Inada Nest Massage Chair Review

Inada Nest Massage Chair
Inada Nest Massage Chair

We welcomed the new Inada Nest massage chair to our California showroom a couple of months ago and I finally had the chance to sit on it for an extended period of time last week when I was spending the day at the showroom. Here are my observations:

  1. Right off the bat, especially lined up with our other massage chairs, I noticed how much smaller
    Inada Nest massage chair
    Inada Nest (right)

    the Nest is. It certainly does not leave a large footprint! The picture to the right shows the Nest next to a larger, more bulky Infinity IT-8500 and you can see that it is shorter and not as deep. The Inada Nest does not have a space saving feature, so you will need to place the chair 16″ or so away from the wall.

  2. The remote control looks virtually the same as that of the Inada Flex 3S. As a matter of fact, at first glance the whole chair is quite reminiscent of the Flex 3S. The buttons on the remote control are also similar to those of the Flex 3S remote.
    Inada Nest massage chair
    Inada Nest Remote Control

    One thing I thought was kinda handy was the remote storage space on the chair. It is built into the frame of the chair on the right hand side so that all you need to do is slide the remote into the slot and you are good to go.

  3. The rollers are very quiet and smooth. I noticed that immediately and loved it. This roller system on this chair offer the strongest massage of any of the current Inada models. You will notice that right away. There is no shortage of intensity with these bad boys…plus you can use the 3D roller intensity adjustment to make the massage stronger or weaker, to your liking.The rollers, if you recall from my previous discussions about the Nest, have the “pumpkin-shaped” surface. I’m not sure how much that had to do with the stronger intensity of
    Inada Nest massage chair
    Inada Nest Remote Holder

    the roller experience, but the rollers really did a number on my levator scapulae muscles…and I mean that in a good way! The levator scapulae muscles are the ones that begin at the top of your shoulder blade and go all the way up your neck. It is the muscle you usually dig into when you reach to your opposite shoulder and try to work out the knots. This chair does a great job with those muscles. A great all-around roller massage from this chair.

  4. The chair does not automatically recline to a default position when you turn on the chair and choose a program. You have to adjust the positioning yourself. Not a big deal, but it is a bit of extra work that you will need to do when you begin a massage session.
  5. One feature that is lacking in most massage chairs is the arm massage. The Inada Nest offers a
    inada nest massage chair
    Arm Aircells

    great, full coverage arm massage. The hand, wrist, and forearm have 3 airbags (or aircells, as Inada prefers to call them) that comprehensively cover the whole forearm. Then, the chair has another aircell for the bicep region, similar to the Inada DreamWave, as well as shoulder airbags, like the Flex 3S, for posture correction. I was quite pleased with the whole upper extremity airbag coverage.

  6. The head/neck pillow uses weights on either side of the neck to keep the pillow weighted down so that it doesn’t move up when the rollers hit that area. This is a source of frustration for many massage chair owners.
  7. The rollers also do a great job on the rhomboid muscles, which is the area between the spine and the shoulder blades. This is a common area of stress for folks with poor posture or folks who sit at a desk all day, or someone who does a lot of upper body repetitive stress stuff. The rollers dig into the whole area, working it thoroughly from left to right. It also uses a shiatsu modality quite effectively with the rollers here as well. To be honest, I felt my bones “pop” between my shoulder blades more on this chair than any other I’ve sat in.
  8. The rollers also do a great job on the lumbar and thoraco-lumbar region. They actually reach all the way down to the Sacro-Iliac joint and the top of the buttocks. Not an L-track, but the rollers reach down nicely to the top of the buttock area.
  9. The air cells that inflate underneath the soles of the feet feel fantastic. None of the Inada chairs,
    inada nest massage chair
    Calf massage

    or any of the Japanese chairs for that matter, have foot rollers. But, the airbags feel great. The calf airbag mechanism has a slot for each leg into which you can place a hard rubber plate with nodules on the surface. This provides a trigger point compression massage on the anterior tibialis muscles of the front shins. Great idea. Surprised I’ve not seen that much in the past.

