Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – January 2, 2019”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – August 14, 2018”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – April 13, 2018”
Transcript of Video Titled “Thad Gerber – Massage Chair Relief Customer Interview”
Customer Question #1
I had a friend, who lives in Salt Lake City, visit your store this summer and he evaluated and recommended the Panasonic MA73 and Inada DreamWave massage chairs. Would you recommend one over the other for reliability, form or function?
I am in my 60’s and long ago realized you usually get what you pay for so buy once and buy right.
My Response #1
The DreamWave and MA73 are pretty equal as far as quality goes. Each has different features, pros and cons. Here are some things to consider:
1. Rollers are more vigorous on the MA73.
2. Heated rollers on the MA73, low back heating element in the DreamWave.
3. The MA73 has shoulder airbags, the DreamWave has upper arm airbags.
4. The Inada has the dreamwave technology where the seat moves from side to side and up and down, while the thigh airbags are inflating to massage the
IlioTibial Bands and the rollers are hitting the low back. The MA73 does not have this feature, although it does have thigh airbags and a good low back roller massage.
5. The DreamWave has 100 airbags vs. 33 airbags in the MA73.
6. Stretch program is superior in the DreamWave (IMHO).
7. Arm airbag massage is superior in the MA73 (IMHO).
8. The DreamWave has the cervical traction device, which is a fancy title for the headpiece. That headpiece has airbags that massage the neck and compress on top of the shoulders.
9. The rollers of the MA73 actually reach up and over the top of the trapezia muscles at the top of the shoulders. The DreamWave uses airbags from the headpiece to massage the traps.
10. Both chairs have 3D roller massage technology (in other words, you can adjust the depth of the rollers for a more or less vigorous massage).
11. Customer support and warranty support for both chairs is now being handled by Furniture For Life, which is the distributor for both Inada and Panasonic in the USA. They actually send out a technician to repair your chair should anything go wrong with it.
12. Both chairs have 3 years parts and labor warranties and a less than 1% failure rate. Both chairs should also last you 15+ years. Great quality!!
I hope this helps. Let me know if these points bring up any other questions. I am always here at your disposal. One last thing…the DreamWave is a little better for taller bodies (can handle up to 6’5″ tall), whereas the MA73 is ideal for folks up to 6’3″.
Customer Question #2
Hi, I was wondering which massage chairs would you recommend for someone 5’10” to 6’4″, weighing 164 lbs to 200 lbs. Also for someone who works out at the gym so my shoulder and leg muscles can change. Has a deep tissue massage and for someone who has lumbar strain and neck and shoulder pain. These are the chairs I like: the Osaki JP Premium 4.0, Apex Ultra, uKnead Lavita, and the Infinity IT-8500.
My Response #2
Thanks for your email. All the chairs you mention are great chairs. They will all provide a good neck and shoulder massage. If you want a chair with the L-track, though, plus a good neck and shoulder massage, go with the uKnead Lavita. That is one of our top selling models right now and does a good all around job on the whole body.
The IT-8500 is an awesome chair, especially for the neck and shoulder area. The foot rollers are great and the stretch program is fantastic for anyone.
The Ultra will be too small for someone who is over 6’2″ tall, although it has a great neck and shoulder massage and a strong overall massage.
The Osaki JP Premium 4.0 is a good quality chair. Made in Japan, it is a better quality chair than all the other options you’re looking at. It is not ideal for someone over 6′ tall, so you might need to try it out before buying it to make sure it fits. It is manufactured by Fujiiryoki, the oldest massage chair company in the world.
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to email or call me at 801-651-2026. I am always at your disposal.
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.
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:
- Right off the bat, especially lined up with our other massage chairs, I noticed how much smaller
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- One feature that is lacking in most massage chairs is the arm massage. The Inada Nest offers a
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The air cells that inflate underneath the soles of the feet feel fantastic. None of the Inada chairs,
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.
- 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
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.
Customer Question #1
What are the differences (as far as the massage’s outcome is concerned) between the S-track and the L-track massage chairs?
My Response #1
The major difference between the L-Track and S-Track chairs is that the L-Track will provide a roller massage to muscles that heretofore have only been addressed with airbags. The roller massage is far superior for typically problematic muscles like the piriformis and gluts.
Of course, it is important to understand that the L-Track chairs also have the S-Track incorporated in each chair. The rollers in the chair back follow the S-Track, while the rollers extending into the buttocks and top of the hamstrings constitute the so called L-Track.
Customer Question #2
Hi Dr. Alan, One question please. What chair brand/model is good for working on the top section of the body? Panasonic MA73 or Dreamwave Classic? Gabriel
My Response #2
Thanks for your email. Great question. I’d have to say that both are equally as effective in the neck region. When you take off the headpiece from the DreamWave and increase the intensity of the rollers it has a very strong neck massage. The MA73 has a more vigorous default neck massage, plus you can increase the intensity as well. When both chairs are at maximum intensity in the neck region, they are quite similar.
The roller mechanism of the MA73 does a better job on the traps, as the rollers move forward a bit on the shoulders before they go up the neck. However, the DreamWave has airbags in the headpiece that inflate down onto the shoulders and it mimics the elbow of a massage therapist digging into your shoulders. So, both chairs hit the trap muscles, but the MA73 does it with rollers while the DreamWave does it with airbags. But, both are good.
As far as the upper back goes, both do a very adequate job. Again, you’d want to remove the headpiece (and attached back pad) from the DreamWave to get maximum intensity in the upper back.
Customer Question #3
I have been researching massage chairs for a while now. I have a little iJoy chair and I am definitely ready for an upgrade. I was medically retired from the military after have four vertebrae fused and still need about six more done. Carpal tunnel surgery on one wrist and waiting on the other. I have severe nerve damage mostly on my rt side. I have Degenerative Disk Disease, and was just diagnosed with progressive rheumatoid arthritis. I am getting a new shoulder next month. Several years ago my wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and about three years ago diagnosed with Lupus and the doctors say she has probably had it for 16 years. We make quite the pair. Worst of all our son may have scoliosis, we find out tomorrow. We need a chair that will have a smooth deep tissue for my back and neck. I think the airbags would be best for my wife due to the sensitivity of her skin, muscles and just all over body pain. The rollers are too painful. For my son I have seen some chairs that stretch and the seat swivels to help align the spine. What would you suggest? Is there a chair that does it all and won’t break the bank? Thanks for any help you can offer.
My Response #3
Your family has certainly had it’s share of health issues. I am so sorry to hear about it all. I think each one of you will enjoy a massage chair. I might suggest taking a look at the Infinity IT-8500 massage chair. It has a very vigorous back and neck massage, which would be great for you and your son, but will be too vigorous, at least in the beginning, for your wife. But, you can just turn on all the airbags and let them work her over gently. Then, when she is ready for rollers, you can turn on one of the auto programs or the stretch program. That chair also has the swivel seat and the shoulder airbags that pin the shoulders back to enhance posture correction and a great stretch. You and your son will both love that feature.
You could also go all out and get the iconic DreamWave Classic, which is more expensive but a fabulous chair, built with exceptional quality. It has a full body airbag massage program, but also has a much more gently default roller massage, which your wife might like right off the bat. But, for you and/or your son, you can crank up the roller intensity to give you a very vigorous and deep massage. It also has the DreamWave technology in the seat that moves the seat from side to side and up and down.
I hope this helps!
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.
Some news recently that you might want to know about:
- Furniture For Life (FFL) is now the USA distributor for Panasonic massage chairs. FFL is the mother company for Inada and their collateral companies. Panasonic’s customer support will still take care of any chair problems under warranty for the first year of this relationship and, after that, FFL will take care of the warranty work for the Panasonic chairs. From what I understand the 3 year parts and labor + 2 additional years of parts only coverage warranty will remain the same.
I like this change for two reasons: 1.) The folks at FFL are the same folks who handle all the Inada orders. These orders will be processed promptly and efficiently. I think it’s pretty spot on to say that Panasonic order processing was cumbersome and slow, at best, when Panasonic took care of it, and 2.) Previously, Panasonic did not have an in-home repair warranty. Panasonic chairs had to be repaired by Panasonic Authorized Service Centers. If you didn’t have an Authorized Service Center near you…tough beans! We sell a fair amount of the Panasonic MA73 massage chair and this became somewhat frustrating. Now, the same folks who take care of Inada chairs will also take care of the Panasonic chairs. Both of these reasons will add up to one thing – better customer experience! Chairs will ship out/deliver quicker and repairs can be done in home. I think this is a great move by Panasonic and I think the Inada folks are a fantastic choice to manage it.
- Human Touch is following on the heels of their Novo XT deployment with a new
ZeroG model…the ZeroG 3.0 massage chair. After having introduced the newer, more sophisticated ZeroG 5.0, they had recently discontinued the ZeroG 2.0 and 4.0, which had an older body style. The ZeroG 3.0 fits that void. It looks like the 5.0 but with a few less features, like the 3.0 does not have the warm air heat feature, has 3 vs. 4 auto programs, and does not have the Body Map Pro feature for manual massage settings. If you are looking for a well priced, smaller massage chair with a quality build, the ZeroG chairs are perfect.
- Inada increased the price of their DreamWave to $8999. That change happened on April 1st of this
year, but we didn’t learn about it until a couple of weeks ago. I’m a little surprised that it’s price has jumped yet again, but if it continues to sell…more power to them!
- We had a flooding incident 4 weeks ago in our Southern California showroom and we had to shut it down for 3 weeks to dry out and make some repairs. We opened back up last week, but the carpet still hasn’t been replaced and the walls haven’t been repaired yet. However, at least you can go to the showroom now and try out chairs. I am very sorry for this inconvenience; I know many folks dropped by when it was closed and left without being able to try out our chairs.
- Johnson Wellness massage chairs are now back on the market under the Johnson Wellness name. If you recall, we used to carry their chairs and even had one in my Utah showroom. However, shortly after that, we were notified that we couldn’t have their chairs on our website anymore and they began selling their chairs under the Human Touch, Osaki, and Fujita brand names. That went on for 1-2 years but has since stopped. They are going back to distributing their chairs under their own name again and we will most likely begin carrying them again within the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted!Dr. Alan WeidnerP.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.
The motivation behind writing this article about massage chairs for tall bodies is two-fold:
- I get lots of calls and visits from folks who are looking for a massage chair that can fit AND fully massage someone quite tall, and
- Many chairs claim to fit folks this tall, but really fail to in a very big way, which I will explain in this article.
