In a Nutshell:
The Panasonic MAJ7 is a technically excellent chair with lots of “ingredients” that users can employ to craft custom-tailored massage routines. Recommended for anyone weighing 264 pounds or less who wants the freedom and flexibility to create detailed, specialized massage routines.
Overall Massage Quality
Ease of Use
Value for the Money
Have you been considering the purchase of a massage chair, either to help manage your chronic pain or just to give yourself a luxurious treat when you get home from work at the end of a long day? If so, you may have found yourself somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices on the market today.
The simple truth is that there are a ton of different models out there that cater to every need, preference, and budget, so finding the “right” chair for you can be a real challenge.
If you haven’t had much success in narrowing the field, you’re going to like what you read in this—our Panasonic MAJ7 review.
Panasonic isn’t one of the giants in the massage chair industry, but they are a well-known and well-respected company with a reputation for creating high-quality designs.
This chair is an interesting model with a lot to recommend it, but we’ll be the first to admit that it won’t be for everyone.
In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything this model has to offer, and we won’t pull any punches when it comes to outlining the model’s shortcomings and limitations.
That way, you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips to decide for yourself if this model belongs on the “give serious consideration to” list or whether you can dismiss it and continue your search.
If that sounds good, let’s take a closer look at what this one offers.
Panasonic MAJ7 Massage Chair Overview
Let’s talk about aesthetics first to get it out of the way. The MAJ7 looks like a massage chair. It doesn’t make any special effort to hide its true function, which means that it’s going to stand out in a room full of “regular” furniture.
For most people, that’s fine. It’s not as if it’s an ugly chair, after all, and most people in the market for a massage chair care a lot more about what it can do to make them feel better than how it looks. If that describes you, then you won’t have a problem with the overall aesthetic.
If it bugs you, you’re probably going to want to look at a company like Human Touch, which is known for making massage chairs that look much more like regular recliners.
The second thing to mention is that this is a big, burly piece of furniture, with a footprint that measures 51.2” L x 35.4” W x 45.3” H when the chair is sitting upright and 78.7” L x 35.4” W x 28.3” H when it is fully reclined. In addition to that, it weighs in at a hefty 192 pounds.
All that to say that if you’ve got smallish rooms in your home or apartment, you may struggle to find a good home for the chair.
The other thing to mention before we leave this section is the fact that this model only supports up to 264 pounds of user weight.
That’s an…oddly specific number, and it’s on the low side.
Most of the massage chairs on the market today support an average of 300 pounds, with many models supporting a good deal more. This one doesn’t rise to that level, and the company recommends it for users ranging in height between 4’8” and 6’2”.
If you’re of light to medium build, those parameters won’t be a problem for you, but if you’re a bigger, taller user, this chair will probably be a nonstarter. It’s just not rugged enough to handle the weight of heavier folk.
That’s a pity because, as you’ll see as we dig into the core functionalities and features, it really does have a lot to offer to the right user.
The MAJ7 Panasonic Utilizes a Mix of Retro and Bleeding Edge Technology
Overall, this is a very strong component of our Panasonic MAJ7 review, but in at least one case, there’s a curious—almost retro—old-school approach taken.
We’ll get to that in just a second.
To start with, though, let’s point out the fact that the massage track of this chair is relatively short—just 31” in length. This is not an L-Track chair, where the rollers travel under the seat to massage your glutes and the backs of your thighs. This one focuses exclusively on your back, though, as you’ll see, your calves and feet get some attention via the footwells.
While the airbags included in the chair give you something close to a full body massage, if you’re looking for a chair with a long massage track, this one isn’t for you. On the other hand, if your primary interest is a chair that can help ease the pain in your aching back, why pay more for an unnecessarily long massage track?
The track is designed to allow the quad rollers on it complete freedom of movement. The rollers can travel along the X-, Y-, or Z-axis, making the chair capable of rendering a 3D massage.
The chair also offers “4D capabilities,” which the company defines as variable speed adjustments depending on which part of your body the rollers are tending to.
Now let’s talk about the remote.
We regard the MAJ7’s remote as being a bit of a design misstep.
