Panasonic MAJ7 vs. Panasonic MA73

Panasonic logo
Panasonic logo

The Panasonic chairs used to be designed, engineered, quality control tested, and built in Japan. Now, the engineering and design are still done in Japan, but the chairs are being built at Chinese factories within which the Panasonic quality control is still implemented. It is the quality control that separates the Japanese chairs from the rest.

The Panasonic massage chairs have always been of a superior quality, reflected in their 3 year parts and labor warranty as well as their low failure rate and longevity. When I first got into the massage chair business in 2005,  whenever someone came looking for a new chair to replace their old one, they always seemed to have a ready-to-retire Panasonic that had lasted them 10-20 years. I still get some customers like that. Good chairs.

Panasonic MAJ7 massage chair
Panasonic MAJ7 massage chair

For the last few years we have been selling the MA70 and the MA73 models, the differences of which I’ve highlighted in a previous video. Well, in 2018 at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the new Panasonic MAJ7 was introduced to the US market. I was at that CES and sat in the J7 for a spell, with a staffer explaining the features of the chair while I sat and enjoyed the massage. You can watch that video here.

Today, on the request of a customer, I am going to outline the differences between the MAJ7 and it’s predecessor, the MA73 in this article:

  1. Softer Padding – One thing I immediately noticed about the chair, when I first sat in it, was how much softer the seating was. It felt like the engineers put in additional padding and pillows to give the chair a softer, more comfortable fit. I liked it quite a bit.
  2. Massage Intensity – Another thing I noticed was how much stronger the roller massage was throughout the spine in the J7, except maybe the neck massage. The J7 offers a stronger massage to the low back and hips, while maybe having a little less intense neck massage. However, the rollers of both chairs still hit the top of the shoulders just great. Panasonic chairs are some of the very few massage chairs that actually offer roller massage to that area. It’s a pretty good feature, in my book. The rollers on the J7 can protrude as much as 4.9″, which explains it’s increased intensity.
  3. Mechanical Foot Rollers – The J7 is the first Panasonic massage chair model that has mechanical foot rollers. The Japanese have been the slowest to adopt this feature into their massage chairs, but Panasonic has now come around to the idea…and from our experience, it is one of the better foot rollers out there. The Japanese may be late to the game but, as expected, they are worth the wait.
  4. Rotating Ottoman – One of the well-liked features of the MA73 is the rotating ottoman that allows you to hide the calf and foot wells. The feature helped the MA73 serve as a recliner as well as a therapeutic massage chair. But, because of the addition of the foot rollers, the rotating feature of the ottoman is no longer available.
  5. Airbag Intensity Adjustment – Most massage chairs have an airbag compression intensity adjustment, but very, very few have the ability to adjust the airbag intensity of one set of airbags independent of the other airbags. The J7 allows you to do that. So, if the arms are too strong, but the rest of the airbags are just right at the current setting, you can turn down the arm airbag intensity while leaving the rest as is.
  6. Heated Rollers – Another big hit in the MA73 is still available on the J7.
  7. Core Programs – Most of the auto programs are the same in both models, but the J7 introduces an auto program (and a stretch program) known as “Core”. What the chair does is substantially inflate the seat airbags so that your whole body is lifted up off the chair seat. While that happens, the rollers position themselves at the low back and then roll up and down while the airbags inflate and deflate. The Core stretch program goes a little further by inflating the leg, feet, and shoulder airbags while the body is lifted up by the seat airbags to traction the spine in the form of a stretch. The interesting thing here is that when the seat airbags lift you up, the rollers move down the low back and actually hit the top of the glute muscles, almost simulating an L-track roller massage without actually having an L-track. The term “J7” actually refers to a “J” track massage to the glutes and hips thanks to this airbag “lift”.
  8. Pressure Sensing – At CES, Panasonic had a very interesting display (and you can see it on the same video I alluded to at the beginning of this article) that demonstrated how sensitive a rigged roller mechanism was in the process of imitating a hand written calligraphy message that was mimicked and programmed into the mechanism’s software. For the first time in the massage chair industry, a massage mechanism is actually measuring the pressure it is applying to your back muscles much like a real massage therapist. The roller mechanism measures the PSI 1000 times per second to make sure that the rollers match the depth preference you selected on the remote control. Pretty cool stuff!
  9. Kneading Modes – The J7 comes with 6 new kneading modes that are employed at different parts of your back. See the image below for an explanation. 

That about covers the differences. The J7 still has the heated rollers, memory function, simple to use remote control (looks exactly the same except for some programming buttons), great arm air massage, and body silhouette as the MA73. It just has more sophisticated programming available for the discriminating massage chair user.

Dr. Alan Weidner

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Stretch Program: S-Track vs. L-Track Massage Chairs

Using a reclined massage chair
Using a reclined massage chair

The stretch program is a pretty standard auto program on most chairs nowadays. However, it can be quite different, depending on the roller track configuration. The “idea” of the stretch program is the same for both L-track and S-track chairs, but the application is different because of the physics of construction.

S-Track

S-track stretch
S-Track Stretch

The most common type of S-track stretch is a “global” stretch that involves 2 primary components: 1.) the chair back reclines and, 2.) the calf & foot airbags inflate while ottoman drops down. The idea is for the gravity to pull the body downwards when the chair back reclines, providing traction so that when the calf and foot airbags inflate and the ottoman drops, the pull on the legs will pull and elongate the whole spine. It really is a very good experience for most users. As a matter of fact, it would not be hyperbole to say that users “love” the global back stretch of these massage chairs. In some chairs, shoulder airbags are also used. They inflate when the chair back reclines, thus pinning the shoulders back and further tractioning the spine when the ottoman drops down.

The chair that we have found to have the most pronounced axial/global stretch of the S-track chairs is the Infinity IT-8500/8500X3. They use the shoulder and calf/foot airbags, along with a 180 degree chair back recline (closer to horizontal than any other S-track chair), to really give a good stretch for the user. Again, most, if not all, S-track chairs have a stretch program of some sort, but this type that I’ve just described is the most common and sought after.

Some S-track chairs, like the Panasonic MA73 and the Osaki Japan Premium 4.0 models, use segmental stretching instead of full body extension, as described above. For example, the MA73 has 3 different stretch programs: a neck stretch, a back stretch, and a hip stretch. It doesn’t use the “global” stretch approach of the more common stretch programs that we have been discussing.

L-Track

L-track stretch
L-track stretch

L-track chairs, for the most part, also have a stretch program but because of the shape of the roller track, the stretch component is a little limited. Here’s why:

The advantage of the S-track chairs, when it comes to the stretch program, is that the chair back moves independently of the seat. The seat remains relatively horizontal while the chair back reclines to approximately horizontal. That, in combination with the ottoman dropping down, is what really creates the magic of the stretch program.

The physics and build of the L-track won’t allow for the horizontal chair positioning that the S-track chairs enjoy. The seat and chair back articulation is fixed in an “L” shape position. You just can’t flatten out a steel roller track that is shaped in an L position. So, instead of having a stretch program that flattens the body to a horizontal position, the L-track stretch programs involve reclining the chair into a zero gravity-like position and the deploying the calf and foot airbags while the ottoman extends (lengthens) and then drops down. The effect on the user is that you will feel the pulling of your legs and a pull on your hips, but the overall global stretch experience will not be felt, because it quite simply can’t be done. I hope that made sense. I’ve included a video below to try to show the difference in body position in both a reclined S-track chair and a reclined L-track chair.


The trade off with these two types of chairs is the L-track roller experience vs. the S-track stretch experience. You have to determine which is most important to you when making the chair buying decision.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Mail Bag: DreamWave vs. MA73; chair for 6’4″ & 200 lbs.

Postmail
Postmail

Customer Question #1

I had a friend, who lives in Salt Lake City, visit your store this summer and he evaluated and recommended the Panasonic MA73 and Inada DreamWave massage chairs. Would you recommend one over the other for reliability, form or function?
I am in my 60’s and long ago realized you usually get what you pay for so buy once and buy right.

