The Panasonic EP MA73 and Inada DreamWave are similarly-priced, and highly-rated high-end massage chairs. Both are considered to be leaders in massage technology, quality, and craftsmanship. So which is better or better for you? In this article, we’re walking you through the history of each brand, explaining the features these massage chairs have in common, and showing what sets them apart. Let’s go!
Panasonic EP MA73
Panasonic EP MA73
Air Massage Technology
Calf and Foot Massage Ottoman
Computer Body Scan
✓ (heated rollers and foot heat)
✓ (lower back and seat)
✓ (with pedal stand)
Manual Operation Mode
Massage Intensity Controls
Massage Programs (total number)
7 (and 4 stretch programs)
Massage Techniques (total number)
Mechanical Foot Rollers
MP3 Port and Speakers
Seat Massage (air)
Track System: L-Track
Track System: S-Track
✓ (lower back and seat)
Panasonic EP MA73
Features of the Panasonic EP MA73 and Inada DreamWave
Table of Contents
- 1 Features of the Panasonic EP MA73 and Inada DreamWave
- 2 About Panasonic
- 3 About Inada
- 4 Panasonic EP MA73 vs Inada DreamWave Final Thoughts
For example, both chairs feature 3D rollers, but the roller technology and feel of each are different. As we walk you through the features, we’ll explain the variations between the two chairs.
Perhaps the biggest differences between the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 is the chair design and how they’re intended to be used.
The Inada DreamWave is designed to be a fully-encompassing massage chair. It looks more like a massage therapy cocoon than a chair — there’s no mistaking the Inada DreamWave for a regular recliner.
The Panasonic EP MA73, on the other hand, is designed to provide both high-quality massage treatment and be a livable recliner. So on the Panasonic EP MA73, you’ll see features like pop-up arm massagers and a retractable ottoman that help the chair double as a recliner when not in use.
Now, let’s get into what’s inside each chair.
Body Scan Technology
Both the Panasonic and the Inada Panasonic EP MA73 feature body scanning technology that maps your height, shape, and shiatsu points before administering a massage.
With body scan, the massage chairs can custom-fit your treatment. This is to ensure the rollers are targeting the correct areas of your neck and back — not hitting too high or too low.
While they both have a body scan feature, the Inada DreamWave uses “profiles” as part of its program. So after a body scan is complete, it compares the data — your profile — with 106 profiles pre-programmed on the chair. The closest match is selected, and the rollers automatically adjust to match the profile.
3D Massage Rollers
The rollers on both massage chairs are 3D which means they have three-dimensional movements: side to side (horizontally), up and down (vertically), and inward (protruding).
Massage Roller Feel
The Inada DreamWave has wide rubber rollers that deliver a mild massage that’s similar to the feel of a masseuse’s palms. On the Panasonic EP MA73, however, narrower rollers provide a strong, penetrating massage similar to the feel of a masseuse’s thumbs.
But since both massage chairs are 3D, they each offer various intensity levels. Therefore, you can adjust the intensity to enjoy a gentle or intense massage on both chairs.
The Inada DreamWave has a 28-inch massage track that extends from the neck to the tailbone and provides coverage to the tops of the glutes. On the other hand, the Panasonic EP MA73 has a longer massage track at 32 inches, extending further into the seat for even more coverage. But since the Inada DreamWave is a fully-encompassing chair, it treats over 1,200 square inches of your body. It has the most comprehensive coverage of any massage chair.
Originally developed in Japan, shiatsu means “finger pressure,” and is often referred to as needleless acupuncture.
The massages on both chairs are based on shiatsu therapy. According to traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine, shiatsu points (also called acupressure points) are the locations on the body through which energy (“Chi” and “Qi” in Chinese and “Ki” in Japanese) flows. Together, the individual points form meridians, which are a network of shiatsu points that correspond to specific organ systems in the body.
