Panasonic EP MA73 Massage Chair
Number of Airbags
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
An outstanding, well-designed, top-tier massage chair, loaded with therapeutic benefits. The Panasonic EP MA73 Massage Chair is recommended for almost anyone who can afford it, but not recommended for users taller than 6’2”.
Table of Contents
- 1 Overview of the Panasonic EP MA73 Massage Chair
- 2 Features of the Panasonic EP MA73 Real Pro Ultra Massage Chair
- 3 Pros & Cons of the Panasonic EP Ma73 Real Pro Ultra
- 4 Panasonic EP MA73 Review Conclusion
Are you a “nothing but the best” type of person?
Looking for a massage chair, that’s got it all? If so, then you’re going to be thrilled with our Panasonic EP MA73 review.
Make no mistake; this is a top-end massage chair. As such, it may be priced out of reach for some users, but if you’re looking for a device that’s capable of blending in with your home’s existing décor, and is loaded with therapeutic features, this is an excellent choice.
We’ll cover all the features this model has to offer in the sections below, and we think you’ll agree. This is a stellar choice, manufactured by one of the most respected names in the industry.
Overview of the Panasonic EP MA73 Massage Chair
Let’s start with the matter of aesthetics, which is a problem for some people.
On the whole, massage chairs tend to be more functional than attractive. With most models, you can tell at a glance that they’re not common household furniture. They tend to stick out like a sore thumb.
While not a feature per se, the look and feel of a chair can be the thing that ultimately leads you to select one model over another. Kudos to the design team for making a sleek, stylish looking chair!
Ultimately, however, if you’re in the market to buy, aesthetic can only take you so far. The chair has to have all the features you’re looking for. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at exactly what this model brings to the table.
Features of the Panasonic EP MA73 Real Pro Ultra Massage Chair
The first, most critical ingredient necessary to deliver a world-class massage is the track that the chair is built around. In this case, the Panasonic MA73 is built around an S-Track, which allows the massage rollers to run along the natural curve of the body’s spine.
The combination of the S-track and the quad rollers this model utilizes allows for a massage that closely mimics the feel of human hands, resulting in a superior experience, but of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
3D Body Scan
Another important element of a great massage is the fact that the rollers in the chair have to be adjustable so that they can hit your body’s pressure points. After all, if the rollers aren’t hitting the sore spots, how good can the massage be?
To that end, the EP MA73 utilizes 3D Body Scanning Technology. Before your massage begins, the chair scans your body to identify your pressure points, and makes subtle adjustments to the position of the rollers, ensuring a perfect massage experience, every time, even if several members of your household use it.
Note that in the event the computer misses the mark and doesn’t correctly identify your pressure points, you have the option to manually tweak the roller position (including making adjustments to the width of the massage field) via the remote.
Heated Massage Rollers
While the EP MA73 has several features you can consider as stand-outs, if we had to pick just one to call particular attention to, this would probably be it.
This model features dedicated lumbar and foot heat, which we’ll talk about later on. However, because the rollers are (slightly) heated, it’s far to say that you get the benefits of therapeutic heat over your entire back and neck.
This allows the chair to render a deeper, more penetrating, and ultimately more satisfying massage than you get from most other chairs on the market today, regardless of price. It’s an incredibly rare feature, found only in a handful of models, but one we hope to see more widely adopted in the future.
As we mentioned before, one of the stand-out attributes of the Panasonic EP MA73 Real Pro Ultra massage chair is the fact that it looks a lot like a high-end recliner when not in use. The hideaway ottoman is the key that allows it to blend in so seamlessly with your existing décor.
When you’re not using it to get a massage, the leg ports fold up inside the chair, hidden from view, which is a stellar feature. It’s a shame that it isn’t built into the design of every massage chair on the market today.
Numerous Massage Options
Additionally, there are six (technically seven) pre-programmed massage routines you can select from. These are:
- Swedish (Whole-Body)
- Shiatsu (Whole-Body)
- Neck & Shoulder
- Lower Back
- Demo Mode
Any of the massages selected (manual or pre-programmed) can be adjusted via the remote, through three different levels of intensity and speed.
Note that on its maximum intensity setting; this chair delivers a deep tissue massage. Casual users will probably find this to be too intense, but if you suffer from chronic pain, the massage strength this model can deliver will be welcome indeed.
All massage options default to fifteen minutes in length, and can be time-adjusted downward, but not upwards.
This is a bit of a curiosity, and a minor shortcoming in our view, because most massage chairs offer a standard thirty-minute massage program, although not all allow for manual time-adjustment.
If you’re looking for a longer massage, you’ll have to wait till the first one ends, then select it again, or make a different selection for another fifteen minutes.
Air Massage Mode
This is something of a disappointment in the chair. Given the Panasonic EP MA73 price, we would have expected it to have as many if not more airbags than most of the chairs it is in direct competition with.
Unfortunately, it only comes with thirty-six Second Generation Airbags, and they deliver an excellent massage. But generally speaking, the more airbags the manufacturer includes, the better the result, and the more control you can offer to the user.
As it stands, you can enjoy a full body air massage, or selectively activate individual zones via buttons on the remote control. The zones you can choose from are:
- Shoulders only
- Hand/Arm (which even includes a finger massage!)