  10. Finally, to address the 3DLR rollers, which is Inada’s innovation that allows separate, independent movement of the left rollers from the right rollers, it really did feel like the left and right rollers were working a little different from each other. Maybe my musculature was tighter on one side of my spine than the other, which facilitated a different movement of the rollers from one side to the other.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell. Overall, I really like this chair. Fantastic massage. If you want foot and calf rollers, or L-track, or zero gravity, you won’t get those in this Inada chair…or any Japanese-made chair, for that matter. But, for a fantastic, thorough, nuanced, and sophisticated massage, the Inada Nest does a fabulous job!

Dr. Alan Weidner

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Human Touch Novo XT Review (Condensed!)

Novo XT massage chair - red
Novo XT massage chair

A reader of my blog recently mentioned that my review of the Novo XT massage chair by Human Touch was too long and that he wouldn’t read it because of that. So, I got to thinking that perhaps it would help if I wrote a condensed version of my longer articles so that folks can get the meat of the review with less effort. This article is just that – a condensed version of my recent 2000 word review of the Novo XT massage chair. Here are the highlights in bullet point form for your perusal and ease of reading:

  1. Design and engineering in part by Human Touch in the USA. Manufactured in China (Rongtai factory).
  2. Unibody design, space saver.
  3. Comes in black, brown, red, dark gray, and cream colors.
  4. A surprisingly quiet massage chair when going through a massage program.
  5. Can fit up to 6’9″ according to literature, but 6’4″ for a full neck massage is more realistic.
  6. 3D L-track roller system – 5 roller depth settings.
  7. Arm rest pouches on the left and right for the remote control.
  8. Default program running time is 20′ but it can be adjusted up to 30′ or down to 10′.
  9. Mechanical foot rollers with adjustable roller speeds. Additional foot pads come with this chair if the foot massage is too intense.
  10. Rubber nobules on the linen that covers the arm airbags help keep your arm in place during the “sequential” back and forth inflation of the arm airbags.
  11. You manually set the height of the rollers during the body scan portion of each auto program. A display on the remote shows different body heights with associated numbers from 1-9 representing different body heights. You can also adjust the roller height long after the program is well under way.
  12. The regional massage option in the manual modes allows you to set one of 3 different zone sizes (short, medium, long), depending on what area of your spine you want to focus.
  13. The neck massage of the Novo XT is quite vigorous. Some chairs are very weak, but the Novo XT does a good job on the neck, not to mention the 3D depth adjustment which will allow for an even deeper neck massage.
  14. Rollers “rub” across the back muscles, in addition to kneading those same muscles.
  15. The Novo XT massage chair has a heat function that is easy to turn on or off from the remote control.
  16. Voice response feature is available in English, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese.
  17. Ending a program and bringing the chair back to the start up position involves a “Stop” or “Power Off” option and then a “Restore” option. Just pushing the power button will not do it alone.
  18. Electronic leg length adjustment feature.
  19. 30 different auto program options! 6 main auto programs, with 4-5 sub programs.
  20. Extension stretch feature, very similar to most other L-track chairs.
  21. BlueTooth connectivity allows you to pair your device with the chair and play your music over the chair’s music system.
  22. 1 zero gravity position.
Novo XT massage chair - brown
Novo XT massage chair – brown

Currently, the Novo XT massage chair is priced at $7999 and, through our store, that price includes white glove delivery and the 5 year Premium Protection extended warranty. Great chair, great massage. A very good high end Chinese-made massage chair.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Massage Chairs Roller System: 2 Rollers vs. 4 Rollers

Quad Rollers
Quad Rollers
Roller Track
Roller Track

Pretty much all massage chairs that are not 100% airbag chairs have a roller system. The roller system goes up and down the spine, from the neck down to as far as the buttock muscles. The roller system consists of a roller track, one or two roller arms, roller “balls”, and an engine to move the roller mechanism up and down the spine electronically.

The roller “ball” unit is attached to the end of one or two massage arms, which in turn is attached to the track and moves up and down the spine. The roller “balls” come in either dual or quad arrangements. Dual rollers alludes to 2 rollers, one on each side of the spine, that do all the massaging. Quad rollers, or 4 rollers, have two rollers on each side of the spine. The roller balls work as a unit to go up and down the spine simultaneously to simulate massaging hands working the muscles on either side of the spine symmetrically.

Until recently, each ball moved in concert with the other ball(s); the pressure was equal on both sides of the spine. The new Inada Nest is the first massage chair to have the balls on either side of the spine work independently of each other for varying pressure depending on the tightness of the muscles on each side.

