Made in Japan or America or China – a valuable insight

luraco made in the usa
luraco made in the usa

As you may or may not know, I have spoken out a number of times about what it really means for a chair to be “Made in Japan” or “Made in Korea” or anywhere else in the world, other than China, since pretty much all the components of massage chairs come from China anyways. In summary, it doesn’t really mean much nowadays. I spoke about this topic in my May 31, 2019 edition of the Massage Chair Industry Update. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lengthy opinion written in the comments section by Dr. Kevin Le of Luraco in response to that very subject. It was so good that I thought I would post it here as well for more of you to read. It offers some great insights from one of the principals of a company that claims that their chairs are “Made in the USA”. It sheds some interesting light on the topic that is pertinent. Here are his remarks…

This is Dr. Kevin Le, Chief Technology Officer at Luraco Technologies. I noticed you have a new blog that discusses the topic of “Made in…” and that you also periodically mentioned Luraco. We appreciate you trying to clear up some of the confusion for your followers. I agree that other country’s do not define or authorize the use of “Made in…” but in the United States, it is VERY WELL DEFINED for product labeling. This link provides details about it that may be of use to your followers https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-made-usa-standard

As you know, false or intentionally mis-leading advertising is a HUGE ISSUE in the U.S. (something that the Federal Trade Commission oversees). Unfortunately, in the massage chair category, there is a lot of intentionally confusing marketing that is done by some companies to try to get customers to buy from them instead of their competitors. Twelve years ago, when Luraco released the iRobotics 1 (the First Made in USA Massage Chair), we had a Distributor that sells Chinese-made massage chairs, report us to the FTC claiming that Luraco chairs were not Made in the USA. Since they sold Chinese chairs, they spread lies that ours weren’t made in the US (a selling fact that they couldn’t compete with). We actually had government agents come and audit our company and our production lines. They inspected our operation, manufacturing processes, Bill of Materials and manufacturing costs and then deemed us qualified to use the Made in USA mark. It was a huge victory for Luraco since there was (and still is) no other massage chair that can be proud to make the “Made in USA” claim.

As you mentioned in your video, Luraco uses non-critical parts in our chairs that are made in Taiwan, but the critical parts are made here in the USA. We appreciate you for being honest with your reporting on our products. We too are now seeing many chairs advertised with “Made in Japan” which we feel is misleading to American consumers. As defined by U.S. laws, these are untrue claims. Most massage chairs are 100% made in China (ironically, they come from only a few factories in China and are labeled with different brand names). We agree with you that as the Chinese reputation for lower quality products grows, eventually most chairs will try to be marketed with a “Made in Japan” mark. Within the industry, we are already seeing Chinese chairs shipped to Japan, retested and repackaged and labeled “Made in Japan”. With newly imposed Chinese Tariffs there will probably be more of this in an attempt to avoid the new 25% import tax.

However you look at it, it is deceiving to the American consumer who thinks they are getting a Japanese product rather than a Chinese one. According to U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the rules are clearly defined: What is the U.S. Customs Service’s jurisdiction over country-of-origin claims? When an imported product incorporates materials and/or processing from more than one country, Customs considers the country of origin to be the last country in which a “substantial transformation” took place. Customs defines “substantial transformation” as a manufacturing process that results in a new and different product with a new name, character, and use that is different from that which existed before the change. Customs makes country-of-origin determinations using the “substantial transformation” test on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, Customs uses a “tariff shift” analysis, comparable to “substantial transformation,” to determine a product’s country of origin.” Luraco is trying hard to protect the massage chair industry’s image from false claims and misleading marketing. I felt the need to respond to you with my feedback (and the story of what we have had to deal with for defending “Made in the USA”).

At the end of the day, it will be the consumers who lose out and if we don’t clean things up people may lose faith in purchasing massage chairs altogether. You and I understand the need for truth in advertising of quality products and hopefully we will get there soon. We want customers to have confidence in purchasing massage chairs that benefit their bodies and from companies that are not deceptive in their advertising. Since Luraco is an American-based company, we take great pride in qualifying as the only “Made in USA” massage chair manufacturer and take exception to those that challenge our authenticity. Please know that you can continue to share our story as proudly being “Made in the U.S.A.” (from US and Global components).

Thank you, Dr. Le. I do feel, however, that the quality of the Chinese massage chairs coming to America is getting better and better. Companies like Infinity and Human Touch and Panasonic have “feet on the ground” in China overseeing the production of their chairs, including the quality control. Although China has had, and still generally does have, a reputation for lesser quality massage chair products, some of the top factories and distributors are changing that reputation with better quality chair builds.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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FDA Approved Massage Chairs? Really?? Don’t Believe It!

square grunge red fda approved stamp
square grunge red fda approved stamp

If you have read any of my articles or watched any of my Massage Chair Industry Update videos in the past, you know that there are certain things that I consider my “pet peeves” in the massage chair industry. Topics like 4D vs. 3D massage chairs, chromotherapy, and no-name brand marketing tactics. Well, the subject of “FDA Approved” massage chairs is another one.

FDA & Medical Devices Background

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specific grading standards and protocols in place to determine if a new medical device or product, that claims a health benefit, is a Class I, Class II, or Class III product and, thus, requires FDA approval of that product for the US marketplace and consumer. Of course, these grades and approvals are designed to make sure the products are safe and do not pose a potential danger or threat to the American consumer. They are in place to protect you and me.