In our showrooms, we carry chairs that will cater to all kinds of body types, but there are only a few solid choices if you are 6’3″ or taller. Lots of chairs say that they will fit someone that tall or taller, and they usually do fit that size of a body. But, here is the kicker – although you may fit in one of those chairs, many of them will not have a roller track that will reach the neck area of your spine. In other words, yes, the chair will fit your body, but the massage itself will not reach your neck, let alone massage it. In my experience, you will certainly be left wanting.
So, just because you may read online literature that tells you that a chair can fit someone who is 6’3″ or taller, don’t believe that the chair will massage your neck. If you don’t care about a neck massage from your massage chair, pretty much any chair will “fit” you. But, if you want a good neck massage, MAKE SURE that the chair you are considering buying actually will provide a massage high enough up your back to reach your neck.
Here are some excellent choices of chairs that will handle the taller bodies AND still give you a good or great neck massage:
- Infinity IT-8500 or Infinity IT-8500X3 – This Chinese-made chair claims to fit someone who is 6’5″ tall and, by
golly, it really does! This has been our go-to chair for taller folks for years not just because it can fit taller people and truly give the user a great neck massage, but also because it provides a great overall massage experience, including arguably the best stretch feature of any chair and a strong, intense, deep tissue roller massage. The foot rollers are great too.
- Inada DreamWave – This Japanese model does a great job on folks up to 6’4″ tall, and that means a great neck massage. It has the headpiece which will give an aircell massage to the neck, but it also has rollers underneath the headpiece that can offer a whole different, more vigorous neck massage as well. This chair also has break-away side arms, which allow for very broad shouldered and broad chested users.
- Luraco iRobotics 7 – This American-made chair claims to fit folks as tall as 6’7″. Although it will FIT folks that tall, it will not give a good neck massage to someone that tall. It will miss most of your neck. However, for 6’3″ or 6’4″, it does a great job on the neck. This chair also has a dual roller system, as opposed to the more popular quad roller system, which will also provide you with a very methodical and deep neck massage.
- Human Touch Novo XT – This Chinese-made chair is stated in the literature to fit someone as tall as 6’9″! That sounds impressive, but it will certainly not massage the neck of someone that tall. However, it is one of the few L-track chairs that will reach the neck of someone as tall 6’3″. This chair also has a 3D L-track to boot, currently the only 3D L-track chair we carry!
- Ogawa SMART 3D – This is Chinese chair maker Ogawa’s top of the line chair and it’s literature states that it will fit
someone 6’4″ tall. I don’t have this model in my Utah showroom so I can’t prove it myself, but we do have it in our Southern California showroom and my manager there assures me, through in-store customer experience, that it will fit someone 6’3″ – 6’4″ tall, just as the literature suggests.
- Infinity Iyashi – Another Infinity chair that will handle a bigger body. The Iyashi claims to fit folks as tall as 6’6″ tall. Based on my personal experience with this chair, I would have to agree. Although the neck massage itself is a bit weak compared to others on this list, the rollers will certainly hit the neck of the taller bodies, i.e. 6’3″ +.
So, there you have a good list of chairs that will fit you or a tall loved one. Feel free to give us a call if you want to find out what other chairs might be able to handle. We are always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Customer Question #1
This site is amazing. I just can’t decide which chair to buy. I have been looking most closely at the Inada Dreamwave, Panasonic MA73, and Osaki 3D Pro Dreamer. I sit at the computer most of the day and get back pain (upper and lower) and lots of tightness around the shoulders, I also get very tight in the illiotibial area. I like tons of pressure when I get massages. Any recommendations on the chairs I am looking at or suggestions as to others to look at? Thank you so much.
My Response #1
The chairs that have the best IlioTibial band airbag massage are the Inada DreamWave and the
Panasonic MA73. Although the Osaki Dreamer has hip airbags they are designed to hold the hips in place to accentuate the low back roller massage. Those airbags don’t really do much to the IT Bands. All of those chairs, however, will give you a great shoulder/upper back massage along with a good lumbar massage.
Two other chairs you might consider would be the Infinity IT-8500, which is our most popular chinese-made chair. This model has a great neck and shoulder massage and is among our most intense and vigorous massage chairs. We also now have this new Titan Alpine chair that has the extended roller that goes down into the butt and top of the hamstrings. It offers an awesome lower back/hip/buttock massage. This extended L-Track has become the next big thing in massage chairs because finally massage chairs can offer roller massage to the buttock area, which has heretofore only been addressed by airbags in the seat. By the way, although both of these chairs have great massages, neither really does much for the IT Bands.
Customer Question #2
Hi Dr. Alan,
I liked your report, there are so many options and features in the chairs out there, it is good to get some condensed information as is in your report.
I recently started looking for a chair and one very important feature, probably number one in my book would be to have the chair work as much of my thigh area (from glutes to behind the knee) as possible. As such, it seems like the L track models would be the best, from what I’ve seen the Titan 8400 seems to have one of the longest travel lengths.
With that said, how would you describe how far below the glutes it would travel?
Any other thoughts in this area?
I know the Titan is a newer brand name for you to carry, what has your experience been with them?
Are there any new features in the thigh area coming out soon from other models/chair manufacturers?
Thanks very much, I appreciate your input.
My Response #2
Thanks for your email. The L-Track of the 8400 extends to the top of the hamstrings on me, and I am about 5’9″ tall. For a shorter-legged person, it may extend even further down. The new Titan TP-Pro Alpine has a similar roller track and hits about the same area. These new Titans along with the Infinity Iyashi (the original extended roller track massage chair) have become quite popular because of the L-track. It is a great feature for folks with low back, pelvic,and or gluteal issues.
Although Titan is a new category for us, they have been around for quite some time. These new models
are an upgrade over previous, cheaper models and that is why we have begun carrying them. They are owned and imported by the same company that produces the Osaki chairs. I have had plenty of dealings with them.
You might also take a look at the uKnead Lavita massage chair, which has a longer L-track than most and seems to reach down to the belly of my hamstrings. It isn’t much more money than the 8400 but seems to do quite a bit more and reach a little further.
Customer Question #3
Dear Dr. Weidner,
First of all, I cannot thank you enough for using your contacts to try and negotiate the situation with Panasonic. I must admit I am finding this imbroglio quite instructive.
So school is about to start again—I’m pursuing post-baccalaureate studies to earn credit toward a Master’s program I’m applying for–and I need a working chair in order to treat rather severe back spasms (and thus spare opioid analgesics).
Now, I am considering the Inada Dreamwave versus the Inada Flex. I know that the Flex does not have the function that mobilises the lumbar vertebrae: but might you be able to explain to me the advantages of the “Dreamwave Technology”; and, what is your opinion as to the clinical mechanism by which it exerts the analgesic effect?
And might you be able to help me think about how the Dreamwave and the Flex compare in other respects?
As always, I am grateful for your assistance. Your help has been invaluable. Please let me know how I can implement my testimonial to your greatest advantage (facebook?).
My Response #3
Thanks for your email. Before I answer your questions, I will just let you know that Panasonic requested
your address and phone number yesterday because they will have someone calling you (this week, I suspect) to arrange pick up of your chair to repair it. I have been rather impressed with Ellison’s response to your issues. I hope you feel the same.
Now, regarding the DreamWave and Flex, I actually wrote a 2-part comparative review of these chairs. You can check out both parts here:
The DreamWave program of the chair actually involves a number of different components:
- The DreamWave feature itself, which is the seat moving up and down and side to side, through a sophisticated deployment of airbags, to mobilize the pelvis and lumbar spine. This is very soothing, particularly for someone in acute low back pain,
- The thigh airbags inflate to massage the IlioTibial Bands, which are invariably tight in folks with low back, hip, or knee pain. Not many chairs actually dig into the IT Bands, the DreamWave being one of them,
- Waist airbags inflate to rotate the lumbar spine, and
- The rollers work over the lumbar spine. One of the great features of the DreamWave is how low the rollers go. Not including the new extended L-Track chairs, the DreamWave goes lower into the sacral area than any other chair I know. You will love that about the chair.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – August 11, 2016”
L-track is a relatively new phenomenon, first introduced in a brand name chair with the Infinity Iyashi about 3 years ago. It has become, in my opinion, one of the best feature additions to the massage chair industry in years. The L-track is a name given to a the feature otherwise known as the extended roller track.
All chairs prior to the introduction of the L-track, had a roller track that began at the neck and then went down to the lower back and, in many instances, the top of the gluteal muscles (butt muscles!). The longest track I’d seen in the traditional roller track configuration was 32″…still is. That seemed to be the longest track that could be created to hit the entire back from neck to the top of the pelvis.
I might also add that the roller tracks of which I am speaking were designed in a sinusoidal shape, in other words, an S-shape. Thus the term “S-track” had become quite popular when describing this roller track. This design was for matching the shape of the spine, which has forward curvatures in the neck and low back, and reverse curvatures in the mid back and pelvis. Without the S-track development, the user would not get a full, optimal massage of the two forward curves, i.e. the neck and low back, which, incidentally, just happen to be the two areas for which most folks are looking for help and pain relief.
The S-track was great for offering roller massage therapy along the curvatures of the spine DOWN TO the low back. But, what was available for the region below the low back, i.e. the butt and hamstrings? All that was available was the same technology that was used on the legs, feet, arms and hands…airbags to compress and passively move the pelvis. Now, I will admit the airbags passive motion and compression is better than nothing for the pelvic region, but those airbags really did very little in the way of significant therapeutic massage for those muscles.
Inada introduced it’s “DreamWave” technology in 2009, with the Inada Sogno DreamWave massage chair, which was a fascinating innovation at that time. In a nutshell, the DreamWave technology was passive motion of the seat from side to side, in conjunction with waist and IlioTibial Band airbags working in concert to passively move the hips from side to side and up and down. Brilliant! As a chiropractor who had dealt with countless severe low back pain patients, this innovative design was a phenomenal idea for passive motion to an area that no therapist could directly manipulate because of the intense pain of the patient.
Many chairs have imitated and copied the DreamWave technology. You may see it named differently by different massage chair companies, i.e. “swing”, “slide”, or just plain old “seat massage”.
Although this DreamWave technology was and is fantastic, it did not directly massage any of the muscles in the gluteal area. Now, what is it important to try to massage those muscles you ask? What’s the big deal?
