History Episode Clip on Chair Massage

On April 1, 2016, the History Channel aired a segment on the origins of contemporary chair massage and the development of the first massage chair. It was part of a program called Million Dollar Genius and featured David Palmer who, unfortunately, claims to be neither. Be that as it may, they did a very good job in just 12-minutes.

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Two versions: English and French
The first video below is the original English version and second on is subtitled in French.

    Original English Version.

    Version Française

If you already subscribe to the History Channel…
…with your cable company, you can view the complete episode online. When you start the program (Season 1, Episode 7Bigger is Better; air date April 1, 2016) you will be asked to sign in with your credentials from your cable provider. Generally that means an email address or user name and a password. Since there are hundreds of providers, you may have to contact your provider for further instructions.

The segment on chair massage is the last of four segments and starts just after the 30-minute mark.

The whole series was very well produced and the 40 plus inventors and inventions featured are entertaining and iinformative. I enjoyed hearing the behind-the-scenes stories about the development of products I actually use or know about like the frisbee. History also has a great playlist on YouTube of one-minute clips that were not shown on on the series that feature me and the other inventors talking about issues like getting an idea and advice for new businesses, entrepreneurs, marketing, patenting, etc.


How did this program come about?

In July 2015, I received a phone call from a production company in Montreal that was developing a program for History with the working title of Eureka! The representative asked if I was interested in being a part of a 10-part series they are doing on inventors/inventions, which they have sold to the History Channel. I had a 90-minute  conversation where they vetted my story. What I understood from the outset was that they were looking for the drama in each story; the obstacles overcome, the knotty problems solved.

Here is the description they sent me:

Eureka! is a new series on the History Channel that features inventors and their stories of ingenuity behind commonplace objects such as coffee sleeves, board games, rolling luggage, exercise equipment and garden hoses. We discover the tiny eureka moments, the hit-or-miss prototyping, its development into mass marketing – tales of perseverance, indelible design, crazy good fortune, and amazing personalities that all left their mark on the world in unforgettable ways.

Who are the masterminds behind these commonplace objects we use all the time, and how did they come to be? Eurkea! tells stories of ingenuity on a humbler scale, and celebrates ordinary people who struck it rich by becoming inventors. The stories are inspirational, aspirational and most of all, identifiable. They are also the stuff of legend.

The first person I contacted was Serge Bouyssou, a French woodworker, who created the first prototype for the massage chair back in 1984 when we were both living in San Francisco. Happily, he agreed to participate and also did a telephone screening with the production company. They also wanted a “second voice” to speak to the development of the chair.

The best “second voice” would have been Gary Bernard, who had lived every moment of the early days of chair massage with me, but he had just moved to Seattle. Fortunately, Carlin Holden, turned out to be an excellent second voice. She had been a student of mine in the early 1980s and had also been one of the practitioners who did chair massage at Apple Computer. I loved the comments of hers that the editors included and she gives the whole episode a well-rounded credibility.

On August 28th, 2016, we received word that the story of the massage chair had been cleared with History so our participation was assured.