Massage has a long history in Japan. Shiatsu, from a Japanese word for "finger pressure," has roots going back at least to the 8th century. Massage chairs were invented in Japan in 1954, when the first was sold by the Family Fujiryoki company. So it's a no-brainer that a Japanese company like Panasonic, formerly the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and well known for its electronic prowess, would sell a line of automated massage chairs.
It's also not surprising that the Panasonic EP1285KL Massage Chair would feature a shiatsu massage mode, though it also offers Swedish massage, Hawaiian massage and "Panasonic's exclusive Chiro Mode." (That last massage mode is presumably based on Chiro massage, a technique developed in Spain in the 1920s.) Perhaps the greater the variety of masseurs that the chair replaces, the more it justifies a price tag that could purchase a low-end used car, though in fairness that price (for a new model) isn't out of line with similar massage chairs like the Infinity Escape and is considerably less than the price of an Inada Sogno HCP-10001.
The EP1285KL's repertoire of massage programs extends beyond the regional variations listed above and includes knead, compression, full and regional roll, and tapping. The shiatsu is soft shiatsu, though the zero-gravity mode, which tilts the user backwards so that gravity assists the massage, may intensify the shiatsu somewhat. (Let it be noted in passing that the zero-gravity mode offered in chairs like this is, despite the name, a mode that involves a great deal of gravity.) Panasonic also claims that the chair offers "unparalleled comfort and 'palm realism,'" which sounds slightly disturbing. Panasonic also says that "American Chiropractors endorse Panasonic’s 35 Years of Massage Therapy Technology," which is cryptic but reassuring. Panasonic, after all, has at least 1,500 years of Japanese tradition to uphold.
The chair performs its job excellently, but is cheaply made. One of the leg massages has come completely unstitch. Bought it in July 2014 and by Jan 2015, it's falling apart.
I'm very satisfied with my chair. It's the ideal massage lounger chair I want.
It was a good investment. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive models, but it comes down to cost vs features. Gives a great massage.
I'm returning this chair and getting another one. It doesn't make sense to get a chair that doesn't provide a good massage. I'm very disappointed.
Easy to use, durable, convenient... We have had this machine for 6 years now with complete satisfaction. It is simple and well built.
My wife loves it! Quality made to last.