Transcript of Video Titled "Massage Chair Industry Update - June 14, 2018"
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Alan: Hi, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com' and today is our biweekly massage chair industry update. Today is Thursday, June 14th, 2018.
[SCREEN TEXT: The New Osaki Maestro Now in Both of our Showrooms]
Alan: To begin with, we got our Osaki Maestro at our Utah store. So, now we've got a Maestro, which is a very, very popular chair. It's a high-end 3D L-track chair, another one from Osaki. They came out with the Osaki Ekon a little while ago, and then we also have the Human Touch Novo XT, and the Infinity Presidential. The Luraco Legend is kind of in that class, a little bit below that class, but in the same kind of class. They're 3D L-tracks, which means that the – 3D means you can adjust the depth of the rollers, to make the rollers dig in, or retract to make it less intense – from the remote control. The L-track refers to the curve of the, or the shape of the roller track that comes down the back, and follows along the curves of the spine, and then goes underneath the seat to massage the butt muscles. So, that is a 3D L-track, and the Maestro's a nice chair. It's got a very good trap massage, so if you're looking for a chair that hits the, kind of the crux between the shoulders and the neck, and a little bit higher up on the shoulders, a little bit farther over on the top of the shoulders, the Maestro does that very, very well. It's got a good foot massage. It's got some very strong foam cushions that push against your feet, almost, when you look at it, it looks like you can't even get your feet inside, but it snuggles in in there pretty good, and then when the airbags turn on and the rollers go, it's outstanding.
[SCREEN TEXT: No Calf Rollers in Osaki Maestro!]
Alan: There's been some confusion about whether the Maestro has calf rollers. I've had two people call me on this, and I have called Osaki, I have talked to my manager in the California store, and I have sat in our own chair here, and all of us say there's no calf roller in the Maestro. It does have airbags that knead up and down like the Titan, or the Osaki Ekon does, but there's no calf roller in the Maestro. There are companies out there that have told customers that there are – and I have had two – both customers have told me two different vendors have said that there are calf rollers in the Maestro. There are not calf rollers in the Maestro. There are knobules back there that the airbags push forward in to the back of the calves, which is a calf massage, and most chairs have that, but rollers, it does not have. If you want calf rollers, you got to look at the uKnead Lavita, the uKnead Lohas, the Apex Ultra, or the Osaki Ekon. Those chairs have rollers in the calves. Anyway, but the Maestro's a very popular chair, it's back-ordered now until the end of June, or 22nd of June, past that, sometime past that point.
[SCREEN TEXT: Infinity Presidential Review Article]
Alan: I also wrote a review on my blog, an article, a review on the Infinity Presidential, which I mentioned was one of those upper crust, high-end 3D L-track chairs, a very nice chair. I really like that chair, it does a great job on the base of the skull, what we call the suboccipital region and the neck, a strong neck massage, and it has what they call a J-track. Instead of having an L-track where the rollers come down your back and then under your butt, directly under your butt, it comes down, and then down at an angle, so the chair can flatten out more, which means you can get a better stretch. L-tracks are notorious for having weak stretches, compared to non-L-track chairs, typical S-track chairs, like the Infinity IT-8500, the Luraco iRobotics 7, the Ogawa Smart 3D, or the Touch 3D, or the Inada DreamWave. They have great stretches because the chair can flatten right out, and then the shoulders pin you back, and the airbags grab your feet and calves and pull your legs down, and boy, you get a good stretch. L-tracks do not have that good of a stretch, because the chair cannot flatten out, because the shape of the roller track is an L. Well, the Infinity Presidential has a J-track, so it's a little bit more flat than an L-track, so it can stretch out more. It's an interesting, a good point to be aware of if you're looking at chairs to buy, and you want a good stretch program. If you want an L-track chair that has a stretch, the Infinity Presidential is your chair.
[SCREEN TEXT: Synca Wellness JP1100 - First Japanese-Made Chair with Foot Rollers!]
