One of the most amazing phrases in the LiHD Rules and regulations for the families is something to the effect of "from time to time, we may send you new products and ask you your opinion."
A while back, Panasonic sent a chair our way for us to try out. We knew Panasonic made massage chairs, having tried them at CES. We hoped that someday we'd be able to get one.
We were ecstatic when they sent us one.
Given that, can we be objective about our experience with the chair? We thought we could, until we sat in it. That's when all objectivity went out the window and the love affair with the chair began.
The chair is very sleek and modern looking. This is great, unless you don't have a sleek and modern style home. We don't, but we managed to make this work in our upstairs. The chair is fairly large and must be set away from the wall at least 17". This makes it a bit difficult to find a location for it as it does jut out into a room somewhat (ours is in a corner, angled, so it works).
The reason for putting it so far from the wall, however, is that it reclines to 170 degrees so you can be lying almost all the way flat when you are being massaged. It comes with an optional foot/calf massager (see pics and specs here: http://www.panasonicmassagechairs.com/EP-1082_Combo.html). it is comfortable to sit in when you aren't getting a massage, but really needs some sort of ottoman to be comfortable once you are reclined (and if you need to get an ottoman, it might as well massage your calves!). The calf/foot massager works on a simple inflation principal. It feels great, but it would be better if it had some of the rolling action going on that the chair has. As a foot massager, it doesn't do much for me. As a calf massager, it does give a lot of firm pressure on your calves.
So, what is the chair massage like? OH MY HECK!!! This ain't no wimpy little balls roll up and down your back type of massage. this is a hard core dig in and get at that sore spot massage. After sitting in this chair you know that you have been massaged. Like a real massage, there is pressure, deep kneading, and every now and then a groan escapes you. Our friend, Vince, said it best: "I think I need a safe word when I sit in that chair!"
If you don't want to have to think about the type of massage you'd like, the chair has many pre-programmed massages: that last for 15 minutes each. Chiro, Swedish, Hawaiian, a quick massage that mixes it up, or you can put it on full roll, target certain areas of your back and can turn the tap on or off. My current favorite is Swedish, it is a great combination of getting in deep, combined with the smooth, long rolling motions.
The chair is much quieter than I would have guessed for something that has so much power (not that it matters, because you can't hear much over my groaning when I'm in the chair). The motion the chair provides is smooth and very natural. I love a firm massage and remove the headrest pillow so it can really dig into my shoulders and neck...and it does!
When we have parties, we often lose guests to the chair. We will all be sitting downstairs talking when we will notice that someone has disappeared. We inevitably find them up sitting in the chair with a blissful zoned-out look. My wife and I use the chair several days a week, and often have a hard time getting of it- not because it is difficult to get out of (it's not, it gently raises you back up to a sitting position at the touch of a button), but because we're so relaxed at the end of the massage.
This chair is absolutely not for wimps (it can provide a gentle, rolling massage, but why?). It's like having a professional masseuse in chair form and will provide you and everyone you know- because they will come out of the woodwork to use it- years of relaxation and comfort.
Hey, Valentine's Day is coming up. Need a gift? Your sweetheart will never forget it! Do yourself a favor, though and get yourself two! That way you can avoid having to kick your sweety out of the chair so you can have your turn!
You can find this chair at Costco.com, on the website I linked to above, and many other fine retailers.