Mail Bag – Inada Flex 3S vs. IT-8500; Laundry List of Needs; Chair for 4’11”

June 17, 2015
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
June 17, 2015
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Mail Bag – Inada Flex 3S vs. IT-8500; Laundry List of Needs; Chair for 4’11”

emailQuestion #1
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:

1. music

2. lights

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



Hi, Chip
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.

Brookstone chairs are typical Chinese chairs, but, like you, I’ve heard their customer support after the purchase is weak. You may want to do some online research about that before deciding on an OSIM chair. I actually did a brief review of the OSIM uDivine and then chatted about the IT-8500. You can read that here…

The IT-8500 is on sale for $3995.

I need to mention here that the massage of the IT-8500 is quite different from the Inada Flex 3S, which I also sell and have in my showroom. But, in our business, you truly get what you pay for. But, for your price range, I think you’ll love the IT-8500.

Question #2
Hello, My wife and I are exploring the purchase of a massage chair and came across your website. With all of the options, we were hoping that you could point us in the direction of where to start based on the input below.

Her: 5’7” & 120lbs problems: Disc herniation (anterior) in lumbar spine, Piriformis spasms Sciatica. Wants/needs: Low back massage, Heat, Inversion, Stretching, some way to massage the piriformis?

Him: 6’ & 315lbs, works either in front of computer or travels (uncomfortable commercial flights Very tight calfs. Wants/needs: Back, neck, shoulders, Calf massage. Thanks, Jeff.

My Response #2



Hi, Jeff
Thanks for your email yesterday. Regarding your conditions, most chairs will address the low back with effective roller technology. These rollers increase segmental mobility in the lumbar spine and should not adversely affect an anterior herniation. The Piriformis muscles are deep muscles and difficult to reach, but the chair that comes the closest to hitting those muscles would be the Infinity Iyashi, Titan Alpine, or Apex Ultra, which have a 49-51″ roller track extending beyond the lumbar spine into the buttock areas. If the sciatica is caused by the piriformis syndrome, these extended roller track chairs “may” help that out. Although it doesn’t hit the pirifomis muscles, the Inada DreamWave has one of the lowest reaches into the buttocks/sacral area by rollers, excluding the three aforementioned models…which, as I mentioned have the lowest of all models.

Inversion is a feature that is not typical in most massage chairs. Inversion refers to a recline past horizontal and there is only one chair that does that…the Infinity IT-9800. Infinity claims that it’s IT-8500 also offers inversion, but it reclines only to 180 degrees and not beyond so it is not a true inversion chair. Most chairs have a low back heat feature as well as a stretch program but none of them address piriformis syndrome.

Some chairs that offer great neck, back, and shoulder massage include the Inada DreamWave, the Panasonic MA70/MA73, the Osaki OS-3D Pro Dreamer, the Apex Ultra, and the Infinity IT-8500. Of that list, the Osaki Pro Dreamer, Apex Ultra, and the Panasonic models may not support the 315 lb weight. Calf massage is offered in most chairs via airbag compression. The Panasonic MA70/MA73 has a decent calf massage because it includes compression by airbags of the calves against a rubber plate with rubber nobules behind the calves. The Apex Ultra actually has a calf roller for each leg in addition to the airbags.

Question #3
Hello, I’m looking into a chair for my mom. I have been reading about all the chairs and I guess I should start with the obvious…she is 4′ 11″ so what recommendation would I be able to get right off the I know this will most likely eliminate quite a few chairs…ty, Dan.

My Response #3
Hi, Dan
Thanks for your email. Because of your mom’s height, your selection is certainly restricted somewhat. Here is a list our chairs that could fit someone of your mom’s height. Take a look at the list and the feel free to ask me any particular questions about each model…

1. Inada DreamWave
Widely considered the world’s best chair, the DreamWave caters to bodies as small as 4’11” and as tall as 6’5″. Great chair. Pricey…but phenomenal. It would be gentle enough for your mom, yet have the capacity for a very vigorous massage, should she want that.

Panasonic MA73

Panasonic MA73

2.Panasonic MA70, MA73 or EP30007
It has been said that the Panasonic chairs are “made by Asians, for Asians” and I would have to say that is very true. Any of the Panasonic models will cater to a lowest height of 4’6″, the lowest of any of our chairs. Great chairs, great quality. Vigorous massages. We have the MA70 and MA73 on sale for $1000 off our list prices, FYI.

3. Infinity IT-8500 or IT-7800
Both models cater to heights of under 5′. The IT-8500 is our most popular selling chinese-made massage chair. The IT-7800 is a bare-bones model without many bells and whistles, but it will do for the very basic needs. In our opinion, the IT-8500 is the best bang for the buck in this line. It is considered a deep tissue massage chair, so it might be a bit vigorous for your mom, but we can always send you a back pad to make it less intense, should this chair interest you.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions or need help with placing your order. I am always at your disposal.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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