Well, I would propose three reasons:
- Gluteal muscles – these are the some of the largest muscles of the body and get used every time you stand, sit, walk, run, or shift the position of your body. They are typically weak in most postural problems, but they also tend to have trigger points in them, which are localized muscles spasms that can cause significant pain and discomfort when manipulated and, in some cases, refer pain distant to the area of spasm.
- Piriformis muscles – These are often the little known culprits of sciatica pain, which is a very common malady seen in a chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapist offices. WebMD defines sciatica as “anything that puts pressure on or irritates this nerve (sciatic nerve) can cause pain that shoots down the back of one buttock or thigh. The sensation of pain can vary widely. Sciatica may feel like a mild ache; a sharp, burning sensation; or extreme discomfort. Sciatica can also cause feelings of numbness, weakness, and tingling.” That “anything” that can put pressure on the sciatic nerve can be a herniated disk, degenerative/arthritic bone spurs, or entrapment/impingement by the piriformis muscles (one on each side of your body). In my clinical experience, it is not uncommon to see this type of sciatica in women who have gone through the pregnancy experience. The pelvis actually changes configuration with the growth of the fetus, as the hip bones tend to flair out. That change in configuration lends itself to biomechanical changes to the body and, thus, trigger points to the piriformis muscles and entrapment or impingement of the sciatic nerve. Of course, I saw piriformis muscles problems in men, too, as a result of other onsets of biomechanical strain. The bottom line is that it can be very painful!
- Hamstring muscles – these muscles run from the pelvic area down the back of the leg to the knee area. Most, if not all, of you have heard of a hamstring injury. Well, the hamstring is typically a very tight muscle in most folks. It can restrict the motion of your lower body quadrant when ambulating (walking or running), which can lead to other issues like low back pain.
Massage chairs have not addressed these muscles very well in years gone by. Airbags are great, but they will not effectively offer therapeutic massage to these muscles groups that rollers will. Until now…
This is where the L-track roller massage really helps.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that the traditional S-track roller track configuration went from the top of the spine to the bottom of the spine. The L-track was designed to go beyond that low back area and hit the very muscles I just described. The L-track continues on down the body beyond the low back to hit these butt muscles and offer therapeutic roller massage to those oft-neglected muscles. That is why it is called an L-track…because it goes beyond the back and runs under the seat, in an L shape.
These new models with the L-track rollers will, at the very least, massage the gluteal muscles, the piriformis muscles, and the head of the hamstring muscles. We are now beginning to see chairs with even longer roller tracks, like the new uKnead Lavita massage chair, that are actually hitting/massaging the belly of the hamstrings. Instead of roller track lengths of only 30-32″, we are seeing in these L-track chairs roller track lengths of up to 51-53″ long.
I mentioned at the very beginning of this article that I thought the L-track was the greatest innovation in the massage chair industry in years. The reason I feel that is because of the therapeutic effect this feature has on the three groups of muscles, heretofore mentioned. If you have low back/buttock/sciatica pain, the L-track feature will have a far greater chance of helping you out than the traditional S-track chair. Those rollers will hit muscles you didn’t even know you had! Once you sit on an L-track chair you will know exactly what I mean.
I will just mention that today’s L-track chairs ALSO still have the S-track configuration from the neck to the low back. The roller track just goes beyond the traditional S-track configuration to the under the seat. So, you may hear folks say that a chair is either an S-track or an L-track chair. That is an easy way to differentiate the two, but REMEMBER that an L-track chair always has the S-track configuration, as well.
I hope this was beneficial!
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – July 5, 2016”
In Part 1 of this comparative review of these two top selling, high end massage chairs, I discussed the similarities between the two. Here, in Part 2, I discuss the all-important differences between the DreamWave Classicand the Luraco iRobotics 7 massage chair:
DreamWave Classic vs. Luraco iRobotics 7 Differences
- Upper Arm/Shoulder Massage – DreamWave deploys aircells for shiatsu, sequential massage of the
upper arm. These aircells compress the bicep muscles and region of your arm. Luraco uses airbags to pin the shoulders back for postural manipulation as well as providing a more enhanced stretch program. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Hip/Thigh Airbag Massage – Both chairs use airbags to compress against the outer aspect of the thigh (IlioTibial Bands – ITB’s). These serve two purposes: a.) to help move the hips from side to side while the seat swivels and the waist airbags inflate to induce a rotation of the lower back, and b.) to provide a trigger point massage to the ITB’s. They both do quite well with the former purpose, but the DreamWave does a better job at massaging the ITB’s. Advantage: DreamWave
- Headpiece/Trapezia Massage – DreamWave pioneered what they call the “Cervical Traction Device”. This is the headpiece of the chair and is full of airbags that massage the neck with aircells as well as provide a compression massage to the traps and a tractioning of the neck. It is a wonderful feature of the DreamWave. The iRobotics 7 has a horseshoe shaped headpiece that has airbags that inflate down onto the traps, however, it is nothing close to that of the DreamWave. It does inflate but I don’t recollect it doing much to the traps, also attested to by discriminating users of the chair. Advantage: DreamWave
- Ease of Body Positioning – With the iRobotics 7, all you need to do is sit down in the chair, turn it on, and you’re ready to go. The DreamWave requires some special time and attention to get the body positioned “just right” so as to have the above-mentioned headpiece laying snugly upon the shoulders. Otherwise, the head will be awkwardly positioned and the user will not get the full benefit of the trapezia airbag compression massage/neck traction. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Quad Rollers vs. Dual Rollers – As I mentioned in Part 1, the DreamWave uses quad rollers while the iRobotics 7 uses dual rollers. The advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it, is that the pressure from the rollers is dispersed among the 4 rollers moreso than the dual rollers. This means that the intensity of the dual rollers will be greater when the rollers move up and down your spine. The quad rollers disperses the roller pressure among 4 heads thus attenuating the intensity and making the rollers more gently overall. If you are looking for a more intense massage range, the iRobotics 7 is the chair for you. If you are looking for a more gentle, relaxing massage, the DreamWave is, generally speaking, a better choice. Advantage: both (depending on needs and wants of the user)
- Software Updates – DreamWave brings it’s chairs fully assembled in from Japan. All the engineering and production is done in Japan. What was packed in the box in Japan, is what you get upon delivery to your home. If there is a change or improvement in the operating software of the chair, the changes need to be made in Japan and then integrated into the next chair build. It could take months before the changes are available in North America. Luraco, on the other hand, has engineers here in the USA at their Dallas headquarters who build all the software of the chair. When software needs to be updated, improved, fixed, or changed, it can be done promptly here in the USA and the change can be deployed into the marketplace almost immediately. It is quite fascinating to see how quickly Luraco can improve upon their chair. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Music System – Although not a game changer or deal breaker for most massage chair buyers, it should be noted that the DreamWave does not have a music system integrated into the chair. The iRobotics 7 has an MP3 music system, though a little archaic with SD card functionality, built into the chair. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Zero Gravity – For some strange reason, none of the Japanese chairs we carry, be they DreamWave,
Panasonic, or the Osaki JP chair series, have the zero gravity feature. This goes for the mechanical foot rollers too, which I’ll discuss in #9 below. As a brief review, zero gravity refers to chair positioning where the seat is tilted up at a 30 degree angle and the articulation between the seat and chair back is 120 degrees. This positioning is considered zero gravity because the weight of the user’s body is more evenly distributed so that there are no pressure points in anyone spot of the body moreso than another. The iRobotics has this feature, the DreamWave does not. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Mechanical Foot Rollers – As I mentioned in #8, none of the Japanese massage chairs have mechanical foot rollers, which is a feature that most chair shoppers want in their new chair. Although the DreamWave has a great airbag massage of the feet, it does not have the foot rollers under the soles of the feet. The iRobotics 7 does have this feature and it is very good in this model. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- # of Auto Programs – The iRobotics 7 has 9 programs. Until the DreamWave upgrade in 2014, it only had 8 programs. But, since 2014, the DreamWave has a different variation of each of the original 8 programs, thus now providing a total of 16 auto program options available to the user. Advantage: DreamWave
- Remote Control – Of course, both chairs have a remote control, but the iRobotics 7 uses an interface that is just like a SMART phone, i.e. touch screen, icons to press for each function/program. It is very different from all the other remotes out there and I would have to say that the remote control of the iRobotics 7 is much more intuitive and easy to use than pretty much all other remote controls. Inada has a pretty easy to use remote as well, but it is not as intuitive as that of the iRobotics 7. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Memory Capability – More and more chairs are coming out with a memory function wherein the user can have the chair “remember” a particular auto or custom program for easy use the next time that user gets into the chair. I think it’s a great idea and I fully expect more and more chairs to have this feature. With this feature, you don’t have to set up your program every time you sit in the chair or even go through the 2-minute scan again when you go to use the chair next time. It is all there ready to go simply by pressing the button representing the saved program and your chair begins that program immediately. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Massage Stroke Length – DreamWave lists their roller track length at 28.4 inches; Luraco lists the iRobotics 7 roller track massage stroke length as 32″. The advantage, if you’re just looking at the numbers, clearly goes to the Luraco chair. However, my experience from sitting on the two chairs quite a bit is very different. The roller track on the DreamWave seems to go just as low, if not lower, than that of the iRobotics 7. It also hits the top of my neck just as readily as does the iRobotics 7. So, I don’t know if the number of inches represents a different measurement for each manufacturer, but the length seems similar during actual use. Advantage: both
- Calf Massage – The iRobotics 7 uses two massage segments to massage the calf area, whereas the DreamWave, like most other chairs, uses only one segment. This lends to a better “grab” of the calves during the stretch program of the iRobotics 7 as well as a more comprehensive area coverage of the calves. You will feel airbags compressing your legs all the way up the knees and all the way down to the ankles. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- User Height & Weight – The DreamWave lists the optimal height range of a user as 4’11” to 6’5″. Luraco lists the range as 4’7″ to 6’7″ for the iRobotics 7. Both chairs can handle tall and short body frames, but the edge goes to the Luraco chair. The recommended user weight of the iRobotics 7 is 300 lbs; that of the DreamWave is 285 lbs. Advantage: iRobotics
There are plenty of other subtle differences between these two very popular chairs, but the ones I’ve listed are the principle ones. I hope this helps you with your decision making process. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can do so by clicking on this link…
DreamWave Classic vs. Luraco iRobotics 7 Comparative Review Part 1
Dr. Alan Weidner
P.S. You can visit our blog/article library anytime to get the latest massage chair information…
When folks shop for a high end massage chair, they usually end up trying to decide between the Luraco iRobotics 7 massage chair and the DreamWave Classic. The DreamWave has been at the top of the heap, when it comes to high end massage chairs, for as long as I can remember. It was introduced to the US market in 2009 and skyrocketed to the top right away. It was definitely a winner the moment it arrived.
