics. Well, actually, the whole idea of doing a study came when Dr. Olpin and I had lunch together and I suggested you need to create a study, do a study to show the efficacy of massage chairs.


Because up until that point, there had been no studies on massage chairs. There have been studies on massages, but not massage chairs. And he thought the idea was great. Of course, he’d been published before and he gravitated to this idea. So, he originally did a study and he purchased more chairs from us to accommodate the study. At one point, Luraco donated a couple of chairs for the study. And so. What he did was, first of all, he took all the data from all these people. I think there were as many as 17,000. And then they did another study of 5,500 students. So, these were massive, massive study pools or subject pools. And what they did was they sat them in various modalities, for example, massage chairs, a rejuvenation lounger, they had some of the students do sitting meditation, and others they sat in the chi machine.


And the chi machine, I could be wrong, I think that’s the one where you put your legs in it or your feet in it and it moves back and forth and does some wavelike motion to your legs, which affects your hip and back, and of course, probably has some neurological effects throughout the body. And they did these things to get pre- and post-data for those metrics that I mentioned earlier. And he and I had a conversation just this last week, and he told me, Have you seen my recent studies or published studies? And he’s been published three times since we visited years ago. And one was in 2019, and one was in, I believe, I could be wrong, I think 2021. And those two studies have been published.


I think one of them was also published in another journal. So, he’s had one study published twice and the second study published once in a separate journal. But anyways, I’m going to be putting a blog post on my website this week and it’ll have a link to those articles. But it’s interesting stuff. The bottom line is of the four relaxation ones … Just a minute, let me see if I can find the. I tried to underline some of it last night before I hit the sack. Let’s see. Okay. The tools … This is what he says. “The analysis of differences in students pre- and post-rates and levels determined which specific tools and interventions produce the most significant changes in the center.” That’s what I was talking about with the blood pressure, pulse, stress, and pain levels.


And then he goes on to say, “The tools and interventions with statistically significant results for all pre- and post-rates and levels were the massage chair, the chi machine, and the foot and calf massager.” Well, isn’t that interesting? The massage chairs have the foot and calf massager. You can get foot and calf massagers independently, like a standalone. But the massagers and this chi machine were the ones that had the most statistically significant results from the study, the success rate. And so, that is kind of cool. So, these are a couple of studies that validate therapeutically and empirically the efficacy of massage chairs for helping reduce pain, reduce stress levels, and decrease blood pressure and pulse rates. And it’s pretty cool, if you ask me. Of course, we’ve always known this, right? Massage chair people have known this massage, people have known this. Any manual therapist has known this, whether it’s a chiropractor or physical therapy.


But to have a massage chair, an actual in-home therapeutic device available that can give you these kinds of responses and results is fantastic. And so, massage chairs for pain and stress, pain-stress. So, it’s good to know. But I thought I would share that with you because it was kind of cool. He just emailed me those studies today. And so, I’ll bring them up in our blog so you can read about that hopefully later today. And finally, I want to talk about something that has been kind of, I don’t know … I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this before. But I’ve been writing a report that talks about things you need to be aware of when you buy a chair, like you’ve got to be careful that you don’t overuse the chair because the mechanical mechanisms can expand and start to grind. Other things like how to wipe the chair down and what solutions to wipe it with.


And there’s some things that we’ve learned about that recently. And so, I was writing this information in a report so I could share this with people because people ask all the time, what do I have to do to maintain my chair, what do I have to do to take care of my chair? Do I have to do an oil change or a tune-up? You really shouldn’t have to do anything except wipe the upholstery down, vacuum out the calf and foot wells because a lot of sand and grass, depending on where you’re at and what is on your feet. By the way, don’t wear shoes when you’re using your massage chair because the hard grinding of the rollers on the shoes will create friction and wear out the linen. So, that’s another thing you got to be careful about.


But anyways, while we were in the process of writing down these tips for maintaining your chair, we have recently seen a couple of very interesting things that have happened to owner’s chairs, customer’s chairs, and things that reminded us of previous incidents with our tech technicians who see all kinds of weird things when they go and work on chairs. So, here are a couple of things that I should share with you that you need to know. These are things that can affect the well-being, if you will, or the longevity of your chair. If you live in an extremely humid environment like near an ocean where there’s a lot of saltwater in the air and things like that, that can lead to rusting of components. If you have, and this is going to sound intuitively logical, but I think some people don’t get this … Don’t put your chair too close to a fireplace. We have one customer that we saw because we took their chair back, they had placed a chair too close to the fireplace and the whole front of the ottoman, the footrest, the foot and calf massager had melted, literally melted.


So, don’t put your chair too close to a fireplace or a significant radiator or heater or something like that that can melt plastic because a lot of these chairs have plastic components. Also, let’s see. Oh, if you have cats or dogs, be mindful of hair from the cats and the dogs. Even though the cat and the dog don’t sit underneath the massage chair, their hair and their dander will get into the mechanical components of the massage chair and can create some issues. We’ve had technicians that pull the chair back or roll the chair over on its side when they’re doing a repair and they have found clumps of hair. So, you might want to think about vacuuming around your massage chair regularly.


If you have a cat, I would probably not encourage them, the cats to sit on the massage chairs, or the dogs, because their hair will fall down and the dander will fall down to the sides of the chair, into the mechanics of the chair. And even though I have not actually seen that cause a problem, it may create a breakdown of roller mechanisms or hydraulics or whatever that are employed in a massage chair to make it work. And so, anyways, I thought that was quite fascinating because these are things that I had never heard of before. So, be mindful of where you put your chair. If you’ve got a chair and you live right on the beach of an ocean, don’t put it outside on your patio and leave it there. Even though you live in a nice climate and you’ve got a cover over it, just be very aware that the ocean air is particularly salty and particularly humid and that can cause some rust in the chair too.


So anyways, keep the chair clean. Vacuum it. If you ever have a chance to have someone tilt the chair back, vacuum underneath it. Of course, vacuum the foot and calf wells because that’s where a lot of … And I know this because in our showroom, that’s the dirtiest part of the chairs we see. People will come in there and sit down and we have people take their shoes off, I don’t know how all this stuff gets in the calf or foot Wells, but we’ll see sand, grass, dirt, all kinds of fun things that require vacuuming to clean it up. Anyways, that’s my soapbox for the week. I hope you found this stuff interesting. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel. And of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video or any of your videos with your friends and family on your social media platforms. And for those of you that don’t think that I am part of Massage Chair Relief, and I discussed this in our last industry update, I am the owner of Massage Chair Relief.


Of course, we want you to buy your new massage chair from us. I don’t ever do that or I don’t ever push our chairs in a salesy way, but know that you can purchase your chairs from us. And we do price matching. We have a lifetime labor warranty. We have a 90-day money back satisfaction guarantee. We’ve got a lot of things that make buying from us appealing. That’s probably the only pitch you’re going to hear from me. So anyways, I hope you have a great day today and we will see you again on the next video. Bye-bye

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