There’s no disputing the technically advanced features of the Inada i.2 chair and the fact that’s it’s been designed and made by perhaps the World’s leading company and authority of the robotic massage chair. But, can you buy another brand that comes with features and functions that are just as good but at a lower price?

The Inada i.1 made its debut in Japan in 2000 as the world’s first massage chair that truly offered customizable massage programs. Now, with the release of the Inada i.2, the technology has gone up another gear by introducing infrared sensors that detect body shape and will automatically adjust the back rollers to deliver the most optimal massage for an individual. Coupled with the massage modes and programs on offer, it really is an awesome chair. However, I believe that you can buy another brand of chair that is just as technically advanced, offers similar modes and programs but retails for considerably less than the i.2 chair’s $3,400 price tag.

But first, let’s talk about those infrared sensors and why they’re important. Many companies claim that they make shiatsu massage chairs but the fact is that few chairs really deliver a true shiatsu massage. That’s because shiatsu is about massaging acupressure points to relieve and help a whole lot of conditions and ailments. It’s a precise technique and it’s critical that the masseuse locates the acupressure points precisely or the massage will offer no real benefit.

You can’t simply expect to lie back in a chair and get a shiatsu massage. The back rollers will not align properly against your shoulders and spine. On cheaper models there’s always the option of manually adjusting the rollers and so the company will claim that their chairs offer the real thing. But are you a shiatsu expert and would you know where your acupressure points are located? A chair that relies on the person using it to manually adjust the rollers cannot really be described as a true shiatsu massage chair.

Manufacturers (mainly Japanese) knew this and set about the development of systems that would be able to detect the unique shape of an individual and then automatically align the rollers. Inada was the first to introduce optical sensors to its chairs.

So, what do you get with the Inada i 2? Well, you get the following massage modes: rolling, kneading, rhythmic acupressure, tapping, and deep calf massage. There are intuitive preset programs that offer a variety of massage modes. The manual selections come with 10 upper body modes and 3 lower body modes and there’s a vibration function on the back and seat that you can toggle between high and low. There is air pressure massage on the feet, hips, and calves.

All of these features are very impressive but they don’t come cheap and could well be beyond the budget for most. However, there is a cheaper alternative available; the OSIM iMedic.

The OSIM massage chair also comes with acupressure point detection and with rollers that automatically glide along your back to detect precise points to massage. It features a 30-minute Healthcare massage; 20-minute well-being program; relax program and 6 targeted auto programs. The chair has a total of 12 air bags for calves, thighs, seat and hips. With the iMedic you get all of this for around $2,000 – a lot less than the i.2.

But, you might ask, is the OSIM as well-built? Well, although the OSIM is a different company, Inada builds all of OSIM’s chairs; using the same components and in the same factory it makes its own chairs. So, yes, you’re getting a chair that’s as good in terms of quality as the Inada.

The i.2 Inada massage chair is one of the best robotic massage chairs on the market and I would highly recommend it. But, the OSIM iMedic is a close second and costs a lot less.

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