When the new IT-8100 massage chair was introduced into the market a couple of months ago, the pitch was that this chair would compete with the popular OS-4000 from Osaki. I thought that it might be a good idea to write a comparative review of the two models for those of you looking at chairs in this price range. I should warn you, however, that I have not yet sat on the IT-8100 and I have only sat on the OS-4000 once about a year ago. All I remember about that experience was that the rollers were firm and quite vigorous.
But, anyways, here is my 2-part literature review of these two comparable models, beginning with the similarities:
1. Price– the most obvious similarity is the price point. Both have the same advertised price ($2895, at the time of this writing), but the IT-8100 has a $400 off instant savings, whereas the OS-4000 only has a $200 off instant savings.
2. Quad Rollers – pretty much every chair nowadays uses quad rollers, which basically means that the roller system has two rollers on each side of the spine, totaling 4 in all. These two models both utilize the quad roller system.
3. Arm Airbag Massage – both chairs use the airbag compression technology to massage the arms. It is not at all like a roller massage, but the airbags do create compression which will relax the musculature and claims to increase circulation.
4. Seat Massage – airbags are also utilized as the primary massage motion in the seats of the chairs. Both models also use a vibration feature in the seat.
Closely related to the seat airbag massage are the thigh and hip airbags, which provide compression therapy to the outer thigh region. I don’t even really consider this a massage feature so much as it is a compression feature which basically holds the hips in place so that the body doesn’t move so much when the rollers work the lower back. You see, the more the hips are pinned into the seat of the chair the greater the intensity of the roller massage in the low back.
5. Lumbar Heat – both chairs have a heating element in the low back which provides not only a comfortable warming feature, but also increases blood flow to the area thus relaxing the musculature and making it more pliable for the massage rollers to work their magic.
6. Zero Gravity – it seems as though this feature, along with foot rollers, has become all the rage in new massage chair models. These two models are no different. Both chairs have the zero gravity feature, which is a 30 degree tilt of the seat with an associated 120 degree recline of the chair back. It makes for a very comfortable seated position, particularly for someone with low back pain.
7. 6 Auto Programs – all chairs have a certain number of automatic programs sets. These two chairs have 6 auto programs. Though the names of the programs are different, the bottom line is that these programs provide a pre-set bundle of massage functions so that all you have to do is press one button and all the rest of the work is taken care of by the programmed chair. Automatic pre-set programs make it very easy to use a massage chair.
8. Ottoman Length Adjustment – a great feature for taller folks who want to stretch their legs out and sit comfortably in their chair. The IT-8100 caters to folks as tall as 6’6″ whereas the Osaki OS-4000 is optimal for people as tall as 6’4″. The adjustable ottoman allows for the fitting of the taller body frames.
9. Body Scan Technology – body scan technology is a feature designed to allow the chair to give you the most personalized massage possible. Every company uses it’s own scan technology, but the gist of this feature is that prior to actually administering the massage, the chair will scan your body to figure out your body size, height, and spinal shape so that it can cater your massage to your body type. Pretty cool actually!
10. Airbag Intensity Control – airbag massage can be a little bit too much for some folks, particularly in the calves, feet, and arms. When I was a practicing chiropractor with my first massage chair in the clinic, the most common complaint I heard from users of the chair I had, was that the calf massage was too intense and very uncomfortable. I couldn’t adjust the airbags intensity so it was a real conundrum for some of my patients. Having the airbag intensity adjustment in subsequent models made all the difference for those sensitive patients. This is a very convenient feature to have and both models have it.
In Part 2 of this comparative review, I will go over the primary differences between these two chairs.
Dr. Alan Weidner
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