It’s clunky and, at first glance, looks a bit like the remote you see on a TV set from the 1980s. In addition to that, it’s a wired remote, and the company has built a flexible stand into the chair, allowing you to affix the remote to it.
We’re not really sure we understand or agree with the design choice. With the rest of the chair sporting modern tech, it seems to us that more attention could have been paid to the remote, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker.
There is one more thing to talk about before we leave this section.
This entire chair is driven by something that the company calls “Real Pro Ultra,” which constantly measures the roller pressure in real-time (more than 100 times per second) and makes on-the-fly adjustments to ensure that the action of the rollers replicates the sensation of human hands as closely as possible.
It’s a superb feature and the beating heart of the MAJ7.
Massage Techniques and Customization Options
This is probably the strongest segment of our Panasonic MAJ7 review.
The MAJ7 massage chair offers an impressive number of… let’s call them “massage ingredients” that you can combine in any number of ways to create your own highly customized massage. At the root, that’s what this chair is really for.
Let’s start with the basic massage techniques on offer. You’ll find:
The fact that the chair offers two advanced massage techniques is something that doesn’t get nearly enough attention in other Panasonic MAJ7 massage chair reviews we’ve seen online, but we want to draw special attention to it.
You almost never find massage chairs that offer more than one advanced technique, and we’ve seen less than a dozen that offer Swedish massage, so the fact that it’s present here, in this chair, is just superb. It’s one of the many “ingredients” you can use to create your own ideal massage routine.
In addition to these techniques, you’ll also find half a dozen auto-programs. At first blush, that may seem a little underwhelming.
After all, you can find plenty of massage chairs at the MAJ7’s price point that offer a dozen, and in some cases, two dozen different massage routines.
It’s important to remember, though, that this chair is really all about allowing you to create your own custom massage routines. A few are provided for users who don’t really get into that, but that’s the true power of this chair.
In any case, the pre-programmed routines are:
Note that the Shiatsu technique is categorized as a pre-programmed massage routine. A curious choice, but at least it’s easy to find.
The signature pre-programmed option, however, is the deep tissue massage, which is the first of this chair’s therapeutic benefits to talk about.
It’s quite good, but you can do a couple of things to make it even better. First, the Panasonic MAJ7 Massage Chair features three different intensity settings: “soft, standard, and strong.” Setting the intensity to the max will make your deep tissue massage even deeper.
Second, although this chair doesn’t have a pre-programmed Zero-G seating position, it does give you the freedom and flexibility to recline to any angle you wish, to a maximum of 170 degrees (so almost perfectly flat). Indirectly then, you can put yourself in any number of Zero-G positions.
If you don’t want to have to hold the recline button-down every time, though, you’ll want to use one of the memory slots to save a “Zero-G position” so you can engage it at the touch of a button, building a custom massage routine around it (and we’ll have more to say about the memory slots later in this review).
The fact that you can put the chair in any number of Zero-G seating positions—even if it means doing a bit of fiddling with the controls—is superb and counts as the second therapeutic feature this model brings to the table.
In addition to the modest number of pre-programmed options, you’ll find a number of manual mode body regions defined as buttons on one side of the remote. These are:
Consider these raw materials you can use when creating custom massage routines.
Additionally—and this is, in our view, one of the best things about this model—you’ll find a number of buttons (on the opposite side of the remote from the body region selector) that define a number of stretch variants. These are:
Body stretching definitely counts as another therapeutic feature this model has on offer (the third we’ve mentioned to this point). Although Panasonic doesn’t have the industry’s best body stretch, it is quite good. That, combined with the fact that you can choose from six different variants, is incredible.
Even better, you can mix and match one stretch routine with one body region selection when creating your custom massage routines, giving you amazing flexibility when it comes to crafting your perfect massage.
We’ve seen a lot of people bemoaning the Panasonic massage chair MAJ7 price, but this is the reason it’s a relatively expensive chair. There are only a handful of chairs on the market that can match this one when it comes to custom massage creation flexibility.