Thank you.
Mike

My Response #1

Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave

Hi, Mike
The DreamWave and MA73 are pretty equal as far as quality goes. Each has different features, pros and cons. Here are some things to consider:

1. Rollers are more vigorous on the MA73.
2. Heated rollers on the MA73, low back heating element in the DreamWave.
3. The MA73 has shoulder airbags, the DreamWave has upper arm airbags.
4. The Inada has the dreamwave technology where the seat moves from side to side and up and down, while the thigh airbags are inflating to massage the

Panasonic MA73 massage chair
Panasonic MA73

IlioTibial Bands and the rollers are hitting the low back. The MA73 does not have this feature, although it does have thigh airbags and a good low back roller massage.
5. The DreamWave has 100 airbags vs. 33 airbags in the MA73.
6. Stretch program is superior in the DreamWave (IMHO).
7. Arm airbag massage is superior in the MA73 (IMHO).
8. The DreamWave has the cervical traction device, which is a fancy title for the headpiece. That headpiece has airbags that massage the neck and compress on top of the shoulders.
9. The rollers of the MA73 actually reach up and over the top of the trapezia muscles at the top of the shoulders. The DreamWave uses airbags from the headpiece to massage the traps.
10. Both chairs have 3D roller massage technology (in other words, you can adjust the depth of the rollers for a more or less vigorous massage).
11. Customer support and warranty support for both chairs is now being handled by Furniture For Life, which is the distributor for both Inada and Panasonic in the USA. They actually send out a technician to repair your chair should anything go wrong with it.
12. Both chairs have 3 years parts and labor warranties and a less than 1% failure rate. Both chairs should also last you 15+ years. Great quality!!

I hope this helps. Let me know if these points bring up any other questions. I am always here at your disposal. One last thing…the DreamWave is a little better for taller bodies (can handle up to 6’5″ tall), whereas the MA73 is ideal for folks up to 6’3″.

Customer Question #2

Hi, I was wondering which massage chairs would you recommend for someone 5’10” to 6’4″, weighing 164 lbs to 200 lbs. Also for someone who works out at the gym so my shoulder and leg muscles can change. Has a deep tissue massage and for someone who has lumbar strain and neck and shoulder pain. These are the chairs I like: the Osaki JP Premium 4.0, Apex Ultra, uKnead Lavita, and the Infinity IT-8500.

My Response #2

uKnead Lavita massage chair
uKnead Lavita

Thanks for your email. All the chairs you mention are great chairs. They will all provide a good neck and shoulder massage. If you want a chair with the L-track, though, plus a good neck and shoulder massage, go with the uKnead Lavita. That is one of our top selling models right now and does a good all around job on the whole body.

The IT-8500 is an awesome chair, especially for the neck and shoulder area. The foot rollers are great and the stretch program is fantastic for anyone.

The Ultra will be too small for someone who is over 6’2″ tall, although it has a great neck and shoulder massage and a strong overall massage.

The Osaki JP Premium 4.0 is a good quality chair. Made in Japan, it is a better quality chair than all the other options you’re looking at. It is not ideal for someone over 6′ tall, so you might need to try it out before buying it to make sure it fits. It is manufactured by Fujiiryoki, the oldest massage chair company in the world.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to email or call me at 801-651-2026. I am always at your disposal.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Mail Bag: Some Questions & Answers Involving the Panasonic MA73

Panasonic logo
Panasonic logo
Panasonic MA73 massage chair
Panasonic MA73

Customer Question #1:

Hi, incredible website with so much great information! I am thinking of ordering either the new Osaki Summit or the Panasonic EP-MA73. I was leaning towards the Osaki Summit because of the L-track but am wondering which one offers a stronger massage as I like a really deep massage, and which one offers a better neck/shoulder massage?

My Response #1:

Hi, Jeff
Thanks for your email. Great questions. Tough to answer actually. The Summit is awesome because of the L-track, which the MA73 can’t even touch. Even though the Summit has a good neck massage, I’d have to give the nod to the MA73 for the neck massage. The MA73 definitely gives a better shoulder massage (top of the shoulder – traps). Both give a great massage between the shoulder blades.

I really love the extended roller track (L-track) so I might be a little partial to the Summit.

Customer Question #2:

hi alan
need to get new chair soon
the panasonic MA-73 looks interesting to us (dad and i) – mostly because how you describe it as being used for a regular chair also (to sit and watch TV – etc)
this is why we LOVED the sanyo 8700  — as it is a nice chair to simply sit in by itself off — or when using its super smooth slow massage (with no big intruding shoulder bags or arm bags – etc,)
and this is why I kind of hate the pro-dreamer I use  – as the shoulder bags interfere – and the arm bags are too big to allow normal arm placement on top when just sitting
few concerns I have about MA-73 —
1 – its not zero gravity – right?  I realize you can get that effect somewhat – but never its quite the same? having the seat incline as it should is a big deal to me – as my lower back is bad
2 – I like arm bags – but when not using them can one place arms “comfortably” on top without feeling they’re being forced up too highly (for simply sitting and watching TV)
3 – would you say this has one of the best neck massages ? and for somebody 6’2” ?
4 – are the calf/ottoman bag area big enough to truly do a good wrap-around massage on calf area. I find that many of the folding type ottomans lack the bigness or surface area to do calfs well
conclusion — the chair really does seem to be an ideal chair for us – except the zero gravity which I’ll never understand panasonic decision there
Kim  Smile

My Response #2:

Hi, Kim

Thanks for your emails. Great to hear from you again! Here are my answers to your queries:
1. The MA73 does not have the zero gravity feature. It stays static throughout the recline and during each program.
2. Yes, the arm rests are optimal for use without the airbags. You will sit quite comfortably, including your arms, when using the chair as a recliner.
3. Yes, it has a great neck massage…especially on the top of the shoulders. Plus you can adjust the 3D rollers to make the massage even deeper.
4. The calf airbags do not wrap around the calves as you are hoping. They are pretty shallow.

Customer Question #3:

Hello Dr. Alan!

I loved the free report. Found it very informative and helpful. My husband and I are looking to purchase a massage chair. Ever since my first pregnancy I have had sciatica, and we just happened to have the occasion to sit in a Panasonic EP-MA10 and a Human Touch 5.0 this weekend while shopping for furniture for our new home.
So that’s what got me scouring the internet trying to figure out what chair we should invest in, since I am now expecting our 3rd, and the sciatica and pelvic pain are 3 times as bad, 3 times earlier along in my pregnancy than before.
I’m not sure I know yet what chair is the right one for us yet. I lean toward Panasonic at the moment. My husband is 6 ft 2, and I’m 5 ft 3. It is quite the investment, and I want to make sure we can both benefit fully. I have been watching your videos on Youtube and reading as much as I can to make the best possible investment decision.
Thanks for reaching out.
Kind regards,
Juli-Anne

My Response #3:

Hi, Juli-Anne
Thanks so much for downloading my report and emailing me. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’ve got 6 and it never got old!! I love just being a dad and a grandpa.
I might suggest taking a look at the chairs with the extended roller tracks (also called L-Tracks). They extend down the back and under the seat to give a roller massage to the gluts, piriformis muscles, and the top of the hamstrings. For someone who suffers from sciatica, I think this technology is an absolute revelation. You will be a butt massage like no other and it just may help your sciatica symptoms more than you’d expect.

Take a look at the Human Touch Novo XT, which is currently our best selling chair. It has the extended roller track, foot rollers, great neck and upper back massage, along with tons of other airbags and programs.

The uKnead Lavita is another L-Track chair that does a fantastic lower back and butt massage, as well as having a strong neck massage. Great foot rollers and arm airbags, as well as calf rollers!

Panasonics are fabulous chairs, but they don’t have the extended roller track. Take a look at the MA73, which has a roller track that goes down to the tailbone area and gives a fantastic roller massage. Great neck and shoulder massage (its roller actually massage the top of the shoulders, too. That is unique to the Panasonic MA73).

Check these models out and let me know what you think. When you are ready to buy, I’ll tell you what sales we have going on for each model.

Ask any other questions. I am always at your disposal.

