Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair
Inada Dreamwave Massage Chair
- Ease of Use
- Overall Massage Quality
- Customization Options
- Value for the Money
The Japanese designed and manufactured Inada DreamWave has top-of-the-line massage technology, craftsmanship, and aesthetics. Though touted as the “best massage chair in the world,” our Inada DreamWave review reveals that while one of the best, it may not be the right choice for some users. We'll later find out that it's due to its high price tag and lack of features like foot rollers and Zero Gravity.
The Inada DreamWave is one of the most talked about, revered, and perhaps reviewed massage chairs in the world. But with the continuous introduction of “new and improved” massage chairs on the market, is it still at the top and worth the price? Is it deserving of its title as the “best massage chair in the world?” In this Inada DreamWave massage chair review, we’re walking you through each and every feature to find out.
Who is Inada?
Table of Contents
- 1 Who is Inada?
- 2 The Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
- 3 Features of the Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
- 4 Massage Techniques and Auto Programs on the Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
- 5 Manual Mode and Customization Options on the Inada DreamWave Chair
- 6 What’s Missing the Inada DreamWave Chair
- 7 Other Considerations
- 8 Inada DreamWave Plus Massage Chair Specifications and Dimensions
- 9 Inada DreamWave Review Final Thoughts
Established in 1962 in Japan, Inada is one of the oldest massage chair companies in the world. Its founder and current president, Nichimu Inada, is credited with creating the first ever automatic Shiatsu massage chair.
To this day, Inada massage chairs are designed, engineered, and most importantly, manufactured in Japan. This country has the most competitive massage chair market in the world with an estimated “15 percent of Japanese households owning a massage chair,” according to Inada.
Thanks to over 50 years of competition, Japanese massage chair companies have been forced to innovate and evolve continuously — as evidenced by the technology and quality that’s well beyond what most other markets can produce. As the first, Inada has led the pack in innovation and product development.
Here’s a look at a few of Inada’s contributions to the massage chair industry...
- In 1973, Inada introduced soft or firm kneading
- In 1979, Inada introduced the first spine rollers
- In 1988, Inada introduced the first roller massage with a focus on acupressure
- In 2000, Inada introduced the first ever infrared body scan
- In 2008, Inada introduced the first full-body comprehensive massage chair, the DreamWave
Inada has two headquarters: one in Osaka, Japan where all of their research and development takes place. The other one is in Boulder, Colorado, which is the exclusive distributor of Inada brand massage chairs in the US.
Inada has a responsive technical and service support team — critical considering the price for the chairs. They offer in-home repairs or replacements and will travel to you anywhere you live. Their massage chairs come with a three-year parts and labor warranty and an optional five-year extended warranty.
Now that we’ve covered the Inada company, let’s get into the Inada DreamWave massage chair.
The Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
The Inada DreamWave (formerly Songo DreamWave) is the massage chair that revolutionized the industry. Before the Inada DreamWave, features like full-arm massage, seat massage, neck air and roller massage, and 3D massage, didn’t exist. Other massage chair manufacturers have been playing catch-up ever since.
Features of the Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
While most of the features on the Inada DreamWave are typical — 3D rollers, air massage, etc. — the particular technology they use is developed, owned, and patented by Inada. Therefore, you won’t find it on any other chairs.
Optical Point Sensor
In 2000, Inada introduced the first ever infrared body scan. When you sit in the Inada DreamWave before you begin any massage program, the chair will automatically initiate an optical point sensor body scan. During the scan, the rollers move up and down your back, and infrared sensors detect your height, shape, and shiatsu points to create a “profile” of your unique back.
According to traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, shiatsu points, or acupressure points, are the points on the body through which energy (called “Qi” or “Chi” in China and “Ki” in Japanese) flows. Together, these individual points make up “meridians,” a network of shiatsu points that correspond to specific organs in the body.
