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. Panasonic MAJ7 vs. Panasonic MA73 - image1

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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CES and Massage Chairs – 2018

CES 2018
CES 2018

I once again had the pleasure of attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week to check up on the latest massage chairs. Although there was really only one new model from our list of suppliers on display this year, it was still a blast to be there and feel the energy of the show. CES is a major event in the electronics world and it is packed with people, wall to wall, in every venue.

The weather was delightful, as it usually is in Las Vegas at this time of year, but inside is where the adventure was. I had the opportunity of touching bases with some old friends from Inada, Panasonic, and Luraco. It is always wonderful to reacquaint with colleagues from these great companies.

Panasonic, now under the quality umbrella of Furniture For Life (along with Inada, Positive Posture, and Varier), introduced the new MAJ7. This is the first Japanese designed/engineered massage chair that has foot rollers! I enjoyed the chair quite a bit…and the foot rollers were formidable. It looks an awful lot like the MA73/MA70, but it feels a bit bulkier and more padded. It felt very “cushy” when I first sat in it. It also preserves some of the well-liked features of the MA73, i.e. innovative arm airbag massage, heated rollers, and great segmental stretching programs. It also adds a “Core” auto program and the ability to adjust the intensity of airbags independent of each other (most other chairs only allow a gross, systemic change of air pressure to all airbags). I also found the roller massage to feel more vigorous and deeper than that of it’s predecessors.

The ottoman cannot be rotated to hide the calf and foot wells. Other than that, the chair is pretty similar to the MA73. No surprises. It comes in 3 colors: black, brown, and beige. It will be on our website in the next week or so and will be priced at $9995.

Infinity had two booths but only had their Riage X3 model at both booths. Human Touch had a small 10 x 10 booth that only displayed the Novo XT, which is a great chair to display if it is the only one you’re showing. Inada displayed their DreamWave flagship model, while Luraco brought all their models, including the newly released 3D L-track Legend model, the flagship iRobotics 7, and “Sofy”, their offering for a coin operated chair and home theater chair.

Positive Posture had their upgraded Brio. They have made some subtle programming changes to the original Brio after input from our staff. Originally they had the chair set up so that the intensity of the airbags and the depth of the 3D rollers were linked to the same intensity adjustment button. They have separated those functions. Also, originally the user could not turn on the rollers independent of the airbags in the manual settings. That has been fixed as well.

Here is the the video from my CES visit…