Many companies claim to make shiatsu massage chairs but in reality the chairs offer nothing of the sort. At best, most offer a general type of massage. Genuine shiatsu is the application of pressure with fingers and thumbs on energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of energy. Quite frankly, most chairs lack the technology needed. However, some do. Here’s a review of some of the best shiatsu massage chairs currently available.
The HoMedics Shiatsu massage chair and others, like the iJoy, are often touted as giving a genuine, human-like shiatsu massage. But they really don’t. The problem is that in order to get a genuine shiatsu, the chair has to be intelligent enough to know your body shape, just as a professional massager takes into account each persons height, weight and so forth. Chairs like HoMedics and iJoy are cheap and lack the technology required. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good chairs, but you simply can’t find a shiatsu chair for under $1,500.
So, how much do you need to spend? Well, if you want a chair that does deliver, then you’re talking around $1,800.
The Fujikura 2000 massage chair retails for this price and comes with an intelligent 4 roller system that conforms to the contour of your spine and a special neck massage function that directly targets stress relieving “tsubo points” on your neck. It also has other features such as 26 air bags – 20 of which are in the foot and calf massager – as well as arm massagers. The massage modes include: rolling, kneading, shiatsu results, compression and percussion, chop action and flapping. As an added bonus, the chair comes with a music therapy system.
Fujikura is a Japanese company and if you really want the best shiatsu massage chair you should buy one designed by a Japanese company. The Sanyo HEC-SA5000K Massage Chair is the genuine article and retails for around $4,300. It’s a lot of money, I know, but you really are getting something that is in the top tier. It’s a very stylish chair but more importantly, it comes with physical body shape detectors that will automatically adjust the massage rollers to your body shape to deliver a perfect massage. You get a leg massager but no arm massagers with this model.
Retailing for a thousand dollars less – and in my opinion, a better chair – is the OSIM iSymphonic Massage Chair. Now, this chair is packed with the latest technology. It uses optical sensors to detect your body shape and to automatically align the rollers to deliver a stress relieving massage. There are also 5 Healthcare programs and you can customize them to create your own unique massage. But, what’s really impressive about this chair is the music therapy system. Unlike the Fujikura chair (mentioned above), it just doesn’t play music, rather the massage given is directly orchestrated by the music of your choice; if you decide on hard rock, you’ll get a pounding, but if you listen to soothing classical, you’ll get an altogether gentler massage.
The Inada i.2 Massage Chair (HCP-i.2A) retails for around $3,300 and is cheaper then either the Sanyo or OSIM but I believe offers the best value for money. Like the OSIM massage chair, it uses optical sensors to detect body shape and automatically adjusts the chair rollers. Also, like the OSIM, it has no arm massagers but it does come with vibration in the armrest. The overall design of the chair is very contemporary and stylish.
For its cost and feature list, the Inada is certainly a shiatsu massage chair I would recommend. However, it’s worth trying to test the others out if you possibly can, especially the OSIM and Sanyo massage chairs, so you can be absolutely sure which one is best for you.