It’s believed that when a meridian is blocked, an imbalance in the body’s energy system occurs which can result in emotional imbalance or physical illness. Traditional therapies like shiatsu massage and acupressure work to remove these blocks and bring alignment back to the body’s energy system.
Once the scan on the Inada DreamWave is complete, your profile is compared with 106 profiles preprogrammed on the chair. The closest match is selected, and the rollers are automatically adjusted to give you a custom-fit shiatsu massage.
3D Roller Massage Technology
The rollers on the Inada DreamWave massage chair are 3D, which means they move in three ways: up and down (vertically), side to side (horizontally), and inward (protruding forward). The third movement, inward, gives you control over how deep the rollers penetrate into your back and the intensity of your massage.
The rollers utilize Inada’s patented technology that moves them in a figure eight pattern as they roll across the back. Its technology mimics the movements a massage therapist makes during shiatsu massage. It also enables the rollers to cover over 1200 square inches — the most comprehensive coverage of any massage chair in the world.
Shiatsu, which means “finger pressure,” was originally developed in Japan and has been referred to a needleless acupuncture.
The rollers move from the neck, down to the tailbone and into the seat, providing excellent coverage of the glutes. In general, the default roller massage on the Inada DreamWave is quite gentle. Whereas other massage chairs have pointed, deep kneading rollers, the DreamWave has wider, rubber rollers that are milder. The 3D intensity can always be adjusted, though, and a removable headpiece and back pad make the massage even more intense.
Neck and Shoulder Massage
Since the tops and sides of your shoulders and sides of your neck don’t touch the backrest of the massage chair, companies like Inada have had to find creative ways to ensure those hard-to-reach and commonly sore areas get coverage.
Inada’s solution to that problem is their patented neck and shoulder massager. Located at the top of the backrest on the DreamWave, the horseshoe shaped massager wraps around the head and presses down on the tops of the shoulders.
Inside the massager are airbags, or “air cells” as Inada refers to them. These treat the shoulders and parts of the trapezius; a triangle shaped muscle that extends from the base of the skull to the mid-back. The air cells provide trigger point massage. Trigger points are areas of the muscle, which when constricted, cause pain in other parts of the body.
So, a trigger point in the neck may produce pain in the back. With the massager on the Inada DreamWave, the air cells press down on trigger points in the trapezius muscle to help release constrictions and relieve pain.
The neck and shoulder massager also provides gentle neck traction. During traction, the neck is pulled away from the head, stretching muscles and ligaments around the spine. Also, it creates a space between vertebrae, which allows tension and pinched nerves to be released and the muscles to relax.
While the air cells in the massager are treating the shoulders, rollers provide massage to the neck — making the neck and shoulder massage on the Inada DreamWave one of the most comprehensive available. Or, if you’d rather not use the shoulder massage unit, you can remove it to receive a direct roller massage on your neck and shoulders.
Inada introduced in first air cell massage in 1998 and today they’re one of the most widely used and popular massage chair features. Air cells allow massage chairs to reach areas they can’t with rollers alone — like the sides of the shoulders and hips.
Most air cells only provide compression massage by inflating and deflating to apply and release pressure. The air cells on the Inada DreamWave, however, not only provide compression, but trigger point massage, hip and pelvis rotation, and stretching.
Throughout the Inada DreamWave are over 100 air cells. Thanks to the air pump insulation, you wouldn’t know it, or at least hear it. The air cells have been strategically placed to provide shoulder-to-toe coverage. Let’s take a closer look at the air massage areas...
- Neck and Shoulder. Like we mentioned above, the Inada DreamWave features a patented neck and shoulder massager that provides trigger point massage and traction. There are also air cells located on the outside of the shoulders that inflate and deflate to squeeze the shoulders and hold the body in place against the backrest.
- Arms and Hands. Air cells line the arms from the shoulders all the way to the fingers, providing a full-arm massage. The air cells move in a wave-like motion, inflating and deflating at different intervals, promoting circulation from the fingers toward the heart. The forearms and hands are wrapped in air cells providing near 360 degrees of massage coverage.