Alan: I've been talking about a new chair from, a new Japanese-made chair with foot rollers, and that chair was finally released. It's from Synca Wellness, Johnson Wellness, and what's the other one, Inner Balance, or Inner Wellness, that’s all the same company, and Synca, the Synca Wellness brand now has this JP1100. It's a chair made by Fuji America, the same kind of chair as the Fujiiryoki chairs that you'll see from time to time, Japanese made, Japanese designed, and this is the first Japanese-made chair that has foot rollers. Now, the Panasonic MAJ7 is a Japanese designed and engineered chair, but manufactured and made in China, that has foot rollers, and that came out in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, but this is the first Japanese-made chair with a foot roller. Now, none of the Japanese chairs have zero-gravity function, and this Synca company is coming out with a new model called the Kanga, which is an upgrade to the Johnson Wellness J6800. That chair will be out in July, and that has, it does not have foot rollers, but it has zero gravity, and it has 4D rollers, so you can adjust the depth of the rollers.
[SCREEN TEXT: 4D vs. 3D]
Alan: 4D, 3D, by the way, I've talked about that before, 3D means the rollers can move up and down and side to side, those two dimensions, the x- and y-axes. The third dimension is the z-axis, moving forward and back, that’s the 3D, where the rollers can move forward and back. These massage chair companies are trying to be clever with marketing terms, and they're calling their chairs 4D chairs, but there is no real fourth dimension. I talk about this in my blog, it's kind of a, it's just a marketing term to suggest that you can adjust the speed as well. So, you’ve got x, y, and z rollers, roller motion, but now you can increase the speed of it, so they call that the fourth dimension, which is not a dimension. It's just a speed within the x- and y- and z-dimensions, the current x, y, z-dimensions, the three dimensions. So, don’t be fooled by 4D, if your chair has 3D and it has a speed adjustment, you’ve got 4D. How it's deployed, and what, you know, what, you know, configurations it's made may vary from chair to chair, but if you’ve got a 3D chair, and you’ve got speed, you’ve got 4D, so don’t be confused anymore about this. But anyway, also this Kanga, or am I saying it right, Kanga? Yeah, I think it's called the Kanga, yeah, Kangra, Kangra, K-A-N-G-R-A. The Kangra chair has the 3D, 4D, whatever you want to call it. It has Bluetooth, so you can pair up your phone with it and play your music. It's got upper-body heating, which is kind of cool. The J6800 has that too, it's like a pad that comes up over the top of your chest, and it heats up, and it heats the whole front of your body, which is pretty cool. It also has some fingertip keys, but we'll talk about that more, because we won't have that up for another couple of weeks, or a week or two, because it doesn’t come out until, it's not going to be in stock until July.
[SCREEN TEXT: TaskRabbit App - Great Resource for Packing Up Your Massage Chair]
Alan: OK, and I found out about an app called TaskRabbit, and now the reason I mention this app is because you can go on this app and get people in your area to do little tasks for you, whether it's painting, or cleaning, or moving stuff, or whatever it is that you need done. Well, one thing that you can get done is assembling your massage chair, or disassembling your massage chair. The reason I like this app is because it's not expensive, and if you buy a massage chair and you have to disassemble it, like for us, we have the best return policy in the business, we pay for shipping there and we pay for shipping back, if you return it. No questions asked as long as it's in the original packaging. Well, what we don’t, what we try to tell you, but other companies don’t tell you, is that you have to get that chair back in the original box, or get it packed up for shipping. Well, if you want to get that chair packed up, it's tough to do. The chairs are heavy, you got to take apart armrests, and probably the ottoman, and put it back in to two or three different boxes, pack it up, strap it up, and have it ready to go. Well, this Task – oh, and if you can't do it, you can hire a local moving company from sites like https://www.theremovalist.net.au/ to come do it, but you're going to look at $100, $150, to do it – well, this TaskRabbit will give you, it's kind of like HomeAdvisor.com, or what's the one, the gal's name that she has lists, something, something, somebody's list, I can't remember. But you could go on this app and look up 'Furniture Assembly,' and find someone, and I saw prices for as low as like $14 an hour, or $15 an hour, or $30 for a job, that’s cheap. You can go on TaskRabbit, it's an app, download it to your phone. Look up, you know, someone in your area, and then inquire about whether they can do this for you, and if they can do it, and you can get it for under $100, that’s a good deal. Of course, you could do it yourself and save all the money, but you don’t save the hassle. Anyway, that’s just a little tip for you, TaskRabbit, a downloadable app that'll give you an opportunity to find people in your area that can assemble or disassemble, take apart your furniture, and pack it up for you. That’s a good tip.