It’s believed that when a meridian is blocked, an imbalance occurs which can result in emotional stress or physical illness. Therapies like acupressure and shiatsu massage attempt to remove these blocks and bring alignment back to the body’s energy system. Therefore, restoring health and well-being.
Both the Inada DreamWave and the Panasonic EP MA73 feature trapezius massage, though in different ways. Traditionally, trapezius massage has been limited to massage chairs since parts of the muscle don’t touch the backrest, making it a difficult area to reach for both airbags and rollers. To solve that problem, massage chair companies have had to introduce creative technology to treat this area.
- The Inada DreamWave’s answer to that problem is a neck and shoulder massager unit that holds the head and presses down on the shoulders. Acupressure nodes stick out from the bottom of the unit. As airbags inflate, it applies pressure to the tops of the shoulders. The airbags provide trigger point massage that helps release constriction and pain.
- Also, the unit on the Inada DreamWave also provides gentle neck traction by pulling the neck away from the head. With gentle pulling, the muscles and ligaments around the spine are stretched. This creates space between the vertebrae and helps to release tension and pinched nerves.
- On the Panasonic EP MA73, the rollers do all the trapezius work. Instead of moving from the back and going directly to the neck, the rollers come out and over the tops of the shoulders to massage the trapezius. The rollers tap, knead, and ultra knead/Junetsu (a Panasonic-exclusive feature that uses small circular motions to provide pinpoint treatment). This mimics the feeling of thumbs pressing and massaging the area.
- The neck roller technology on the EP MA73 is also what makes its neck stretch function possible. During the neck stretch, airbags in the seat inflate to lift the body while the rollers hold the sides of the neck. Then, the seat airbags slowly deflate to provide a gentle stretch to the neck and back.
Airbags are a go-to massage component for the majority of massage manufacturers simply because they can go where rollers can’t — like the sides of the shoulders and hips.
Typically, airbags provide one type of massage: compression. During compression, airbags inflate and deflate, pressing and releasing an area.
When the airbags inflate, blood and stagnant fluids are moved out, and when they deflate, new blood and oxygen move in. In other words, compression massage is great for circulation.
- On the Inada DreamWave, the airbags not only work to increase circulation in a single area, but they also work together to move blood toward the heart. They do this by inflating and deflating at varying intervals to create a wave-like motion that moves up the extremities toward the center of the body.
- They do this by inflating and deflating at varying intervals to create a wave-like motion that moves up the extremities toward the center of the body.
- The Panasonic EP MA73, on the other hand, only has 33 airbags. Even so, they’re strategically placed to treat essential areas like the shoulders, arms, hands, hips, buttock, thighs, calves, and feet. It also plays a vital role in stretch programs.
Let’s take a closer look at the air massages on the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73.
Both the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 have airbags on the outside of the shoulders. The airbags inflate to squeeze the shoulders as well as hold the upper body against the backrest for roller massage and stretch programs.
The Inada DreamWave, however, offers full-arm coverage and has airbags that go from the sides of the shoulders all the way down to the fingers. Meanwhile, the Panasonic EP MA73 massage chair treats the shoulders, forearms, and hands but not the areas in between.
The arm massagers on the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 are very different. On the EP MA72, there are pop-up arm massagers that double as armrests when not in use. The arm massagers are also sliding.
Most massage chairs require you to be in the upright position to enjoy a proper-fitting arm and hand massage. However, on the Panasonic EP MA73, the arm massagers move with the chair as it reclines so you can enjoy a massage in any position.
On the Inada DreamWave, the arm massagers are located next to the hips on the sides of the chair. Since they’re contained within the shell of the chair, the arm massagers automatically move as the chair moves. Inside the massager, the forearms and hands are wrapped in air cells providing near 360 degrees of coverage.