- Hips, Thighs, and Buttock. Using Inada’s patented DreamWave technology, air cells in the lower back and side seat inflate and deflate to twist and stretch the lower body. Meanwhile, the air cells in the seat inflate to push the body upward as well as rotate it side to side 1.6 inches.
- Calves and Feet. Air cells in the calves and feet inflate and deflate to compress the lower body and hold it in place during the stretch program.
Back and Seat Heat Therapy
While most massage chairs that offer heat therapy have it in single location — most commonly the lower back or shoulders — the Inada DreamWave takes it one step further with heating pads in the lower back and seat.
Heat has a long history as a treatment. Under heat, blood vessels dilate, increasing circulation and the flow of oxygen and nutrients. In turn, the oxygen and nutrients help repair damaged tissues, which makes heat beneficial for sore and achy muscles.
Heat also has a massage-enhancing benefit: it relaxes the muscles, which allows the massage rollers to provide a more effective and deeper treatment.
All of the programs and manual options are controlled using a handheld remote. The remote is simple. No fancy display screens — only a strip screen at the top of the remote that shows commands like “Loading Shiatsu Points.” Under the screen are the eight auto programs.
Under those, is where you can control the recline of the backrest and ottoman, the 3D intensity, and roller position. A flip down cover at the bottom of the remote opens to reveal the manual mode options.
In the manual section, you can select from one of the seven massage techniques. You can either adjust roller speed, massage width, turn off the vibration and heat, and mute the button sounds. That’s it! The buttons are clearly labeled, but a quick look at the Inada DreamWave manual explains each function.
While many users appreciate the simplicity of the remote, others find it outdated and out-of-place compared to the aesthetic of the rest of the chair.
Back and Seat Vibration Massage
In addition to heat, the Inada DreamWave features vibration massage in the back and seat of the chair.
Vibration massage has been said to stimulate the microcirculation or the movement of blood through the smallest vessels. Vibration massage also helps to gently “shake up” and remove stagnant fluids from the muscles.
Vibration can be added to any manual or automatic massage program or turned off at any time.
In the foot portion of the ottoman are rubber plates with acupressure nodes that protrude into the bottoms of the feet stimulating shiatsu points.
Air cells surrounding the feet inflate and press down to push the feet onto the plates for more intense pressure. If the nodes are too intense, a pair of thick socks can lessen the pressure.
The acupressure nodes are static. There are no mechanical foot rollers, which is surprising considering the price. Foot rollers provide a more comprehensive foot massage by spinning beneath the feet to massage and treat the shiatsu points.
The massage technology isn’t the only star on the Inada DreamWave. The chair itself was designed by renowned furniture and product designer, Toshiyuki Kita.
His most notable works have earned him a place in collections at the New York City Museum of Modern Art, the Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France among other prominent museums.
Leather-Like or Genuine Leather Upholstery
The leather-like upholstery on the Inada DreamWave massage chair is made from polyurethane. Inada explains the material is stain and soil resistant as well as antibacterial.
Like genuine leather, the material is soft and flexible enough to allow the rollers to penetrate into the back without losing contact or pressure.
However, if you prefer genuine leather, this massage chair offers full-leather upholstery called TruBlack. The other non-leather colors are : Inada DreamWave Massage Chair dark brown, black, cream, and red.
The ottoman on the Inada DreamWave is extendable up to an additional 6 or so inches to accommodate taller users. To adjust the ottoman, press down with your feet until it reaches the ideal length.
Massage Techniques and Auto Programs on the Inada DreamWave Massage Chair
The Inada DreamWave features seven massage techniques. Though not as robust as what you find on other high-end massage chairs, the techniques cover all of the fundamental movements you need to enjoy a quality massage, including:
- Kneading. Performs circular motions to pull and stretch the muscles. The direction of the kneading can be adjusted between clockwise and counterclockwise, and there are three levels of speed.