[SCREEN TEXT: "FDA Approved!!" True or Over-Reaching??]
Alan: Now, finally, I want to talk a little bit about something that’s been on my mind a lot. You know, as you probably know, or don’t know, I kind of, I kind of don’t like the way some massage chairs market themselves, massage chair companies market their chairs. I'm not a big believer in no-name brand chairs for reasons I've expressed before, that they don’t have great customer support, they have, they usually don’t have a great return policy, their prices are probably hyperinflated, and then dropped down a significant amount to make it look like you're saving $12,000 or $15,000, and getting after-sale support is very, very difficult. And then you're told that you’ve got a 10-year warranty, but then you find out it's just parts, or you find out that it's just structure, or you find out that you’ve got a one year comprehensive warranty, but you’ve got to ship the chair back to them, and they are going to fix it, and then send it back to you, and you're going to have to pay for return shipping. Anyway, the name-brand chairs, they're usually pretty secure, but I'm seeing more now that, I'm seeing a little bit more now of people claiming to be FDA approved, or their chairs are FDA approved, and this is kind of always didn’t sit right with me. So, you know, I've heard of companies that say their chairs are FDA registered, or you know, or something, you know, but you don’t hear a lot about it. And I will say that the FDA approval thing is kind of, it's kind of a marketing thing. It's like the 4D thing, and it's kind of, it's a bit of a sham, if you don’t mind me saying that, and I'll tell you why. There are companies, and all massage chair companies should be FDA registered, and I know that Infinity, and Inada, and Human Touch, they are all, and Luraco, they are all FDA registered, and every company should be, and are, in the United States. So, they're all FDA registered, but if you see something like FDA approved, that is a little misleading, because approval suggests that the chair has gone through – first of all, it suggests that it is a type, a class-three product, or drug, or a medical device, a class-three medical device – and a class-three medical device, none, those are the high-risk devices that are subject to the highest level of regulatory control, and this comes from the FDA. Class-three devices need to be typically approved by the FDA before they are marketed, like replacement heart valves. Those are class-three devices, a massage chair is not a class-three device. And then there are class one and class two, massage chairs are classified as class one. Class-one devices are deemed to be low risk and are therefore subject to the least regulatory controls. Dental floss is classified as a class-one device. Class-two devices are a little bit higher risk, they have greater regulatory controls, and but those are also things that are not, like over-the-counter stuff is typically, and massage chairs are typically considered over the counter, because you don’t need a prescription, you can just go buy them. Those are typically considered non-high risk, they're not high-risk products. A massage chair is a class-one product, and for a class-one product, you do not need to go through an approval process. Those chairs are, there's no approval necessary, so they're not really FDA approved. I guess it depends on how you determine FDA approval, if it's because it's a class-one device and there's no approval required, I guess every chair is FDA approved, if you want to go that way. But approval, FDA approval suggests that it's gone through this process of looking for permission to market, and they go through what is known an F10K, sorry, yeah, an F10K clearance, and if your product, or drug, or whatnot is a medium risk or higher, then you have to go through an F, a 510K process, and you cannot market your product until you have an F10K clearance. So, if a company says that their products are FDA approved, that means they have gone through this 510K process, and they have received a clearance, until it's finally approved. The clearance is like a go ahead, you can start selling it, it's not, the full approval process is not complete, but the F10K clearance suggests that the chair, or the product – I'm not going to say chair, because chairs don’t need those – that an F10K process has been done on that medical device, or those drugs, then it can be marketed as such. So, when you see someone saying FDA approved, that is not, well, I guess you can say it's FDA approved, because class-one devices don’t need approval. So, are they approved by the FDA? Probably not, semantically and literally, no, they're not. If they're approved, they’ve gone through this – literally, if a product has been FDA approved, it's gone through this process, this 510K process and clearance – ultimately leading to