My Visit to Inada USA + First Impressions of New Flex 3S Chair!

June 4, 2014
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
June 4, 2014
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

My Visit to Inada USA + First Impressions of New Flex 3S Chair!

inada usaLast Thursday I flew to Denver and took the beautiful 45 minute drive to Boulder, CO where Inada USA has their main offices. They had recently moved to a new facility and I went to check it out. I have recorded a video of the visit and will post that later this week.

The showroom is beautiful and spacious. It has a bunch of Sogno and Yume and the new Flex 3S chairs all over the place. They even have a museum of sorts of all the models that they have carried through the years. There are also some lovely decorative touches throughout the showroom highlighted the Japanese origin of these chairs.

As Inada USA employs approximately 12-15 people, behind the showroom is located all the offices of the staff. They also have a warehouse where refurbished chairs are worked on and a plethora of parts, for current and previous models, are inventoried. Of course, their chairs are inventoried in a logistics warehouse in Southern California. But, their new offices really are a nice facility. 

New Inada Model

I sat on the new Inada Flex 3S massage chair that was just introduced last week on their main website. They had been testing it a bit in a couple of Asian markets to see how it was received and on June 5 (tomorrow) they will fully deploy the chair throughout the country. It is a great chair! I sat on it for quite a while, with Mio giving me the guided tour of the chair. Here are  my initial impressions of the chair (I will write a comprehensive review when we get the chair in our showroom):

Inada_Flex_Pillow_32088 1. Appearance
It is reminiscent of the Sogno Dreamwave design, but a smaller chair. It has shoulder airbags, along with a remote control that looks more like that of the discontinued Doctor’s Choice 3A chair. The smaller chair will take up  less space in your home or office. It will definitely come in black and dark brown colors, but other color options are still up in the air.

2. Synthetic Leather Upholstery
The material feels quite soft and “cozy”. There is less linen on this chair; you will have faux leather on the feet and calves, as well as on the hands and arms. Less linen and more faux leather makes for an easier cleaning job of the upholstery.

Inada_Flex_3_pillow2150 3. Focus on Posture
This chair is designed to work on posture, first and foremost. I loved how the shoulder airbags pulled my shoulders back and then the rollers offered simultaneous and sustained pressure on my mid and lower back to accentuate proper posture.

During the stretch program, I noticed that when the chair moved into a flexion position (ottoman and seat back UP), the airbags and the rollers were still doing their thing to accentuate my posture. I’ve seen other chairs before that moved the body into a flexion position during the stretch programs, but this seemed to be the first that worked on the posture so firmly during that flexion position. I really liked that about the chair.

4. Heat Elements…Not Quite Where You’d Expect Them!
Before Mio even said anything about a heat feature, I noticed my palms were getting warm. Apparently, this chair uses heat in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet to mimic hot stone massage. Pretty cool. This chair does not have a heating element in the low back.

Inada_Flex_32101 5. Neck Massage
During the auto programs the chair worked more on the shoulders/scapulae than it did on the neck. I was a little concerned about the quality of the neck massage. Well, when we went to the manual settings to customize my massage, the neck massage was far, far better.

6. Low Back Massage
This is where the chair really shines. I found that the low back massage, including reach into the sacrum/tailbone area, was very thorough. The chair seemed to spend a lot of time in the low back region. And the massage was sufficiently intense in that area.

7. 3D Roller Technology
You can adjust the intensity of the roller massage with the use of the 3D rollers. The chair also has a “Max Intensity” button which, when pressed, puts the rollers automatically into the most intense position.

8. Wide Berth Rollers
Something kinda cool about this chair is that when the rollers are in the low back, near the hips, and in the upper back around the shoulder blades, they “roll out wide”, meaning that they widen out to hit close to the hip bones in the low back and the outer edges of the shoulder blades. I’ve not seen a chair that accommodates that wide of a berth in those areas. But, it makes perfect sense to me, particularly in the low back where there are some pretty meaty muscles in that hip area.

Inada_Flex_3_pillow2185 9. Shoulder Program
The shoulder program had a feature where the rollers “traced” the edges of the shoulder blades. It felt like the rollers were working around the top, side, and bottom edges of the blades.

10. Focused Sensors
I’m not still completely clear on what they do, but they facilitate a regional stretch, i.e. lower body, shoulders, etc. I’ll write more about this when I have some time to play with the chair myself.

The chair also has the same body scan technology that the Sogno Dreamwave has along with a 15′ session timer. The default roller massage of the Flex 3S is quite a bit more vigorous than that of the Sogno. Overall, the experience of this chair is quite different from the Dreamwave, although aesthetically it looks very similar. The price of the Flex 3S will be $6499. I have posted a short 4 minute video review of it when I first saw it last week at Inada’s new showroom, on our YouTube channel.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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