According to www.fda.gov, examples of Class I devices present minimal potential harm to the user and include products like “enema kits and elastic bandages.” Examples of Class II devices include “powered wheelchairs and some pregnancy test kit” and have a higher risk.  Class III devices usually sustain or support life, are implanted, or present potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury. They can include products like “implantable pacemakers and breast implants.”

95% of Class I devices are “exempt from the regulatory process” and, thus, do not require FDA approval. 10% of medical devices are considered Class III do require the FDA approval. 43% of medical devices fall under the Class II category. Some of them require FDA approval and some don’t.

What Does FDA Approval Entail?

Approval involves notifying the FDA with the intent to market a Class III and, in some cases, a Class II medical device. Those companies seeking approval must first submit a PreMarket Approval (PMA) application or 510(k). The FDA will determine if the medical device seeking approval is “substantially equivalent (as safe and effective) to a device already on the market.” If the device is considered “substantially equivalent”, then the manufacturer can market the device. If it is not, then the approval process continues.

Massage chairs are considered Class I devices, therefore they DO NOT require FDA approval. They do not require a PMA or 510(k) application. If you see any advertisement from any massage chair company that says “FDA Approved”, rest assured you are seeing a classic example of false advertising!!

FDA Approval vs. FDA Registration (a big difference!)

Now, let’s talk about “registration” of a product with the FDA, which is not an “approval” by the FDA. From what I got in my research (online search and phone conversation with an FDA medical device rep), any medical device can be registered by a manufacturer or a US rep for a foreign manufacturer. Registration is a simple process that involves divulging information about the company submitting the registration, submitting the products that are being registered, and an annual renewal fee.

I went through the www.fda.gov site and searched for massage chair company registrations. I saw Family Inada, Human Touch, Luraco Technologies, Infinity, and Osaki Titan as listed massage chair companies. I also saw the manufacturing plant for the Cozzia and Ogawa (and, I assume Fujimedic) massage chairs. So, from what I gathered by reviewing those registrations, either the US distributor of the massage chairs or a US contact person for a foreign manufacturing facility can register the medical devices.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: there are no massage chairs that are FDA Approved for the simple reason that they are Class I medical devices and do not require FDA Approval to be marketed in the USA. However, massage chair companies can and do register their company and their medical devices with the FDA by paying a fee and renewing that fee annually. That DOES NOT mean their chairs are FDA Approved. They are quite simply just registered with the FDA. I would say it’s safe to say that most, if not all, massage chair companies in the USA are registered with the FDA. So, when you see a company state that it and it’s products are FDA registered, know that most are and it is nothing unique to that company or products.

So, if you see an advertisement of a massage chair that says “FDA Approved”, just know that it is false advertising and completely misleading. Don’t be afraid to call out companies that do that! Also, if you see an advertisement of a massage that says “FDA Registered”, know that most, if not all, already are. If you doubt the veracity of their claim, just ask for their registration number and you can look it up on www.fda.gov.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and if anyone would like to shed more light on the subject, please feel free to comment below. I am certainly not an expert on FDA approvals, but hopefully this article will get a conversation going.

 

Massage Chairs for Businesses – Any Warranty Coverage?

Miami Skyline
Miami Skyline

Standard Residential Warranty Coverage

The vast majority of our customers purchase a chair for use in their home. The warranties for residential use are pretty standard across the board. For example, most Chinese-made chairs have a 1 year parts & labor warranty with a 2nd year of parts coverage and a 3rd year of structural/frame coverage (aka 1/2/3 limited warranty). Most of the Japanese and American made chairs have a 3 year parts & labor warranty, commonly accompanied by an additional 2 years of parts. One company (Synca) actually offers a standard 5 year parts & labor warranty and some Chinese-made chairs (i.e. Novo XT2 and all Infinity massage chairs) have a 1/3/5 limited warranty. Of course, pretty much all companies offer 1 or more extended warranty options to bring total coverage up to 3 or 5 years of parts and labor coverage. Confused? Well, that was the easy part!

Commercial/Business Warranty Coverage

When it comes to warranty coverage for a chair being used in a commercial environment (business setting), the warranties are all over the map! This article will lay out for you the coverage you can expect from each of the major brands we carry. This is very important to know if you are looking to get a chair for your commercial business that will be used by multiple employees. Most massage chair companies understand if you are using it in your office for personal use, but these warranties are for situations where the user traffic is going to be higher.

  1. Infinity – 1 year of parts and labor coverage
  2. Luraco – 6 months of parts and labor coverage, 6 more months of parts only coverage.
  3. Osaki Titan – For commercial use, coverage is limited to up to 2 service visits over the life of the chair and 3 years parts coverage from the date of purchase.
  4. Health Mate – 1 year parts and labor coverage.
  5. Synca Wellness – Synca makes a full heavy duty commercial version of the JP1100 (called the Kurodo) that has a 2 year parts and labor coverage. You can also get an optional 3rd year of parts & labor coverage for an additional $250 (for non-wear and tear components). The JP1100 is built for light commercial and it’s coverage drops down from 5 years to 2 years parts & labor (still pretty dang good!). Synca does not recommend the Kagra or the CirC for full commercial use.
  6. Inner Balance – The Jin model will retain it’s regular warranty, which is 1 year parts & labor,  2 years parts, and 5 years frame . None of the Synca and Inner Balance models are approved for malls or airports.
  7. Inada, Panasonic, DreamWave, Positive Posture – The commercial warranty is $200 per year for up to 3 years of parts & labor coverage.
  8. Ogawa, Fujimedic, Cozzia – 6 months of full parts & labor coverage. You can also purchase up to 3 additional years of parts & labor coverage for $200/year.
  9. Human Touch – The following models have 1/3/5 year limited warranty coverage for commercial use: Novo XT2, Bali, Sana, all AccuTouch models, ZeroG 4.0/5.0/5.1. Their remaining models have a 1/2/3 year limited warranty for commercial use.
  10. uKnead – For light commercial use the standard factory warranty applies. That’s 1 year parts & labor and 2 more years of parts only. Structural/frame coverage is 5 years.

