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Heroes and Overcoming Challenges

Heroes and Overcoming Challenges

“I wanted to deviate for a moment from tips about buying massage chairs to share Sampson’s inspirational story, which is about things much bigger:  Heroes and Overcoming Challenges.”

 

sampson-briggs_elite-massage-chairs

 

Let’s face it, we can get so self-absorbed in our personal day-to-day struggles, that it becomes too easy to lose perspective on the small things that matter.  Fortunately every once in awhile, someone else’s bigger story will jar us unexpectedly from our myopic focus on ourselves, and provide the gifts of inspiration and perspective we need.

Invariably at the core of these heart warming stories are heroes.  Heroes come in many forms, but these people always lead us through example, displaying the sheer power of the human spirit to overcome, and showing us how the love and commitment from families and loved ones are unstoppable forces for good – no matter the magnitude of the challenges faced.

I had the pleasure recently of meeting some real-life heroes during a fortuitous meeting in our massage chair showroom in Colorado.  At the center of this story is a remarkable young man named Sampson Briggs.  I wanted to deviate for a moment from tips about buying massage chairs to share Sampson’s inspirational story, which is about things much bigger:  Heroes and overcoming challenges.

If you have just 12 minutes to spare, I encourage you to watch the video below.  My hope is that by sharing Sampson’s story at least of few of our blog readers might gain some of the perspective I did – through Sampson’s remarkable journey of courage and triumph, and the power of loving support.

 

 
 
Elite Massage Chairs: THE choice of professional athletes

Elite Massage Chairs: THE choice of professional athletes

 

Looking for the MOST discriminating users of massage chairs?

New York Yankees

Those discriminating users don’t mess around when it comes to selecting the right massage chair.  They demand excellence in therapeutic massage.  Those massage chair users not only seek therapeutic massage on a regular, even daily basis – they depend on their physical health and recovery for their profession.  The stakes are extremely high when it comes to physical well-being, and as a result, those users are worth noting in which massage chair they choose.

That’s why we are so proud to have an Elite Massage Chair in the New York Yankees clubhouse.  Trust the true massage experts, and don’t settle for anything less than the massage chair choice of professional athletes.  There is simply no substitute for an Elite Massage Chair – the best massage chairs on earth.

My Massage Chair Stopped Working!

My Massage Chair Stopped Working!

 

We’ve been in the business of designing, selling, and of course supporting massage chairs for over 15 years – and we never get used to those fateful words, “My massage chair stopped working!

The massage chairs we sell today are light years more advanced than those designed just 3-5 years ago, and these advances in construction, electronic components and materials continue to evolve with each new model. It’s much like the automobile industry where the car off the showroom floor today is likely much more dependable than previous years’ models, and incorporates the latest in materials and engineering R&D.

The same goes with massage chairs; the release of a new model is both exciting and a lot of work. No matter how much QA testing before final production, you learn a lot in the first year about each new chair under heavy use conditions. During that time – again much like in the auto industry – you quickly assess any service calls to determine refinements to components, mechanisms and overall design to add durability for the long-term.

Fortunately, we are in that “sweet spot” currently. This is when our massage chairs boast our latest technology and innovations, and the models have been in production for 1+ years. By this time in the product development cycle we have an ideal mix of great massage chairs with proven build quality – resulting in durable massage chairs that under normal use conditions should generate very few problems.

That doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong in a massage chair – even the most proven models.  It’s a converse relationship between performance and the inevitability of statistics. The advances that make our massage chair perform new therapeutic massage functions at higher levels can also introduce new variables. For example, a new transformer with a more streamlined design saves weight while providing a more efficient change-voltage in the coil. This is great; but the new configuration can impact other electrical components such as compressors, circuit boards, VFR transformers, etc. in ways different than the previous, older transformer design.

The good news is that with all the advances, generally the reliability of massage chairs trends positive over time. Our massage chairs are more reliable than they’ve ever been, but things occasionally can still go wrong in a massage chair. This gets back to the subject of this post, or those calls from wonderful customers, “My massage chair stopped working!”

If this happens to you, and you make that call to massage chair support – whether to Elite Massage Chairs or another manufacturer –  below I’ve provided a simple trouble-shooter that might help you more quickly identify, and ideally resolve your issue. This is not meant to be a comprehensive massage chair trouble shooter, but rather a list of the most common massage chair problems that can arise.   If nothing else perhaps you’ll gain insight into how these wonderful beasts of therapeutic burden work, and you can narrow in on some possible causes of your massage chair that stopped working properly.