The Panasonic EP MA73 has airbags in the seat that push the body up and down to massage the buttock and assist in stretch programs. On the Inada DreamWave, however, airbags in the seat inflate and deflate at varying intervals to swing the pelvis and lower back from side to side. This sideways movement is Inada’s patented DreamWave technology and is what gives the chair its name. Both chairs also have airbags that inflate to massage the outer thighs.
The Panasonic EP MA73 and the Inada DreamWave both have airbags lining their ottomans. These airbags compress the calves and feet and push the feet onto acupressure plates. The plates have protruding nodes that stimulate acupressure points on the bottoms of the feet. foot massages are comparable between the two chairs, though some claim the Inada DreamWave is a little more comfortable.
Neither the Panasonic EP MA73 or the Inada DreamWave have mechanical foot rollers. And the only intensity adjustment for the acupressure plates is to remove them altogether (though a pair of thick socks could also work.)
The ottoman on the Panasonic is also rotatable. So when you are done using the massage chair or would rather have a footrest, you can flip the ottoman over to hide the foot massage wells and reveal a smooth cushioned surface. On the Inada DreamWave, there’s no hiding the foot massager.
The Panasonic EP MA73 and the Inada DreamWave both feature stretch programs, but they operate very differently.
- The Inada DreamWave has a single stretch program called “Stretch” that’s part of its auto programs. During this full-body stretch program, airbags in the ottoman hold the feet.
- The chair reclines to pull and stretch the body while the rollers move up and down the back. Furthermore, the chair continues to recline and incline as well as raise and lower the ottoman to provide a full stretch.
- On the other hand, the Panasonic EP MA73 has four location-specific programs and one full-body stretch program. The location-specific programs — neck, chest, hip and leg — use a combination of air massage and roller massage to stretch the specific areas. During the full-body stretch program, the EP MA73 combines the techniques used during the location programs to treat and stretch the whole body.
Auto Massage Programs
Another difference between the Inada DreamWave and the Panasonic EP MA73 is the number and types of auto-massage programs.
- On the Inada DreamWave, there are eight full-body auto programs, each with two versions: standard and deep relaxation mode. Therefore, 16 programs total. One of which is the Inada DreamWave’s “youth” program that’s specifically designed for users 14 years of age and up.
- On the Panasonic EP MA73, there are seven auto massage programs and four location-specific stretch programs. The auto programs feature both full-body and targeted programs. For example, “neck and shoulder” and “lower back.”
- The Inada DreamWave has heat in the lower back and seat. But even with two heating areas, it’s tough to beat the Panasonic EP MA73 which, in addition to having heat in foot portion of the ottoman, has heated massage rollers.
- The heated rollers on the EP MA73 move from the neck to the tailbone, warm the entire back as they massage and simulate the feeling of hot stone therapy. Because of its extensive range, the heating system on the EP MA73 is one of the most creative and comprehensive available.
A feature you’ll only find on the Inada DreamWave is vibration massage. High-frequency vibration plates in the seat and lower back of the chair stimulate the muscles and circulation through the smallest blood vessels, also known as microcirculation. The vibration massage can be turned on, off, or added to any auto program.
Another difference between the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 is the remote control.
- The DreamWave has a retro-looking handheld remote, with a thin strip screen that displays text.
- The Panasonic EP MA73, on the other hand, had a modern-looking remote with an LCD display screen and its own pedal stand.
The remote on the Inada DreamWave looks out of place compared to the futuristic look of the chair. However, it is a simple remote and is easy to use. The remote on the Panasonic EP MA73 fits the aesthetic of the chair: it’s sleek and high-tech. And, fortunately, is also easy to navigate and use.
Customer Support and Warranty
Inada has a responsive customer support team. If something breaks on the DreamWave during the three-year all parts and labor warranty period, Inada will come to your home or business to repair the chair — no matter where. Panasonic, on the other hand, doesn’t always offer in-home repairs.
