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Panasonic’s goal with the EP-MA70 Real Pro Ultra Massage Chair is to transport you to a luxury spa. Panasonic wants you to feel as if you are in the most relaxing location that is currently possible. With a wide variety of massage options, a combination of ceramic heat rollers and 3D massage heads, they all work together to do a great job of loosening up tight muscles. A longer S-track and computer body scanning technology create a recipe for an incredibly deep massage. Panasonic massage chairs are the first massage chairs to be approved by the largest professional association of chiropractic doctors in the world. They may not be able to actually send you to a luxury spa resort, but they are going to get you pretty close with the EP-MA70.
A growing trend in the massage chair industry is how to make a chair with a lot of features that is able to disguise as an actual piece of standard furniture. Panasonic has addressed this issue with fantastic solutions. A movable back cushion is attached to the top rear part of the headrest. This cushion has a dual purpose in making the chair comfortable when not in use, and softening any massage program that you may use. Next they have focused on the arm rests. Many chairs have cut out sections where the user will place their arms that are somewhat underneath the actual armrest. Panasonic has made the arm rests moveable; when the chair is not in use they can be pushed down to mimic the look of a standard chair. Finally, they addressed the big issue of the footrest. Rather than having a stationary foot rest that you are forced to put your legs in regardless of your intent, they have made it retractable. The footrest can easily flip to a flat back with the pull of a handle. This is also a nice feature if you want your massage to focus on your back, and not your legs and your feet.
Once you sit in the chair and power it on, you are greeted by a female voice welcoming you. What follows next is a series of instructions on how to prepare the chair and yourself for the massage. You are then asked to select a program from the flashing buttons on the remote. The standard length for a preset massage is 15 minutes but can be adjusted to fit each session. After you are comfortably in place the body scan will begin so the chair can conform around you.
Unlike other chairs the EP-MA70 doesn’t throw you right into the massage. The body scan is fairly quick so you are not left waiting a long time to get started. One instant aspect of this chair is the voice guidance system. After your initial greeting you are instructed on what to do. When the massage begins you are then questioned on how you like it so far, and advised on how to change multiple aspects of your massage. This is a fantastic feature for new users, but may get a little old after long term use. Luckily, you can mute the voice from the remote if you would like a quiet session.
When the massage begins the presence of the airbags can quickly be noticed. The compression around the calves and feet is full of zeal. This is a chair that people with a smaller build will immensely appreciate. The air bags around the lower body expanded for an up close experience with compression. The height limit on this chair is rather high, but the taller you are the smaller the chair will feel.
The heating feature on this chair has an on/off button so the decision is left in your hands. The heating aspect of the EP-MA-70 is unique to a very few amount of chairs. The ceramic plates are designed to give the feel of a “hot stone” experience. Standard chairs provide heat with stationary pads which are specific to whatever location they are in. This chair has the heat in the rollers so the heat can move with the massage. The intensity of the heat can not be adjusted, but it gradually warms up creating a soothing sensation.
The 3D technology of the 31” roller stroke of this chair, enhanced with the heating aspect, create a sensational massage. The grasping technique that is applied around the shoulders takes you as close to real hands as you are going to get. The Junetsu massage technique that is exclusive to Panasonic massage chairs adds to the human feel of the massage. This is done with tight spiral motions that start at the shoulder and work outward. This is a great feature that helps deal with neck pain.
The EP-MA70 massage chair has quite a big focus on air bags. This is great in a massage aspect, but not so great when it comes to sound. While experiencing your massage you are constantly hearing the bags inflate and deflate. This can easily be tuned out once you get accustom to the chair, but can be a bit of a deterrent when trying to achieve a quiet experience.
The rotating footrest is an amazing feature, especially cosmetically. It makes for an odd sensation when pushing the feet in a downward motion while sitting in the chair. A silver lining is that the user would not normally push their feet down during a massage. The compression on the footrest itself is very satisfying, so you quickly forget this odd little quirk.
Finally, the moveable armrests also have a small plus and a minus. Looking at the chair cosmetically again, it is fantastic that it was designed to blend in with other décor. If you choose not to use the armrest, but select a program that does use them, they are going to move up and down with or without your hands in them. It makes for a weird feeling when you are resting your hands on top of the arm rests. Not a deal breaker for most, but another little quirk that Panasonic has included in the EP-MA70.
Panasonic has put out a chair that many people could quickly fall in love with. It seems as though the smaller you are, the more benefit you’re going to get out of this chair. The price point is creeping towards the high end, but you are getting a multi-purpose chair that will fit in very easily with any home décor. There are no major downsides to the EP-MA70, and if you can look past the small quirks, you probably will not be able to say a bad thing about it.