Well, that just about does it for the “factory” warranties for each of the brands we carry. I should also mention just a few more important things about this topic:

a. All these commercial warranties have “in-home” repairs, just like their residential counterparts. No need to send off the chair(s) to get fixed.

b. Our very own Peace of Mind Lifetime Labor Warranty does not cover chairs used in a commercial setting.

c. In lieu of our Peace of Mind Lifetime Labor Warranty, we offer a parts & labor commercial warranty for $200/year. This can be purchased for as many as years as desired and is typically billed annually.

If you have any questions about any of these warranties, please feel free to reach out.

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.

Luraco Legend Plus vs. Luraco Legend

Male using a Luraco Legend
Male using a Luraco Legend

Just as they did with the iRobotics 7 last July, Luraco has upgraded their Legend model to the new Luraco Legend Plus. The official switch was done on February 1, 2019. We had to have the new Legend Plus up and the old Legend down from our website on that date. We are currently selling our two floor models to make room for the new Legend Plus.

Luraco Legend Plus Upgrades:

  1. The Legend Plus has BlueTooth technology and speakers. Now you can pair your device with the chair and play your own playlist over the speakers.
  2. The Legend Plus roller track rolls 3 cm higher up the spine. The specs state that the length of the roller track is still 58″, as before, so I can only assume that the whole roller track has been shifted upwards 3 cm to accommodate a taller body.  Luraco’s literature stated that the original Legend could accommodate a person as tall as 6’2″ with an upper user weight limit of 240 lbs. The new Legend Plus can handle a user up to 6’5″ tall and 250 lbs, according to their literature. I won’t know for sure if it can truly handle someone 6’5″ tall until we have that chair in our showroom and tested it out with some tall bodies.
    By the way, when I am told by a massage chair company that their chair can fit someone 6’5″ tall, I expect it to mean that it can massage pretty much the whole neck of someone that tall. Massage chair companies are notorious for saying that their chairs can handle up to 6’4″ or whatever, but when someone that tall sits in the chair, often the rollers never massage the whole neck, if it hits the neck at all. Of course, a person 6’4″ tall may certainly “fit” into the chair, but can it really massage that person all the way up the neck?? That is the question you will want to ask yourself when trying out chairs.
  3. The armrest airbags in the Legend Plus have been improved for “a more comfortable and effective massage experience.” When I was at CES in Las Vegas in January, I asked Dr. Le what that meant and he told me that the elbow airbags, which are a very unique and therapeutic feature, have been redesigned a bit to make it easier to fit your arm into the arm airbags. With the old Luraco Legend, it could take a little finagling to get all of your shoulders, elbows, arms, and hands all situated before starting a massage program.
  4. Software enhancements “for a more enjoyable and beneficial massage experience.” I’m not sure what all those enhancements are, but I was told that the depth of the 3D rollers have been adjusted so that, at their greatest depth, the roller massage intensity is greater in the Plus than it was in the original Legend. That would be nice.
  5. The price jumped $1000 to $7990, from $6990.

After reading point #5 above, I thought now might be a good time to tell you that we are selling our Luraco Legend floor models in both of our stores, each for $4990. Great condition and, if you can live without the enhancements above, a fantastic price savings considering the new price point.

Everything else is exactly the same as before, i.e. appearance, remote control programs, noise reduction technology, weight and dimensions, color choices, body scan, made in America with non-critical components imported from Taiwan, L-track, etc.

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.

The New Luraco iRobotics 7 PLUS Massage Chair

Male using a Luraco Legend
Male using a Luraco Legend

On September 1, 2018 Luraco officially launched their new Luraco iRobotics 7 PLUS while simultaneously discontinuing their wildly popular iRobotics 7. If you are an owner of the discontinued model, have no fear. First of all you’re not missing out on a whole lot plus you will be able to upgrade to the new software/hardware down the road, if you so desire. I’ll go into the differences between the two models in this article with some additional information about the upgrades before I close.

The chair’s look and feel has not changed at all. We have the new i7+ in both of our showrooms and I can tell you that the differences are not manifest in the overall look and feel of the chair itself. In other words, you would be hard-pressed to see a difference between the two if we had them side-by-side in our showrooms. Most of the changes have to do with programming and hardware. The color options are the same, the remote control functions much the same way with some definite improvements, and the quiet, deep, smooth, and quality roller massage that you have come to expect from Luraco is still there. The chair is still made in the USA with non-critical components still imported from Taiwan (no Chinese components at all).

Here are the differences:

Pause Button
Pause Button
Play Button
Play Button

1. The remote control looks the same but has a sturdier, more solid feel. As a touch screen (reminiscent of a Smart phone), it processes menu selections much faster now and has a Pause/Play button at the bottom of the screen. The advantage of that feature is you can stop the current program you are enjoying anytime if you have to temporarily leave your chair. Once you return, simply push the Pause/Play button again and the chair continues right where you left off when you needed to run. No need to restart the chair, the body scan, and the positioning. You just push Play and carry on at the same spot you paused.