I want to talk about the difference between the dual and quad rollers. The vast majority of massage chairs have quad rollers (2 on each side of the spine). A relatively small group of chairs have the dual rollers, i.e. Luraco iRobotics 7, Ogawa Smart 3D, the Osaki JP 4S and 4D models, Apex Regent, and  the now discontinued Navitas Sleep from Human Touch.

Quad Rollers
Quad Rollers

My experience of the two types of roller systems is that the dual rollers tend to be more aggressive, providing a deeper, more intense massage experience, while the quad rollers have a lighter, broader contact massage. You would think that more rollers (4) would give a more intense massage than less rollers (2). This is not to say that the quad roller system doesn’t offer an intense massage. Many 4-roller massage chairs do provide exactly that, but the dual roller system seems to dig a bit more into the spinal muscles. Let me explain why:

The roller track is fixed in an S shape. The roller arm is

Ogawa Smart 3D
Ogawa Smart 3D

what protrudes from the track into the spinal muscles. The force that “transmits” from the roller arm onto the roller balls and then into the muscles is dispersed among the roller balls. The greater the number of roller balls, the greater the dispersion of the massage force among the roller balls. The smaller the number of roller balls, the less the dispersion of the massage force. All the force and energy of the roller mechanism is channeled through two balls instead of four, which makes for more force going into the spinal muscles.

This is why chairs with dual rollers tend to feel more aggressive, as though the rollers are digging deeper into the spinal muscles. It is because the massage force and energy from the massaging mechanism is directed through only two roller balls.

If you sit on a chair with quad rollers and then sit on a chair with dual rollers you will notice a couple of things about the dual rollers:

  1. the rollers feel like they are digging deeper into the musculature, and
  2. you will feel like the roller massage is much more specific and localized.

If you prefer a deeper, more intense massage you may want to consider checking out a chair with dual rollers. Although quad massage chairs, particularly those with 3D roller depth adjustment, can still offer a very intense massage, it will never quite feel as deep or as intense or as localized as those with the dual rollers.

I hope this made sense!

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

 

Lower Back Problems When Looking Down

happy young family with kids in bright modern living room have fun and looking big flat lcd tv
happy young family with kids in bright modern living room have fun and looking big flat lcd tv

Do people’s lower backs hurt when they tilt their chin forward to look at their toes? Do they feel a pull and a strain between their shoulder blades? Physical problems in the lower back between the shoulder blades is quite common, but massages on tight, sore muscles won’t alleviate this discomfort. It’s logical to expect that problems in the lower back would be caused by tight muscles in this area, but to really get an understanding of what’s going on here, we need to back it up a step and look at more than just the back.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lower back pain when looking down is caused by muscular concerns in most patients.
  • The lumbar pain is often described as stabbing. It can exist directly over the spine or on one or both sides of the vertebral column.
  • The most common sources of lower back pain from looking downwards are soft tissue problems that have caused the muscles of the region to change in strength and length.

“Luckily, lumbar strain will usually resolve without any particular treatment, as long as it is not a chronic version of RSI.”

http://www.cure-back-pain.org/lower-back-pain-when-looking-down.html

Foot & Calf Massage: What and How

foot calf airbags
foot calf airbags
foot calf airbags
Foot & Calf Massage

In 2014 I wrote an article discussing the different kinds of shoulder massage that is available on different massage chairs. In that article, I had to break down the different types of shoulder airbags and massage mechanisms employed by those airbags and what areas of the “shoulder” region are massaged by the differnet types of airbags. It can get confusing when someone asks if a chair has shoulder massage.

Well, everyone knows what the calf and foot is, so answering the question of whether a massage chair has calf and foot massage is moot. But, what does matter is the type of foot and calf massage a chair can offer. That is what this article will address.

