The iRobotics 7 massage chair came to market in July 2015 and has been a consistently top selling chair for us. Price-wise, it competes with the vaunted Inada DreamWave massage chair, but we are finding that it is also competing on the merits of it’s quality build. Whereas the DreamWave is manufactured in Japan, with a percentage of Chinese-made non-critical components, the iRobotics 7 boasts US manufacturing with some non-critical Taiwanese-made components.
The i7 is manufactured by Luraco, a Dallas-based tech firm that has, as part of it’s history, manufactured massage chairs that are used in nail salons around the country. From that industry, Luraco branched out to develop massage chairs for the everyday consumer that are descendants of the nail salon chairs and have also been built for heavy commercial use. It began with the iRobotics 6, which has since been discontinued, and, more recently, it’s best-selling iRobotics 7.
I have spent quite a bit of time in this chair, but for this review I sat in the chair for 1-2 hours straight going over the programs and features. Here are my notes:
- The programming and electronic components are built in the USA. The assembly and quality testing is also done in the USA. As a matter of fact, your new chair will not be assembled and tested until your order goes through so you can know that when your chair arrives at your home or business, it is quite literally a brand new chair. As I mentioned earlier, the non-critical components come from Taiwan. Here is a video that discusses what is made where and how…
The chair has a more traditional look with a nicely finished upholstery. The seat has some symmetrical stitching, which is also duplicated on the memory foam back pad that comes with the chair. It comes in three colors (black, brown, and cream) and, according to it’s literature, can fit a body as tall as 6’7″ and as heavy as 300 lbs. It can also handle a body as short as 4’7″. I have not seen anyone as tall as 6’7″ sitting in the chair, but we’ll trust the literature!
- The upholstery of the chair, for the most part, is synthetic leather. But, where the skin touches the chair, i.e. arms/hands, thighs, calves, feet, neck, Luraco has stitched in real black leather.
- The chair is VERY easy to assemble. If you are not sure about whether to purchase the White Glove Delivery option because of your concern about assembly…don’t worry! It is one of the easier chairs to assemble. Two large bolts per arm rest, a zipper for the back pad, and some air hoses/electrical plugs and you are good to go. The chair comes in two boxes, one with the chair body and one with the arm rests. If you decide not to get the White Glove Delivery, you will need some help moving the main box into your home or business.
The remote control looks and feels like a SMART Phone. The user interface is just as easy, too. The useability is so easy that I doubt you’ll need the owner’s manual for very long, if at all.
- One of the first things that impressed me about this chair once I sat in it and began using the programs, was how quiet the chair is! It has over 100 airbags, just like the Inada DreamWave, but it is by far the quietest massage chair in our showroom…and that includes all the other chairs with far less airbags. You will love how quiet it is.
- Speaking of airbags, for the most part the airbags on this chair are great. I found the shoulder airbags to be a bit lacking outside of the stretch program. They are the kind of shoulder airbags that are meant to pin the shoulders in while the rollers are working the upper back as well as hold the shoulders in place during the stretch program. Now, maybe in some portion of some of the auto programs the shoulder airbags are deployed a little more, but I didn’t find those places. The waist airbags, though evident, don’t do much either in my opinion. The calf
airbags are great! They are broken down into 2 segments so that you have a much broader airbag contact on the calves. This dual calf segment idea is especially effective in the stretch program, where the airbags grab the legs from the knees down and really give a good pull during the stretch. The arm airbags inflate sequentially from lower forearm to hands and wrists.
- The roller system for the iRobotics 7 have 3D functionality and are dual rollers, not quad rollers. I would describe the feel of the rollers as more slow and methodical, i.e. more shiatsu-like. The rollers are quite firm and solid so you get the feeling of quality workmanship when they are running up and down your back. I also believe that because this chair has a 2-roller system vs. a 4-roller system, the rollers can penetrate deeper and more targeted into the back muscles. There are 5 settings of intensity for the rollers, which gives you the flexibility to have a very intense massage or a more gentle massage. Even if the lowest setting is still too much for you, the back pad I mentioned above, that comes with the chair will dampen the intensity sufficiently for any user. You can adjust the intensity of the upper back and shoulders independent of the intensity of the rollers in the low back area. I’ve seen that feature in some Human Touch chairs, as well, but it is not a very common feature. By the way, I love how low the rollers go into the pelvic area; they seem to hit the area round the tailbone (perisacral area) quite well for a slow, deep massage.
- Getting back to the airbags, you can also adjust the intensity of the airbag compression with 5 different settings, just like the rollers. There is an “Intensity” button at the bottom of the remote that allows you to access the roller and airbag intensity settings from one display.
- The chair has a comprehensive back heating element covering the back, seat, and feet. It also has a 5-level intensity adjustment.