So, if something breaks within the three-year warranty or 1,000 hours (whichever comes first) period, the chair will be picked up by an authorized Panasonic service center for repair and then returned. The downside of Panasonic’s take-and-repair system is that if you don’t live close to one of their service centers, it might take some time to get your chair repaired. Though some repairs are eligible for in-home service.
Both the Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 have an optional five-year extended warranty.
Specifications and Dimensions
Panasonic EP MA73
Chair dimensions (Upright)
55"L X 37"W X 48"H
26”H x 32.7”W x 79.6”D
Chair dimensions (Reclined)
83"L X 38"W X 30"H
45.3”H x 32.7”W x 48”D
Recommended maximum user weight
Recommended user height
5'0" to 6'5"
5'0" to 6'5"
Required Recline Clearance
Panasonic was founded in 1918 by Japanese industrialist Konosuke Matsushita. Throughout his career, Matsushita dedicated himself to the production of high-quality, low-cost products.
This he believed would “enhance the quality of life throughout the world.”
In 1929, he formulated the Basic Management Objective that continues to outline Panasonic’s business mission:
“To devote themselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through their business activities.”
Today, Panasonic provides some of the world’s most advanced electronic technology and products like televisions, digital cameras, and, of course, massage chairs.
The first Panasonic massage chair was produced over 50 years ago in 1969. Panasonic massage chairs were the first to be endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) as being valid complements to chiropractic treatment.
And while the massage chairs are designed and engineered in Japan, they’re manufactured in China.
Established in 1962 in Japan, Inada is one of the oldest massage chair companies in the world and is credited with creating the first ever automatic massage chair.
Its founder and current president, Nichimu Inada, started the company when he was 22 years old. Though his business had periods of producing products other than massage chairs, Inada had a change in perspective after meeting Kazuo Inamori, President of the Kyocera Corporation.
He encouraged him to question his values and life’s purpose. After which, Inada concluded, “in order to make massage chairs as truly valuable products for the world and people, we need to devote our undivided attention to and specialize in massage chairs.”
Inada has stayed true to its singular vision ever since. Today, Inada massage chairs are still designed, engineered, and manufactured in Japan — the most competitive massage chair market in the world. And as one of the first, Inada has led the market in terms of massage innovation.
Here’s a look at a few of Inada’s contributions to the massage chair industry:
- In 1973, introduced soft or firm kneading
- In 1979, introduced first spine rollers
- In 1988, introduced first roller massage with acupressure focus
- In 2000, introduced first ever infrared body scanning
- In 2008, introduced first full-body massage chair, the DreamWave (formerly Songo)
Panasonic EP MA73 vs Inada DreamWave Final Thoughts
The Inada DreamWave and Panasonic EP MA73 share features like 3D massage rollers, acupressure plates, body scan technology, and trapezius massage. However, how each chair executes these features is so different it's tough to compare. While both chairs deliver an excellent massage, they’re designed for the various users in mind.
The Inada DreamWave is a massage therapy chair through and through. On the other hand, the Panasonic EP MA73 is a massage therapy chair that can double as a recliner. With the Inada DreamWave, you get a level of massage coverage that you can’t with any other chair — your whole body is enveloped in massage. On the Panasonic EP MA73, however, you get additional features like heated rollers and roller massage for the trapezius.
So which is better between Panasonic EP MA73 vs Inada DreamWave? There’s no clear answer, and it depends on what you like. But with either, you’re investing in one of the best massage chairs money can buy. We hope our Panasonic EP MA73 vs. Inada DreamWave review helped make your decision process a little easier.
Sources and Official Brand Websites
- Panasonic, Official Brand Website.
- Inada, Official Brand Website.
- What is Shiatsu Massage Theraphy?, Acupuncture Massage College.
- Massage Therapy for Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, National Institutes of Health.
- The effect of compressed air massage on skin blood flow and temperature, US National Library of Medicine.
- Benefits of Hot Stone Massage, Live Strong.
- How Can Massage Help My Health and Wellbeing?, Taking Charge.