    1. Airbags – These have been the most common form of foot and calf “massage” in the past. As a matter of fact, all the Japanese-made massage chairs still only use airbags in the feet and calves. Airbags are used primarily for compression of the inside and outside of the legs and feet. The compression affects the musculature as well as the joints (feet). Some chairs also use airbags behind the calves to push rubber nobules into the belly of the gastrocnemius musles, aka your calf muscles. Some chairs use airbags underneath the feet to do the same. I put quotation marks around the word “massage” because some would say that compressing the feet and calves is not truly massage. It can be therapeutic, no doubt, but it may be a stretch to call that compression a massge. The iRobotics 7 and the Fujiiryoki 3800 also employ a stacked calf airbag massage mechanism. Instead of the more traditional one calf massage mechanism, these models have two calf massage components stacked on top of each other. This allows for broader contact and massage for the calves as well as massage closer to the knee joint.
    2. RollersFoot rollers (under the soles of the feet) have become quite popular in the Chinese-made chairs. The American-made iRobotics 7 massage chair also employs foot rollers, but the Japanese chairs do not have them yet. I think they are a great feature and, used in concert with the foot airbags, offer a great experience for the user. Some chairs, i.e. Apex Ultra and Titan TP-8400, have strong airbags pushing down on the feet which can become very intense when combined with the foot rollers. Sometimes adjustments to the air pressure need to be made to make it bearable. But, for pretty much all chairs with foot rollers, they can be turned off too if it gets to be too much. Some other chairs, like the Osaki Dreamer, Cyber, 7200CR, and 4oooT, have foot rollers that are quite light. Chairs can have anywhere from 2-6 rollers per foot, which can affect the way the rollers feel. For all the talk of reflexology in the alternative health care world, the foot rollers really fit nicely in that conversation.
      Human Touch Navitas Sleep
      Navitas Sleep

      Calf rollers are a fairly new feature that we are seeing more of, but still not nearly as popular yet as the foot rollers have become. The two chairs that we carry with calf rollers are the Apex Ultra and the Human Touch Navitas Sleep. Here is the difference 1.) the Apex Ultra has a round disc behind the belly of each calf muscle that spins around and rubs that spot of the calf muscle (gastrocnemius). It is a nice feature but after a while it can become annoying after some time of spinning in the same spot on your muscles. You cannot turn it off like you can the foot rollers, and 2.) the Navitas Sleep actually has calf rollers that roll up and down the sides of each lower leg to give you a phenomenal massage. It can be intense, but man is it cool, in my honest opinion, and I think it is a phenomenal feature for athletes and folks who stand on their feet all day. Incidentally, both of these models that have calf rollers also have foot rollers and airbags or paddles (Human Touch – see below).

    3. Paddles – This is a feature exclusive to Human Touch chairs. It is a patented technology that uses soft rubber, molded “paddles” that move in a wave-like pattern to enhance circulation of the blood and lymph in the feet and calves. It is really quite remarkable. It is quite different from airbag technology and you’ll understand what I’m saying the moment you sit in the chair and use it.

That’s about it for my insights to the foot and calf massage options available out there. I hope it helps in some way.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Review of the iRobotic 7 Massage Chair by Luraco

iRobotics 7 massage chair
iRobotics 7 massage chair

irobotics7The 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:

  1. 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…
  2. iRobotics 7 seat stitching
    iRobotics 7 seat stitching

    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!

  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Remote control
    Remote control

    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.

  6. 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.
  7. 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
    iRobotics 7 calf airbags
    iRobotics 7 calf airbags

    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.

  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The chair has a comprehensive back heating element covering the back, seat, and feet.  It also has a 5-level intensity adjustment.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Music speakers
    Music speakers

    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!

  17. Blood pressure cuff
    Blood pressure cuff

    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.

  18. 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.
  19.  File Mar 08, 1 11 44 PMThere 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Massage Chair Research!

Working from home
Working from home

I posted a two-part interview last week on our YouTube channel, with Dr. Michael Olpin. He is the head of the Stress Center at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and has been using our massage chairs for the last 3-4 years in that center. What I didn’t know was that Dr. Olpin had been measuring blood pressure, pulse/heart rate, and stress levels on each chair user, pre- and post- massage chair session!

This sparked immediate interest in me when he told me about his data harvesting. I have wanted to do research studies with massage chairs since I measured lower back range of motion on a golfer some 7-8 years ago and found a 35% improvement in motion after a session on a massage chair. So, I began asking Dr. Olpin questions about a.) turning his current data into a research study, and b.) the potential for doing more studies validating the physiological effects of massage chairs on users.

Well, one month and 4 more meetings later, we have decided to pursue a series of studies to validate the anecdotal findings of many massage chair customers. We have put together a team of 4 to initiate new studies in a field where virtually no studies currently exist. I haven’t been this giddy about something in a long time!

We will begin by checking on the statistical significance of the data already accumulated and presenting that information as a study. Then, we have plans to begin other, more demographically specific, studies using massage chairs as the therapy.