Dr. Alan Weidner

Panasonic EP30007 Discontinued

Panasonic logo
Panasonic logo

All the Panasonic massage chairs sold in the USA are now being distributed by Furniture For Less, which is the umbrella company that also distributes the Inada and Positive Posture chairs. Since they became the distributors for Panasonic in the US, they have discontinued the Panasonic EP30007 model. They only carry the MA70 and the MA73 models now.

panasonic_ep30007.thumbnail.gif
Panasonic EP30007

When I first got started in this business in 2005, Panasonic was one of the brands available for me to sell and the EP30000 series was, at that time, the new line that Panasonic was promoting. It began with the EP30003, 30004, and 30005. Eventually those models faded into oblivion and the 30007 was all that remained from that line. That was their top-of-the-line model. It has not been a big seller over the years but provided a good massage at a good price, with Japanese design and engineering behind it.

The MA models are a much better chair than what the EP line offered, in my opinion. The massage experience is superior, the arm airbags are newer and more innovative, the heated rollers is a really cool innovation, side shoulder airbags instead of posterior shoulder airbags, and the programming is more sophisticated. The ottoman extends without the need of a lever, like the one that the 30007 has. The MA chairs have a self retracting and extending ottoman. The MA chairs also double really well as regular recliners, which is a very innovative idea in the massage chair business.

So long EP30007, my old friend. Wish I could say I’ll miss you, but I’d be lying!!

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Mail Bag – L-Track vs. S-Track; Panasonic MA73 vs. Dreamwave Classic; Health Problems

Mailbox
Mailbox

Customer Question #1
What are the differences (as far as the massage’s outcome is concerned) between the S-track and the L-track massage chairs?

My Response #1
The major difference between the L-Track and S-Track chairs is that the L-Track will provide a roller massage to muscles that heretofore have only been addressed with airbags. The roller massage is far superior for typically problematic muscles like the piriformis and gluts.

Of course, it is important to understand that the L-Track chairs also have the S-Track incorporated in each chair. The rollers in the chair back follow the S-Track, while the rollers extending into the buttocks and top of the hamstrings constitute the so called L-Track.

Customer Question #2
Hi Dr. Alan, One question please. What chair brand/model is good for working on the top section of the body? Panasonic MA73 or Dreamwave Classic? Gabriel

Panasonic MA3 massage chair
Panasonic MA73

My Response #2
Hi, Gabriel
Thanks for your email. Great question. I’d have to say that both are equally as effective in the neck region. When you take off the headpiece from the DreamWave and increase the intensity of the rollers it has a very strong neck massage. The MA73 has a more vigorous default neck massage, plus you can increase the intensity as well. When both chairs are at maximum intensity in the neck region, they are quite similar.

The roller mechanism of the MA73 does a better job on the traps, as the rollers move forward a bit on the shoulders before they go up the neck. However, the DreamWave has airbags in the headpiece that inflate down onto the shoulders and it mimics the elbow of a massage therapist digging into your shoulders. So, both chairs hit the trap muscles, but the MA73 does it with rollers while the DreamWave does it with airbags. But, both are good.

As far as the upper back goes, both do a very adequate job. Again, you’d want to remove the headpiece (and attached back pad) from the DreamWave to get maximum intensity in the upper back.

Customer Question #3
I have been researching massage chairs for a while now. I have a little iJoy chair and I am definitely ready for an upgrade. I was medically retired from the military after have four vertebrae fused and still need about six more done. Carpal tunnel surgery on one wrist and waiting on the other. I have severe nerve damage mostly on my rt side. I have Degenerative Disk Disease, and was just diagnosed with progressive rheumatoid arthritis. I am getting a new shoulder next month. Several years ago my wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and about three years ago diagnosed with Lupus and the doctors say she has probably had it for 16 years. We make quite the pair. Worst of all our son may have scoliosis, we find out tomorrow. We need a chair that will have a smooth deep tissue for my back and neck. I think the airbags would be best for my wife due to the sensitivity of her skin, muscles and just all over body pain. The rollers are too painful. For my son I have seen some chairs that stretch and the seat swivels to help align the spine. What would you suggest? Is there a chair that does it all and won’t break the bank? Thanks for any help you can offer.

My Response #3
Your family has certainly had it’s share of health issues. I am so sorry to hear about it all. I think each one of you will enjoy a massage chair. I might suggest taking a look at the Infinity IT-8500 massage chair. It has a very vigorous back and neck massage, which would be great for you and your son, but will be too vigorous, at least in the beginning, for your wife. But, you can just turn on all the airbags and let them work her over gently. Then, when she is ready for rollers, you can turn on one of the auto programs or the stretch program. That chair also has the swivel seat and the shoulder airbags that pin the shoulders back to enhance posture correction and a great stretch. You and your son will both love that feature.

Inada DreamWave
DreamWave Classic

You could also go all out and get the iconic DreamWave Classic, which is more expensive but a fabulous chair, built with exceptional quality. It has a full body airbag massage program, but also has a much more gently default roller massage, which your wife might like right off the bat. But, for you and/or your son, you can crank up the roller intensity to give you a very vigorous and deep massage. It also has the DreamWave technology in the seat that moves the seat from side to side and up and down.

I hope this helps!

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Massage Chairs and the IlioTibial Band (ITB)

woman holding an exercise ball
woman holding an exercise ball
IlioTibial Band
http://emedicine.medscape.com

The IlioTibial Band (ITB) is a thick tendon that runs from the pelvis (ilium bone) to the tibia bone of the lower part of the leg. Each side of the body has one and these tendons tend to be tender (did I just write

an alliteration!!) for folks who have had back problems, knee problems, or hip problems. Since the pelvis is connected to the lower back and the ITB connects the pelvis to the bottom half of the knee joint, this tight, thick tendon can be compromised by issues with any of these associated areas.

Although there is a condition known as ITB Syndrome (inflammation of the ITB most commonly caused by overuse, as in running/jogging), most folks won’t even know they have a compromised tendon until someone or something pokes at it and you flinch in pain. That is what some massage chairs do…the hip airbags inflate and press on the ITB’s and elicit a pain response from the user.

I received an email from a customer last week expressing concern that the hip airbags of his Panasonic MA73 massage chair were digging too deep into his hip to the point of discomfort. I reassured him that the chair is not the problem but his ITB is the problem. The airbag is just pressing against an already tight, or even inflamed, ITB and the pain is elicited.

Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave

This is actually a good thing! Good, not because it is hurting you, but good because the ITB needs some muscle work. The hip airbags of some chairs, like the Panasonic, the Inada DreamWave, and the Osaki Dreamer, to name a few, are small enough and focal enough in their inflation, that they can dig into the ITB’s and actually result in a reflex relaxation of the tendon. It may be quite uncomfortable at first, but you can rest assured that over time you will not notice as much tenderness as you do on your initial experiences in the chair. On the image to the left of the Inada DreamWave, you can see the hip airbags flanking the seat. Those are the airbags that make the difference for ITB tightness.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Quick Hits – New Panasonic Distributor; new ZeroG model; DreamWave Price Increase

Panasonic Massage Chairs
Panasonic Massage Chairs

Some news recently that you might want to know about:

  1. Furniture For Life (FFL) is now the USA distributor for Panasonic massage chairs. FFL is the Panasonic Massage Chairsmother company for Inada and their collateral companies. Panasonic’s customer support will still take care of any chair problems under warranty for the first year of this relationship and, after that, FFL will take care of the warranty work for the Panasonic chairs. From what I understand the 3 year parts and labor + 2 additional years of parts only coverage warranty will remain the same.
    I like this change for two reasons: 1.) The folks at FFL are the same folks who handle all the Inada orders. These orders will be processed promptly and efficiently. I think it’s pretty spot on to say that Panasonic order processing was cumbersome and slow, at best, when Panasonic took care of it, and 2.) Previously, Panasonic did not have an in-home repair warranty. Panasonic chairs had to be repaired by Panasonic Authorized Service Centers. If you didn’t have an Authorized Service Center near you…tough beans! We sell a fair amount of the Panasonic MA73 massage chair and this became somewhat frustrating. Now, the same folks who take care of Inada chairs will also take care of the Panasonic chairs. Both of these reasons will add up to one thing – better customer experience! Chairs will ship out/deliver quicker and repairs can be done in home. I think this is a great move by Panasonic and I think the Inada folks are a fantastic choice to manage it.
  2. Human Touch is following on the heels of their Novo XT deployment with a new
    ZeroG 3.0 massage chair
    ZeroG 3.0 massage chair

    ZeroG model…the ZeroG 3.0 massage chair.  After having introduced the newer, more sophisticated ZeroG 5.0, they had recently discontinued the ZeroG 2.0 and 4.0, which had an older body style. The ZeroG 3.0 fits that void. It looks like the 5.0 but with a few less features, like the 3.0 does not have the warm air heat feature, has 3 vs. 4 auto programs, and does not have the Body Map Pro feature for manual massage settings. If you are looking for a well priced, smaller massage chair with a quality build, the ZeroG chairs are perfect.