In September 2014, it was updated with some new features and a new price point. Despite it’s perennially high price point, it has steadfastly remained our most popular selling high end massage chair. One of the reasons it has been so successful is because of it’s combination of a wonderfully innovative feature-set and the fact that the chair was assembled, and partly manufactured, in Japan (some Chinese components).
In July 2015, Luraco introduced it’s iRobotics 7 chair. A US made and assembled chair (with some Taiwanese-made components), it immediately became a big seller for us and for Luraco. It provided another alternative to the DreamWave Classic, as well as another high end alternative to the traditionally lesser quality Chinese chairs. Unlike all competing Japanese-made massage chairs, the iRobotics 7 included mechanical foot rollers, zero gravity, and a music system among it’s rich feature-set. This chair just seemed to captivate the interest and imagination of the discriminating massage chair buyer. We currently see it outselling the DreamWave in our local showrooms.
So, I’ve been thinking a long time about penning a comparative review of the two chairs, since they are both so popular. I finally got off my fat duff and am bringing this info to you now. I hope you find this review of their similarities and differences helpful in the process of your due diligence to choose the right chair for you. Part 1 will review the similarities and Part 2 will cover the differences. In both articles, I will mention which chair has the advantage, based on the literature, my personal observations, and feedback from customers.
DreamWave Classic vs. Luraco iRobotics 7 Similarities:
- S-Track – The L-track chairs have become quite the popular models as of late, but the traditional S-track chairs are still the most common. Both the DreamWave and iRobotics 7 massage chairs are purely S-track chairs. The roller track ends at the top of the buttocks area. The length of the roller track is different in each chair, but I’ll get into those in the “Differences” section. Advantage: both
- 100+ Airbags – Both chairs boast over 100 airbags/air cells, but, to be totally honest, if you didn’t know where these large amount of airbags were deployed in each model, you’d never guess that they have so many. It is just a number to most folks who sit on various massage chairs since you’d never really know about the number unless someone tells you. The DreamWave employs quite a few airbags in their Cervical Traction Device (headpiece) and their DreamWave technology in the seat and low back. The iRobotics 7 employs more in the leg massage area as well as the shoulder airbags. Advantage: both
- 3D Roller Technology – Both chairs give the user the ability to adjust the intensity of the roller massage, although they both go about it in a different way. The DreamWave uses airbag technology to move the body further away from and closer to the roller track, to simulate the 3D effect. On the other hand, the iRobotics 7 actually moves the rollers forward and back, into and away from the user’s body, making that technology a little bit more sophisticated. The bottom line is that the 3D technology is a similarity, but the mechanism for deploying it is different from one model to the other. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Vibration – The vibration feature is not a common feature, although intuitively you would consider vibration as a massage modality. However, the DreamWave and iRobotics 7 both have this feature and both chairs give you the option to turn it off if you don’t want to use it. Advantage: both
- Shiatsu Program – Both chairs have an auto program that provides shiatsu massage. Again, not all chairs offer shiatsu as a massage option, but you can get that auto program on both of these models. Advantage: both
- 170 Degree Reclining Angle – Most massage chairs will recline to 170 degrees or more, as do these two models. The deep reclining angle is particularly useful in the stretch programs. The difference is in the zero gravity seat positioning, which is only available in the iRobotics 7. I’ll go into that feature in the “Differences” section. Advantage: both
- Stretch Program – 90% of the chairs in the market have some form of a stretch program. The DW and i7 use a full recline in their stretch programs accompanied by a leg pull by the calf and foot airbags. It is a great stretch program. The advantage of the i7 is that it uses shoulder airbags to pin the shoulders back and double calf airbag segments during the program to enhance the stretch. Advantage: both
- 3 Years Parts & Labor Warranty – The Japanese and American chairs typically have a better warranty than the Chinese-made chairs. These two models both have a 3 years parts and labor, in-home warranty, with the iRobotics 7 also coming with 2 additional years of parts (thus making it a 5 year limited warranty). And I will say, from personal experience, that the customer support from both companies is outstanding. Advantage: iRobotics 7
- Body Scan Technology – Both chairs employ comprehensive body scan technologies. Chinese-made chairs are notorious for limiting their body scan to locating the top of the shoulders and the skull so that the rollers don’t go too high up the head or too low on the neck at the apex of the roller track. The i7 and DW use a more sophisticated body scan technology wherein the actual shape of the user’s spine is mapped out and the rollers applied based on the body “mapping.” This makes for a more accurate full body scan and full body roller massage experience. Incidentally, the body scan process takes less than a minute on the DreamWave and close to two minutes on the iRobotics 7. Advantage: DreamWave (based on time)
- Seat Massage – Both chairs utilize airbags in the seat portion of their chairs and both create a swivel motion of the seat from side to side. The DreamWave technology is a bit more sophisticated when it comes to seat motion and passive motion of the lower quadrant of the spine. For example, the seat moves from side to side and up and down in a figure 8 motion. Both of these models have airbags that inflate the seat segmentally, as well. Advantage: DreamWave
In Part 2, I will go over the “Differences” between the DreamWave Classic and the Luruco iRobotics 7 massage chairs.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – June 3, 2016”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – May 20, 2016”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – April 21, 2016”
Customer Question #1a
I have been searching for a good massage chair, but I’m having trouble deciding which chair would be best for me.
Over the years I have tried the basic Panasonic, and brief demos of the newer technology chairs, but I have been disappointed. I’m trying to find a chair that can duplicate the feel and beneficial effects of a human massage on my main trouble spots: back, shoulders, and neck.
I tried using the comparison feature on your website, but it did not help me narrow down my search. Can you recommend a specific model that would solve my issue?
My Response #1a
Thank you for your email. Feedback from visitors to my showroom is that the DreamWave Classic massage chair comes the most close to mimicking human hands. It has some versatility as far as the neck and shoulders are concerned…a headpiece that has airbag massage of the neck and traps or rollers to give the neck and upper back a good, stiff massage. It also has a great low back massage. Check it out here…
Customer Question #1b
Thanks for the fast response Alan. I see why you recommend DreamWave; the specs and number of testimonials are very impressive.
One concern I still have: DreamWave uses Airbag pressure to do a lot of the functions. In the past when I briefly tried similar chairs, the Air cylinders held my neck or arms in place, but did not seem to really relax my muscles like an intense roller (or human hands) could do. Is there any airbag technology difference between DreamWave and the other high end chairs?
My Response #1b
Yes the DreamWave uses a lot of airbags but aside from the traditional use of airbags in other chairs and uses them a little more creatively…
1. airbags in the headpiece are used to massage the neck and offer compression onto the trap muscles…something we don’t really see in any other chair.
2. airbags on the lateral aspect of the thighs actually offer a pretty deep massage of the IlioTibial Bands…again, something we don’t see very much of. Most other chairs use the hip airbags simply to hold the hips in place while the rollers go up and down the lumbar spine. But, in the DreamWave the airbags actually perform a compression massage.
3. airbags are used to move the seat up and down and side to side…this is what the term “DreamWave” actually alludes to. This is the first chair to use airbags in the seat to introduce passive motion to the low back and pelvis. Again, quite unique and innovative.
4 waist airbags are used to move both sides of the low back forward, simulating a rotation or “twist” of the lumbar spine. Very innovative in this industry…but now everyone has employed that in their chairs.
I hope this helps a bit in understanding how DreamWave uses airbags, but not in a typical fashion. Of course, the rollers in the back reach the neck all the way down to the sacral area of the pelvic area. Great roller massage. Combined with the airbags this chair gives quite a remarkable overall massage experience.
Customer Question #2
After 11 years as a US army physician and more than a decade working at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, I have returned back to the great state of Texas. I have put off buying a massage chair due to the 220 vs 110 voltage difference. Too many sandbox tours have left me with chronic knee pain and lumbar pain. Also as a gastroenterologist, I am constantly looking at monitors while pushing scope and suffer from cervical/thoracic muscle strain. I am looking at a couple different chairs to include the Osaki, Inada, Panasonic and the Luraco. I have touched base with Luraco as they are in Dallas and they do offer veteran discounts. Not surprising as they are the only US massage chair manufacturer. FWIW, I am 5’11” 220 lb and my wife is 6’1” and 160lbs. Is there any particular chair that you would recommend? Jeffery
My Response #2
Thanks for your email. My experience is that many massage chairs don’t have the strongest neck massage, although most massage chairs have a great mid thoracic massage and a sufficient lumbar massage. Here are some thoughts that crossed my mind as I read your email:
1. There really aren’t any massage chairs that work directly on the knees, however there are a couple of models that have very good IlioTibial Band airbag massage, soft tissue that is typically affected by knee and back problems. Take a look at the DreamWave Classic and the Panasonic MA73. The Luraco iRobotics 7 has a 2-tiered calf massage mechanism that reaches up to just below the knee, which might also serve your knees well.
2. Most chairs hit the lumbar region well, but there are a couple of models that do an exceptional job in the sacro-iliac area. Again, consider the DreamWave Classic which has a roller track that hits the sacral area better than most. The trade-off is that the DreamWave does not have a zero gravity feature, which allows the roller track to hit lower down the spine. I wrote an article about that trade-off on my blog. Here is the link:
Incidentally, the Luraco iRobotics 7, mentioned above, does have the zero gravity feature. Another type of chair that might impress your lumbar and gluteal areas is the new L-Track chairs, where an extended roller track goes down the spine and under the seat to the top of the hamstrings. This is a wonderful new feature that really does a dang good job on the low back, glutes, and piriformis muscles. A couple of models to consider would be the Infinity Iyashi (although the neck massage is not stellar), Infinity Escape, the Apex Ultra, and the Titan TP-Pro Alpine. Take a look at those and see what you think.
3. The Osaki chairs are great overall chairs, but I often feel as though they are not outstanding in any one feature. But, they are a great bang for the buck.