2. BlueTooth Speakers – Not only does the iRobotics 7 PLUS come with BlueTooth connectivity technology (so you can pair your device with the chair), you also get to listen to your device’s content on far superior speakers. The old i7, with one lonely and cheap speaker, was pretty bad, but now you have two vastly improved speakers at the back of the chair. We could tell a difference at the very moment the Voice Response feature began.

Intensity Settings
Intensity Settings
Manual Selections

3. The old i7 had the ability to adjust the roller intensity/depth of the neck and shoulders independent of the low back. Now, in the new i7 PLUS, you can also adjust the depth of the rollers in the mid back independent of the neck and shoulders and the low back areas. This contributes to an even more personalized massage. Also, you can now adjust the airbag compression intensity of the calves independent of the feet airbags.

Along the same lines, you can go to the manual section of the remote control and isolate the mid back and the calves for massage. Before you could only isolate the legs and feet together and the mid back as part of the back. Now, with separate intensity adjustments, you can also isolate those areas in the manual settings.

4. The i7 PLUS has unique tapping rhythms now. The previous model had basically one set tapping option in the manual settings. Now, you have tapping and percussion options in the form of “Constant Tapping”, “Variable Tapping”, and “Percussion Tapping”. You can adjust the speed of the Constant Tapping setting, but the Variable Tapping setting ramps up and down in cycles and the Percussion Tapping taps in high speed bursts. In other words, the speeds are set on the latter two. This enhances the manual massage experience substantially. Before it was mostly kneading with a set tapping option. This broadens the options more.

5. The price of the new iRobotics 7 PLUS is $500 more than the discontinued i7. It’s retail price is now $8990.

Luraco is currently working on putting together a conversion kit for all i7 users who want to upgrade to the new i7 PLUS features. It isn’t available yet, nor is the pricing announced. Once we hear about it we will notify our readers through this blog and our Massage Chair Industry Update videos.

I hope you found this comparison worthwhile. Feel free to call 888-259-5380 with any further questions or clarifications or to see what our showroom specials are on this model. You can also email me directly at alan@massage-chair-relief.com.

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.

Luraco iRobotics 7 vs. Luraco Legend

Male using a Luraco Legend
Male using a Luraco Legend
Luraco Legend massage chair
Luraco Legend

Luraco introduced it’s newest model at the tail end of 2017. The Luraco Legend is the first non-Chinese L-track massage chair, with the electronics and software produced in the USA and the non-critical components imported from Taiwan. The L-track is the nickname given to massage chairs with extended roller tracks that go beyond the low back and down into the buttocks region, massaging the glutes, the piriformis muscles, and the top of the hamstrings. It is also a 3D chair, which means that you can adjust the depth of the rollers to create a more intense or less intense massage experience.

The Legend looks very much like Luraco’s flagship model, the iRobotics 7, although it has quite a few differences which make for a reasonably different massage experience. Below is a list of those differences:

  1. 2 Rollers vs. 4 Rollers – Most chairs on the market have a 4 roller system, what we call “quad rollers.” The Luraco Legend is no different; it is a quad roller chair. The iRobotics 7 (i7) is a 2 roller chair (or “dual rollers”). The dual rollers make for a deeper and more intense roller massage experience. Because of the quad rollers of the Legend, that chair will not give as deep or intense of a roller massage on your back muscles. Although it is a 3D roller chair, and you can adjust the depth of the roller massage, it is still not as intense as that of a dual roller chair like the i7.
  2. L-track vs. S-track – The i7 has a traditional S-track that extends 32″ from the base of the skull down to the low back. The Legend, as mentioned above, is an L-track chair with the 58″ rollers extending from the neck down to the mid-thigh region.
  3. User Height & Weight Limits – The i7 has a maximum user height limit of 6’7″, while that of the Legend is 6’2″ tall. The i7 can handle a user that weighs up to 300 lbs, while the Legend can handle someone up to only 240 lbs.
  4. Seat Width – Commensurate with the height and weight limits in #3 above, the seats of the two chairs are different; the iRobotics’ seat width is 22″ and the width of the Legend seat is 20″.
  5. Upholstery – The Luraco Legend is fully upholstered in a synthetic leather material. The i7 is, for the most part, covered in the same material except for those touch points where the user’s body may touch the chair without clothing covering the body part, i.e. neck/head, shoulders, hands, forearms, calves, feet, and thighs. Those touch points are covered in real black leather.
  6. Seat Swing – The i7 has a seat swing mechanism that moves the seat of the chair from side to side for passive motion in the low back and pelvic regions. The Legend uses the L-track to passively massage the low back and pelvic area so there is no need for a seat swing feature.
  7. Pause Function – You can pause your massage program at any time during the session in your Legend. The pause function does not exist in the i7.
  8. # of Airbags – The i7 has 105 airbags, whereas the Legend has 80.
  9. Music System – The Legend does not have a music system at all, while the i7 has an MP3 audio player and an SD card input for your listening pleasure. The speaker system in the i7 isn’t something to write home about, so don’t think you’re missing too much.
  10. Human Voice Response – The i7 has a voice system that speaks to you while you sit in your chair. It is great for explaining what the chair is doing to you as it goes through it’s various programs. The voice is programmed in English, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, French, and Spanish. The Legend does not have this feature at all.
  11. Remote Control – The touch screen display icons are pretty much the same in both chairs, but the size of the Legend’s remote is smaller than that of the i7. It is also a faster response remote control. When you press one of the buttons, the response from the chair isn’t quicker while the latent response from the i7 is a bit slower.
  12. Elbow Airbags – The Luraco Legend has a feature which is quite unique and not found in any other chair
    Elbow Airbags
    Elbow Airbags

    we carry. It has airbags that surround the elbow and compress onto the insertion points of the wrist flexor and extendor muscles. This is a great feature for those suffering from tennis or golf elbow.

