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The knead for squeeze: Daiwa is an $8,000 massage chair

At the 2016 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, I got in my 10,000 steps before noon. Spanning three halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s a big show and a lot of walking. I was pretty intrigued to try out U.S. Jaclean’s Daiwa Legacy massage chairs, which were on the show floor.

The first thing you notice is that people have no qualms about kicking off their shoes, dropping their bags, and reclining almost 90 degrees in these cushioned chairs. So, I decided to sit down, too. The representative had me shove my feet to the back of the leg rest, which has two indentations. The armrests have similar cutouts, so I stuck my hands in there. He covered me up with a blanket and started pushing buttons on the attached remote.

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The remote has 30 buttons and a screen with a little homunculus. There are different circles on the figure’s back, so the chair can target those points. There are also targets on the feet, legs, and arms. You can turn on the heat and select modes like “recover” and “relax.” There are levels, one through five, based on how intense you want your limbs squeezed by the inflating “air bags.” The chair also has a USB port, so you can upload your music (or soothing whale sounds) and listen through the headrest’s speakers.

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Though the cycles can last between 15 and 45 minutes, I was only in the chair for about five. (I saw a guy who was in there before I got in the chair and was still reclining when I left, so I felt a little cheated.) During the massage, there are several different things happening. Rollers under your feet go back and forth along the soles with sometimes uncomfortable intensity. Protrusions behind your shoulders knead and squeeze your muscles and another roller goes up and down your spine. After a few minutes, the chair started vibrating. At certain points, the air bags in the leg rests and armrests inflate to squeeze your limbs. I think my setting was “baby boa constrictor,” so not overly tight but definitely not easy to disentangle from. By the end of the quickie chair massage, I definitely felt a lot more relaxed and I felt ready to walk another 10,000 steps.

The 300-pound, $8,000 chair likely won’t see the inside of my apartment anytime soon, but here’s hoping it will be at KBIS again next year.

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