  3. Inada increased the price of their DreamWave to $8999. That change happened on April 1st of this
    Inada DreamWave
    Inada DreamWave

    year, but we didn’t learn about it until a couple of weeks ago. I’m a little surprised that it’s price has jumped yet again, but if it continues to sell…more power to them!

  4. We had a flooding incident 4 weeks ago in our Southern California showroom and we had to shut it down for 3 weeks to dry out and make some repairs. We opened back up last week, but the carpet still hasn’t been replaced and the walls haven’t been repaired yet. However, at least you can go to the showroom now and try out chairs. I am very sorry for this inconvenience; I know many folks dropped by when it was closed and left without being able to try out our chairs.
  5. Johnson Wellness massage chairs are now back on the market under the Johnson Wellness name. If you recall, we used to carry their chairs and even had one in my Utah showroom. However, shortly after that, we were notified that we couldn’t have their chairs on our website anymore and they began selling their chairs under the Human Touch, Osaki, and Fujita brand names. That went on for 1-2 years but has since stopped. They are going back to distributing their chairs under their own name again and we will most likely begin carrying them again within the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted!Dr. Alan WeidnerP.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

 

Mail Bag: Best ITB massage; L-Track suggestion; DreamWave vs. Flex 3S

email sign with mouse
email sign with mouse

Customer Question #1

This site is amazing. I just can’t decide which chair to buy. I have been looking most closely at the Inada Dreamwave, Panasonic MA73, and Osaki 3D Pro Dreamer. I sit at the computer most of the day and get back pain (upper and lower) and lots of tightness around the shoulders, I also get very tight in the illiotibial area. I like tons of pressure when I get massages. Any recommendations on the chairs I am looking at or suggestions as to others to look at? Thank you so much.

My Response #1

The chairs that have the best IlioTibial band airbag massage are the Inada DreamWave and the

Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave

Panasonic MA73. Although the Osaki Dreamer has hip airbags they are designed to hold the hips in place to accentuate the low back roller massage. Those airbags don’t really do much to the IT Bands. All of those chairs, however, will give you a great shoulder/upper back massage along with a good lumbar massage.

 

Two other chairs you might consider would be the Infinity IT-8500, which is our most popular chinese-made chair. This model has a great neck and shoulder massage and is among our most intense and vigorous massage chairs. We also now have this new Titan Alpine chair that has the extended roller that goes down into the butt and top of the hamstrings. It offers an awesome lower back/hip/buttock massage. This extended L-Track has become the next big thing in massage chairs because finally massage chairs can offer roller massage to the buttock area, which has heretofore only been addressed by airbags in the seat. By the way, although both of these chairs have great massages, neither really does much for the IT Bands.

 

Customer Question #2

Hi Dr. Alan,
I liked your report, there are so many options and features in the chairs out there, it is good to get some condensed information as is in your report.

I recently started looking for a chair and one very important feature, probably number one in my book would be to have the chair work as much of my thigh area (from glutes to behind the knee) as possible. As such, it seems like the L track models would be the best, from what I’ve seen the Titan 8400 seems to have one of the longest travel lengths.

With that said, how would you describe how far below the glutes it would travel?
Any other thoughts in this area?
I know the Titan is a newer brand name for you to carry, what has your experience been with them?
Are there any new features in the thigh area coming out soon from other models/chair manufacturers?

Thanks very much, I appreciate your input.
Gary.

My Response #2

Hi, Gary
Thanks for your email. The L-Track of the 8400 extends to the top of the hamstrings on me, and I am about 5’9″ tall. For a shorter-legged person, it may extend even further down. The new Titan TP-Pro Alpine has a similar roller track and hits about the same area. These new Titans along with the Infinity Iyashi (the original extended roller track massage chair) have become quite popular because of the L-track. It is a great feature for folks with low back, pelvic,and or gluteal issues.

 

Although Titan is a new category for us, they have been around for quite some time. These new models

uKnead lavita massage chair
uKnead Lavita

are an upgrade over previous, cheaper models and that is why we have begun carrying them. They are owned and imported by the same company that produces the Osaki chairs. I have had plenty of dealings with them.

 

You might also take a look at the uKnead Lavita massage chair, which has a longer L-track than most and seems to reach down to the belly of my hamstrings. It isn’t much more money than the 8400 but seems to do quite a bit more and reach a little further.

 

Customer Question #3

 

Dear Dr. Weidner,

First of all, I cannot thank you enough for using your contacts to try and negotiate the situation with Panasonic.  I must admit I am finding this imbroglio quite instructive.

So school is about to start again—I’m pursuing post-baccalaureate studies to earn credit toward a Master’s program I’m applying for–and I need a working chair in order to treat rather severe back spasms (and thus spare opioid analgesics).

Now, I am considering the Inada Dreamwave versus the Inada Flex.  I know that the Flex does not have the function that mobilises the lumbar vertebrae: but might you be able to explain to me the advantages of the “Dreamwave Technology”; and, what is your opinion as to the clinical mechanism by which it exerts the analgesic effect?

And might you be able to help me think about how the Dreamwave and the Flex compare in other respects?

As always, I am grateful for your assistance. Your help has been invaluable. Please let me know how I can implement my testimonial to your greatest advantage (facebook?).

Cordially,
James

 

My Response #3

 

Hi, James

Thanks for your email. Before I answer your questions, I will just let you know that Panasonic requested

Inada Flex 3s
Inada Flex 3S

your address and phone number yesterday because they will have someone calling you (this week, I suspect) to arrange pick up of your chair to repair it. I have been rather impressed with Ellison’s response to your issues. I hope you feel the same.

 

Now, regarding the DreamWave and Flex, I actually wrote a 2-part comparative review of these chairs. You can check out both parts here:

 

http://www.massage-chair-relief.com/blog/chair-models/inada-dreamwave-vs-inada-flex-3s-part-1/

 

http://www.massage-chair-relief.com/blog/chair-models/inada-dreamwave-vs-inada-flex-3s-part-2/

 

The DreamWave program of the chair actually involves a number of different components:

 

  1. The DreamWave feature itself, which is the seat moving up and down and side to side, through a sophisticated deployment of airbags, to mobilize the pelvis and lumbar spine. This is very soothing, particularly for someone in acute low back pain,

 

  1. The thigh airbags inflate to massage the IlioTibial Bands, which are invariably tight in folks with low back, hip, or knee pain. Not many chairs actually dig into the IT Bands, the DreamWave being one of them,

 

  1. Waist airbags inflate to rotate the lumbar spine, and

 

  1. The rollers work over the lumbar spine. One of the great features of the DreamWave is how low the rollers go. Not including the new extended L-Track chairs, the DreamWave goes lower into the sacral area than any other chair I know. You will love that about the chair.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Massage Chair News & Notes

Infinity IT-8500X3
Infinity IT-8500X3

The biggest news right now is all the new models that have come out in the last week. Infinity announced 2 new models and Ogawa announced one more. We have also dropped some models from our website.

Before I go into the models changes, I thought I’d give you a link to a YouTube video made by one of my customers. This video shows you how to assemble the Panasonic MA73 massage chair. It’s a better video than any of mine and is a great resource for anyone who purchases this model. Here is the video…

Good job, Matt, and thanks for this great resource!!