4. Our most popular selling Chinese-made chair is the Infinity IT-8500. Awesome neck and upper back massage, good lumbar massage, mechanical foot rollers, and zero gravity to boot. Take a look at that model.
Our top selling Japanese chair is the DreamWave. Therapeutically, one of the best feature-sets around, and the quality, life expectancy, and failure rate are superb, but you pay for it. Great neck roller massage and, as I mentioned above, a great lumbo-sacral massage with a masterful combination of rollers and airbags working on that region. The US-made iRobotics 7 has taken the industry by storm and has a wonderful feature-set, too, including foot rollers and zero gravity.
I hope this helps somewhat. Let me know if you have any other questions or need assistance with your order. I am always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – March 10, 2016”
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
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – February 23, 2016”
Pursuant to my article last week about where the massage chairs are made, I’d like to chit chat with you about two new models from Osaki that are truly 100% made in Japan.
You may be wondering what the big deal is about whether a chair is manufactured in Japan vs. China vs. USA, but for discriminating massage chair buyers, it is a BIG deal!
Here are the main differences, and they all have to do with the quality of the chair build:
- Japanese & American chairs will last 15+ years; Chinese manufactured chairs will typically last up to 10 years.
- Japanese & American chairs have a less than 1% failure rate, whereas Chinese chairs have a failure rate from 2-5%…and that can even be higher if the chair is manufactured in a smaller, lesser known Chinese factory.
- Quality control is greater in the Japanese & American factories.
I will review the only American-made chair of consequence, Luraco’s iRobotics 7, next week so that you can get an idea of what a US chair is all about. But, for today’s post, I want to talk about two models that are truly 100% made, manufactured, and assembled in Japan.
As I mentioned in my earlier article, just because a chair box says “Made in Japan” or “Made in USA” does not mean that 100% of the chair is made in that country.
Osaki has introduced two new models to the US market that are manufactured 100% in Japan. The chair models are made by Fuji Medical Instruments Mfg. Co., Ltd, which is one of the oldest massage chair manufacturers in Japan and, thus, since massage chairs began in Japan, one of the oldest in the world. As a matter of fact, the first commercially-made massage chair with a roller track originated from this company.
One of the models, the Osaki-JP Premium 4S, is currently the #1 selling massage chair in Japan. The other model, the Osaki OS-4D Pro Jp Premium, is an older model that has become quite popular with customers looking for the Japanese-only massage chair. The 4S is a new model that we should be getting in our California showroom later this week. Of course, I will record some video of that chair for our YouTube channel.
The naming of these two models seems kind of weird, since they are quite similar and have been somewhat confusing for not only our customers, but also us!!
Here is a list of the primary features of each chair, for your perusal:
4D Massage Rollers – I’ve talked about the term “4D” before, and how I think it’s just a marketing term, but the gist of it is that the rollers can move forward and back to increase or decrease the intensity of the roller massage. That’s what’s known as 3D. It also has a roller speed adjustment, and that’s what the 4th D is all about. The rollers are dual, not quad, rollers but are quite sophisticated and can give the user a very intense massage.
- 43 Airbags – Plenty of airbags available to provide compression massage to those areas of the body where the rollers can’t reach, i.e. seat, arms, hips, waist, shoulders, feet, and calves. I like the way the Japanese chairs, including Panasonic and Inada in the discussion of this point, use the airbags in concert with the rollers to affect a very therapeutic massage. It really contributes to the feel of a whole-body massage.
- 10 Auto Programs – This chair provides lots of versatility with it’s 10 pre-set, auto programs. Each of the 5 main programs have a stronger version, known as KIWAMI MECHA courses. Inada has something like this, too.
- Versatile Masssage Rollers – The dual rollers, referred to above, can provide various modes of massage to effect different therapeutic benefits for your muscles. Just because it has 2 less rollers than most Chinese chairs, in no way means that the massage experience is compromised. As a matter of fact, in some ways it can be better since the rollers can dig deep without the lower two rollers inhibiting that motion. But, my guess is that you would never know the difference between the dual vs. quad roller thing if no one told you which chair has which rollers.
- Body Scanning – They call it the 3D Navigation System, but what the scanning system does is map out the shape of your spine to give you the personal and accurate massage. Not just measuring your head and shoulder position, the scanning system actually maps out the topography of your spine. Pretty cool stuff.
- Easy Remote Control – The remote is quite intuitive and easy to use. Nothing fancy though, in terms of touch screens and smartphone-like usability.
3D Massage Rollers – This chair also has adjustable depth 3D dual rollers that can move 12.5 cm forward and back through 12 different positions. Although they didn’t call it “4D” rollers on this model (all the model numbers are getting too bloody confusin!!), this chair still has the roller speed adjustment to make the massage experience feel even more vigorous.
- 43 Airbags – Also 43 airbags in this chair, covering pretty much the same areas as the 4D. Unique to the 4S, this chair has a hand-kneading air cell massage, plus all of the airbags offer a pulse mode to enhance and promote circulation as well as a more traditional/normal compression massage.
- 16 Auto Programs – The auto programs of the 4S includes four 30 minutes PRO programs, five 7-minutes coures, and a bunch of 16 minutes localized auto program. It also has a full-body stretch program. I haven’t used this chair yet, so I can’t really tell you how cool or different the programs, but they certainly sound interesting.
- Dual Masssage Rollers – The dual rollers offer a sophisticated kneading function that provides 85 kinds of techniques! Not sure how that feels, but, again, I’m looking forward to experiencing the roller system when the chair arrives at our showroom.
- Contemporary Body Styling – The 4S improves on the older body styling of the OS-4D Pro JP Premium, with nicer lines and a simpler, more modern body design.
- Shoulder Blade and Feet Heat – The area between the shoulder blades is typically tight and fatigued in todays computer-driven workplace. While most massage chairs offer low back heat, the 4S offers heat in the shoulder blade area to relax the musculature to allow the rollers to dig a little deeper and give a more therapeutic massage. Reflexology points are also warmed up with sole warmers.
- Touch Screen Remote – This chair comes with the more traditional rubber buttons, but also has a screen display that will allow touch screen convenience.
- Memory Function – If you like a particular program that you’ve created with your new chair, the chair can memorize that program, including chair position, roller and airbag intensity, roller modalities, and speed. So, the next time you sit in your chairs, and want to enjoy the program you created earlier, just push the memory button and you are on your way!
Well, I hope that helps! You are invited to visit our Southern California showroom, where we have both models on display. Feel free to call the showroom at 562-865-4607 and chat with our massage chair experts.
Dr. Alan Weidner
The Inada DreamWave has been the top luxury massage chair for so long now that most folks don’t even realize that there are some competitors out there in the same class. These competing models aren’t marketed as aggressively or as well as the DreamWave, but they do have some nice features and are quality models. The Panasonic MA73 is one of those chairs. It is priced at $7999, which is quite close to the DreamWave pricing, but it is quite a different chair. I will compare and contrast the two models in this article.
- Made in Japan vs. Made in China – Although the Panasonic MA73 is designed and engineered in Japan, it is manufactured in China. The DreamWave is not only designed and engineered in Japan, but also manufactured there, although it does have some components that are made in China. Advantage: Inada DreamWave.
- 3D Roller System – both chairs boast the 3D roller technology, but the feel of the roller massage is quite different. The DreamWave has a more gently or sophisticated roller feel, whereas the MA73 has a stronger default massage. The rollers of the MA73 are jade stone and smaller than the hard rubber rollers of the DreamWave, so they tend to dig a little deeper than those of the DreamWave. I describe the roller differences this way…the MA73 feels like knuckles are massaging your back, the DreamWave feels like elbows. Broader roller contact on your back from the DreamWave makes for a more gentle-feeling massage than the smaller roller contact on your back of the MA73. If you like a more vigorous massage that digs a little deeper, the MA73 is for you. If you like a broader, less intense roller massage, the DreamWave is for you. Having said that, though, about the DreamWave, I must say that when your remove the headpiece and attached back pad from the DreamWave (just lift it up and over the back of the chair), the massage is still very intense when you move the 3D rollers all the way forward. Advantage: Draw – Depends on what you like!
- Airbags – the DreamWave is famous for having over 100 air “cells”. It is the air cells that make the rest of the chair experience so comfortable. The MA73 has 33 airbags. It’s not just that the DreamWave has over 100 air cells, it’s how they’re used that is unique. Airbags have traditionally been used for just compression, but Inada uses them for trigger point massage in the shoulders, rotating the pelvis and torso, and moving the seat up-and-down and side-to-side with their patented DreamWave technology. Advantage: DreamWave.
- Trapezia Massage – I mentioned how the DreamWave uses air cells for trigger point massage on the shoulders. Well, it’s the traps that benefit from those air cells. They inflate from the base of the headpiece down onto both traps and it provides a lovely massage of an oft-neglected muscle by other massage chairs (it is actually intended to be a neck tractioning feature, but it really doubles nicely as a trap point massage). It is a nice feature. However, the MA73 uses its rollers to massage the traps. When the rollers come up the mid back, and before they continue on up the neck muscles, they move forward over the trapezia muscles to give a fantastic shiatsu-like massage to those muscles that are almost always tight on everyone! Advantage: MA73.
- Neck Massage – both chairs use the roller system to massage the neck, however, the DreamWave has more versatility in that area. The headpiece of the DreamWave has an air cell system built into it that offers air massage of the neck muscles. To me, it feels like someone is using their thumb and fore fingers to massage the neck musculature. It feels great. But, if you want a more intense neck massage, remove the headpiece and let the rollers have at it. Along with the 3D technology, the neck massage can be quite intense. Advantage: DreamWave.
- Heat – both chairs have heating elements, but it’s the uniqueness of the MA73 heater that impresses. The DreamWave has more traditional heating elements in the seat and low back. The MA73, on the other hand, has little heaters next to each of the 4 jade stone rollers. Those heaters warm up the rollers and, as they roll up and down your spine, they heat up your whole back! It is a very unique technology and one that most folks love when they use the chair. Advantage: MA73.
Body Styling – the MA73 has a more traditional massage chair look, but it can double as a regular recliner. You can rotate the ottoman to hide the foot and calf wells, the arm rests hide the arm massage mechanism, and the attached back pad that has lumbar support, allows you to use this chair as a massage chair or as a regular recliner. Very clever. The DreamWave, on the other hand, is a massage chair, through and through. It can’t disguise itself as a regular recliner, but it has an award winning body design that pretty much changed the way all chairs came to be made over the last 8 years. Advantage: For style – DreamWave; for functionality – MA73.