Some ideas we are contemplating include:

  • Range of motion
  • Pulse rate of different age groups
  • Blood pressure of different age groups
  • Skin Temperature
  • Perspiration
  • Muscle tension
  • Pain levels

The list could go on forever, but this is an initial list to which we will apply research protocols and figure out the therapeutic benefits of massage chairs. The studies will be performed at the Stress Center at Weber State University. Pretty cool, eh?

You can watch the video interviews at the following links:

Massage Chairs With 4D Rollers? Really?

Elderly man using a massage chair
Elderly man using a massage chair
Courtesy of pokecommunity.com
Courtesy of pokecommunity.com

I am seeing more and more chairs that boast “4D” roller technology. The first time I saw this I wondered “I learned in physics class that there are only 3 dimensions – the x-axis, the y-axis, and the z-axis. Where is this 4th dimension?”

Well, of course, there really isn’t a 4th dimension, at least not on this planet, but massage chair manufacturers, in an ever-increasing attempt to differentiate their chairs from others use different terms to entice you to check out their chairs.  Continue reading “Massage Chairs With 4D Rollers? Really?” »

Is It Safe For Children To Use Massage Chairs?

Using a massage chair inside the mall
Using a massage chair inside the mall

I have had massage chairs either in my clinic or in my showroom for well over 10 years and I can say, without reservation, that I have never seen a child not enjoy a massage chair! And, I have had literally hundreds of kids sit on our chairs over those years and have never seen or heard a child complain about the massage being delivered by a chair. Not only is it a fun thing to sit on, what with the remote controls and such, but they actually love the feeling of the therapy.

Well, that is my experience in my showroom. If I didn’t know anything other than that, I would positively and absolutely say that kids and massage chairs are a match made in heaven. There are no studies out there showing if massage chairs are good for kids. But, what does the literature say about children and massage therapy in general? Is there something that might suggest that massage is contraindicated for children? Here are some interesting points about children and massage therapy: Continue reading “Is It Safe For Children To Use Massage Chairs?” »

A Chair for a 4’10” Petite Woman?

I often have calls and inquiries about which chairs would be best suited for tall folks, but once in a while I get an email like this one asking for chair suggestions for someone quite short.

 

Hi Dr Weidner, I found your site while researching for a massage chair for my mom. Your website and reviews are truly great, the best I could find on google. My mom is very petite, only 4’10” tall. She has lower back pain close to the spine. I really want to get her a massage chair to alleviate her pains. I’m wondering which models would fit her better? I’ve seen some good reviews about osaki models, would osaki 7200h fit her size? I also saw a human touch model in costco, that chair looks pretty small but doesn’t have many fancy functionalities that Osaki does. Could you please give some suggestions on which brand/model would work better for her case? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks, Liang Continue reading “A Chair for a 4’10” Petite Woman?” »

Over 6′ Tall & 300 lbs – Which Massage Chair Is Right?

Things just come in waves. In the course of 2-3 days I had 3 inquiries from customers that had to do with size and weight and which chair would work. I had two folks that were over 6 feet and weighed between 300 – 350 lbs. On one of the days when I received an inquiry, I had a salesman at the showroom who overheard  me  talking on the phone with this customer about his size concerns. The salesman just happened to be 6’5″ tall and weigh 350 lbs and he just happened to offer to sit in all of my massage chairs in the showroom and give his honest opinion of which chairs fit OK and which did not.  Continue reading “Over 6′ Tall & 300 lbs – Which Massage Chair Is Right?” »

Can I Use A Massage Chair When I Am Pregnant?

Woman holding her tummy
Woman holding her tummy

Massage Chair and Pregnancy

Since my days in chiropractic up to my current involvement in the massage chair marketplace, I have been asked questions often about whether massage is safe for use during pregnancy. In addition, people wonder whether chiropractic adjustments, licensed massage therapy, and use of massage chairs are recommended for pregnant women.

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My answer is always the same for all situations, and that is “Yes.” Of course, if there are unique concerns about the baby’s health or that of yourself, of course, it is prudent to check with your physician before embarking on a program of massage therapy.

In my practice through the years I have treated many pregnant women, in all stages from the beginning to the last trimester. Naturally, there may be some tweaking of a massage regimen in the last few months because of the body’s physical changes. There never have been any problems.

