PS RATING: B
As a licensed massage therapist, I get a lot of "could you rub my shoulders for just a minute?" But sadly, offers to reciprocate are infrequent. So I was more than happy to try Inada's new H.9 Shiatsu Massage Chair, a top-seller in Japan that is now available in America.
Shiatsu involves applying pressure to specific points on the body; the key spots vary by person. As such, I was skeptical as to how the chair would find mine.
The answer: infrared technology. The H.9 scans your body, then its rollers go into action. They hit all my pressure points, provoking groans (the good kind). During the 15-minute full-body program, the chair pressed and kneaded my shoulders, rear end, calves, back, and neck, even rolling up to the base of
my skull. One downside: It skipped my arms, hands, feet, and the fronts of my legs.
The $3,500 H.9 also features a synchronized music program (the $3,000 i.1 does massage only). Though it's promoted to "help achieve a higher level of mental and physical relaxation," I found having my butt vibrating in step with a Japanese Kenny G pretty annoying.
While the chair isn't exactly the same as a professional massage, it feels darn good. Of course, with the average shiatsu session costing $70, you'll have to relieve plenty of stress to get your money's worth.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.