  13. Overall Feel – Principally because of the different roller systems, L-track vs. S-track and Quad vs. Dual rollers, the overall massage experience of the two chairs is quite different. Both models have quality builds with extremely quiet operation, but the feel is different. You will notice that right away when you compare the two. They are well built chairs, with great 5 year limited warranties, but if you are looking for a more aggressive massage, the i7 is a better choice. If you are looking for an L-track roller system, but can live with something a bit less in the strength department, the Legend is a great option.

I hope you found this comparison helpful!

Dr. Alan Weidner

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

Massage Chair Warranty Coverage in Hawaii

massage chair warranty support in Hawaii

I have more and more folks contacting me about shipping chairs to Hawaii. One of the topics that inevitably comes up when chatting about massage chair shipments to Hawaii is the warranty coverage. I had always assumed that all the brand name massage chair companies had the same coverage as they did on the mainland. Well, after a recent sale to a Hawaiian customer, I learned that this is just not the case.

I did a little homework with most of the major massage chair brands that we carry, and this is what I learned as far as each companies warranty support:

1. Human Touch – My contact at Human Touch said that they do offer parts and labor support for their massage chairs in Hawaii.

2. Infinity – They offer parts and labor support within a 50 mile radius of Honolulu. Any location beyond that is subject to extra charges.

3. Inada – Parts and labor coverage for Hawaii for Inada products.

4. Osaki Titan Apex – They have a tech on Oahu who can offer parts and labor support for that island.

5. Ogawa – Their coverage in Hawaii is limited to parts only.

6. Luraco – No warranty coverage from Luraco in Hawaii.

I hope this helps those of you who live in Hawaii and are contemplating getting a massage chair. Of course, contact us beforehand for shipping quotes as well as any updates or changes to the existing companies warranty policies.

I did not confirm this, but I suspect warranty coverage may be similar for Alaska, or at least parts of Alaska. Likewise, if you live in Alaska and are interested in a massage chair, contact us first for a shipping quote and to get up-to-date warranty information.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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

Massage Chair Industry Update – March 24, 2016 (Video)

golden microphone
golden microphone

Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – March 24, 2016”

microphoneAlan: Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com’ and today is our biweekly massage chair industry update for Thursday, March 24th, 2016, and not a whole lot to talk about today. Of course, I always say that, and I end up yakking forever, but here’s the things that we’ve got cooking.

[SCREEN TEXT: Stock Status]

Alan: Let me get in to stock just briefly. I emailed the massage chair companies last night for information about their stock, and the only one I heard back from was Infinite Therapeutics, so – or Infinity now, as they’re more commonly known as, they have the – oh, and then Human Touch also notified me that the WholeBody 5.1 is out of stock. They didn’t have an estimated time of arrival of the new models. So, that’s the Human Touch WholeBody 5.1. They discontinued the ZeroG 2.0, and I think they’re also discontinuing the Human Touch 7450, so there are some changes there. Now, Infinity, they’ve discontinued the ‘Ivory’ IT-8500, they’ve discontinued the Iyashi, white exterior with the caramel interior, and they’ve discontinued the IT-8100, but I’m going to talk about a new model that they just introduced, to kind of replace that one, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, and also, the black on black Iyashi is just on back-order. So, that’s the only chair they have on back-order, and that’s back-ordered for two to three weeks. As far as Inada goes, I think they’re all in stock there. I haven’t heard of any other Human Touch chairs that’re back-ordered. Osaki, Titan, and, Apex, I never really quite know until I place the order, if they’re back-ordered. I believe the Ogawa chairs are all in stock. I think the Ogawa Refresh was back-ordered until the middle of March, I believe that’s in stock now. So, anyway, if you have any questions about stock at the time of purchasing any particular model, let us know, and I will say that sometimes we think that they’re in stock, or that we’re told that they’re in stock, and then you know, a week later, someone places an order, and then we send the order in, and they tell us ‘Oh, that’s back-ordered.’ Well, sometimes they don’t know fully if the chairs are back-ordered or not, at the moment – well, let me put it to you this way – at the time that they tell me that they’re stocked, or not stocked, I believe that, but the stock could disappear in a day or two, or three, or four after I do this recording. So, a week from now, the stock may be gone, and we’ll let you know if the stock, if it’s back-ordered, and usually it doesn’t take longer than one or two weeks, except for the Infinity Escape, which took like two-and-a-half months. January, February, oh my goodness, yeah, we didn’t – we got it, January, February, half of March – yeah, it was two-and-a-half months. That’s rare, that’s very bothersome to me as a retailer, and very bothersome to my customers, but sometimes that happens. So, anyway, having said that, let’s move on.

