I learned a little about the new massage chair from Panasonic, called the EP-MA51. Here are some of my observations and thoughts about it. I haven't sat on it or even seen it in person, but from my review of the literature out there, I have some things to say:
1. The body styling looks a lot like the Panasonic 1285 massage chair. The only markedly obvious difference would be the arm rests having the familiar Panasonic arm massage feature, which is a "flapping" arm rest that comes down on the fingers, wrist and forearms to facilitate an airbag massage on the arms.
2. Panasonic touts a pelvic tilt and trunk rotation feature which seems pretty cool. Inada introduced that idea a couple of years ago with it's Inada Sogno and Doctor's Choice 3A massage chairs. The idea is for the seat airbags to rotate the hips so that the lower back joints are rotated instead of just pushed forward by the rollers. I love that feature on the Inada chairs, so I suspect it will be a lovely feature on the Panasonic MA51 model.
3. They've added a feature called a "Leg Stretch" which looks to me like a basic stretch program, which most massage chair manufacturers now employ on at least one of their models. Stretching is a nice feature in a massage chair. I particularly like the stretch function on the Human Touch HT-7120 family of massage chairs. My clients sure love it too.
4. Seems quite pricey at $5499. Of course, when Panasonic came out with it's highly anticipated 30007 a couple of years ago, it 's initial price was $5999. And as you may or may not have read in an earlier post of mine on this blog, Panasonic's dismal pricing integrity model allowed the price of the 30007 to drift, rather quickly, down to the $4000 range. Pricing and value tend to drop with Panasonic chairs. I suspect this chair will be no different. I suspect that competing retailers will gouge the price down to below $4000 before long....if the 30007 history (or any Panasonic massage chair for that matter) is any indicator.
When you compare this chair to the Inada Sogno or Doctor's Choice massage chair, or the new Human Touch Acutouch 9500 massage chair, you'll probably intuitively assess that the MA51 is over-priced at $5499.
5. I called my Panasonic distributor today but he was not aware of whether this chair is even on the market yet. I await his response. I will tell you more when I hear more. I will also notify you when we have placed this chair on our site.
Here is a link to a video that explains the chair visually:
One of my competitors has a neat comparison chart that will show you the differences (and similarities) between this chair and the 30007 and 1285 which are also Panasonic chairs or any other chair you wish to compare. Here is a link to their site: http://www.massage-chairs.com/compare.php
Well, hope this helps you in some way, if you are considering this chair for your home or business. We will be posting it on my website shortly.
Dr. Alan Weidner