With all that is going on in a woman’s body during pregnancy, massage has wonderful benefits during the entire nine months.
For years I found that hands-on and manual massage were of great help to pregnant women. Since I have been involved in the massage chair industry, I have discovered no difference in the benefits from robotic massage therapy in a chair.

There is a pretty long list of health issues that can come up during pregnancy. Some of these are back and neck pain with headaches, muscle spasms, difficulty with breathing, poor circulation, insomnia, reduced mobility, and strained posture. Along with any other complaints you may have, even a few of the issues on this list can make your life miserable.

A massage chair is useful to help with all of these issues:

1. Aches and pains, muscle spasm – Your body will experience strain on your muscles as the baby grows. This can result in pain anywhere. Your best bet is to relax your muscles. Your massage chair not only relaxes your muscles, but also, helps flush toxins out that have settled there and can cause pain. When your muscles relax, pain and muscle spasm subside.

I’m sure you have heard of endorphins, nature’s answer to pain killers. They are released into your blood stream as you enjoy your massage chair. This is another causative factor in reducing those aches and pains in your body.

2. Poor Circulation with Swelling – Calf and foot massage features in massage chairs compress the legs which helps the lymph and blood circulate better. Edema (swelling) will be reduced and toxins (discussed above) flushed from the body more efficiently.

3. Poor Posture (Postural Stress) – Any pregnant woman knows about this health issue. You have this mass sticking out from your middle that throws you off-kilter. Your posture suffers. Maybe you started out your pregnancy with poor posture, as well. The added strain on your muscles from postural stress often produces pain and aching.

You will find, as most folks do, that your posture improves after a massage chair session. You will stand straighter because of the massage chair’s working of your muscles.

4. Reduced Mobility – With forty pounds of baby, fluids, and tissue added to your body, you can’t move as readily. Your joints don’t seem to cooperate when you try to turn. Your massage chair sessions will amaze you as you check yourself afterwards. You will be able to turn far more easily than before.

5. Headaches, Neck and Back Pain – All the above benefits to posture, muscles, etc, will aid in reduction of any pain, no matter where it is located.

6. Difficulty with Breathing – How in the world are you supposed to breath deeply with that precious cargo pressing in on you. Actually, aside from the obvious, most pregnant women unconsciously develop a slouch. Your posture will be dramatically improved by the roller action over the middle of your back. In addition to your relaxed muscles, you will have better posture and ability to breath more deeply. Improved sleep can result, as well.

7. Insomnia (Sleeping Problems) – Countless people have told me how surprised they were to find that after their massage chair sessions, they slept better. Your “nerves” relax as well as your muscles. While trying to sleep a month before you are due can be a challenge with any therapy you are involved in, the relaxation alone from your massage chair will undoubtedly help get a better night’s sleep.

With this information, your mind should be at ease about using your massage chair while pregnant.

Dr. Alan Weidner
www.massage-chair-relief.com

A Good and Bad Massage Chair Story!

Elderly man
Elderly man

Jimmie R. bought an Omega Montage massage chair from us a couple of weeks ago. I just had to share his experience with you because it teaches some really good and bad lessons about massage chair usage.

We set up the chair, left some instructions with Jimmie on how to use the remote control and some of the other features, and then left him to his own “therapeutic designs”.

A week later, I visited with Jimmie and asked him how the new massage chair was working for him. He told me the following…

He had sat on the massage chair for 3 HOURS! Yes, you heard me right…3 straight, solid hours of massage chair therapy, on the first day! He then told me that he was sick for a week. I asked him if he had nausea, a cold, flu, headaches, or what. He said “Yes” to all of those symptoms. So, after sitting on a massage chair for 3 straight hours, he developed all kinds of “flu-like” symptoms that persisted for a week.

I asked him how he was doing now and he said fantastic. He said that his neck and arm pain that he had had for years was all gone. He said he never felt better! Isn’t that something?

So, I figure what happened was that he sat on the massage chair way too long, which unleashed lots of toxins from the muscles into his body (most bodies are not accustomed to massage when they receive it). These toxins have a nasty way of expressing themselves, as in the above list of symptoms suffered by our dear friend Jimmie. Then he felt great because the long and short of it is that massage from massage chairs actually is VERY THERAPEUTIC. Jimmie reaped the benefits of massage, but just in a far more difficult way than he actually had to experience them.