- Seat Massage – the MA73 uses airbags to inflate the seat up and down. That function is used not only as part of a buttock massage, but also in concert with the rollers in the stretch programs. The DreamWave, which gets it’s name from the patented DreamWave seat technology, uses aircells to not only inflate the seat, but to move it from side-to-side for pelvis and low back mobilization. As a chiropractor, I saw the benefit of this immediately for patients with a “hot” low back, where passive mobilization was the only thing that could be done to the inflamed area. Both chairs also use thigh airbags/cells that inflate onto the area of the IlioTibial Bands (ITB), but I find that those of the DreamWave work more therapeutically on the ITB region. Advantage: DreamWave.
- Customer Support – not a direct chair feature, but a huge thing for the consumer after the purchase. Inada has a fantastic tech/warranty support team. They will repair or replace faulty parts in your home or business, no matter where you live. Panasonic does not offer in-home support, but they will have a local Panasonic Authorized Service Center come pick up your chair and take it away to repair it. Then they will return it when it is fixed. The only problem with that arrangement is if you don’t live anywhere close to a service center. Then you may have some trouble getting your chair fixed. Advantage: DreamWave.
- Chair Size – the Inada is a big chair. It requires packaging in two boxes in order to get the chair into a home. The arm rests and ottoman are in one box, the chair body in another. Once it is set up, it most likely won’t fit through a standard door frame in the event that you want to move it to another room. You’ll have to remove an arm rest to move it. The Panasonic, on the other hand, is smaller and narrower, and fits in one box. It will fit better in a home that is pressed for space. Once it is set up, it is very easy to move around your home or business. It is also easier to set up than the DreamWave. Advantage: MA73.
- Warranty – both chairs have 3 years parts and labor warranty, but the MA73 has an additional two years of parts coverage. The only problem with the Panasonic warranty, as mentioned in #9 above, is the potential hassle of getting service for your MA73, depending on where you live. Advantage: MA73.
Foot & Calf Massage – both chairs use airbags/cells for their foot & calf massage, as well as a rubber plate under the soles of the feet that have nobules that push up into the bottom of your feet by other airbags/cells. However, the MA73 foot massage is not as comfortable as that of the DreamWave, mostly because of one big nobule that sticks up into the arch of each foot on the MA73 that doesn’t feel great to some people. Advantage: DreamWave.
- Hand & Forearm Massage – the Inada has more air cells in the arms and hands region, but the set up on the MA73 feels better. It seems to do a more comprehensive air massage of the hands and forearms than the DreamWave. Advantage: MA73.
- Stretch Program – both chairs have stretch programs, but they are vastly different! The DreamWave employs a reclining chair back and a dropping ottoman to extend the spine out flat. The air cells in the foot and calf sections inflate to grab the feet and calves while the ottoman drops to intensity the low back stretch. The MA73, on the other hand, employs a whole different type of stretch. It has three regional stretches, i.e. neck, upper back, and hips, that are deployed sequentially to stretch out each region more specifically. It uses the rollers in concert with the airbags to create a very unique experience. It is different, but I really like how it works. Advantage: Draw – too different to equally compare.
I like the sacral massage by both chairs. That is the area of the tailbone. The rollers of both chairs reach down low in that region to give a great massage to the SI joints. I think the massage of the DreamWave in that area is superior, although the roller track length is slightly shorter on the DreamWave (28.4″ vs. 32″).
I might also mention that the DreamWave has upper arm air cells that surround and inflate upon the biceps and triceps. The MA73 has shoulder airbags instead that inflate to the outside of the shoulders to pin the upper torso down while the rollers go up and down the back.
As with all Japanese chairs at the time of this writing, neither chair has zero gravity or foot rollers.
I hope you found this review helpful.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – February 11, 2016”
The headline of this post alludes to the confusion that can come from trying to figure out where each massage chair model is made. There is so much hullabaloo about a chair being made in Japan or the USA vs. a chair manufactured in China. Typically, we understand that Japanese and American-made products are of a better quality than their Chinese-made counterparts. I am in agreement with that statement, and the numbers bare that out (Chinese-made chairs have a life expectancy of up to 10 years, a failure rate of 2-5%, and typically a 1 year parts & labor warranty. Japanese-made chairs expect to last 15+ years, have a failure rate of <1%, and come with a pretty standard 3 year parts & labor warranty).
Well, when speaking of being “Made in ____”, it may surprise you to know that it is not as simple as being made in one country. Let me explain…
When we talk about the making of a chair, we need to consider a few things, i.e. 1.) where the design and engineering of the chair is done, 2.) where the parts of the chair are made, and 3.) where chair is assembled. In some cases, all three components of the manufacturing process are done in 3 different countries.
Most chairs, nowadays, are made in China. The design and engineering, manufacturing of parts, and assembly are all done in China. The Ogawa chairs, for example, are 100% made in China. Most of the Osaki, Titan, Apex, Omega, and Infinity chairs are made 100% in China.
But, did you know that some of the non-critical components of the Inada DreamWave chair are made in China, too, although it is rightfully claimed to be made in Japan? Did you know that the Luraco iRobotics 7 chair is an American-made, designed and engineered massage chair, but a minority of it’s non-critical components are made in Taiwan? Did you know that the new Navitas Sleep chair from Human Touch was designed and engineered by the Americans and Japanese, but the components are manufactured in Taiwan and the assembly of the chair is done in China? Furthermore, did you know that all the other Human Touch massage chairs are designed and engineered in America, but manufactured and assembled in China?
Panasonic is a Japanese company and their chairs are designed and engineered there, but all production and assembly occurs in Chinese factories. I don’t know what the situation is now, but in the recent past the factories in which the Panasonic chairs have been manufactured were Panasonic-owned factories so that the Japanese parent company could still have complete quality control.
It might surprise you to know that at the time of this writing, there is only one brand of chair that is 100% designed, engineered, manufactured, and assembled in Japan? That is the Fujiiryoki chair, one of the oldest massage chair companies in the world. Osaki carries a privately labeled Fujiiryoki model and it is called the Osaki OS-4D Pro JP Premium.
So, have I confused you? I know I was sure confused when I first started learning about all the nuances of what it means to be “Made in the USA”. When Luraco first introduced their line of chairs as being made in America, there was some pushback because a few of their non-critical components were manufactured in Asia. I found out, soon thereafter, that even Inada’s famous DreamWave, touted to be made in Japan, has some Chinese-made components in it.
Manufacturing and/or assembly in China is cost-effective. Cheaper-made product ultimately costs less to the end user…that’s you and I. So, companies have tried to integrate China or Taiwan in some of the process of making a chair to keep costs down across the board.
By they way, why can a chair like DreamWave say it is made in Japan when some of it’s components are manufactured in China? Or why can Luraco say their iRobotics 7 is made in America when some of it’s components are made in Taiwan (Taiwanese products are known to be of a better quality than their Chinese counterparts, in cases you were wondering). You may be asking yourself these questions. I know I did.
All I can say about that is that each country has it’s own guidelines as to what constitutes the term “Made in _____”. I suspect it is slightly different for each country. Below is a video recently released by Luraco that specifically addresses the “Made in the USA” standard. I hope you find this helpful.
If you have any questions about any model we carry or any other model out there, feel free to contact me anytime by phone, email, or chat. I am always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Transcript of Video Titled “Jaye Watson – Massage Chair Relief Customer Interview”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – January 26, 2016”
Transcript of Video Titled “Tom Sensabaugh – Massage Chair Relief Customer Interview”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – January 14, 2016”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – December 31, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – December 16, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Trapezia Massage – Panasonic MA73 Massage Chair”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – November 17, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Panasonic MA73 Massage Chair vs. Recliner”
Transcript of Video Titled “John Malie – Massage Chair Relief Customer Interview”
Transcript of Video Titled “Remote Control – Inada Flex 3s Massage Chair”
Transcript of Video Titled “Body Scan Override – Massage Chair Dictionary”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – October 21, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Introduction – Panasonic MA73 Massage Chair”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – October 6, 2015”
Customer Email #1
I’ve been researching the chairs you mentioned and I’m leaning toward the IT 8500. I read on one of the reviews on you site a gentleman had a broad frame and the IT 8500 seemed to be the best fit for him. Would you say that a broad shouldered person would best fit in the IT 8500?
One of the things I liked to do with my Panasonic real pro Ultra would be to scoot up in the chair a few inches when it was reclined to get a bit of glute massage. Not sure if the chair was made for that but I didn’t have any issues with it. The domes on those Osakis appear to restrict any kind of movement like that. Maybe that is a good thing from a safety stand point. Continue reading “Mail Bag – IT-8500 for broad frame; IT-8500 vs. OS-4000T; Dreamwave Airbags”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – September 22, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – September 7, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “3D Rollers – ZeroG 4.0 Massage Chair”
[SCREEN TEXT: 3D Roller Technology]
Alan: Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com’ and today we’re going to discuss the 3D roller technology in the ZeroG 4.0 massage chair from Human Touch. Now, 3D roller technology means that the rollers can be moved forward or back, to increase or decrease the intensity of the roller massage, respectively. Now, this is a feature that’s fairly – it’s not been common in the past, or you don’t – you didn’t find it in a lot of chairs, but now it’s becoming increasingly popular, and you see it in more and more models. Well, Human Touch is one of the pioneers of 3D roller technology, and they’ve had it on their chairs as long, as far back as, I think, since I started in this business 9, 10 years ago. Anyway, what I’m going to show you is, on this remote control, I’ve already turned on the rollers here on the neck region of the 3D, and you’ll see on the remote control, there’s a section here called ‘Intensity and 3D.’ What’s unique about this chair is that you can increase and decrease the intensity of the shoulder region, independent of the low back region. You’ll see we’ve got a low intensity here on the shoulders, and a medium intensity on the low back. That is very unique, because in every other chair that has 3D roller technology, it’s one setting for all areas of the spine.