- The iRobotics 7 comes with 9 programs. Each program looks like an app button on your SMART Phone. The 9 programs give you a very wide and varied massage experience, depending on what you are looking for. You can go soft, deep, stretch, shiatsu, etc. The program selection gives you great flexibility. Or course, you can also go to the “Manual” button and easily customize your massage. Working around your spine in the Manual settings is very easily done with this remote control.
- This chair has mechanical foot rollers along with foot airbags that move your feet side to side across the rollers, in a shearing-like motion. Oddly enough, none of the Japanese models we carry have foot rollers. The foot rollers on the iRobotics 7 come with foot pads that allow you to adjust the intensity of the foot roller massage. Unlike some of the Chinese chairs, the foot rollers in the i7 are very comfortable.
- The body scan on this model lasts about 2 minutes, by far the longest scan of any chair we carry. One way that you can circumvent the 2 minute body scan is by memorizing the program you like in the “User” settings. The next time you sit in the chair, simply press the User setting program and the program will begin automatically WITHOUT the body scan. You see, when you used the program before memorizing it, the body scan and it’s associated findings of your spine have all been discovered. Now, when you memorize the program, all the body scan findings will be memorized so that the chair doesn’t have to go through the scan again. I hope that made sense! Of course, you can also memorize any customized manual program you create through the “User” settings. I will say, though, that the body scan is very accurate in this chair. It measures the shape of the whole spine and not just the head and shoulders positions. It also has a knack of measuring the right length of your legs so that you don’t really need to adjust anything once the scan is complete.
- Voice response is a feature that can get a little annoying, but if it does you can shut it off in the “Settings” tab. When it is on, you will hear a voice describing the program you are in and what the chair is doing. It is quite helpful at first, but can be bothersome if you are really familiar with your chair. Just shut it off if it gets too annoying.
- The chair’s timer is set for 30 minutes so that is how long your session length is, but it can be adjusted down to as little as 5 minutes long. In the top right hand corner of the remote, you can see the timer display. If you change your massage program mid-stream, the timer will continue without resetting.
You can use the SD card that comes with the chair and is located at the base of the remote control to download and play music or whatever over the speakers, which are located in the base at the back of the chair. The speaker sound is nothing to write home about so I wouldn’t get too excited about a Bose-like music experience. But it is certainly better than nothing!
The chair has a blood pressure cuff option that can be used when you are in the chair. The cuff is made by Omron and is a quality device that plugs into the side of the chair next to where the remote control plugs in. This chair is touted as a medical device by Luraco, so this blood pressure cuff option is very much in keeping with the whole medical device genre.
- The iRobotics 7 took an idea from the DreamWave playbook by integrating a seat swivel feature. It uses a motor to move the seat from side to side. I’ve always liked the DreamWave technology because it provides passive motion to the low back. You may wonder why I think it’s such a big deal. Well, if you or anyone has an acute low back problem, there isn’t much that can be done for you by any therapist. Your back is so seized up that no motion can be introduced without causing you pain. Well, this seat swivel/DreamWave technology can introduce passive motion to that compromised and “hot” low back so that something can be done. It’s a great idea, in my humble opinion.
- There is a great section on the remote control called “Info” that has some valuable educational charts showing body maps. These maps correlate the musculo-skeletal body parts where the massage chair can work along with corresponding viscera of the body that are affected by working on those musculo-skeletal parts. It’s really quite fascinating. I think you’ll love checking those parts out while you are enjoying your therapeutic massage.
- The stretch program is quite a good one. It is the more traditional stretch program, where the legs and shoulders are grabbed by the airbags and the chairback and the ottoman both drop down, thus tractioning the spine. Most of the airbag activity is in the calf area; the calf airbags inflate to hold the legs in place, then the foot portion extends to traction the leg and the ankles, as well as the spine. I also noticed that there are rubber knobs at the back of each calf that are pushed into the calf belly of each leg via airbags. It is not a mechanical calf massage, ala Apex Ultra or Navitas, but it does provide a trigger point-like massage to the calf belly of each leg.
- I noticed something interesting about the rollers during the Shiatsu auto program. The rollers went really wide in the low back and shoulder areas. In the low back, it felt like the rollers were hitting the Quadratus Lumborum muscles and integrating a nice tapping modality there as well. In the shoulder area, the rollers hit the full width of the rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blades.
One thing I’d like to mention before the end of this article is how responsive Luraco’s customer support is. I’ll give you an example. When the iRobotics 7 first came out, they sent a chair to my Utah showroom to test. I found a few things that were lacking, i.e. poor neck massage and more options in the manual settings. I sent those issues to Luraco for their response. They promptly addressed both issues and sent out a new chair with the fixes. It was very impressive. That is how they roll! By the way, the neck massage is fabulous now and does a wonderfully deep massage. You’re welcome!!
Dr. Alan Weidner
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