Same As The Inada Sogno? I Don’t Think So!

March 12, 2013
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
March 12, 2013
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Same As The Inada Sogno? I Don’t Think So!

Inada Sogno

If you’ve done any amount of research in the massage chair business whilst trying to decide what massage chair would be best for you, surely you’ve come across the Inada Sogno Dreamwave chair. It is, for the most part, known as the best chair out there (Inada has even trademarked the phrase “The World’s Best Massage Chair”). However it is also known as the most expensive chair out there too.

Because of it’s popularity and innovative feature-set, there have been a bunch of knock-offs, or look-a-likes, created to compete with the Sogno and try to get a part of the market that Inada owns with this iconic chair. That makes sense…if something is working in a big way, why not try to copy it and get a piece of the pie. Well, most massage chair manufacturing companies have tried to do just that and you can see a plethora of chairs in the marketplace now that, at the very least, have a similar body design to the Sogno. Here is a list of a few that come to mind…

Osaki OS-7200H
Osaki OS-4000
Osaki OS-3000
Omega Montage Pro
iRobobics 6
Cozzia 16027

The styling of the Sogno was fairly innovative at the time of it’s introduction to the US market in 2008. We had never seen a chair that looked like that before. It was actually an award-winning design for  Inada by world-class furniture designer Toshiyuki Kita. Now, as I demonstrated above, you can see this design everywhere….it has become fairly commonplace to see the arm rest design that includes the arm airbags within it’s framework.

But, what other features , besides the design, are there in the Sogno that, at the time of it’s introduction to the market, were considered innovative and technological advancements in the massage chair industry and have since been imitated in one form or another by these look-a-likes?

Here is the list of innovative features:

Cervical Traction Device with airbag massage of the neck and shoulders (trap muscles)
Full Arm Massage
Dreamwave Technology in the seat
IlioTibial Band (ITB) Massage
3D Roller Massage

Together, along with the other standard features commonly seen in massage chairs, like a roller system, foot and calf airbags, and other airbag compression massage, these pioneering features work in concert to create a very, very relaxing and soothing massage experience for the user.

Other chair companies have tried to precisely replicate Sogno’s features, but have been unable to do so. As a matter of fact, no other chair has more than one or two of the Sogno features integrated, let alone all of them, but even those that do have one or two of those features have found it hard to replicate the exactly the way they work in concert like the Sogno. Here are a few chairs that have tried to imitate the Sogno in one way or another, other than design:

1. Osaki OS-7200H
This chair has a head piece similar to the Inada Sogno head piece. It has airbags that inflate against the neck and against the trapezia muscles at the top of the shoulders. The airbags in the neck feel like two big balloons that just push the neck forward. It is not the discriminating “finger-like” airbag massage of the Sogno headpiece.

The airbags that inflate against the top of the shoulders have the same issue. The Sogno has small rubber plates with hard rubber nodules that the airbags push into the trap muscles, giving you the feeling that a massage therapist is digging  her elbows into the top of your shoulders. The OS-7200H does have airbags designed to do the same thing but, again, it is not nearly as discriminating or refined as that of the Sogno.

2. Infinity IT-8500
This model integrates a moving seat, similar to the Dreamwave Technology of the Sogno. It is a nice feature, particularly if you are suffering from acute low back pain. It relaxes the pelvic area and allows the spasmed muscles to settle down. As with the Osaki OS-7200H, the imitation is good, but not as nuanced or refined as the same feature in the Sogno. The motion of the seat in the IT-8500 is purely side to side, whereas the motion of the seat in the Sogno is side to side in a figure-8 motion along with an up-and-down motion.

3. iRobotics 6
This is the only other chair that I am aware of that has tried to offer an upper arm airbag massage. All other massage chairs that claim to have arm massage only have airbags that work on the hand, wrist, and forearm. The iRobotics 6 has an airbag that pushes down on the bicep of each arm, along with hand, wrist, and forearm airbags, thus creating a “full arm massage.” However, it is not as comprehensive nor as inclusive as the full arm massage of the Inada Sogno.

I should also say here that all three of these chairs that I’ve mentioned are great chairs. I am not discounting the quality of the chairs at all. I am only saying that the features they incorporate that were pioneered by the Inada Sogno are not the same as those of the Sogno. Nothing more, nothing less.
Nowadays, more chairs are coming out with the 3D roller massage and these are quite good. This feature allows for the rollers to move forward more to increase the intensity of the massage. I don’t feel any noticeable difference between what the look-a-likes offer and what Inada pioneered with the Sogno.

Also, I might mention that the ITB massage airbags in the Sogno are fantastic. It is the only chair that actually massages the IlioTibial Band with any effectiveness. Other chairs that have airbags at the side of each thigh, and there are quite a few that do, do not do anything other than pin the hips into the chair so that the rollers can feel more intense when the low back is massaged. But, I’ve not seen any chair that even comes remotely close to mimicing the ITB massage of the Sogno.

Bottom line is this: if someone says that these other chairs are exactly like the Sogno but for less than half the price, don’t believe it. They are good chairs and, for the money, offer a sweet bang for the buck, but don’t believe for a minute that they are the same as the Sogno for less money. Just not true!

Having said all this about the Sogno look-a-likes, I want to make sure to mention that the Sogno does not have a monopoly on innovative and cool massage chair functions. Here are some things that I’ve seen in other chairs that I think are pretty cool that you won’t find on the Sogno:

1. Mechanical foot rollers
2. Head airbag massage
3. Zero gravity
4. Kneading of the calves

Well, I hope you found this helpful.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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