[SCREEN TEXT: ‘www.massage-chair-relief.com’ 888-259-5380]
Alan: So, if you increase the intensity of the rollers on, say, the Inada Sogno, or on one of the Osaki chairs, like the Cyber or the Dreamer, the chair, the rollers will move forward in, for the whole spine, not just a sectional area of the spine, and that’s what this chair does. So, you’ll see, you’ve got the shoulder region, and we’re going to show that here. We’ve got the rollers now, and if I push this button, it goes to the second level, and then it comes out to the third level, and it’s really hard to see this, but the rollers have actually moved forward. Now, now they’re coming forward, you can see them coming forward a little bit more, if I retract – if I bring this back up again, if we wait until it comes back up again, and I retract it back up to setting number one, now the rollers start to – now they’ll pull back in again, now they’re pulling back in. So, it’s hard to see there, but what I’m trying to show you is that, you can move the forward and back, for the shoulders, independent of the low back, which is very unique to this chair, you don’t see that in any other chair on the market. So, if you want a very nice-priced chair that has the zero gravity, and it has a phenomenal foot-and-calf massage, and has 3D roller technology, the ZeroG 4.0 is a great option. I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to share us and ‘Like’ us on all your social media platforms, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, YouTube, and please, subscribe to our YouTube channel if you’d like to be updated with subsequent videos that we put out, and we try to put out one to three videos every week. I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com,’ thanks so much for visiting today, and we will see you on the next video. Bye bye.
Click on the following link to watch this Human Touch ZeroG 4.0 massage chair tutorial on our YouTube channel.
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – August 25, 2015”
This email and my response were so long that I decided to just include this one conversation in the Mail Bag this week. It is from a customer in Hawaii. The letters discuss the right chair based on a laundry list of requirements, but also addresses shipment to Hawaii, inquiries for which we get quite regularly. Continue reading “Mail Bag – A Long Letter!”
Thank you so much for your e-mails and your highly informative website and You-Tube videos. By all accounts (client testimonials in particular) you seem to be a man of impeccable integrity and honesty. A very refreshing way for a man of business to build and maintain a loyal clientele. Thank you for providing us with your valuable services.
My wife and I are looking for the perfect massage chair (I know, I know, if you only had a nickel for every time you’ve heard that). I’m hoping that you’ll provide us with some guidance as to which of your chairs you might recommend for us. Let me list some of the criteria we have in mind for a chair. Continue reading “A Great Massage Chair Customer Inquiry”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – July 14, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – June 28, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Stretch Function – Inada Flex 3s Massage Chair”
Dr. Weidner I never thought I’d consider a massage chair due to the prohibitive cost for me. I’ve owned all sorts of cheaper massage gadgets over the years for tight muscles. I have very little flexibility in my muscles and have had two cervical spinal fusions with the last being in 12/13. I am fused C3-7 now. I also have lower lumbar tightness.
I’m a Teacher’s Assistant who works with developmentally disabled adults who doesn’t make a lot of money and I’m very careful how I spend my money. It then hit me in brookstone why don’t I invest in something that will benefit my health. This raised my budget from $1000-$3000 That being said I wasn’t going to go crazy. Being price conscious I first looked at Brookstone’s $1200 osim ustyle 2 chairs which gave a great rougher roller back, neck and foot massage but the chair wasn’t big and it wasn’t too comfortable. It was a really narrow small chair. I then tried the Osim divine S $3200 which was great in those same ways, but didn’t have Zero gravity. The Astro 2 $3800 had Zero gravity and stretch but the massage was real soft so I was left confused. I could buy a refurbished brookstone chair to lower cost but I hadn’t tried any others and heard that brookstone didn’t have great customer service if something broke.
I decided to do some research. I came across your massage chair relief site which is a wonderful resource, but my main dilemma has been that besides brookstone in Syracuse N.Y. there is no other place to try chairs out. As you know there are tons of chairs online. I also am not a big flyer so as much as I would love to travel to your store it would be hard given the time of year (school). I went to the recent New York State fair and tried some cozzia chairs last week in the 2-4 thousand range (my range) and wasn’t very impressed and then tried the Flex 3 inada chair which was a revelation. The roller was so wide across my back and the stretch was unbelievable, but the foot part wasn’t working at the time. The other chairs really did feel amateurish compared to the inada. It seems like the rollers were so smooth and well put together. The salesmen there though were very aggressive and after 10 minutes wanted a buy decision. Would anything compare to the inada for $6500 which was way out of my budget? Besides the inada wasn’t zero gravity and I didn’t get to feel the foot massage.
I’ve been looking at your site and amazon and reading reviews. It’s very important to me that if I am going to spend the money even 3-4 thousand that the company be reputable if there is a problem. This is what I’m looking for in a chair:
1. A tougher massage that I can pinpoint and adjust to certain areas to work out knots
2. The upper shoulder, neck and scapula region is very important to me.
3. The lower lumbar region is very important to me
4. The foot massage is very important to me. I like a stronger roller foot massage.
5. I’d like a zero gravity chair
6. I’d like a chair that can give a good stretch similar to the inada flex and works on posture
7. I’d like a 3D roller chair
8. Reputable company to back it up.
What I don’t care about so much is:
3. Vibrational massage isn’t that effective for me
4. Soft massage
5. Forearm, and hand massage isn’t that important to me.
I’m wondering if in my price range 3-4 thousand anything can compare to the Inada feel of the flex 3 with the additional features I’m looking for. I wonder if you can help shed some light on this for me. What is your opinion of the Brookstone chairs? Thanks in advance Chip from Syracuse N.Y.
My Response #1
Thanks for your email. After reading your email and considering your pain presentation as well as your list of must-haves, I would strongly recommend that you consider the Infinity IT-8500. It has everything you are asking for, except for the 3D rollers. But, it defaults to a very intense, vigorous roller. You can make it less intense by using a pillow, pad, or folded up blanket. It has everything else you need. Great chair. It is our top selling Chinese-made chair. It’s not an Inada, but it is a very popular chair for our shoppers…particularly those who come to our showroom and try a bunch of chairs out. Continue reading “Mail Bag – Inada Flex 3S vs. IT-8500; Laundry List of Needs; Chair for 4’11””
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – June 16, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – June 1, 2015”
Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – May 19, 2015”
I recently posted an interview with a customer of mine on YouTube and in the course of our discussion about the chair, I asked him if he’d noticed any health benefits from using the chair. He mentioned that he didn’t really get the chair for pain relief but that he loved the chair.
Well, after posting the interview, I got this email from another customer of mine, Dennis, who had quite a different therapeutic experience from his Dreamwave and wanted to make sure I knew about it. With his permission, I have posted the content of his letter below… Continue reading “Look What a Massage Chair Did For This Guy…”
Transcript of Video Titled “Shiatsu -The Massage Chair Dictionary”
Transcript of Video Titled “Stretch – The Massage Chair Dictionary”
Transcript of Video Titled “Trapezia/Shoulder Massage – Inada Sogno Massage Chair” Continue reading “Inada DreamWave – Trapezia/Shoulder Massage (Video)”
In Part 2, I go over the differences between these two popular Inada models.
When the Inada DreamWave came on the scene, it’s body styling was unlike anything we had heretofore seen in this industry. Copycats started popping up everywhere, so much so that today a chair that doesn’t have similar body styling seems “out of place.” This new design made for much larger chairs that came in multiple boxes when shipped.
The Flex 3S takes this design and creates a much smaller chair. Though it looks similar to the DreamWave body styling, it is quite a bit smaller. It will leave a much smaller footprint in your home or business, should space be a concern. The Flex 3S comes in one box, fully assembled, whereas the DreamWave comes in two boxes, one with the chair body and the other with the ottoman and arm rests.
In conjunction with the size differences, the weight of each chair is quite different. The DreamWave weighs in at 265 lbs. while the Flex 3S tops the scales at 165 lbs. Needless to say, it is a heck of a lot easier to move the Flex 3S around your house than it is the DreamWave! Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Inada Flex 3S (Part 2)”
Now that I have both the Flex 3S and the DreamWave in my showroom, right next to each other, I am commonly asked what the differences are between the two since the Flex looks like nothing more than a mini-DreamWave. So, I figured it’s time to write a comparative review between the two models. Today, in Part 1, I will focus on the similarities and in Part 2 I go over the differences.
Even when I am covering the similarities, there will be some differences among the similarities (if that makes sense!), so I will lay that out for you in Part 1, as well. Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Inada Flex 3S (Part 1)”
In Part 1 of this comparative review, I discussed the differences between the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer and the Inada DreamWave massage chairs. In Part 2, I will discuss the similarities. But, even in discussing the similarities there are some differences in those similarities (you’ll see what I mean once you start reading). Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer (Part 2)”
A couple of weeks ago I compared the roller massage intensity of the Inada DreamWave to that of the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer massage chair. Whilst writing that article, I figured it might be a good idea to do an overall comparative review between the two chairs. Why just stop at the rollers!?!?
So, here is Part 1 of my 2-part comparative review. I will begin with the differences and wrap up in Part 2 with the similarities. Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer (Part 1)”
Lots of stuff going on in our massage chair world right now. You can check out my Massage Chair Industry Update for August 7, 2014 on our YouTube channel for more details, but here is a rundown on what is going on:
1. Inada has upgraded the Inada Sogno DreamWave as of August 1, 2014 and is now calling it simply the Inada DreamWave. You can go the product page on our website to see the list of new features. Most of the features seem to be programming changes and not so much hardware changes, except for new heating elements in the back and seat, different airbag technology in the forearms, a smart phone pocket, backlit remote control, and some extra bicep padding. Continue reading “Quick Hits – New Inada DreamWave; New Massage Chair Buyer’s Guide; Make-A-Wish”
On August 1, 2014 Inada rolled out an upgraded version of the famous Inada Sogno Dreamwave massage chair. They have renamed the chair Inada DreamWave for ease of pronouncement (“Sogno” was just hard to pronounce!) and have added some features, the list of which I will outline below. Before I do list the changes in the chair, I might mention that it seems to me that most of the changes are programming/feature changes, with very few actually being hardware changes. In other words, I believe the motors, air compressors, and roller systems are all the same. Continue reading “The Improved Inada DreamWave!!”
I recently had a customer call me up asking me for my opinion on the Inada Dreamwave and it’s ability to give a vigorous roller massage. He had tried it out at a local store and felt that it was too light or gently. You know, I hear this a lot and have even bought into it, to some degree. But, I had an experience today that got me straightened out on the matter rather promptly.
This customer wanted me to compare the roller massage intensity of the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer to that of the Inada Dreamwave (by the way, starting tomorrow, Inada is changing the name of the Inada Sogno Dreamwave to just the Inada Dreamwave…too many folks struggled with the word Sogno and it’s pronunciation!). Since I have both chairs in my showroom, I offered to call him this morning and give him a “play-by-play” description of what I felt while on both chairs with their most vigorous automatic programs deployed. Continue reading “Inada Dreamwave Too Gentle? I Don’t Think So… And Here’s Why!”