- Human Hands. Performs a complex set of movements to mimic the feel of human hands. The direction of the massage can be adjusted.
- Double Kneading. Performs circular motions at varying speeds and in varying directions.
- Tapping. Uses rapid-tapping strokes to loosen the muscles and joints. There are two types: tapping 1 and tapping 2. Tapping 1 has three levels of speed.
- Kneading and Tapping. Combines circular motions and rapid tapping. The direction of the massage can be adjusted, and there are three levels of speed.
- Shiatsu. Performs a rhythmic “finger pressure” massage. There are two types: shiatsu 1 and shiatsu 2.
- Rolling. Performs up and down movements to stretch the full or partial spine.
The massage programs on the Inada DreamWave are divided into two categories: auto programs and manual programs.
If you want your massage chair to do all the work, auto programs are what you’re looking for. The auto programs are fully automated, so all you have to do is press a button, and the chair does the rest.
Using a combination of the massage techniques above and air massage, the Inada DreamWave features 16 auto programs, though technically it's only eight. Each of the eight programs has a “deep relaxation” option which means you get two versions of the same program. The eight programs are further divided into two categories: Healthcare programs and Wellbeing programs.
Healthcare Auto Programs
- Full Body. A full-body massage combining roller and air massage.
- Full Body Air. A gentle full-body air massage.
- Youth. Performs a gentle full-body massage intended for users 14 years and up. During the program, the massage range is shortened to match the lower height of the user.
- Quick. Gives an overview of each massage program.
Wellbeing Auto Programs
- Morning. A full-body massage designed to stimulate the body after sleep.
- Night. A full-body massage designed to relax the body for a good night’s sleep.
- Stretch. A full-body massage that pulls and stretches the body. During Stretch, the legs are held by the air cells in the ottoman while the chair reclines to pull the body. Air cells in the seat and next to the hips inflate at varying intervals to rotate the body.
- DreamWave. A full-body massage intended to relax the muscles and joints.
To activate the “deep relaxation” version of a massage, press and hold the program button for two seconds.
Now that we’ve covered the techniques and auto programs, let’s take a look at the manual mode option on the Inada DreamWave massage chair.
Manual Mode and Customization Options on the Inada DreamWave Chair
- Massage Direction. Adjust the direction of massage to clockwise or counterclockwise.
- Massage Speed. Change the speed of the rollers by three levels.
- 3D Roller Intensity. A set of “+” and “-” buttons let you control the protrusion (intensity) of the rollers from the track.
- Back Vibration. Add vibration massage to any manual massage or auto program.
- Air Massage Location. Select from four air massage locations or combine them: shoulder, arm, seat or foot.
- Massage Techniques. Select from one of the seven techniques listed above.
- Massage Width. Adjust how narrow or wide the rollers fit your spine by three levels.
- Roller Position. A set of up and down arrows let you change the position of the rollers.
- Heat Therapy. Add lower back and calf heat to any manual massage or auto program.
- Mute Button. Mute the sound of the buttons.
What’s Missing the Inada DreamWave Chair
While the Inada DreamWave massage chair has many top-of-the-line features, there are a few it’s lacking, including:
✗ Mechanical Foot Rollers
Like we mentioned above, the Inada DreamWave doesn’t offer foot rollers. While this might not matter to some users, if you spend a lot of time on your feet and want a massage chair that provides the most comprehensive foot treatment available, the DreamWave might not be it.
✗ Calf Rollers
Calf rollers are a recent introduction to the massage chair industry. Only two massage chairs (that we know of) feature them: the Apex Ultra and Human Touch Navitas. And even between these two models, the calf rollers are very different.
On the Apex Ultra, the calf rollers are spinning nodules that protrude into the calves. On the Human Touch Navitas, however, they are real rollers that move up and down the calves. They even have their own intensity settings which mean the calf rollers on the Navitas are 3D.