Human Touch has decided to pull it’s HT-7120 and the HT-Bali from the online distributor sites, including ours. So, we have taken them down. However, I do have a black HT-Bali floor model from my Utah showroom for sale now. I’ll sell it for $3200. Let me know if this interests you.

Infinity announced two new models this last week, one of which is particularly interesting to me:

Infinity IT-8500X3 Massage Chair

Infinity IT-8500X3
Infinity IT-8500X3

The IT-8500 has been our top selling Chinese-made chair for years, but the one thing it didn’t have that a lot of folks wanted, was the 3D roller technology. If you are unfamiliar with the  term “3D rollers”, it means that you can move the rollers forward and back to increase or decrease the roller massage intensity. It is a nice feature to have, but a lot of the chairs don’t have it. Infinity introduced the new Infinity IT-8500X3 to offer the 3D roller experience for the discriminating user.

Along with the new 3D roller technology, the IT-8500X3 also comes with Bluetooth synch technology to allow you to play the music directly from your phone. The old IT-8500 had a USB port at the back of the chair into which you would plug in a jump drive with your music previously downloaded from your computer. Although not many folks buy a massage chair for the music system, this does make it easier to access your playlists.

The remote control on this chair is also new…it looks more like the Infinity Iyashi remote – more slender and sleeker. It is also not a pedestal remote control like the IT-8500; the new remote can be tucked away out of sight. This chair has some additional auto programs that incorporate the 3D roller technology.

One last feature this chair has is the neck auto-extend. As it is explained to me by my friends at Infinity, when the rollers come up to the neck region, they extend further forward into your neck muscles to increase the intensity of the neck massage as well as to traction the neck intervertebral segments a bit. I haven’t experienced it yet, but am very curious to see how that feels.

Incidentally, all the rest of the chair is the same as the older IT-8500. It looks the same, has the same number of airbags, and has the same speaker system. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference from the exterior of this chair…except for maybe the absence of the remote control pedestal.

It is available in black, dark brown, and taupe – the same colors as the IT-8500. Price: $5495

Infinity Evoke Massage Chair

Infinity Evoke
Infinity Evoke

This chair was introduced by Infinity as a direct competitor to the popular, but older Osaki OS-4000T. It is priced the same, but is really quite a different chair and offers some great, newer features:

  • Zero Gravity
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Space-saving Technology
  • Airbags from Head to Toe
  • Lumbar Heat
  • Foot Rollers
  • Heel Rubber

I haven’t seen or tried this model at all, but it sounds like a great bang for the buck. Definitely a chair to consider if you are looking for a chair in tha price range. It is available in black and dark brown and is priced at $2695.

Ogawa Smart 3D Massage Chair

Ogawa Smart 3D Tablet
Ogawa Smart 3D Tablet

This is Ogawa’s 3rd offering to the market and it is quite unique, based on their literature. Here is the feature list:

Full Control through our Ogawa App that Comes Pre-Installed on a Samsung Android Tablet

On-Demand 3D Massage with 5 Strength Settings

3D Body Scan that Maps the Users BioMetric Profile and makes Micro Adjustments throughout the Massage

Patented SmartSense Technology that controls the PSI in the Ottoman Airbags and Length Adjustments

Updatable Massage Programming

Self Diagnostics for a Rapid Repair Process

Quick Touch User Controls on the Armrest

Unlimited User Profiles and Memory Settings

Interactive TryMe Video to take a User through a Visual and Sensual Demonstration of the Chair

17 Automatic Programs

Custom Massage Programs Designed for Each Individual User Profile

Samsung Tablet is WiFi Enabled and can be used as a Personal Computer

Patented Air Suspension and Insulated Frames make the Ogawa Smart 3D one of the Worlds Quietest Massage Chairs

It sounds like a very user-friendly chair. I’m not sure of the specifics of some of these features, but the ones that intrigue me are the self diagnostics, interactive TryMe video, the “air suspension” for a quieter massage, and, of course, the Tablet interactivity.

This is a pricey chair for a Chinese-made chair at $6999, but until I try it out and experience this interesting feature-set, I’ll reserve full judgement on it. But, I will tell you that I am very curious about it and look forward to giving it a go. If we do carry it in our showroom, it will be the SoCal showroom. Colors are cappuccino and black. The exterior is black on both models, so the cappuccino color is only on the interior, ala Infinity Iyashi.

Well, that’s about it for today.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Mail Bag – DreamWave Classic, iRobotics 7, and L-Track

email sign with mouse
email sign with mouse

Customer Question #1a

Dear Alan,

I have been searching for a good massage chair, but I’m having trouble deciding which chair would be best for me.

Over the years I have tried the basic Panasonic, and brief demos of the newer technology chairs, but I have been disappointed. I’m trying to find a chair that can duplicate the feel and beneficial effects of a human massage on my main trouble spots: back, shoulders, and neck.

I tried using the comparison feature on your website, but it did not help me narrow down my search. Can you recommend a specific model that would solve my issue?

Thanks,

Loren

My Response #1a

Inada DreamWave

DreamWave Classic

Hi, Loren
Thank you for your email. Feedback from visitors to my showroom is that the DreamWave Classic massage chair comes the most close to mimicking human hands. It has some versatility as far as the neck and shoulders are concerned…a headpiece that has airbag massage of the neck and traps or rollers to give the neck and upper back a good, stiff massage. It also has a great low back massage. Check it out here…

https://www.massage-chair-relief.com/massage-chairs/dreamwave/dreamwave-classic/

Customer Question #1b

Thanks for the fast response Alan. I see why you recommend DreamWave; the specs and number of testimonials are very impressive.

One concern I still have: DreamWave uses Airbag pressure to do a lot of the functions. In the past when I briefly tried similar chairs, the Air cylinders held my neck or arms in place, but did not seem to really relax my muscles like an intense roller (or human hands) could do. Is there any airbag technology difference between DreamWave and the other high end chairs?

Loren

My Response #1b

Hi, Loren
Yes the DreamWave uses a lot of airbags but aside from the traditional use of airbags in other chairs and uses them a little more creatively…

1. airbags in the headpiece are used to massage the neck and offer compression onto the trap muscles…something we don’t really see in any other chair.

2. airbags on the lateral aspect of the thighs actually offer a pretty deep massage of the IlioTibial Bands…again, something we don’t see very much of. Most other chairs use the hip airbags simply to hold the hips in place while the rollers go up and down the lumbar spine. But, in the DreamWave the airbags actually perform a compression massage.

3. airbags are used to move the seat up and down and side to side…this is what the term “DreamWave” actually alludes to. This is the first chair to use airbags in the seat to introduce passive motion to the low back and pelvis. Again, quite unique and innovative.

4 waist airbags are used to move both sides of the low back forward, simulating a rotation or “twist” of the lumbar spine. Very innovative in this industry…but now everyone has employed that in their chairs.

I hope this helps a bit in understanding how DreamWave uses airbags, but not in a typical fashion. Of course, the rollers in the back reach the neck all the way down to the sacral area of the pelvic area. Great roller massage. Combined with the airbags this chair gives quite a remarkable overall massage experience.

Customer Question #2

After 11 years as a US army physician and more than a decade working at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, I have returned back to the great state of Texas. I have put off buying a massage chair due to the 220 vs 110 voltage difference. Too many sandbox tours have left me with chronic knee pain and lumbar pain. Also as a gastroenterologist, I am constantly looking at monitors while pushing scope and suffer from cervical/thoracic muscle strain. I am looking at a couple different chairs to include the Osaki, Inada, Panasonic and the Luraco. I have touched base with Luraco as they are in Dallas and they do offer veteran discounts. Not surprising as they are the only US massage chair manufacturer. FWIW, I am 5’11” 220 lb and my wife is 6’1” and 160lbs. Is there any particular chair that you would recommend? Jeffery

My Response #2

Hi, Doc
Thanks for your email. My experience is that many massage chairs don’t have the strongest neck massage, although most massage chairs have a great mid thoracic massage and a sufficient lumbar massage. Here are some thoughts that crossed my mind as I read your email:

1. There really aren’t any massage chairs that work directly on the knees, however there are a couple of models that have very good IlioTibial Band airbag massage, soft tissue that is typically affected by knee and back problems. Take a look at the DreamWave Classic and the Panasonic MA73. The Luraco iRobotics 7 has a 2-tiered calf massage mechanism that reaches up to just below the knee, which might also serve your knees well.

