[This is a sponsored article with ITSU.]
When it comes to at-home massage devices, there are plenty of options, from the simple standalone portable types to the premium leather-bound luxury range. The RM29,988 ITSU Sensei Inspire massage chair clearly falls into the latter category.
Behind the brand is ITSU World Sdn Bhd, a company founded in 2018 by a team of professionals with over 20 years of experience in the massage chair industry. Their speciality lies in merging traditional massage techniques with technology, and this can be seen as we explore their features below.
Meeting Our Friendly ITSU Guide
We have to admit, trying to operate the chair ourselves with just a manual was challenging. The chair has an overwhelming number of massage modes, and it was intimidating.
We later learnt that it is part of Itsu’s service to send over a representative if customers have questions on the product. So Ivan (the rep assigned to us) made an appointment to visit us at our convenience.
He explained in detail how to properly utilise and enjoy all the chair’s features, and answered all our queries. With his thorough (and patient) guidance, in slightly less than an hour, we’re fairly confident that we know enough about the chair to sell it ourselves!
Spoilt For Choice
Here’s the lowdown on the ITSU Sensei Inspire’s massage programmes. Basically you can first choose from 4 main modes: Auto, Manual, Signature, Itsu Sensei.
Auto: 41 pre-programmed massages that are categorised in 6 sections (Unique 1, Unique 2, Groups, Region, Light, Extra).
Example: The ‘Unique 1’ section has programmes for Neck Care, Lumbar Care, Circulation, Relaxation, Genki (a Japanese term for health, vigour, or energy), and more. The ‘Region’ section has regional massages such as Thai, Chinese, Balinese, etc.
Manual: 4 massage movements with 8 speed settings for each. The movements are Knead, Tap, Clap, and Roll. Some of these movements can be used together at the same time.
Example: Knead and Tap can be used simultaneously on your body, but Tap and Clap are two different movements that cannot be combined.
Signature: 4 pre-programmed massages targeted at either your muscles, joints, acupoints, or meridians of your body.
Itsu Sensei: Massages categorised according to body regions: Neck, Shoulder, Back, Waist, Buttock. Each region has 9 massage modes that specially cater to taking care of the muscles in that area.
I consider myself to be quite fragile, I can’t handle massages that are too firm. Thankfully, ITSU considered this too.
Massage Tip: Programme number 7, 8 and 9 of every Itsu Sensei region based massages are labelled as light massages (it has a feather icon). There is a dedicated Light section in the Auto mode as well with 5 programme selections.
These were my favourite, as I could still feel my muscles and tissues being massaged thoroughly without too much of the pain that would typically accompany the experience.
You’re In The Driver’s Seat
Other than the selection of massage programmes, you get plenty of control for customising some additional features, target areas, positioning, 4D strength, and air pressure intensity.
On the manual mode, after selecting your massage movement, instead of the default “full body”, you can choose to focus on specific points (neck, shoulder, back, waist, buttocks). If you rather move the rollers yourself to the desired position, you can do so too.
You can adjust the posture of the chair too from upright all the way to a reclined zero-gravity position, which is a neutral body posture developed by NASA. There are also 3 slow swinging modes that will rock the chair gently back and forth to relax you.
The chair is a full 4D variant, which means that its internal rollers can move up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards on top of a L-track that follows your spine down to your buttocks. The rollers are capable of moving 360 degrees and have 12 levels of intensity.
At the Extra section from the home screen, you can select add-ons to a manual massage such as air (utilising 68 airbags), heat, and roller.
The air pressure add-on has 4 options for pace and rhythm for each target area. The intensity is customisable too.
By now, you’re probably counting in your head how many weeks it would take you to really explore this chair’s functions to find your favourite. We get it, which is why ITSU already has a personalised solution in the form of a smart wearable.
Using AI To Read Your Needs
The chair is best paired with the ITSU Smart Band, a personal fitness tracker that monitors and records your activity and health data to recommend 1-4 personalised massage programmes that will suit your needs.
The Sensei Inspire is the only model from ITSU that has this added gadget that works in tandem with the chair.
For example, if the data from the fitness tracker detected that you’ve done very heavy exercise with a high heart rate and movement the previous day, the ITSU World app may recommend a massage programme that’s designed to relieve aching muscles.
Or, if you had sleeping issues the night before and the sleep tracker recorded poor quality or few hours of sleep, the ITSU World app might suggest one of their more relaxing massages.
You can also directly control the chair via the ITSU World app on your phone if you don’t want to toggle the screen.
Ideally, you’d have to wear the tracker for a minimum 3 full days to collect data for better recommendations. It also functions as a regular fitness tracker which records your steps, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation level and more on the FlagFit app.
Even before your selected massage starts, the chair does a body scan and analysis to adapt to your curves, mainly from your neck down to your buttocks.
It’s also able to adjust pretty accurately to your height, meaning that whether you’re on the taller or shorter side, this chair will find a way to accommodate you comfortably. Weight-wise, the chair can handle an individual of up to 120kg. This means the chair can be comfortably shared by multiple members in your family. The chair’s interface language can be changed between 4 options: Chinese, English, Malay, and Japanese.
Sports Car Inspired
Notice how the chair’s monitor screen looks like a car dashboard? When you turn it on, the bluetooth speakers play a car revving sound; when you turn it off, there’s a beeping sound like a car being locked.
Aesthetically, the chair was inspired by the Bugatti sports car, with a variety of colours to match.
Aside from looking sleek, Ivan told us it represented how fast and smoothly the roller gears shift from one movement to another. For example, when you switch the direction, position, or massage movement of the roller balls, the shift is without lag or pauses.
Like any sports car, safety is fundamental. As this chair would be placed at home, you may have kids or pets running around.
To prevent unfortunate incidents, it has a pressure plate platform on the base. The moment someone triggers the pressure plate, any chair movement comes to an immediate halt. It will only continue moving if the pressure is released.
Sports cars are known for their lean size, and while the ITSU Sensei Inspire isn’t exactly small, it is designed with wall space efficiency in mind.
In every position that the chair moves into, it will shift the entire seat forwards before inclining. This means that you can place the chair closer against a wall without leaving so much space and gap behind it.
ITSU Sensei Inspire is currently on promo for RM18,742 from RM29,988 under the Double Festival, Twice The Happiness campaign. Customers can opt for a zero-interest instalment plan of up to 36 months with a HSBC or Public Bank credit card. Your purchase also comes with a double (extended) warranty, which means 4 years instead of 2.
The chair is the top of its line and the price matches that. At the end of the day, if you’re the target market of the ITSU Sensei Inspire, you would understand its worth.
Those who want a closer look at the chairs can catch their roadshow at Sunway Velocity (in front of Rakuzen) from April 14 to 25.
- You can learn more about the ITSU Sensei Inspire here.