Let’s start with the most common issue. I estimate this cause accounts for about 80% of the “my massage chair stopped working” calls to our support queue.

Electrical

As shared in past articles, today’s full-body massage chairs use surprisingly little electrical energy; in fact, more than a smartphone, and about the same as your average PC.  Unlike a smartphone, a massage chair demands higher voltage and current, so it generally needs a larger inductor and higher power switching components – and accordingly with those larger, heavier components there is the need for more heat dissipation.

Obviously you plug your massage chair into an outlet in your home for the electricity needed for those luxurious massages. But that electricity is not constant – it can ebb and flow, sometimes less voltage, and other times surging with extra power. Either of these conditions can have adverse effects on your massage chair. And this is just for the normal anomalies of home electrical power – it’s another possible scenario altogether if there is a significant power spike due to lighting or other factors.

When a power drop or surge occurs, things can go bad in your massage chair. As in our chairs there are electrical “relief” systems. For example a small 6 amp fuse at the power input, and two more 6 amp fuses on the power circuit board in line/en route to the motherboard. However it is not uncommon that a stronger power surge will cause the voltage to “jump” these fuses and overload the resistors on circuit boards, and in turn cause your massage chair to stop working.

In these cases your trouble-shooting steps should be to check any in-line fuses for damage (the filament inside the glass tube will be severed), and if you find any compromised fuses carefully inspect the circuit boards. Be on the lookout for resistor damage – those little plastic “rolls” in various colors that look like small sleeping bags when they are rolled up.

If you find blown fuses, start by replacing those and then powering your chair up again. If it still does not function – whether completely dark, or odd behavior – then damage has likely occurred to either the power circuit board or motherboard. The good news is that either is fairly easy to replace in well-designed massage chairs.

Here’s some advice before moving to the next potential cause of “my massage chair stopped working” calls.  Two words: Surge Protector! If your massage chair is currently plugged directly into an outlet without a surge protector – do NOT use it again without adding this simple protection. In fact it is likely your massage chair warranty is voided if you fail to use a surge protector – so make sure to enable this simple, and relatively inexpensive precaution.  Be advised too that not all surge protectors are the same – I’ve provided a link to a helpful article on this, accessed by clicking the word ‘surge protector’ above.

Massage Chair Motors

Inside your massage chair there are between one, and up to five electrical motors. These motors drive the function of particular movements of the massage experience. Using one of our massage chairs as an example, there is a motor for the 3D mechanism (that makes the massage hands reach deeper into muscle tissue), another motor for the kneading function, another motor for the “rolling” massage stroke, and yet another motor for the tapping massage (or percussion) motion.  If your massage chair loses on of these particular functions or more than one, the motor driving the movement could be to blame.Massage Chair Footrest Motor

There are also different style motors that power the reclining and declining of the footrest and backrest.  If your particular massage chair issue involves the loss of functionality of either of these, one of these motors might be going out.

Massage Chair Kneading Motor

In both cases, the motors in a massage chair have something called MTF, or mean time failure rating, and this MFT is generally 10 years under normal usage.  However if one does fail, in well-designed chairs they are usually quite easy to replace quickly.

Drive Belts 

Each one of the motors in a massage chair (mentioned above) has something called a “slinger” at the top end. The slinger is the small wheel that rotates, and in turn drives the circular rotation of the drive belt which is attached to a mechanism that is responsible for a movement – whether the massage hands, or a simple rising/lowering action.

These belts are made of reinforced, high-tensile strength cords and synthetic rubber – designed to withstand constant tension, movement, and limited friction generated by the movement. However these belts can be compromised, whether stretched and/or broken during higher than normal heat, or due to a slinger that is not adjusted properly they can simply slip off altogether.

When this happens you will likely detect the sounds of electrical energy to your chair – such as the activation of small transformers by their “click” during power up, or perhaps the sound of motors internally working. However despite these sounds, your massage chair stopped working properly. If these are the symptoms you experience, there is a good chance one of the rubber belts has been compromised or has come off altogether.

This is a simple fix generally; however it will be important for the technician to determine the conditions that caused the belt to fail in the first place. This could be symptomatic of other issues – such as a mis-aligned motor, a slinger not adjusted properly, or a failing motor that is seizing and causing damage to the drive belt due to overheating.