2. Most chairs hit the lumbar region well, but there are a couple of models that do an exceptional job in the sacro-iliac area. Again, consider the DreamWave Classic which has a roller track that hits the sacral area better than most. The trade-off is that the DreamWave does not have a zero gravity feature, which allows the roller track to hit lower down the spine. I wrote an article about that trade-off on my blog. Here is the link:

http://www.massage-chair-relief.com/blog/general/zero-gravity-or-not-that-is-the-question/

iRobotics 7

iRobotics 7

Incidentally, the Luraco iRobotics 7, mentioned above, does have the zero gravity feature. Another type of chair that might impress your lumbar and gluteal areas is the new L-Track chairs, where an extended roller track goes down the spine and under the seat to the top of the hamstrings. This is a wonderful new feature that really does a dang good job on the low back, glutes, and piriformis muscles. A couple of models to consider would be the Infinity Iyashi (although the neck massage is not stellar), Infinity Escape, the Apex Ultra, and the Titan TP-Pro Alpine. Take a look at those and see what you think.

3. The Osaki chairs are great overall chairs, but I often feel as though they are not outstanding in any one feature. But, they are a great bang for the buck.

4. Our most popular selling Chinese-made chair is the Infinity IT-8500. Awesome neck and upper back massage, good lumbar massage, mechanical foot rollers, and zero gravity to boot. Take a look at that model.

Our top selling Japanese chair is the DreamWave. Therapeutically, one of the best feature-sets around, and the quality, life expectancy, and failure rate are superb, but you pay for it. Great neck roller massage and, as I mentioned above, a great lumbo-sacral massage with a masterful combination of rollers and airbags working on that region. The US-made iRobotics 7 has taken the industry by storm and has a wonderful feature-set, too, including foot rollers and zero gravity.

I hope this helps somewhat. Let me know if you have any other questions or need assistance with your order. I am always at your disposal.

Dr. Alan Weidner
www.massage-chair-relief.com

Inada DreamWave vs. Panasonic MA73

Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave
Inada DreamWave

The Inada DreamWave has been the top luxury massage chair for so long now that most folks don’t even realize that there are some competitors out there in the same class. These competing models aren’t marketed as aggressively or as well as the DreamWave, but they do have some nice features and are quality models. The Panasonic MA73 is one of those chairs. It is priced at $7999, which is quite close to the DreamWave pricing, but it is quite a different chair. I will compare and contrast the two models in this article.

  1. Made in Japan vs. Made in China – Although the Panasonic MA73 is designed and engineered in Japan, it is manufactured in China. The DreamWave is not only designed and engineered in Japan, but also manufactured there, although it does have some components that are made in China. Advantage: Inada DreamWave.
  2. 3D Roller System – both chairs boast the 3D roller technology, but the feel of the roller massage is quite different. The DreamWave has a more gently or sophisticated roller feel, whereas the MA73 has a stronger default massage. The rollers of the MA73 are jade stone and smaller than the hard rubber rollers of the DreamWave, so they tend to dig a little deeper than those of the DreamWave. I describe the roller differences this way…the MA73 feels like knuckles are massaging your back, the DreamWave feels like elbows. Broader roller contact on your back from the DreamWave makes for a more gentle-feeling massage than the smaller roller contact on your back of the MA73. If you like a more vigorous massage that digs a little deeper, the MA73 is for you. If you like a broader, less intense roller massage, the DreamWave is for you. Having said that, though, about the DreamWave, I must say that when your remove the headpiece and attached back pad from the DreamWave (just lift it up and over the back of the chair), the massage is still very intense when you move the 3D rollers all the way forward. Advantage: Draw – Depends on what you like!
  3. Airbags – the DreamWave is famous for having over 100 air “cells”. It is the air cells that make the rest of the chair experience so comfortable. The MA73 has 33 airbags. It’s not just that the DreamWave has over 100 air cells, it’s how they’re used that is unique. Airbags have traditionally been used for just compression, but Inada uses them for trigger point massage in the shoulders, rotating the pelvis and torso, and moving the seat up-and-down and side-to-side with their patented DreamWave technology. Advantage: DreamWave.
  4. Trapezia Massage – I mentioned how the DreamWave uses air cells for trigger point massage on the shoulders. Well, it’s the traps that benefit from those air cells. They inflate from the base of the headpiece down onto both traps and it provides a lovely massage of an oft-neglected muscle by other massage chairs (it is actually intended to be a neck tractioning feature, but it really doubles nicely as a trap point massage). It is a nice feature. However, the MA73 uses its rollers to massage the traps. When the rollers come up the mid back, and before they continue on up the neck muscles, they move forward over the trapezia muscles to give a fantastic shiatsu-like massage to those muscles that are almost always tight on everyone! Advantage: MA73.
  5. Neck Massage – both chairs use the roller system to massage the neck, however, the DreamWave has more versatility in that area. The headpiece of the DreamWave has an air cell system built into it that offers air massage of the neck muscles. To me, it feels like someone is using their thumb and fore fingers to massage the neck musculature. It feels great. But, if you want a more intense neck massage, remove the headpiece and let the rollers have at it. Along with the 3D technology, the neck massage can be quite intense. Advantage: DreamWave.
  6. Heat – both chairs have heating elements, but it’s the uniqueness of the MA73 heater that impresses. The DreamWave has more traditional heating elements in the seat and low back. The MA73, on the other hand, has little heaters next to each of the 4 jade stone rollers. Those heaters warm up the rollers and, as they roll up and down your spine, they heat up your whole back! It is a very unique technology and one that most folks love when they use the chair. Advantage: MA73.
  7. Panasonic MA73
    Panasonic MA73

    Body Styling – the MA73 has a more traditional massage chair look, but it can double as a regular recliner. You can rotate the ottoman to hide the foot and calf wells, the arm rests hide the arm massage mechanism, and the attached back pad that has lumbar support, allows you to use this chair as a massage chair or as a regular recliner. Very clever. The DreamWave, on the other hand, is a massage chair, through and through. It can’t disguise itself as a regular recliner, but it has an award winning body design that pretty much changed the way all chairs came to be made over the last 8 years. Advantage: For style – DreamWave; for functionality – MA73.

  8.  Seat Massage – the MA73 uses airbags to inflate the seat up and down. That function is used not only as part of a buttock massage, but also in concert with the rollers in the stretch programs. The DreamWave, which gets it’s name from the patented DreamWave seat technology, uses aircells to not only inflate the seat, but to move it from side-to-side for pelvis and low back mobilization. As a chiropractor, I saw the benefit of this immediately for patients with a “hot” low back, where passive mobilization was the only thing that could be done to the inflamed area. Both chairs also use thigh airbags/cells that inflate onto the area of the IlioTibial Bands (ITB), but I find that those of the DreamWave work more therapeutically on the ITB region. Advantage: DreamWave. 
  9. Customer Support – not a direct chair feature, but a huge thing for the consumer after the purchase. Inada has a fantastic tech/warranty support team. They will repair or replace faulty parts in your home or business, no matter where you live. Panasonic does not offer in-home support, but they will have a local Panasonic Authorized Service Center come pick up your chair and take it away to repair it. Then they will return it when it is fixed. The only problem with that arrangement is if you don’t live anywhere close to a service center. Then you may have some trouble getting your chair fixed. Advantage: DreamWave.
  10. Chair Size – the Inada is a big chair. It requires packaging in two boxes in order to get the chair into a home. The arm rests and ottoman are in one box, the chair body in another. Once it is set up, it most likely won’t fit through a standard door frame in the event that you want to move it to another room. You’ll have to remove an arm rest to move it. The Panasonic, on the other hand, is smaller and narrower, and fits in one box. It will fit better in a home that is pressed for space. Once it is set up, it is very easy to move around your home or business. It is also easier to set up than the DreamWave. Advantage: MA73.
  11. Warranty – both chairs have 3 years parts and labor warranty, but the MA73 has an additional two years of parts coverage. The only problem with the Panasonic warranty, as mentioned in #9 above, is the potential hassle of getting service for your MA73, depending on where you live. Advantage: MA73.
  12. Inada DreamWave
    Inada Dreamwave

    Foot & Calf Massage – both chairs use airbags/cells for their foot & calf massage, as well as a rubber plate under the soles of the feet that have nobules that push up into the bottom of your feet by other airbags/cells. However, the MA73 foot massage is not as comfortable as that of the DreamWave, mostly because of one big nobule that sticks up into the arch of each foot on the MA73 that doesn’t feel great to some people. Advantage: DreamWave.