The Panasonic Massage Chair MAJ7 Offers Full Back Heat
This is another incredibly strong component of our Panasonic MAJ7 review. Heat is the fifth therapeutic feature in this design, and Panasonic takes a very different approach. Where most of the massage chairs that offer heat use heated coils in the seatback, this chair sports heated rollers, so anywhere the rollers go, you get glorious heat.
It’s a very good solution that makes the already exceptional massage even better. We love it, and we think you will too.
A Solid But Unexceptional Air Massage
The MAJ7 features 37 air cells strategically placed throughout the chair to render a good air massage. The main function of the air cells, though, is to help render the various stretching routines.
As with the roller-based massage options, you can adjust the airbag intensity via the remote through three different settings. You can also selectively activate airbags by the following body regions:
It’s an undeniably good feature and competently implemented, but we highly doubt that anyone will purchase this chair over some other model solely on the strength of the air massage.
One cool thing, however, is that you can mix and match airbag-based massage functions into your saved custom massage creations, giving you yet another dimension to play with when creating your perfect massage.
A Good Calf and Foot Massage
The MAJ 7 takes a conventional approach to the calf and foot massage, utilizing airbags for the calf portion and rollers for the soles of the feet.
It’s a competently implemented feature that’s on par with most of the chair’s peers. If you spend lots of time on your feet each day, this may well become your favorite aspect of the design. Even if it isn’t, a soothing foot massage is well worth adding to any of your custom massage creations.
Only A Couple Of Extras
This model isn’t big on extras, but it does feature two—both of which are high value.
The first thing to talk about is the memory slots we mentioned earlier. This chair features three of them, allowing you to create three distinct massage routines and save them for one-touch recall later. If you live alone or are the only one using the chair, you can have up to three different massage creations.
On the other hand, if you have a busy household with several people who are using the chair, you may have to share, in which case, three slots probably won’t go as far as you’d like.
Even so, we’re very happy to see them included here. This chair wouldn’t be nearly as useful without them.
The other “extra” to talk about is the inclusion of a massage timer. Here, we’re not terribly impressed with the feature implementation because you can’t actually adjust the time. It’s worth talking about, though, because there are three different timers in play, depending on what you’re doing with the chair.
If you make use of the “Quick Massage,” the duration is ten minutes. All the manual routines and stretches default to a sixteen-minute duration, and all the pre-programmed massages default to a nineteen-minute duration.
This almost feels like an afterthought, and we hope that in some future model update, the company will see fit to add functionality to the timer, allowing the user to set a custom duration. For now, it’s present but not terribly useful or exciting.
Pros & Cons of Panasonic MAJ7 Massage Chair
The MAJ7 gets a lot right, but this chair is clearly not for everyone. In no particular order, we regard the following as its strongest selling points:
On the other hand, it does have some drawbacks, and some of them are serious. These include:
Panasonic MAJ7 Review Conclusion
The ideal user for this chair will be someone who is of light to medium build, who is really into body stretch routines, and who loves fiddling with the controls to create their own perfect massage routine.
If that’s you, then this model is probably your new best friend. If that’s not you, then you’ll wind up spending a lot of money and feeling a bit underwhelmed by what you get. On that basis, we provisionally recommend it.
Other Options To Consider
If you’ve reached the end of this review and you’re not convinced that the MAJ 7 is right for you, here are a couple of other options to consider:
The Arete is a masterpiece of design. It actually boasts more therapeutic features, but you will give up a few stretching routines. Even so, the feature mix on the Arete is absolutely superb and may wind up being a better fit for you (plus, it supports more user weight).
Since this chair is heavy on therapeutic features, we wanted to give a shout-out to the Luraco here as another option to consider. We regard it as the gold standard of therapeutic massage chairs and one of the very best on the market today. If you’re buying a chair for therapeutic reasons, this one belongs on your shortlist of options to consider.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Panasonic Massage Chair, Official Brand Website.
- Panasonic MAJ7 Massage Chair User Manual
- Effectiveness of Different Styles of Massage Therapy in Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, NCBI.
- The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations, Oxford Academic.
- Swedish Massage Therapy Benefits and Effects, Fremont University.