Air Pressure Issue

The air pressure system in your massage chair applies pressure to the muscles, often called Acupressure in massage.  This pressure is applied to various known points on the body that benefit from this pressure. Also in the case of more advanced or full-featured massage chairs, this pressure is used to hold your body in place for stretching or more intensity during the massage motions.

The massage chair air pressure system is comprised of five primary components:

1. Air compressors that generate the air flow
2. Solenoids which control the amount of pressure applied (this is adjustable via the massage chair’s remote control)
3. Motherboard (or main circuit board) which sends the signals to the air compressors to indicated when to generate the air and to which body zone
4. Air hoses that run throughout the chair to deliver the Acupressure (back, seat, legs, arms and feet)
5. Air bags or bladders that inflate and apply the direct pressure

The good news is that in our case, the vast majority of trouble tickets are generated by the easiest of these components to address, and I’ll start with that one first. The rest are provided in the order of complexity to fix (easiest first, followed by the more difficult).

Air Hoses

Most of the time when we hear of air pressure problems, one of the air hoses is the culprit. In these cases it is typically that an air hose has become detached, or pinched. Fixing this issue is a matter of tracing the air hose that is connected to the particular air bag that has stopped working, and inspect it for one of these two problems. Both can usually be quickly identified and fixed.

In the case of a pinched hose, it is important to check to be sure the hose was not cut or severed partially when it was kinked. If so, the hose can be replaced, or the problem section can be cut out and the hose re-joined with a small hose-to-hose connector.  In our chairs there is an intentional amount of extra slack to enable this solution for a severed air hose.

Motherboard

Occasionally something gets damaged on the motherboard. This is most often caused by an electrical surge (see the Electrical section earlier in this article), and why we strongly recommend you ALWAYS plug your massage chair into a high quality fused surge protector, not directly into the wall.

In the event that the motherboard is the cause of the loss of air pressure, this means it is failing to send the sequence of instructions to the air compressors to activate when necessary.  If a compromised circuit board is the cause that your massage chair stopped working properly – the good news is that they are typically covered under warranty, and easy to replace.

Air bags or bladders

While these air bags are constructed of durable rubberized plastic designed to withstand considerable pressure without being compromised, there can be times when they break. Usually it is a small point in a seam caused by a particularly dry climate.

If this is the cause of “my massage chair stopped working”, while they are not complicated to replace, it can be somewhat time consuming depending on which air bag is leaking. For example, the shoulder, arm, back and seat airbags are generally easy to replace. However the airbags in the legs and feet can be a more involved process to replace.

Solenoids

If one of the solenoids is the culprit for loss of air pressure, replacing it varies widely among massage chair manufacturers. In our case we have been meticulous about placing the solenoids in the easiest to access areas, so that if they do cause problems, they can be quickly fixed or replaced. But alas, some massage chair manufacturers are not so diligent, and solenoid replacement in those models can be a difficult process to address.

Air Compressor

The good news: Air compressors in a massage chair rarely fail, even in chairs 7 and even 12 years old. The bad news: They can be a bear to replace. Due to their robust nature and the low likelihood an air compressor failure, it is rare for this particular issue to be the cause of loss of air pressure, but still I wanted to include it in this list just in case.

So there you have it; our list of likely causes of those “my massage chair stopped working!” calls. I hope you find this article informative, and ideally helpful if you need to do a little self trouble shooting on your massage chair that isn’t working like it used to.

Massage Chair Body Scan: Smart3D

Massage Chair Body Scan: Smart3D

 

There are many innovations in our massage chairs, the latest of which is Braintronics.  However one of the most universally appreciated is the Smart3D™, the massage chair body scan technology found in our Robopad massage chair.

The Robopad is one of the most versatile massage chairs on the market, providing a great fit for a wide range of body sizes, from NFL linemen to petite body types. In addition to well-engineered ergonomics, the chair also utilizes a revolutionary technique for the body scan, and this is called Smart3D™.  Because of how the massage block is designed, the chair is uniquely capable of achieving this.  I won’t go into that detail here, but rather just provide a description in a nutshell:  Smart3D™ is massage chair body scan technology that ensures you get the most out of your massages, and the optimal feel based on your body type and shape.

It is one of the reasons the massage experience is so extraordinary, and feels so lifelike.  It’s that feeling that “it’s like this massage chair knows me, and where all my knots are!”