Here are the lessons learned:

1. Do not sit on a massage chair for 3 hours if you are not accustomed to the massage chair therapy. 10 – 20″ is just fine to start.
2. Drink plenty of non-carbonated beverages, i.e. water, after a massage chair session to minimize the toxin pain.
3. Expect to feel better, because your body really appreciates being massaged.
4. If you are sore after your first few massage chair sessions, don’t be discouraged. It is commonplace and you WILL feel better…I promise.

Thanks for the lessons Jimmie and I am sure glad you are loving your new massage chair.

Dr. Alan Weidner
www.massage-chair-relief.com

Trigger Points, Massage, and Massage Chairs

Massage session
Massage session

Have you been having bad headaches, pain and numbness in your arms or down your legs? Have you been experiencing sharp pain in your ribs or back when taking in a breath or just changing positions? You could have trigger points in your muscles sitting on nerve pathways causing this pain. Now while trigger points are not always the cause for these symptoms, before looking into surgery and/or taking heavy medication it may be worth it to schedule a massage session with a licensed massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue and trigger point therapy. Once you find out that you, in fact, have trigger points, then regular sessions on your massage chair will serve you greatly. You do not need to go too terribly frequently to a massage therapist if you have a massage chair in your home or business. Regular use of your massage chair has been shown to reduce muscle spasm and trigger points.

What is a trigger point you ask? The simple version is this; they are deposits left behind in a muscle that has sent a message to the brain that it has been injured, whether through repetitive strain or a traumatic injury. Once the brain receives the signal it sends out a distress call and several chemical mediators show up to the site. In the process of repair sometimes little “buildups” are left behind. These are what patients commonly call their “knots.” When a trigger point is sitting on a nerve it can cause localized or referred pain. That is why your headaches may be coming from your neck or shoulder pain could be from one in your back. They can form in any muscle, big or small. Not all trigger points are active there are some that are latent…these are masses that you can feel but they do not cause pain.

The good news is that although they can cause chronic conditions if not rubbed out and a lot of pain, once they are found and “worked” on by a skilled LMT or by your massage chair recliner, the painful symptoms should subside as well. So if you can endure the discomfort of a deep tissue/trigger point session, or if you can stand resting on your massage chair a couple of times a day for a while, you should feel better within a few days. Always remember to drink a lot of water after one of these sessions to flush out what the therapist or massage chiar has broken up and don’t be surprised if you feel a little bit worse before you feel better, but it’s worth it!

Steffanie Wistos, LMT
Commercial Sales Manager
www.massage-chair-relief.com

“Why Do I Hurt After My First Time On A Massage Chair?”

Mailbox
Mailbox

I hear this a lot. Many folks say that they hurt after their first session on a massage chair. You know, the long and short of it is your body is not used to the therapy…it is not used to having something good like a massage chair massage done to it. I see this all the time in our clinic: a patient comes in for treatment for low back pain and, after a spinal manipulation and a brief spot massage from our massage therapist, they are sore for the next day or so.

Remember how you felt after the shoveling snow after the first snowfall? Or how you felt after working in the yard for the first time in the spring? Or how you felt after going back to playing basketball or golf or bowling, when you hadn’t done it in quite some time? That is the same idea.

You are getting muscles involved by the massage chair that you aren’t used to having worked over. They have been asleep for a while. Nobody likes to get woken up from a comfortable sleep! Your muscles and joints are no different. They are used to same old postural position day after day and now you want to break up the party by massaging and mobilizing them. They are rebelling!! Plain and simple.

So, don’t worry if you have some soreness after a massage chair session. It may even hurt for the first 2-4 sessions, bu eventually your spine is going to get it and snap into shape. You will begin to feel better very soon. You may even notice some great benefits in the rest of your body, even though your muscles might be sore at first. For example, you might feel taller, more limber, or that you can breathe deeper, or that you are sleeping better.

As  my kids say, “It’s all good, Dad.” Hey, “it’s all good” for your spine, too. Just don’t give up on your chair…it will be easier with each passing day. You are going to love your new massage chair. I guarantee it! If you have some other symptoms, besides just some sore muscles, you can always go to your doctor and get a check-up to make sure everything is up to snuff in the rest of your body. You will most likely know the difference between sore muscles and other “stuff”…you know your body.

Dr. Alan Weidner
www.massage-chair-relief.com