A Good Neck and Upper Back Massage Chair?

July 20, 2012
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
July 20, 2012
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

A Good Neck and Upper Back Massage Chair?

I love getting emails from customers as they always ask questions that get me thinking and it also helps me to know what shoppers are really wanting out there. Here is a question from a fellow named Karl and I figured I’d share my answer with you, since it just might help you in your own buying process.


Hello Like the website, very interested in a chair that can offer me great neck and back massage. Other stuff not really relevant. Would I be correct in thinking the inada Hume or songo offer the BEST massage? Look forward to hearing from you.

My Answer:

Hi Karl

I might suggest the following chairs:

1. Panasonic ma70–  Good quality chair, this latest model from Panasonic has a good intense back and neck massage.  The roller track is 31″, the longest of any massage chair, other than the Osaki OS-7000 chair, which is also 31″ in length. This will assure that you get the rollers in the neck and the low back. Most Panasonic massage chairs are not well made for folks over 5’10” tall, but this model was designed for the taller body type. I might also mention that chances of getting a Panasonic serviced are greater because of the size and international presence of the Panasonic company. Having a Panasonic service center in your country is a greater possibility than, say, someone to service an Osaki or Human Touch massage chair. Panasonic chairs are known for their durability and endurance.

Panasonic MA70

2.  Osaki OS-7000 – Has become a very popular seller here in the USA partly because of it’s new design, but mostly because of the intensity of it’s roller system. It has the most vigorous and intense default massage of any of the chairs we carry. Because it is a US company and it’s distribution is only in the USA, the warranty would only provide parts to you during the time the warranty is in force. That is how it is with all US-based massage chairs, be it Inada, Osaki, Human Touch, Panasonic, etc. The parts and labor warranty is null and void once a chair leaves US soil, but parts can be supplied to you at no charge during the warranty period. You would just have to pay for shipping of any part that you require. Osaki is a relatively new brand and their long-term durability is not yet known.

3. Inada Sogno – One of the very best chairs out there, in our humble opinion. Best made, most nuanced and refined massage, the chair which most other companies have tried to imitate, and the only Japanese-made massage chair of any consequence (it is widely believed that Japanese chairs are better made than Chinese chairs, although the Chinese chairs are getting better with every new model that is introduced to the market. The Sogno probably does more than what you need, but it is a phenomenal machine and will give you air or roller massage of the neck and shoulders, as well as a fantastic sacral (low, low back) roller massage.

4. Human Touch HT-7120 or HT-7450 – Human Touch chairs are known for their aggressive neck and upper back massage, but the rollers in these chairs only go down to the belt level of the low back. I wish they would go down to the sacrum or tailbone. Chinese-made chairs with very few bells and whistles, these two models are designed for roller massage in the back and airbag massage in the calves. Nothing fancy…may be right up your alley. No foot massager, but you can bend your knees and put  your feet in the calf wells for a decent foot massage. The HT-7450 is a more elaborate chair than the HT-7120 with features such as thigh and butt airbag massage, zero gravity seat feature, a more elaborate and sophisticated massage roller system, and more auto programs to choose from. But, for the price, they are both good chairs. Human Touch has been around since 1986 so they have a decent track record when it comes to their older models, such as these two.

5. The Inada Yume, which you also expressed interest in, might be a little small for the 6’2″ body, but it has a wonderful massage and is a very easy chair to operate. Because of your height, you may find it difficult to get an effective neck roller massage. Like the HT-7450 and HT-7120, no foot massager is available on this model, but the calf massage is incredible. It has something new called Thera-Elliptical Kneading where the calf wells don’t just inflate airbags but the sides of the wells go up and down along the length of the calf to actually knead the calf muscles. Pretty innovative and cool stuff, actually. Airbags in the seat and head pillow add a nice massage and stretch to both areas.

If you have already tried out a massage chair and love it, that may be a very important discerning factor in making your choice. You can read all you want about a chair and listen to whatever I say about these chairs, but if you have tried out a chair already that you love, then I might suggest that you factor that consideration strongly into your final decision. Just my opinion based on years of seeing folks shop for massage chairs.

I hope these suggestions help you in some way. I would probably suggest the Panasonic ma70 or the Inada Sogno because the risk of something going wrong with them is much less than with the other chairs I mentioned.

Let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with, be it more chair info or arranging the logistics of your order.

Dr. Alan Weidner
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