There was plenty to see and plenty more to try out at the 2010 Home + Housewares Show. But there was one booth we found a special affinity for, and that belonged to Panasonic. Our weary show- plodding muscles were in for a treat, as the top of the line EP30007 Real Pro Ultra was accompanied by the newer, decor friendly EP-MS40 and EP-MS10 massage chairs.
We've been to a couple of tradeshows and showrooms where the EP30007 Real Pro Ultra required a long wait to demo, so we found ourselves giddy (yes, downright dancing feet giddy) when we found this chair available to try without anyone around. This is as close as you'll get to a real hands-on massage without stripping down to a towel and paying someone big $$$, as the $4000 flagship model is downright uncanny with its ability to get to all the kinks in your muscles, from your feet up to your neck. We were tempted to press the remote for an additional 15 minute session with this engineering feat of muscle relaxing mechanics, but we had the two other models to test out (poor us!).
The new tandem release of the EP-MS40 and EP-MS10 is Panasonic's answer to criticisms that massage chairs are far from attractive additions to a home. Most in fact look like an H.R. Geiger meets dental seating apparatus, since form follows function. Both the EP-MS40 and EP-MS10 would look perfectly appropriate in an IKEA decorated modern home, and the kneading function of both chairs (choose from: Full Massage, Mini Massage, Relaxation Mode, and Variety Mode), though not as utterly fulfilling as the EP30007 Real Pro Ultra, were both extremely relaxing. Use of either does require the removal of some of the pillow/padding, and we noted the chair can sometimes have a worn out look upon the surface due to the massage mechanism underneath. But these are both big improvements in bridging between the functional necessity of a massage unit with the decor-friendliness a buyer may expect after purchasing a $2500 chair.