approval. So, don’t be fooled by people saying FDA approved. Do not think that that makes one chair better than another chair. They're all FDA registered, at least I assume they are. The Human Touch folks told me that every company should be FDA registered, but they're not approved. You'll see here on Infinity's certificate, this is a certificate of registration, and that’s all it is. It's a certificate of registration, it is not a certificate of approval, or a 510K clearance. So, buyer beware, eh, like I've said this before the massage chair industry is like the wild west, a lot of Internet business is like the wild west. There's not much regulation on a lot of things, and so people are saying things left and right that are not really true. Like 4D, really, is there a fourth dimension on our earth that, maybe there is up in space somewhere, or up in some solar system, there's a fourth dimension that we don’t know know about. But here on earth, we deal with x, y, and z-axes. That is it, for the most part, because you can affect the speed of those rollers moving on those axes, does that suggest a fourth dimension? So, don’t be fooled by 3D versus 4D. Someone's going to come out with a 5D, and say 'Well, you can adjust the color of the lights on the chair as the chair goes faster in the z-axis.' Well, does that make it a 5D chair, is that a fifth dimension chair, and mark my words, somebody will come out with a 5D chair. I can't wait to see it, it should be something, it should be like a rocket ship, NASA launched, federally funded massage chair, it should be incredible. But anyway, FDA is just a marketing term to get you to believe that this chair has approval over another chair. They're all considered medical devices, they are all considered medical devices. I contacted Luraco yesterday and today, but they never got back to me, because they register theirs as a medical device, but I believe all of them have to be registered as medical devices, because they are a class-one medical device. Well, anyway, as you can see, this is a, this is an issue that you're going to run in to. You're going to, as you shop, you're going to hear about FDA approved, or not approved, or FDA this, or FDA that.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: If you have a question, give me a call, you can reach me any time at 888-259-5380. But please, buyer beware. I've heard people say that their chairs are made in America, when they're – we know that they're made in China – the whole thing is made in China, but maybe in their quote, unquote factory, they might add a pillow, or they might change the width of a pillow, and so they give you a new pillow that fits your back better, or fits your hips better, and they call that made in America. They make that say that the chair is made in America, don’t fall for this stuff. It, I don't know, it just bugs me, and then the marketing is so good with some of these companies, I'll get people calling me, and they're like, they're just sold on this company because it's FDA approved, it's approved by doctors, it's approved by, it's USA made, it's FDA, oh my gosh, and the marketing is so slick and so good, and the discounts sound so significant and so substantial. But people, it's like hello, wake up, it's just a typical Chinese chair, made in a less than, not one of the best factories in China, and it costs them nothing, that’s why they can decrease the price so much, and it's FDA approved. I don’t even know what that, I still don’t even know if that means it's, what FDA approved means, based on the subjective interpretation of what that FDA approved term means. But according to the process, massage chairs are not needing to go through an FDA approval process. So, anyway, enough said, that’s my soapbox for the week. I'm just trying to protect people from spending a lot of money on something that they're going to regret, or have buyer's remorse about. And anyway, there's a lot of other things that can contribute to that too, but this is one of those things I just want you to be aware of. Don’t be sucked in by slick marketing terminology, or slick, or misleading, maybe not slick. You know, slick marketing is good, but misleading marketing, just buyer beware.
[SCREEN TEXT: Please "Thumbs Up" Like This Video!!]
Alan: Well, that’s about it for this week. I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up 'Like' it on our YouTube channel, and of course, if you have any questions, you can reach me, I had the phone number up earlier. You can reach out through our chat, through email, through our social media properties. And of course, share this video on your social media properties to help us spread the word about massage chairs, if you liked it. Anyway, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com,' and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye bye.
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