Fujimedic Kumo Notes..and more!

Lined up Kumo massage chairs
Lined up Kumo massage chairs

When I was at the Las Vegas Furniture Market a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to meet with John Cribbs, VP of National Accounts for Cozzia massage chairs.

Did You Know?

I don’t know if you realize this, but Cozzia, Ogawa, and the new Fujimedic Kumo massage chairs all originate, to one degree or another, from the same factory in China. The factory used to be called EasePal but is now called Ogawa. Although Ogawa is a relatively new brand here in the USA, it is a well known brand and name internationally, as most of the chairs built at the factory are released internationally under the Ogawa name. Cozzia is primarily a brand for the North American market.

Made in Japan? Really?

They released the Fujimedic Kumo massage chair for mass US distribution in the 4th quarter of 2018. It has been touted as “Made in Japan”, yet it looks just like the popular Cozzia QiSE, a 100% Chinese-made, 3D L-track model sold primarily in furniture stores throughout the US. There have been some doubts about the truthfulness of the “Made in Japan” label since most of us in the industry know that the QiSE is a Chinese-made chair. What about that model justified the “Made in Japan” label? Was it actual components made in Japan? Did the chair just ship through a Japanese port and have the label slapped on the packaging before heading for America? Did the chair even pass through Japan at all? These were the questions that myself and others had asked about the chair.

Well, when I met with John Cribbs in Las Vegas, I pointedly asked him about these issues and what,  about the chair, justified the “Made in Japan” moniker. According to John, although many of the components were manufactured in China at the Ogawa factory, some components of the chair were, in fact, made in Japan. Also, the assembly of the chair was done in Japan, some programming, and the Quality Control (QC) all happened in a Japanese factory. To me, this sounded very similar to how Inada builds their chairs in Japan with a good portion of Chinese-made components, as well as Luraco’s chairs being “Made in the USA” with imported Taiwanese non-critical components.

Some other things John told me about the Kumo included the roller mechanism being the same as the Cozzia QiSE, that there are more Asian language options on the remote control than the Cozzia QiSE, and that the chair is not related at all with Fuji products. They are actually going to change the brand name from Fujimedics to JP Medics to make sure there is no confusion about a Fuji connection.

I have taken issue in the past with the veracity of the “Made in _____” labeling. It was always a bit muddled to me and not so easily cut-and-dried. The only chairs that I am aware of which are 100% made in one country are the “Made in China” chairs (which are about 99% of the chairs in the industry). Some of the massage chairs coming from Fuji Medical in  Japan are touted to be 100% Japanese-made, i.e. Synca JP1100, Osaki Japan Premium 4.0, Osaki OS-4D Pro JP Premium, and the Osaki JP Premium 4S Japan, but I’ve not heard or seen definitively if that is true or if some components are made in China. If any reps from those companies have some input on this matter, please feel free to speak up in the comments section of this post.

I hope this helps!

Massage Chairs for Dinner

I saw this commercial and found it so funny that I had to post it (even though no massage chair is that violent!!). Enjoy!

 

Stretch Program: S-Track vs. L-Track Massage Chairs

Using a reclined massage chair
Using a reclined massage chair

The stretch program is a pretty standard auto program on most chairs nowadays. However, it can be quite different, depending on the roller track configuration. The “idea” of the stretch program is the same for both L-track and S-track chairs, but the application is different because of the physics of construction.

S-Track

S-track stretch
S-Track Stretch

The most common type of S-track stretch is a “global” stretch that involves 2 primary components: 1.) the chair back reclines and, 2.) the calf & foot airbags inflate while ottoman drops down. The idea is for the gravity to pull the body downwards when the chair back reclines, providing traction so that when the calf and foot airbags inflate and the ottoman drops, the pull on the legs will pull and elongate the whole spine. It really is a very good experience for most users. As a matter of fact, it would not be hyperbole to say that users “love” the global back stretch of these massage chairs. In some chairs, shoulder airbags are also used. They inflate when the chair back reclines, thus pinning the shoulders back and further tractioning the spine when the ottoman drops down.

The chair that we have found to have the most pronounced axial/global stretch of the S-track chairs is the Infinity IT-8500/8500X3. They use the shoulder and calf/foot airbags, along with a 180 degree chair back recline (closer to horizontal than any other S-track chair), to really give a good stretch for the user. Again, most, if not all, S-track chairs have a stretch program of some sort, but this type that I’ve just described is the most common and sought after.

Some S-track chairs, like the Panasonic MA73 and the Osaki Japan Premium 4.0 models, use segmental stretching instead of full body extension, as described above. For example, the MA73 has 3 different stretch programs: a neck stretch, a back stretch, and a hip stretch. It doesn’t use the “global” stretch approach of the more common stretch programs that we have been discussing.

L-Track

L-track stretch
L-track stretch

L-track chairs, for the most part, also have a stretch program but because of the shape of the roller track, the stretch component is a little limited. Here’s why:

The advantage of the S-track chairs, when it comes to the stretch program, is that the chair back moves independently of the seat. The seat remains relatively horizontal while the chair back reclines to approximately horizontal. That, in combination with the ottoman dropping down, is what really creates the magic of the stretch program.

The physics and build of the L-track won’t allow for the horizontal chair positioning that the S-track chairs enjoy. The seat and chair back articulation is fixed in an “L” shape position. You just can’t flatten out a steel roller track that is shaped in an L position. So, instead of having a stretch program that flattens the body to a horizontal position, the L-track stretch programs involve reclining the chair into a zero gravity-like position and the deploying the calf and foot airbags while the ottoman extends (lengthens) and then drops down. The effect on the user is that you will feel the pulling of your legs and a pull on your hips, but the overall global stretch experience will not be felt, because it quite simply can’t be done. I hope that made sense. I’ve included a video below to try to show the difference in body position in both a reclined S-track chair and a reclined L-track chair.


The trade off with these two types of chairs is the L-track roller experience vs. the S-track stretch experience. You have to determine which is most important to you when making the chair buying decision.

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.

Mail Bag: DreamWave vs. MA73; chair for 6’4″ & 200 lbs.

Postmail
Postmail

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.

Thank you.
Mike

My Response #1

Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave

Hi, Mike
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

Panasonic MA73 massage chair
Panasonic MA73

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

uKnead Lavita massage chair
uKnead Lavita

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.