Despite being founded and administered in Singapore, when you buy an OSIM massage chair you're actually buying a Japanese designed and built product. That's because all OSIM chairs are made by the Family Inada company in Japan – the makers of the some of the world's most technically advanced and best massage chairs. So, bearing in mind who actually built it, how does the OSIM iSymphonic rate?
Ron Sim founded OSIM in Singapore over 20 years ago. At first the company sold electrical products but during the recession of the mid-eighties, Sim realized that in order to survive and flourish, the company had to have its own branded products. Sim saw that there was a growing, international demand for home wellness products and therefore decided to market and sell robotic massage chairs under his company's name.
OSIM had no history in manufacturing chairs so the design and production was outsourced to Inada, in Japan. This was an astute move. Inada were already the market leaders in the selling of high-quality chairs in the Japanese (and international) market. Using Inada to manufacture the chairs, OSIM was assured of a brand that would be respected and would place its chairs in the top-end, high-value part of the market.
So, when you buy an OSIM massage chair you're getting the same technology and components of an Inada chair. They share many of the same features such as infrared sensors to accurately measure you before a massage in order to find the correct shiatsu pressure points, powerful motors, the same massage modes and build quality.
Both companies have released a chair with an integrated music therapy system. There's the Inada W.1 massage chair and the OSIM iSymphonic – the OSIM chair was released before the Inada.
The music therapy system in both chairs isn't a simple matter of listening to your favorite music during a massage; it's far more sophisticated. Essentially, the massage is synchronized to and orchestrated by the music that is being played. Therefore, if you play something like ‘hard rock' you're going to get a good pummeling, but if you play some Brahms you'll get a much more relaxing massage.
It should be noted that this unique system was developed by Inada and not OSIM and took several years to develop. It works by automatically altering the intensity of the rollers and altering the type of massage mode in response to the music. The rollers in the back respond to the bass sounds, and the leg vibrators respond to the midrange frequencies. Sounds in the treble range set off tapping and vibration near the spine.
The OSIM iSymphonic comes with 5 Healthcare programs and you can set your own massage courses, giving you complete control of your personal massage – each program last 15 minutes. The motorized recline has a range of between 120 and 170 degrees. There are airbags in the leg rests and on the seat. The leg massage uses vibration in conjunction with the airbags. The chair doesn't have arm massage, which is a real shame.
If you're wondering how the OSIM compares to the Inada, I would have to say that in terms of functions and features there is no difference – not surprising as Inada makes both. What will sway you in either direction is styling. Personally, I do prefer the look of the OSIM. Another consideration is the earphones. With the OSIM you get a pair of headphones which you wear; with the Inada the headphones are built-in to the head rest. Again, which is preferable is a subjective matter. Some don't like to wear headphones during a massage as they can feel somewhat restricted. I prefer headphones as the only sounds I want to hear during a massage is the music I'm listening to; wearing headphones does this better that built-in ones.
As to price, there's very little in it; the OSIM being a tad cheaper.
The OSIM iSymphonic massage chair is certainly a very good chair; it delivers a good massage to the back and shoulders though the airbags and vibration in the leg massage isn't the best I've ever had. But the real selling point is the music therapy system; once you've tried the chair you'll want one to bring it straight home with you.