- Lower Back
- And Leg/Foot
Calf & Foot Massage
The calf massage is rendered via airbags located in the leg massage ports, while the foot massage is rendered via Shiatsu massage rollers located at the bottom of the foot well.
Combined, the experience is glorious, and if you suffer from chronic leg and foot pain, this will probably wind up being your favorite aspect of the chair, especially given that the EP MA73 also features foot heat, which we’ll talk about more in the next section.
Back & Foot Heat
Heat is a somewhat rare feature in a massage chair, offered by less than half the models currently on the market. Of those that offer it, most only provide heat in the lumbar region of the back. A very few offer calf heat.
While this model doesn’t offer calf heat, it does provide both lumbar and foot heat, which makes it a real rarity in the massage chair world. If you have a job that sees you on your feet several hours out of each day, this chair just might make you fall in love with it!
While a great massage can provide therapeutic benefits to those who suffer from chronic pain, combining heat with the massage delivers an even greater benefit, which is why chairs offering a heat function are so highly regarded.
Note that foot and back heat can be activated independently of each other. You don’t have to have both unless you want to.
The only real drawback about the heat function is the fact that you can’t adjust the temperature to taste. That’s a bit of a surprise, given how many variables this chair allows you to control, but is by no means a deal breaker.
A Variety of Body Stretching Programs
The Panasonic EP MA73 offers a body stretch function, but what makes this model so intriguing is the fact that you can activate partial stretching functions for just certain parts of your body via the remote. The partial stretches you can access are:
As with the air massage function, you can select these regions individually, or choose them all for a full-body stretch.
The stretch feature is an important feature addition for therapeutic reasons because a good stretch is similar to what you get when you visit your chiropractor’s office to get “adjusted.”
The full-body stretch is especially valuable to those who suffer chronic back pain because it helps take pressure off of compressed discs in your spine, which are the leading cause of back pain. Thus, a robust full-body stretch can provide almost immediate pain relief, and the MA73’s stretch function is superb.
As cheap and ubiquitous as memory and data storage is these days, you would think this would be a standard feature among massage chairs, but only a handful offer it.
The MA73 offers three memory slots, accessible with the touch of a button from the remote. This allows multiple members of your family to create their own customized massage experiences and save them for later use.
Or, if you want the chair all to yourself, you can create multiple custom experiences and recall them at your leisure. A great feature, and exactly what you’d expect from a top-end massage chair.
You might think that a chair offering as many features as this one does would have a steep learning curve. Here, however, Panasonic made an awesome design decision and built help into the remote.
It can talk you through using the more advanced features it offers, and once you master the chair, you can disable the voice instructions.
That cuts the learning curve notably, which is why we gave it such a high score for ease of use in the summary table. We haven’t seen that offered by anyone else, and we found it very much to our liking
Pros & Cons of the Panasonic EP Ma73 Real Pro Ultra
As you can see, there’s not much that the Panasonic EP MA73 lacks. Even the most discriminating customers will be pleased by the wide range features and enormous therapeutic benefits it offers.
Having said that, there are always a few features we wish the designers had added or a few things we wish had been implemented differently. To name a few:
- More Airbags – A chair of this caliber would be well-served by improving the air massage feature. As it stands, it is quite acceptable, but you can find cheaper chairs that offer a better air massage.
- No MP3 Support – This is always a popular feature. In a top-end chair that pulls out all the stops in so many other areas, it’s a genuine surprise that this was not included.
- No Temperature Control for Heat Function – Another surprise is the fact that you can’t adjust the temperature in the offered heat function, or in the heated rollers for that matter. In our view, this is the one change we feel would make the biggest difference in the chair.
- Short Programs – The fact that the maximum massage duration is only fifteen minutes is also a surprise. Thirty minutes is the standard, and this would have been an easy feature to implement.
- No Zero-Gravity Seating – We feel this would be a superb addition to the chair and would love to experience a massage with heated rollers in a Zero-G seating position. Hopefully, the next time the chair is upgraded, this will be added.
- No Extendable Ottoman. As it is, this chair will accommodate users up to a maximum height of 6’2”.
That’s fine as far as it goes, but of course, if you’re taller than that, there’s no point in paying the premium price for this chair for an experience that’s destined to be less-than-optimal. A simple addition that would make the chair appeal to a wider segment of the market.
Panasonic EP MA73 Review Conclusion
Based on our list above, you probably think that we don’t like the Panasonic EP MA73. Nothing could be further from the truth. By any reckoning, the MA73 is a masterful design. Yes, you pay a premium, but this is a case of getting what you pay for.
The shortcomings we mentioned in the Pros & Cons section, even taken together, should not dissuade you from selecting this one unless you’re a very tall user. The lack of the extendable ottoman is the only feature we mentioned that could be an outright deal breaker, and then, only for a particular subset of potential buyers.
For everyone else, this chair delivers a world-class massage and is loaded with features that offer tremendous therapeutic benefits. It is highly recommended for anyone who can afford it!
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Panasonic Massage Chairs, Official Brand Website.
- Massage, University of Maryland Medical Center.
- The Benefits of Massage Therapy, Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario.
- Massage Therapy Styles and Health Benefits, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
- 9 Benefits of Regular Remedial Massage, Sage Institute of Massage.