[SCREEN TEXT: New Infinity IT-8500X3 & Infinity Evoke]

Alan: Infinity, now, I told you that they were discontinuing – or that they discontinued the IT-8100 – well, they’ve made a couple of exciting announcements, one of which is very interesting to me. The Infinity IT-8500, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the Infinity IT-8500 is a Chinese-made chair, all the Infinity, and Osaki, and Human Touch, they’re all Chinese chairs, but their chair, the IT-8500, has been our top selling Chinese chair for as long as I’ve been selling it. I figure that’s probably five, maybe five years, and our top selling Chinese brand, or Chinese model, made model. It just continues to be a popular chair, and the one thing that it lacked, in my humble opinion, was – it was a – it didn’t have the 3D rollers. Well, people were fine with that, because, and I’ll talk about this a little later as well, as far as adjusting intensity, for a chair that does not have 3D rollers, but this chair, the IT-8500, very popular chair, good bang for the buck. It was priced, for the longest time, at $3995. Now, it’s $4295; still a very good price, for a good feature set in a chair. Well, they’ve come out now, with the new IT-8500X3, and that has – and the X3 alludes to the 3D technology – so it has the same fit, and same body. I’m just looking at the thing here, excuse me, the spec sheets, and let you know what they have. They’ve got new 3D auto programs, they’ve got an auto extend neck feature, they’ve got five 3D intensity levels. Let’s see the chair is going to be selling – it’s going to be retailing for $5795, with a $300 off promo code, so that’s – instant savings, that is, so it’s $5495. So, it’s going to be $1200 more than the IT-8500, which will have the – but it’ll have the 3D rollers, it has – oh, it says here also, it has the Bluetooth compatibility. You know, the 8500 has the older, you know, download your music to a jump drive on your computer, and then plug it in to the USB port in the back of the IT-8500. Well, now it’s going to have Bluetooth connectivity, which is great because you can just connect from your cell phone, and play your music. It has a sleeker, redesigned remote, so I don’t know what sleeker looks like, but I know the remote right now, it’s a fairly, good rectangular shape. It’s a good size, easy to see, but we’ll see how it looks, and it still has the decompression stretch, and spinal alignment. They call it spinal alignment, it’s the shoulder airbags that pin the shoulders back. The stretch program on the IT-8500 is awesome, the neck massage, awesome, foot rollers, awesome, it’s a great chair. So, I’m very curious to see how this new IT-8500X3 is, and I’ll let you know once I find out more about it. I’m sure we’re going to get it in one of our showrooms – but one, maybe both of our showrooms – but definitely we’ll have it in the California showroom. Anyway, there’s another new model they’re sending out, or introducing now, to the market, called the Evoke, E-V-O-K-E, Evoke, and here are the basic features – and again, I’m sorry for not looking at the camera, I’m just looking at the stat sheet that they sent me – zero gravity, deep tissue massage, space saver, airbags from head to toe, well, everybody seems to have that, lumbar heat, foot rollers, heel rubber, and I think that’s the same thing that they have in their Escape, which is their lower priced L-track chair. And that heel rubber kind of – it’s a great foot massage – and I don’t know if it’s going to have the same six rollers per foot that the Escape has, but the heel rubber is pretty cool, as it grabs the heel, and gives that a massage. So, anyway, that’s the Evoke, and that one’s going to be selling for $2695, so it’s going to compete price wise, with the Osaki 4000T. The Osaki 4000T is a real – it’s a workhorse, it’s been around forever – it doesn’t fit some people very well. I’ve found that the Osaki 4000T, and probably the 4000 that you can get on Costco, the Dreamer, the Osaki Dreamer, and the Osaki 7200H, and 7200CR, they have shoulder airbag housing that’s a hard stop, and so what’ll happen is when you sit in the chair, and then you put your arms out, to go in to the armrests for airbag massage, the bottom of the housing, the shoulder airbag housing, digs in to your upper arms, and it can be quite uncomfortable. It’s worse on the Osaki 4000T, and the Osaki 4000, not as bad on the Dreamer, or on the 7200 series, but it is burdensome for a large, broad-shouldered person to sit in that bloody chair, it becomes irritating. Well, this is a chair, $2695, that kind of competes with the 4000T. It has the deep tissue massage, the 4000T is the more moderate, mild massage, this Evoke seems to be more deep tissue. It’s a space saving technology, none of the Osaki 4000, or 4000T models, have it, lumbar heat, foot rollers, the foot rollers on the Osaki 4000T are pretty mild. I suspect with Infinity, knowing their other chairs, it’s going to be a good, intense foot massage. Anyway, that’s the new Evoke, so I don’t know if I’m going to be having that in my showroom either, maybe I will. The 4000T is kind of an older technology, it’s been around for years. That’s kind of – that was the flagship chair for the Osaki brand, and then, of course, they’ve now got so many other models, and model – brand lines, and you know, whatever, so anyway, just so that you know.

[SCREEN TEXT: Update on the SoCal Showroom]

Alan: Alright, what else have we got cooking? Let’s see, oh, our Southern California store, I was just down there last week. We were doing some recording for a television commercial. Well, our walls are still as bare as the day is long, I mean, and they’re long walls. So, the guy that did our buildout is going to put up some sconce lighting for us, and some nice trim, and we’ll put up some pictures, and you know, we’ll have Mona kind of pick some nice artwork, or whatever, or maybe some nice pictures of massage chairs, heaven forbid, and we’ll put that up on the wall to kind of make the wall look a little busier. But I’ll take the videotape of that when we have that done, and it’ll look sharp, but we’ll post that up for you to take a look at, but that Southern California store is a nice store. I like it, it’s wider than our store here in Utah, it’s deeper than our store here in Utah. You feel like you can have more than one person in there at a time, looking at chairs, but I really like that store, great store, and great staff. So, go down and meet Michael and Chris, they’re just awesome, and for those of you that don’t know, and of course, if you’re only Vietnamese speaking, you’re not going to understand a word of what I’m saying now, but Michael Nguyen is our showroom manager, and he’s bilingual, Vietnamese and English. And so, you know, feel free to give us a call at that – at our, well, here – our number there is 562-865-4607, 562-865-4607. Go ahead and call, and you can talk to Michael, if you’re Vietnamese, of course, talk to him, but for Anglos, you can talk to Michael or Chris.

