Published on February 20th, 2013 | by Greg
Brookstone’s OSIM uSqueez, We All Squeeze!
As New Yorkers, we walk a lot. Our legs and feet build up stress and get sore enough to render them pretty tender after a day of regular walking on Manhattan streets. Now imagine strolling through aisle after aisle of convention booths (CES, the Toy Fair, and the NY International Gift Fair were just in the past few weeks), and standing for a lengthy commute on the subway or bus. A few things help- yoga, for one, is a great way to relieve some tension. But there is an easier way!
The OSIM uSqueez is much more convenient- like having a very strong personal masseuse to focus on your calves and feet and ankles. Available exclusively in the USA from Brookstone, this is a massager with oomph. It’s well-built, with quality components and a nice classy finish, but that means it’s pretty heavy and a little hard to hide. It’s also not very adjustable (in terms of height or angle), which means that you’ll likely spend a few minutes adjusting your chair or finding the right location. We tried office chairs and recliners successfully, but our office couch didn’t really work as it was too low, and we had to modify our sitting position a bit to find one that was comfortable (we simply added a cushion or two).
Setup is as simple as taking it out of the box and plugging it in. But one of the nifty features about this new model is the iPhone and iPad apps that allow you to control the settings. You download the free app, then connect to the massager via Bluetooth (there’s a button on the side control panel that enables the function). It’s kind of fun to surprise your friends as well, by having them sit down and then wirelessly controlling the programming. The app works easily on both the tablet and the smartphone we tested, though there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles- you can simply change modes, read the manual, and get some health tips. We found the apps slightly gimmicky but totally workable- other massagers simply include a remote- and they are iOS only at the moment (no Android support).
Speaking of modes though, there are three to choose from- Soothe, Pulse and Energize- and you can also just use the controls on the side. There’s no need for a smartphone or tablet, though they did thoughtfully include a USB charging port, allowing you to watch movies on your iPad while your poor lower body gets refreshed. Built-in handles also make it easier to move the uSqueez around.
But a massager is only as good as, well, the massage. And here, our writers had mixed experiences. The first impression from most everyone who tried it was: “ow”. For those with large feet, especially, the initial moments are painful and the term “Squeez” quite apt. Some took to wearing slippers, as the footbed would apply a lot of compression to feet even on the lowest setting. The results on calves were much better, and universally liked- firm, good variation and kneading, the three options offering nice movements and leaving achy legs feeling greatly improved. But there is no way to modify individual motors, locations, tensions, or placements. The first few minutes of any session would result in staff wincing (male or female, size 5 to 11 shoes) as their feet were pushed and pulled and twisted. After a few minutes, it would be more comfortable, but still left testers’ feet feeling pretty sore after finishing up the fifteen minute treatments. After several sessions your feet become more accustomed to the process, though some found it too much to continue past the initial discomfort.
In short, if most massages strike you as too gentle and your feet and calves could use some help, this is the perfect gadget. It’s well-made, classy-looking, and from one of the leading manufacturers. Sit back, relax, and let your legs de-stress. Available now from Brookstone, for $400 or so.