Smart3D™ utilizes on-board computer memory coordinated with the massage chair functions.  In terms of what you feel when you sit in the massage chair during the body scan, here is how it works:

smart3d-logo

At the initiation of the massage chair body scan, the hands roll up and down the entire length from neck to lower back, while applying steady pressure.  In the case of the Robopad, these hands are comprised of four rollers that mimic the shape of human hands, even in how they “grasp” much like a masseuse would do if you were getting a human massage.  As they roll up and down applying the pressure from the integrated 3D mechanism, the hands monitor the shape of the back, identifying any particular areas that protrude, the nape of the lower back, as well as the location of the shoulders.  This body shape is then stored in temporary memory, so any massage sequences during that session are programmed just for you.

It really is a cool massage chair body scan technology, and makes a huge difference in the quality of massage.  We get asked about it so much that we’ve added a tech tip to our Support page, designed for customers who want to get the most out of the Smart3D™ massage chair body scan.  If you want to learn more you can access it here.

Meditation and Massage Chairs

Meditation and Massage Chairs

 

“Massage chairs deliver just as many mental and emotional – as physical benefits.  …Braintronics takes this concept to a whole new level.”

 

Meditation and massage chairs are a combination we are passionate about.  If you’ve looked around our site, stopped by our showroom, or bumped into Elite at any of our various events, you know how excited we are about Braintronics™.  We’re still in the earliest stages of this technology development effort, however we envision Braintronics as an important long-term benefit of our massage chairs, and something our customers will increasingly want.  Even at this early stage we’ve built a lot of software and hardware technology for release in the coming year, so stay tuned.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn about Braintronics™, it is ALL about meditation and massage chairs.  We just uploaded a new video to our YouTube channel.  It’s quite simple, but gives you a nice visual introduction to the concept of this exciting new massage chair innovation combining meditation and massage chairs.  I encourage you to check out this video by clicking here.

We’ve known for a long time that massage chairs deliver just as many powerful mental and emotional benefits as physical benefits – and Braintronics takes this concept to a whole new level.  Certainly most people learn about massage chairs through seeking massage therapy relief.  However once you’ve tried them and used them regularly, you can attest to the remarkable feeling of well-being you get from daily 20-minute sessions.  With Braintronics, mindful meditation and massage chairs aren’t just a cool ideas, they are available to you right now.

For those new to Braintronics, below is a quick high-level overview to pique your interest.

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So what is Braintronics™

Did you know your brain is an electrical organ?  The brain is composed of nerve cells, or neurons, connected to each other via neural pathways that deliver information faster than the world’s most powerful super computers.  And this information is delivered throughout the brain via electrical impulses.

These impulses can be measured, because they emit information about the electrical energy in the form of wave frequencies, which can be detected with sophisticated monitors.  It turns out that certain frequencies among all of us are common, based on our state of mind at the time.

For example, when you are super relaxed – think of it as that blissful moment right before you go to sleep – your brain emits brain wave frequencies in the 3-7Hz range.  You are still conscious, but are in a state of mindful meditation.  Thought patterns are minimal; rather you are, at that moment, “in the present.”  So it turns out all of us are capable of achieving mindful meditation daily, we just don’t realize it!

Braintronics™ proactively combines meditation and massage chairs with proprietary technology; enabling you to reach various frequencies at any time, while sitting in your massage chair.  It works through a principle called “Brainwave Entrainment.”  It has been proven that when you listen to particular sound frequencies, your brain automatically (subconsciously) matches the frequencies.  In order to do this you must be exposed to different frequencies simultaneously – or more specifically, different frequencies in each ear.

massage chair remote braintronics

With Braintronics™ you can achieve a state of stress-relieving meditation in a massage chair, and deep peace and relaxation, any time you wish within only a few minutes.  Braintronics allows you to reach these brainwave patterns naturally, and during these short sessions many Braintronics programs provide serene music and natural sounds to accentuate the level of relaxation, along with gentle voice guidance the help you slow your breathing and release stress.

Did I mention that this brainwave synchronization occurs while you are getting a luxurious full body massage in a premium massage chair?  Therapeutic massage sequences are synchronized with the programs, automatically providing the right levels of touch and sensory input to optimize your relaxation and stress relief.

You can learn a lot more by visiting our Braintronics™ details page, but I hope this short summary is compelling.  Meditation and massage chairs isn’t wishful thinking – it’s a reality.