[SCREEN TEXT: Massage Chair Tip!]

Alan: And one last thing I’ll chitchat about, just – you know, I should do this every one of these video recordings – these biweekly updates, I should give like a massage chair tip, or something like that. But one thing that people – I tell people, all the time, about in our showroom is how to use – how to change the intensity of a massage chair if it’s too intense for you, and you don’t have the 3D rollers. Even if you do have 3D rollers – by the way, 3D rollers mean that the rollers can move forward or back to increase, or decrease, the intensity of the massage – well, what do you do if the lowest intensity setting of the 3D roller is still too much? Or, what do you do if you’ve got a chair like the IT-8500, which is a deep-tissue massage chair, but it doesn’t have the intensity adjustment ability, it doesn’t have the 3D rollers, or now it does, but if you can’t get it low enough? Well, what we always recommend is using something that we call a throw blanket. Now, I don’t know if you know what a throw blanket is, but a throw blanket is like a decorative blanket that a lot of people use for, you know, to decorate a couch, or a chair, and these massage chairs aren’t the prettiest things in the world, so a lot of people use throw blankets to kind of, you know, try to camouflage the chair. But well, you can use that throw blanket, if you fold it up in quarters, or whatever, and you use that as a back pad. It’ll, you know, lay it down the length of the chair, and use that as a back pad. It’s a wonderful way to do it, because sometimes people use pillows, like sleeping, bed pillows, or couch, decorative pillows. They’re too thick, you’re not going to feel much massage at all. So, you know, if you can get a thin foam pad, or something like that, that’d be great, a memory foam pad, like the iRobotics 7 comes with a memory foam pad now, which is great, but just use a throw blanket, it’s awesome. Plus, if you’re the decorator of the house, and you look at that chair, and you go ‘Oh my goodness, that is butt ugly,’ and you want to change the look of it, use a throw blanket for that too. Anyway, there’s my intensity adjustment advice, and my decorative advice, which is so amazing.

[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]

Alan: Well, I think that just about does it for this week. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at 888-259-5380, there you go, and of course, you can always email me, comment on our YouTube channel, or on our Facebook page, or you can go on our chat software, whatever. You can always reach me, and if you don’t get directly to me, I will always call you back, but anyway, feel free to give us a call. If you found this video helpful, please feel free to thumbs up ‘Like’ us on YouTube, and of course, share this, or any of our other videos, on your social media platforms to help us spread the word about massage chairs, we appreciate that. Massage chairs are kind of a new thing, relatively infantile in its stage of development here in the United States, and we appreciate you helping us spread the word about it, because this is a great thing. Duh, that’s why I do it. Well, anyway, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com,’ and I will see you in two weeks. Bye bye.

Click on the following link to watch this Massage Chair Industry Update on our YouTube channel.

My Visit to Dallas, TX – LURACO – Day 2

luraco outsideTuesday morning I was off to Luraco’s headquarters in Arlington and my visit there was fantastic. I spent the day with Kevin Le, VP/Chief Technology Officer, Manthan Sheth, Electrical Design Engineer, Bryce Gaston, Electrical Engineer, and Patty Campbell, director of Marketing.

After spending some time chatting about Luraco, their company, products, and innovative technologies, we went on a tour of their facility. Now, since I have mentioned on my website that this is a primarily US-made chair, I will admit that I have received some pushback from the industry that perhaps the chair was really made in China and only assembled here. Continue reading “My Visit to Dallas, TX – LURACO – Day 2”

News & Notes (inc. Yet Another New Osaki Model)- 10/16/2013

Lots of stuff to report this week.

OS-3D Pro Cyber
OS-3D Pro Cyber

1. Osaki has come out, yet again, with another model. This one is called the OS-3D Pro Cyber. I have a brochure on it, but the price has yet to be determined. It appears to be a more modern looking version of the OS-7075R with a couple of varied features from the 7075. For example, the brochure speaks of  “next generation air massage technology.” The explanation in the brochure is “Through innovative engineering, we have reduced the total number of air bags but have increased the volume and surface area of massage. By doing so the total number of working valves has drastically reduced from prior models, which ultimately put less stress on the chair, making it one of the most mechanically sound massage chairs in the market.Continue reading “News & Notes (inc. Yet Another New Osaki Model)- 10/16/2013”

Commercial Massage Chair Warranties

deniedI have been writing an 8 part series of reviews of the warranty coverage of each of the 8 companies I represent on my website and store. It is important to note that the discussions in those reviews pertain solely to residential chair placements and use. What about commercial coverage? Do the chairs have different coverage if they are placed and used in a business? Well, for the most  part, yes they do.

This article will address the commercial coverage offered by each company for their massage chairs. If you use the chair in a business setting where multiple employees and/or customers use the chair, then that would be considered commercial use. If you are buying a chair for your office and you are the principal user of the chair, then the normal warranty would typically apply. Some examples I have seen of commercial use meriting different warranty coverage would be spas, salons, tire stores, auto dealerships, employee perks in a business, doctor’s offices, dentist’s waiting or recovery rooms, retail outlets, gyms, teacher lounges at schools, etc.