  13. Hand & Forearm Massage – the Inada has more air cells in the arms and hands region, but the set up on the MA73 feels better. It seems to do a more comprehensive air massage of the hands and forearms than the DreamWave. Advantage: MA73.
  14. Stretch Program – both chairs have stretch programs, but they are vastly different! The DreamWave employs a reclining chair back and a dropping ottoman to extend the spine out flat. The air cells in the foot and calf sections inflate to grab the feet and calves while the ottoman drops to intensity the low back stretch. The MA73, on the other hand, employs a whole different type of stretch. It has three regional stretches, i.e. neck, upper back, and hips, that are deployed sequentially to stretch out each region more specifically. It uses the rollers in concert with the airbags to create a very unique experience. It is different, but I really like how it works. Advantage: Draw – too different to equally compare.

I like the sacral massage by both chairs. That is the area of the tailbone. The rollers of both chairs reach down low in that region to give a great massage to the SI joints. I think the massage of the DreamWave in that area is superior, although the roller track length is slightly shorter on the DreamWave (28.4″ vs. 32″).

I might also mention that the DreamWave has upper arm air cells that surround and inflate upon the biceps and triceps. The MA73 has shoulder airbags instead that inflate to the outside of the shoulders to pin the upper torso down while the rollers go up and down the back.

As with all Japanese chairs at the time of this writing, neither chair has zero gravity or foot rollers.

I hope you found this review helpful.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

Review of Panasonic MA73 Massage Chair

Panasonic MA73
Panasonic MA73

EP-MA73_angle3_080114_700I’ve had the Panasonic MA73 massage chair in my showroom for quite a few months, but have not taken the time to write a comprehensive review on this great chair until now. It is a very versatile chair that offers a wonderful massage experience. I will say that the more I sit on this chair, the more I like it. Here are my observations and thoughts of the feature-set.

  1. It is a very easy chair to operate – Getting started is a breeze. Just sit in the chair, press the power button, and select one of the auto programs. The chair will auto recline and the body scan will begin. Very simple.
  2. Only available in the black color – It does not have the creme option that you can find on the MA70.
  3. Pedestal Remote Control – easy access, but annoying if you don’t want anyone to see a remote control sticking up from the chair. By the way, the remote control display is very easy to read. It has labels for buttons and a body caricature to show what is being done by the massage rollers and where on your body…and it is all quite easy to follow and read. There is also a timer on the remote to show you how much time is left on your session (20′ sessions, by the way).
  4. 3D Roller Technology – You will have the benefit of 3D rollers to give you the option to increase or decrease the intensity of the roller massage. The chair defaults to a pretty vigorous roller massage, so it’s nice to have the ability to change that for a more sensitive back.
  5. This chair has the ability to double as a regular recliner – you can rotate the ottoman around to hide the calf and foot wells, as well as use the large, pillowed back pad to support your lumbar and cervical spines if you want to use the chair as a recliner. The arm massage is hidden quite well by the arm rests, as well.
  6. Heated Jade Stone Rollers – This is a unique feature. Pretty much all other massage chairs that have a heating element use a heating pad of sorts. The MA73 has little heating units attached next to each of the 4 jade stone rollers. These heaters warm up the rollers which, in turn, give you a thorough heat experience up and down the entire roller track length. Good stuff! The chair also has foot heaters but, to be honest, I’ve never really noticed them.
  7. Great neck and shoulder massage – This one of the few, of not the only massage chair that gives the user a trapezia massage. As the rollers move up from the upper back to the neck, they roll forward over top of the shoulders and do a fantastic massage for the traps. I love this feature! The neck massage is far superior to it’s predecessor, the MA70. You get a fabulous neck and shoulder massage with this model.
  8. When you turn off the massage chair in the middle of an auto program, the ottoman will first restore to it’s default position, and then the rollers will park at the bottom of the back. It won’t be until the rollers park that the chair back will restore itself to the default position. If you don’t know this, you might get frustrated and hit the power button on and off a few times trying to get the chair back to restore. Just be patient when you shut off a program before it’s done and you will find yourself upright with the chair completely stopped and restored.
  9. Soft to Hard Auto Programs – Panasonic added a gradient scale on the remote control to show the softer programs relative to the harder programs. This is good to know as the more vigorous programs, particularly without the back pad, can be quite overwhelming for a new user…especially a tender one!
  10. Great Arm Airbag Massage – This is another feature that Panasonic improved over the MA70. I love the arm and hand massage in the MA73. With the newly innovated air cells, it seems as though the contact is more broad so that it feels like more of the forearm and hand are getting massaged.
  11. Good Foot & Calf Massage – The airbags are great in the feet and calves. There is a fairly large, solid knob under the sole of each foot which may tend to feel a bit uncomfortable when the outside airbags are inflating onto the outside of your feet, thus pushing your feet down onto the knobs. Just beware of that little discomfort. If it is uncomfortable to you, you will find that you’ll get accustomed to it rather quickly.
  12. Seat Airbags – The seat airbags are located under each thigh and buttock and inflate consecutively and concurrently, depending on the desired therapeutic effect. Panasonic uses the seat airbags in a clever way when the neck stretch program is on. I’ll explain that in point #13.
  13. Stretch Program – Most chairs have a stretch program that is what I would call a “whole body stretch”, where the chair back reclines and elevates, the ottoman lowers and raises, while the airbags simultaneously inflate. In most chairs that have that feature, the stretch is a very nice program. However, in the MA73, the stretch program is a series of consecutive regional stretches that work the neck, the midback, and the hip/pelvis areas. I love it! The neck stretch involves all the seat airbags inflating at the same time and then the rollers positioning themselves under the skull. Then the seat airbags deflate and the rollers stay under the skull while the seat drops. It is a great feature that I’ve never seen before in a chair. The midback stretch is intense and uses the rollers while the shoulder airbags pin the shoulders in. Overall, I really like the stretch program of the MA73, even if it is different from the norm. I might also mention here that the remote control allows you to turn on each segmental stretch on it’s own if you don’t want to use the full body option.
  14. Shoulder Airbags – As I mentioned above, the shoulder airbags inflate to the outside of the shoulders, thus pinning the upper back in place while the rollers go up and down the upper back. This makes for a very good, intense upper back massage.
  15. 32″ Roller Track – Because of a longer roller track, the neck and sacral areas get great attention from the rollers. As I mentioned previously, the neck massage is great on this chair, but the sacrum and tailbone get great attention too.
  16. Memory Function – The MA73 is one of the few chairs that will memorize any custom program you create from the manual settings. You can memorize up to 3 different programs for yourself or up to 3 programs for 3 different users.
  17. Voice Response – Although I have turned it off now that I’ve had the chair for so many months, it is a great idea for getting a new user accustomed to how the chair works and what is going on during each program. I would strongly recommend having the volume up so that you can get great instruction while experiencing the chair as a newbie.
  18. Thigh Airbags – These airbags serve a dual purpose: 1.) to hold the hips in place, particularly during the stretch program, much like the shoulder airbags do for the upper body, to increase the intensity of the rollers, and 2.) to massage the IlioTibial Bands (ITB) on the outside of the thighs. The ITB’s are quite tender in folks who have ever had back, knee, or hip problems. And, you won’t know they have a problem until these airbags inflage up against them. It will be a little uncomfortable if they are really tight, but the benefits are awesome!