I covered some pretty significant features in Part 1 of this comparative review between two very popular massage chairs. In Part 2, I will cover the remaining features, #6-10, some of which are quite significant as well.
There aren’t many, if any, chairs that have more airbags than the Inada Sogno. The Sogno boasts 100 airbags, not all of which are utilized for compression. The patented Dreamwave technology of the Sogno, which moves the seat up and down, and side to side, is all deployed by airbags. Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Infinity Iyashi (Part 2)”
Every time a new, exciting massage chair model hits the market I invariably get asked how it compares to the Inada Sogno, widely considered the iconic chair of the industry. Well, recently I have had a lot of questions about the new Infinity Iyashi and how it compares to the Inada Sogno.
They are both very different chairs. Of course, every chair has similarities, i.e. rollers and airbags, but these two chairs differ quite radically and I’ll go into that in detail in this comparative review. I happen to love both of these chairs – both unique in their own right. Since there is so much to talk about with these two chairs, I have broken this article up into 2 parts. Continue reading “Inada DreamWave vs. Infinity Iyashi (Part 1)”
Transcript of Video Titled “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Massage Chair – Body Scan Override” Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Body Scan Overide Feature”
Transcript of Video Titled “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Massage Chair – Stretch Program” Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Stretch Video and Transcripts”
Another great email from a massage chair shopper. This fellow asks about the zero gravity function and if it matters that it is in the Osaki OS-7000 and not in the Inada Sogno Dreamwave. Here is his question and my subsequent answer… Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave vs. Osaki OS-7000 Revisited”
The dreamwave technology is one of the features that makes the Inada Sogno massage chair so dang unique. Here is a video where I explain and demonstrate the dreamwave feature. Transcripts are available under the video.
Transcript of Video Titled “Dreamwave Technology – Inada Sogno Dreamwave Massage Chair” Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Technology – Video & Transcripts”
Here is the video of the roller system of the Inada Sogno Dreamwave massage chair. You can find the transcripts immediately after the video:
Transcript of Video Titled “Roller System – Inada Sogno Dreamwave Massage Chair” Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave Roller System – Video & Transcripts”
I get a lot of inquiries from shoppers about the differences between the Inada Sogno Dreamwave and the Panasonic MA70 massage chairs because of the closeness in price. The chairs are actually very different. Here is another question (and, or course, my response) regarding these two popular models…
Hello, We’re considering upgrading our older generation Panasonic Real Pro chair. We see that Panasonic has a new EP-MA70 which we are considering as well as the Inada. I see you have some preliminary reviews comparing the MA70 to the Inada but wondered if you have more insight into how they compare. We like the coverage of the Inada but are worried the massage intensity might not compare to the Panasonic. Also, the controls of the Inada seem a little more rudimentary than the Panasonic (I need to program the unit to avoid areas that are damaged and need light touch whereas other areas need strong touch). Any help you can give in helping decide between the two would be great. Also if you can tell us what each will cost that would be great (including delivery to xxxxxxxx). Thanks, Dave Continue reading “Inada Sogno Dreamwave vs. Panasonic MA70 Questions”
Comparing the Osaki OS-4000 to the Inada Sogno (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of a 2 part comparative review of the Osaki OS-4000 and the Inada Sogno Dreamwave. In Part 1, I discussed 5 general differences between these two very popular massage chairs, but today I will go into specific chair features and functions to help you in your due diligence.
6. Zero-Gravity – The Osaki 4000 has a zero gravity feature which, by definition, is a 30 degree tilt of the seat in the zero gravity position. The Inada Sogno’s seat stays horizontal during all programs. Zero gravity is a great feature for decompressing the low back.
7. Airbags – The Inada Sogno Dreamwave massage chair is an airbag monster…over 100 airbags. The Osaki 4000 is a little more typical of most massage chairs with 32 airbags. Rollers are typically used for the spine, whereas airbags are used for every other part of the body, i.e. legs, feet, thighs, arms, shoulders, waist, etc.
8. Dreamwave Technology – One of the unique therapeutic features of the Inada Sogno is the use of airbags to move the seat from side to side and up and down in a figure 8 motion. It introduces passive motion to the pelvis and low back in a very gentle swaying motion that is very soothing to the user. The Sogno is the only massage chair that has this feature, as far as I know. The Osaki has airbags in the seat but not at all like the Dreamwave technology of Inada.
9. Thigh Massage– a lot of the newer chairs have airbags that compress the outer aspect of the thighs, where the IlioTibial Bands (ITB) are located. The Osaki 4000 and the Inada Sogno have these airbags, however the airbags on the Sogno actually massage the ITB in a wavelike motion and it feels like a true massage. The Osaki 4000 simply compresses against the thighs without the feeling that much is being done therapeutically. If you’ve ever had low back, knee, or hip problems, the ITBs are probably pretty tight on you and the Inada Sogno will make you realize how sore they truly are!
10. Heat – Both chairs have heat, but the heat of the Osaki 4000 is definitely more noticeable than the subtle sacral heat of the Sogno. If you like feeling the warmth, the Osaki wins that hands-down.
11. Cervical Traction Device – Inada innovated this feature. It is a headpiece that has airbags to massage the neck and the trapezia muscles (you know…the muscles at the top of your shoulders that get tight when you sit at a computer all day). It is a phenomenal feature in the Sogno. The Osaki 4000 has a headpiece that mimics Inada’s Cervical Traction Device, but doesn’t have the airbag massage that the Sogno does.
12. Arm Airbags – Both chairs have arm airbags, but the Osaki 4000 airbags basically just cover the forearm and wrists, whereas the Inada Sogno has extensive airbags that compress the fingers, wrist, forearm, and upper arm.
13. Roller Track Length – The vertical roller track length of the Inada Sogno is 28.5″; the roller track length of the Osaki 4000 is 30″. It feels like the Inada massages lower down into the buttocks, so I would say that the Osaki goes higher up the neck with the extra 1.5″.
14. Height and Weight Recommendations – Inada has always had the motto “If you can fit, you can sit.” So, regardless of your weight, if you can fit in the chair, it will function just fine. Osaki, on the other hand and like most massage chairs, express a weight limit for the chair’s optimum function, and that is 265 lbs. As for height, the Inada can cater anyone comfortably from 4’11” to 6’4″; Osaki best fits someone from 5’4″ to 6’4″.
15. # of Motors – Inada has 13, Osaki has 7.
16. Remote Control – The Osaki 4000 has a pedestal remote, the Inada has a free remote that tucks into a small side pocket.
Those are the major differences between the chairs. Some features that they both have include body scan technology, ottoman length adjustment, calf and foot massager, quad-style rollers that knead, tap, and compress, vibration, auto and manual settings, and a stretch program.
I hope this assists you in your massage chair buying research. After reading through the comparisons, you will have to decide if the price of both chairs is justified. Remember you can always email me at email@example.com or call me at 801-417-8240 to ask any other questions. I am always at your disposal.
Dr. Alan Weidner
Comparing the Osaki OS-4000 to the Inada Sogno (Part 1)
As you can probably tell from my blog posts and videos, I think quite a bit of the Inada Sogno Dreamwave massage chair…and apparently so does the rest of the massage chair world. It is not only our best selling chair (and our most expensive chair), but it is also the most imitated chair in the market.
Before the Sogno came along, most massage chairs looked like the proto-typical massage chair. Very basic, utilitarian design. Well, along comes the Inada Sogno with an award-winning and very unique design and it takes the massage chair world by storm. It was quite a modern look at the time it came to the USA…most folks liked it, some hated it. But, unique and modern it was. Now, after 4 years in the USA, you can see Sogno look-a-likes everywhere. And I carry some of those look-a-likes. Chairs from companies like Omega, Osaki, Cozzia, OSIM, and more, now pop up all over the place trying hard to steal away some of the market share that was taken by the Inada Sogno.
I have since learned that just because the chairs look like the Sogno doesn’t mean that they function like the Sogno or even have the same revolutionary and therapeutic features of the Inada Sogno.
Osaki came out with a model called the Osaki OS-4000 massage chair(and OS-3000) which quickly became a popular seller, primarily because it had the Sogno look at a price less than half that of the Sogno. In this article, I am going to compare and contrast the Osaki 4000 with the Inada Sogno Dreamwave. After reading this 2-part series, you will understand why the chairs differ so much in price.
1. Country of Origin – Inada designs, engineers, and manufacturers all their chairs in Japan, while Osaki gets their chairs from China. The Japanese Yen is strong relative to the US Dollar, so production costs for Japanese chairs are high. That is why all other major name-brand massage chair companies get all their chairs from China and not Japan.
2. Private Labeling – As I mentioned in point #1, Inada owns the design and manufacturer process from beginning to end. They design, engineer, and produce their own chairs. Osaki, as with pretty much every other massage chair company (with a few exceptions), orders their massage chairs from Chinese manufacturing plants that make chairs for anyone who wants to sell them under their own private label. The plant may make a few tweaks for a particular private label buyer, but for the most part they are very similar to, if not exactly the same as, other chairs in the market.
3. Warranty – Osaki, like the majority of other massage chair companies, offer a 1 year parts and labor, in-home warranty. They also have a second year of parts only, and a third year of structure only. This is a very typical warranty in the massage chair biz. Inada, on the other hand, offers a 3 year parts and labor, in-home warranty. It does not, however, offer any other coverage. You can purchase extended warranties for both company’s chairs; 1 or 2 year ext. warranty for Osaki, 2 year ext. warranty for Inada.
4. White Glove Service – Both companies offer white glove delivery, which includes bringing the chair into your home or business, unpacking it, assembling it, and then removing all packing material and debris afterwards. Both the Osaki 4000 and the Inada Sogno require assembly, so if you are not prone to being a handyman, or get intimidated by things like this (as am I!!), the white glove delivery option is a nice thing to be able to order.
5. Cost – I already mentioned that the cost of the Osaki 4000 chair is less than half that of the Inada Sogno. At the time of the writing of this article, the cost of the Inada Sogno is $7799, while the cost of the Osaki 4000 is $2895.
In Part 2 of this comparative massage chair review, I will go compare and contrast specific chair features.
Dr. Alan Weidner