If you are a potential massage chair buyer, then finding an unbiased review of a given massage recliner can be helpful. Here are 5 important categories to evaluate the total massage chair experience. This system gives equal weight to each of the 5 categories with each category having from 0 to 20. A 100 point score means the chair and the company has achieved total excellence. The 5 categories are Warranty & Customer Service, Comfort/Ergonomics, Ease of Use, Features and Massage Therapy. The discipline of a systematic approach provides for balance help those seriously considering a massage chair. The Panasonic Real Pro EP-3222 is the subject of this review. This luxury shiatsu massage chair is in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.
Warranty & Customer Service: First is how the manufacturer rates in both warranty coverage and customer service. The manufacturer needs to stand behind its product. Panasonic gives a 1 year labor, 1 year parts and 1 year in-home service as well as 1 year shipping. Panasonic puts a machine life cap of 1,000 hours of use. Panasonic gives a short warranty combined with the 1,000 hour cap (for heavy users), the warranty rates as ok. The electronics companies such as Panasonic (or Sanyo) like to sell extended warranties. Panasonic offers in-home technician service and will pay for shipping for the first year. Customer service is through your retailer. Service times vary on the service center location. Overall Rating for Panasonic warranty and customer service is 15.
Comfort & Ergonomics: Massage chair recliners should fit the body and be comfortable to site on. The Panasonic Real Pro Elite has soft padded armrests. The EP-3222 has a soft upholstered detachable head pillow to support the head. Overall, the chair is comfortable to sit in. One point of restriction is the footrest. The footrest stays at a fixed length and cannot be adjusted for taller individuals. If you are taller, then you can raise the footrest horizontal and put your legs straight through. You then miss the foot compression massage. Overall Rating for Panasonic comfort and ergonomics and customer service is 17.
East of Use: Ease of use is defined as how intuitive the controls and how complicated are they to use without reading the instructions. Panasonic has lead in the development of remote controls using LCDs and other advanced features. The Real Pro Elite EP-3222 has many features and correspondingly many buttons on the control. Most are intuitive, but some take some getting used to, which means lower ease of use. Panasonic tries to compensate for this with its “Voice Guidance” feature. The automatic massage buttons are located across the top of the controls for easy access and they have a “focus” button which allows you to repeat the massage action that occurred. The Real Pro Elite has a side panel with additional manual massage controls for the lower body massages. Overall Rating for the Panasonic Real Pro Elite for ease of use is 17.
Key Features: The important features of the Panasonic EP-3222 are the Swede-Atsu which is designed to replicate the techniques of a massage therapist, 33 airbags in the lower body air massage system and the back rollers cover 185 square inches. The Swede-Atsu uses rubber massage heads to replicate the stoking of the palms of the hand, pressing by the heal of the hand, and kneading with the thumbs. The expanded back coverage to 185 square inches is impressive to cover your back thoroughly. Panasonic packs a whooping 33 airbags into the Real Pro Elite. There are 3 lower body massages including Grasp, Auto and Squeeze. There are a number of impressive features included in the EP-3222. Overall Rating for the Panasonic Real Pro Elite for features is 19.
Massage Therapy: The massage functions are included in the Real Pro Elite EP-3222 includes Four 14-minute Pre-Programs, One 5-minute Quick Program and One 14-minute Self Program has 4 full body automatic courses, 5 massage speed settings for a total combination of 14 massage courses. The automatic massage functions include the following: Shiatsu, Gentle, Deep and Refresh. Panasonic equips the EP-3222 its exclusive Swede-Atsu massage system providing a thorough and realistic array of massage therapy choices. The lower body has 33 airbags of coverage and three programs to choose from. This shiatsu massage chair provides good tension relief for the lower body and increased lateral coverage on the back. Overall Rating for the Panasonic EP-3222 massage recliner for massage therapy is 19.
How does the Panasonic Real Pro Elite EP-3222 stack up? Overall, our rating of the Panasonic is an 87/100. Panasonic continues to expand the range of capabilities of its massage chairs with greater back coverage, voice guidance and its Swede-Atsu massage system. The massage chair design is very modern, perhaps, too much so, but that is a matter of taste. Panasonic massage chair technology for both the mechanical and pneumatic provide for a thorough, firm overall massage. Panasonic needs to add an extendable footrest to accommodate taller people. Otherwise, the Real Pro Elite is a solid all-around therapeutic massage chair.