I have contacted each of the massage chair companies that I represent and here are their commercial warranties: Continue reading “Commercial Massage Chair Warranties”

This & That…Used Chairs, UL Certification, and More

I’ve got a mixed bag of stuff to cover today, so here it goes…

ul logo1. Luraco recently received a UL Certification for their family of massage chairs. What does UL Certification mean? You have probably seen the UL logo on many electronic devices. I know I have. Here is a link to a site that answers the question about UL Certification…

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/question218.htm

A simple definition of UL Certification is “Underwriters Laboratories grants the UL mark for products that are tested and found compliant to a specific established set of standard tests.” (http://www.insultab.com/glossary.html)

I am not aware of any other massage chair companies that have this certification in the US.

2. I have two used massage chairs for sale:

a.) Panasonic EP30007 (black) – this chair was returned by someone after only 1 month of ownership. It is in pristine condition and is already packed up and ready to go. The folks who returned it decided to get a used Inada Sogno instead. I am selling this chair for $3499 (regularly $3999). I’ll pay for the shipping, NO sales tax if you live outside of Utah, and the 3 year parts and labor, in-home warranty is in full effect.

b.) Infinity IT-8500 (dark brown) – I came to work yesterday and I customer of mine from Brownsville, Texas was waiting for me at my showroom with his IT-8500 to return. He didn’t want to pay the high shipping fee so he rented a uHaul trailer and drove the chair 16 hours to my showroom to bring it back himself. It is in perfect condition, as well. As with the Panasonic 30007, I will pay for shipping, NO sales tax, and the warranty is intact (1 year parts and labor, in-home; 2nd year parts; 3rd year structure/frame). This chair is going for $3295, but is normally our top selling model at $3695.

If either of these chairs interests you, call me at 888-259-5380 and I’ll process the order for you.

3. As far as stock goes, the IT-8200 in brown and taupe is back ordered for another 2 weeks, as are the brown, taupe, and ivory OS-7075R from Osaki. The black leather Inada Sogno is back ordered until October 6.

luraco_app4. I mentioned in a previous post that Luraco has come out with their app in the upgraded iRobotics 6S. This app is available for Droid devices and gives the user the ability to customize the massage experience on the chair, including the ability to adjust roller and airbag intensity. See the screenshot above.

I will be going over these and other items on this week’s Massage Chair Industry Update. Stay tuned…

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

 

Luraco Warranty Review – Fine Toothed Comb (Part 6 of 8)

Luraco Logo no background small (1)Although Luraco Technologies has been around for a long time in the defense and commercial sectors, it was only this year that they became a player in home massage chair distribution with their iRobotics 6S chair offering.

They manufacture over 50% of their chair in America, as well as assemble it here. One of the things that makes them unique, aside from their “Made in the USA” moniker, is the fact that they offer a 2 year parts and labor warranty, with an additional year for parts only and another 2 years of structural coverage (5 year limited warranty). Most chairs, outside of Inada and Panasonic, offer only a 1 year parts and labor warranty (3 year limited warranty).

I will also tell you that they have a wonderful tech support department and are very quick to respond to any issues with their chairs. I have a local customer who experienced a problem with his new iRobotics 6S chair. He called me, I called Luraco, and within an hour my customer had heard from one of Luraco’s engineers to diagnose the problem as well as make arrangements for it’s repair. I was very impressed with their attention to my customer’s needs.

One of the advantages of having a massage chair manufacturing company based in the USA is that the resources available are second to none. I’ve never had an engineer ever call any of my customers from any of the other chair importers for whom we carry chairs. You get one of the guys who actually builds this stuff call you to address your chair problem. Pretty cool.

Well, here are the details of Luraco’s warranty for your perusal (my comments included): Continue reading “Luraco Warranty Review – Fine Toothed Comb (Part 6 of 8)”

iRobotics 6 by Luraco – “Made In The USA”!!

iRobotics 6

I have been posting content about the new iRobotics 6 massage chair by Luraco Technologies of Dallas, TX. The big selling point and the thing that really makes this chair stand out, in my mind, is the fact that this is the first chair that is made in the USA.

I received an email a week ago from someone who challenged that claim, showing me images of an identical chair made by a Chinese manufacturing plant called Dotast.

I immediately emailed my contact at Luraco to ask them to explain why this chair was showing up on the website of a chinese massage chair manufacturing plant and to also confirm that this new model of theirs is truly a US made chair. Here is what I learned from this inquiry: Continue reading “iRobotics 6 by Luraco – “Made In The USA”!!”

First US-Made Massage Chair Now Available – iRobotics 6!!

iRobotics 6

A massage chair industry first this last week…the first US-made massage chair is now on the market (at least it is the first US-made chair that I am aware of!). Luraco Technologies, known more prominently as a military contractor, has made a foray into the massage chair world with it’s iRobotics 6 (iR6).

They started a while back making massage chairs for spas and nail salons…chairs that massaged you but did not give you the full feature-set, i.e. calves and legs, that a typical mainstream massage chair provides. They have had great success with the nail salon industry and are now providing an upgraded model for home and office settings with the iR6.

Luraco sent me a test model of this chair a number of weeks back and have it in my showroom. I must say that it is a very, very nice chair. Here are a few things that I noticed about the chair right off the bat:
Continue reading “First US-Made Massage Chair Now Available – iRobotics 6!!”