Though not as common as foot rollers, calf rollers are a popular and intriguing feature that you can find on massage chairs that cost $2,000 to $3,000 less than the Inada DreamWave price.
✗ Zero Gravity Recline
Another popular feature missing on the Inada DreamWave massage chair is Zero Gravity.
Zero Gravity is a reclined chair position that shifts the body’s weight to the backrest. It was originally designed by NASA to help offset the gravitational stress of takeoff on astronauts.
In the position, the back is reclined to remove vertical pressure off the neck and spine, and the legs are elevated at or above the heart to increase circulation. It also produces a massage-friendly benefit: since your body’s weight is pushing you against the backrest, you get a much deeper and intense massage.
Though the Inada DreamWave doesn’t have the Zero Gravity position, the seat back can be reclined to any angle between 120 degrees and 165 degrees from the floor and the angle of the leg rest can be adjusted by 90 degrees.
✗ Massage Techniques
While the Inada DreamWave features the fundamental massage techniques necessary to produce a quality shiatsu massage and has 3D capabilities, it doesn’t offer 4D.
4D massage rollers introduce a fourth dimension of movement: rhythm. With rhythm, the rollers alternate speed and pressure to mimic the dynamic movements of a massage therapist. Massage chairs like the Osaki Japan Premium 4S, Apex Regal, and Human Touch Navitas each feature 4D massage.
✗ Massage Programs
The massage programs on the Inada DreamWave are comprehensive and therapeutic, but there aren’t many of them compared to other similar massage chairs. For example, the Osaki Japan Premium 4S has 21 auto programs and 41 massage techniques. Meanwhile, the Human Touch Navitas has 36 auto programs and 60 techniques.
That said, if the thought of 60 massage techniques feels a little stressful, the 16 auto programs and seven techniques on the Inada DreamWave cover everything you need to enjoy a top-of-the-line massage. But if you like the idea of having more options and more control there are other massage chairs like the ones mentioned above that offer a little more for the money.
✗ Additional Heating Areas
While the Inada DreamWave has two areas of heat therapy — the low back and seat — other massage chairs offer more like the Kahuna Spirit, which provides low back, calf, arm, and hand heat therapy. Another massage chair with a more comprehensive heating system is the Panasonic EP-MA73 massage chair that has heated jade stone rollers. It warms the back as they massage, plus has a heating pad for the feet.
✗ Built-In Speakers
Another feature you won’t find on the Inada DreamWave is a sound system with built-in speakers. While speakers don’t directly affect the quality of your massage, they can enhance your massage experience. Fortunately, a good pair of headphones or a stereo is easy to come by and give you the option to enjoy your favorite music during your massage (though not directly from the chair).
As a big brand, Inada has obligations and a level of accountability that other lesser-known massage chair brands don’t have. If something malfunctions on your Inada DreamWave Amazon, you have a solid warranty and there’s a support team you can call and speak to. In other words, there’s some peace of mind when purchasing from such a well-known brand.
Inada DreamWave Plus Massage Chair Specifications and Dimensions
Chair dimensions (Upright)
55"L X 37"W X 48"H
Chair dimensions (Reclined)
83"L X 38"W X 30"H
Recommended maximum user weight
Recommended user height
5'0" to 6'5"
Inada DreamWave Review Final Thoughts
The Inada DreamWave massage chair changed the massage chair game when it upon its first introduction. And to this day, it stands out as one of the best massage chairs on the market. The "best massage chair" doesn’t exist since no two users are alike or have the same massage preferences.
With the Inada DreamWave, you can rest assure you’re getting a level of innovation, quality, and craftsmanship that has stood the test of time and continues to deliver rave reviews. And while the Inada DreamWave doesn’t have some popular features — foot rollers, Zero Gravity, etc. — the good news is… if you’re willing to pay upwards of $9,000 for the DreamWave, you have your pick of 99 percent of the massage chairs on the market.
If not the DreamWave, another is sure to fit your needs. We hope our Inada DreamWave review made your decision process a little easier.