It's been over 5 years since the Inada Sogno was introduced to the US market, after having been tested and tried in Japan. I remember first seeing the chair and being so dang impressed with it's design. I also remember getting phone calls immediately after the chair was introduced to the US for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early in 2008. Folks wanted to know about this new chair as soon as they laid eyes on it.
Well, it finally came to my showroom in July of 2008, one of the first in a retail showroom in America and it has been our top-selling model ever since. Even today, with all the lower-priced Chinese imitations and the newer innovations in the industry, like mechanical foot rollers, butt and thigh rollers, and zero gravity, the Sogno still continues to be the iconic chair in the massage chair world. Why is that? What makes this chair so special? I get calls every week from massage chair shoppers asking me if there is anything comparable to the Sogno (for a lesser price, of course) and if I still feel that this chair at the top of the class. Well, let me try to explain a few things about the chair that I believe make it STILL the top massage chair that money can buy:
1. Very few chairs are made in Japan, the country of origin for the massage chair. Beyond that, most chairs are imported by companies that are only a few years old. Inada is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, massage chair company in the world. They have been building and innovating these devices since 1962 and, in my opinion, have pretty much perfected the art of chair building.
Also, the Inada chairs are built in-house. Their engineering, design, and assembly are all done in their own facilities in Japan. Their quality control is second to none. I trust in their products for this reason, if for no other. Quality design and engineering, quality components, and quality workmanship.
Inada only comes out with a new product that has some sort of innovative technology associated with it. The Sogno was the epitome of that philosophy. It introduced so many new features that we'd never seen before in the massage chair market that, quite frankly, have revolutionized the industry:
- Back 3-D massage (forward movement of the rollers; not just up and down/side to side movement)
- Airbag massage on the neck and top of shoulders (trapezia muscles)
- Full arm airbag massage (not just forearm massage)
- Arm massage integrated into the design of the chair
- Dreamwave technology in the seat (seat moves from side to side and up and down)
- Iliotibial Band (ITB) airbag massage (not just pressure, but actual compression massage)
- Contemporary, award-winning design
These features changed the game in this industry. It seems that every other chair that has been introduced since that time has tried to imitate the design and at least one or two of the other features originally innovated in the Sogno. For example, the IT-8500 has a seat that moves from side to side, mimicking the Dreamwave technology. The headpiece of the OS-7200H from Osaki has airbags in the neck and shoulder regions. The iRobobics 6 has an airbag mechanism that imitates the trapezia airbag massage of the Sogno. 3-D roller massage has become quite popular in some newer models. And so on. So far, I have not seen a chair that mimics the rich feature-set of the Sogno in it's entirety, yet some companies claim that their chair is like the Sogno but for a cheaper price. Not so, I can honestly say based on my experience with most of the name brand chairs out there.
Then Inada came out with the Yume, which is a completely different chair than the Sogno. But, it introduced a whole new set of unique and innovative features, i.e. rocking, chromotherapeutic lighting, and Thera-Elliptical Kneading in the calves. The lighting is the only feature we've seen replicated thus far in any other chair. When Inada chooses to come out with another chair, I can almost guarantee to you that it will be something different and innovative.
3. Best Warranty in the Biz
Inada was the first to offer a 3 year parts and labor, in-home warranty. Panasonic has since introduced the same for their 30007 and MA70 chairs. Pretty much every other company of consequence offers a 1 year parts and labor, in-home warranty. Not bad, but not Inada.
4. Though they are certainly not alone in this department, Inada has some of the best customer service in the industry. This is not unique to Inada, but it is a definite "Plus" when shoppers are looking for a new chair.
I hope this little article helps explain why the Inada Sogno continues to be the top selling chair in the industry and why it is widely considered the "best chair in the world." I don't know what it's life cycle will be, but it is still going strong after 5 years. Other chairs will come out with new, innovative features, from other companies, but for now the Sogno remains the undisputed champ.
Dr. Alan Weidner