The more I sit on this chair, the more I like it. Because it is Japanese designed and engineered, the quality is second to none. The warranty is a 3 years parts and labor warranty plus this chair has a less than 1% failure rate. The smaller size of this chair makes it easier to fit in any room. It was built to handle the taller body; it can comfortably and effectively massage anyone from 4’10” up to 6’3″ tall.

You just can’t go wrong with it.

Dr. Alan Weidner

P.S. Give us a “Like”, “Share”, or “+1” and leave me a comment or question below to share what you learned or ask any questions, so other folks can benefit from this material.

 

 

 

A Great Massage Chair Customer Inquiry

email sign with mouse
email sign with mouse

emailAloha Dr. Weidner,

 

Thank you so much for your e-mails and your highly informative website and You-Tube videos. By all accounts (client testimonials in particular) you seem to be a man of impeccable integrity and honesty.  A very refreshing way for a man of business to build and maintain a loyal clientele. Thank you for providing us with your valuable services.

 

My wife and I are looking for the perfect massage chair (I know, I know, if you only had a nickel for every time you’ve heard that). I’m hoping that you’ll provide us with some guidance as to which of your chairs you might recommend for us.  Let me list some of the criteria we have in mind for a chair. Continue reading “A Great Massage Chair Customer Inquiry”

Mail Bag – Inada Flex 3S vs. IT-8500; Laundry List of Needs; Chair for 4’11”

email sign with mouse
email sign with mouse

emailQuestion #1
Dr. Weidner I never thought I’d consider a massage chair due to the prohibitive cost for me. I’ve owned all sorts of cheaper massage gadgets over the years for tight muscles. I have very little flexibility in my muscles and have had two cervical spinal fusions with the last being in 12/13. I am fused C3-7 now. I also have lower lumbar tightness.

I’m a Teacher’s Assistant who works with developmentally disabled adults who doesn’t make a lot of money and I’m very careful how I spend my money. It then hit me in brookstone why don’t I invest in something that will benefit my health. This raised my budget from $1000-$3000 That being said I wasn’t going to go crazy. Being price conscious I first looked at Brookstone’s $1200 osim ustyle 2 chairs which gave a great rougher roller back, neck and foot massage but the chair wasn’t big and it wasn’t too comfortable. It was a really narrow small chair. I then tried the Osim divine S $3200 which was great in those same ways, but didn’t have Zero gravity. The Astro 2 $3800 had Zero gravity and stretch but the massage was real soft so I was left confused. I could buy a refurbished brookstone chair to lower cost but I hadn’t tried any others and heard that brookstone didn’t have great customer service if something broke.

I decided to do some research. I came across your massage chair relief site which is a wonderful resource, but my main dilemma has been that besides brookstone in Syracuse N.Y. there is no other place to try chairs out. As you know there are tons of chairs online. I also am not a big flyer so as much as I would love to travel to your store it would be hard given the time of year (school). I went to the recent New York State fair and tried some cozzia chairs last week in the 2-4 thousand range (my range) and wasn’t very impressed and then tried the Flex 3 inada chair which was a revelation. The roller was so wide across my back and the stretch was unbelievable, but the foot part wasn’t working at the time. The other chairs really did feel amateurish compared to the inada. It seems like the rollers were so smooth and well put together. The salesmen there though were very aggressive and after 10 minutes wanted a buy decision. Would anything compare to the inada for $6500 which was way out of my budget? Besides the inada wasn’t zero gravity and I didn’t get to feel the foot massage.

I’ve been looking at your site and amazon and reading reviews. It’s very important to me that if I am going to spend the money even 3-4 thousand that the company be reputable if there is a problem. This is what I’m looking for in a chair:

1. A tougher massage that I can pinpoint and adjust to certain areas to work out knots

2. The upper shoulder, neck and scapula region is very important to me.

3. The lower lumbar region is very important to me

4. The foot massage is very important to me. I like a stronger roller foot massage.

5. I’d like a zero gravity chair

6. I’d like a chair that can give a good stretch similar to the inada flex and works on posture

7. I’d like a 3D roller chair

8. Reputable company to back it up.

What I don’t care about so much is:

1. music

2. lights

3. Vibrational massage isn’t that effective for me

4. Soft massage

5. Forearm, and hand massage isn’t that important to me.

I’m wondering if in my price range 3-4 thousand anything can compare to the Inada feel of the flex 3 with the additional features I’m looking for. I wonder if you can help shed some light on this for me. What is your opinion of the Brookstone chairs? Thanks in advance Chip from Syracuse N.Y.

My Response #1

IT-8500
IT-8500

Hi, Chip
Thanks for your email. After reading your email and considering your pain presentation as well as your list of must-haves, I would strongly recommend that you consider the Infinity IT-8500. It has everything you are asking for, except for the 3D rollers. But, it defaults to a very intense, vigorous roller. You can make it less intense by using a pillow, pad, or folded up blanket. It has everything else you need. Great chair. It is our top selling Chinese-made chair. It’s not an Inada, but it is a very popular chair for our shoppers…particularly those who come to our showroom and try a bunch of chairs out. Continue reading “Mail Bag – Inada Flex 3S vs. IT-8500; Laundry List of Needs; Chair for 4’11””

Massage Chair and/or Recliner

HT-9500
HT-9500
HT-9500
HT-9500

More and more folks are asking about a massage chair that doesn’t look like a massage chair, but can double as a regular recliner. I think that as more shoppers come into the marketplace, there will be more of a relative demand for that type of massage chair. Aesthetics are important to people and making a massage chair fit in with existing decorum can be quite a challenge.

There is a trade-off when a massage chair chooses aesthetics over feature-set. Obviously, you can’t have a full-feature massage chair, with all the bells and whistles, and still have a chair that doesn’t resemble a massage chair at all. So, the trade off is aesthetics for features. The manufacturers are getting more and more clever in their ability to hide blatant massage chair features, but for a full service feature-set, you will most likely have to compromise on looks.

I thought that today I might discuss some massage chair options that would provide therapeutic benefit while at the same time providing some looks that don’t so blatantly scream “therapeutic massage chair” and can soothe the savage beast of your home or business decorator.  Continue reading “Massage Chair and/or Recliner”

Yet Another Panasonic MA73 Update…With Pictures! (Part 2?)

Panasonic MA73
Panasonic MA73

I have been getting more and more interest in the Panasonic MA73 massage chair. And the more I write about how vague the descriptions of the feature-set are, the more people are quizzing me about what the chair is really like. As I mentioned in my update just a few days ago, the response from Panasonic has been less than helpful.

So, in response to inquiries from customers and to Panasonic’s own lack of information, I emailed one of my Panasonic MA73 customers yesterday and got the scoop on this model. Here is the body of the mail I received from my customer with his answers to my questions: Continue reading “Yet Another Panasonic MA73 Update…With Pictures! (Part 2?)”

Panasonic MA73 Update

Panasonic MA70 Massage Chair
Panasonic MA70 Massage Chair
Panasonic MA70 Massage Chair
Panasonic MA73

A couple of months ago I announced that Panasonic was introducing a new model, an upgrade from their lovely MA70, called the MA73. On paper, this chair looked to have some cool upgrades, including the following features: palm/sole kneading and double heated rollers. I mentioned at that time that I wasn’t sure exactly what these features were, but I had high hopes that we would see foot and hand rollers in this model.

Well, after a few months of quizzing my Panasonic contact, I hate to say that I am still not definitive on what they exactly mean. Between what I am told and what the pictures show, the verbiage is nebulous enough that it is not completely clear what this new chair has. Continue reading “Panasonic MA73 Update”

New Panasonic MA73 Model Now Available!

Panasonic recently announced that they have a new model in the USA called the MA73. I don’t have any high res images yet for it, but I can tell you it looks exactly like the MA70 model. The feature set is pretty much the same except for a few additions, some of which I do not fully understand and am awaiting explanation from the powers that be at Panasonic. Here is a rundown of the features that are similar to the MA70: Continue reading “New Panasonic MA73 Model Now Available!”