How To Choose The Right Massage Table For You...
This is a very important exercise and dependant on many variables. So the following articles should give you assistance...
How To Choose The Right Massage Therapy Tables and Accessories
When I first started massage therapy I had an interesting experience. I bought the wrong table. Sure it was great for the client; nice and thickly padded, soft head piece and comfy foot bolster…but after three massages I found my arms were aching.
Not having the experience or maturity as a massage therapist, I did what most young people do; try and make it work. I told myself it was just me and there was nothing wrong with the table. After all I had paid $170 for it and I was determined to get my money's worth as a massage therapy tool I would value.
After ten massages of this confounded thing I took it back. My massage therapy treatments just felt hard and difficult to apply to my clients. Massage was feeling too much like hard work. So I went into another massage therapy table store and explained my problem to the assistant there.
“It’s your table, it’s at the wrong height, its 2 inches too high for you” she said kindly.
I was really surprised. How could something so small cause so much of a problem. And by this stage I was the one needing massage! My arms and now lower back were starting to give me trouble.
She explained to me, and I understood being a massage therapist, that repetitive movements at a fraction just too high can put stress on the muscles and joints through slight hyperextension. Over time small increments of hyperextension fatigues the muscles that you use for massage.
She then asked me to stand straight. I did so out of curiosity. She then placed her thumb on my hip and said “your table should come no higher than your hip joint. In fact a little lower to allow for the height of the body.”
My current massage table was higher than my hip joint by about an inch. Just enough to wear any massage therapist out!
From then on I knew how to choose my massage table. I was now comfortable and relaxed in my upper body, arms and shoulders and lower back too. It was a much better state to be in. Some of my customers even noticed a difference in their massages because of the table.
So here’s a quick guide on how to choose the right massage table and accessories...
1. Firstly having a table that’s adjustable is the ideal. All different clients come to different heights on the table according to their body weight and size. Not two people are the same, and as a massage therapist no one will appreciate this more! So don’t be afraid to get a massage table that is made adjustable.
2. Comfort. Once you’ve got the table height suited to your height then think about this next aspect ...Table Padding. A lot of massage tables can be really hard to lie on. That’s ok if you’ve got lot of padding you can throw on the massage table, but again that will raise each person by a few fractions of an inch. Its best to find a table with really comfortable padding yet has durability too.
The massage table padding naturally has a lot of bearing on client comfort, but not just to lie on. If the massage table is well padded you can lean against it yourself whilst massaging them. There are a few massage table companies who offer double and triple foam padded massage tables.
Don’t be confused by lots of foam padding equaling density to firmness. The actual mass thickness that makes up the density of the massage table relates to the weight of the foam, not how soft or firm the massage table is.
3. The face rest should be able to slide into the massage table easily, without stiffness or problems. It should be adjustable and very comfortable for the client. There should be adequate face-space so the client can breathe comfortably.
You can also add some luxury to your massage table by purchasing an arm support. The arm support is a padded piece that sits under your face piece, like a platform, to rest their arms on. This is especially effective if your client has a shoulder problem and has trouble hanging their arms down or placing them by their side face down. So the arm support provides extra comfort for the client. If your client has a problem in their shoulder area, you can use the arm support to open up the Trapezius and Rhomboid areas very effectively.
4. The same goes with finding a massage table bolster. The massage bolsters are a firm foam padded piece that is placed under the clients ankles to raise the feet, which in turn takes pressure off the clients lower back. This is a brilliant massage accessory because of the amount of people with lower back pain. It’s more comfortable to have it raised high enough that their toes are not touching the table.
This will make your job as a massage therapist easier and more enjoyable; taking the pressure of your body as well as providing superb comfort for your client. After-all there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable on the massage table!
So think about these things with much consideration and you will find you can last in this business a lot longer and you will be able to provide excellent service to your clients.
Amy Roberts, LMT
About Your Table
As this is a long-term investment, keep in mind the types of therapy you might be doing in the future. Buy right, and you will only need to buy once!
Remember to heal yourself, physician! Take care of your body. Whether you are tall, short or in-between; the width, working height, height range, weight and edge-padding comfort are very important considerations. When you work, are you seated, standing or both? Will you be on the road making house calls and need a compact, lightweight table with carry case? Will your work-space be constricted in area? Would a non-standard table be a better choice?
Client and practitioner comfort are the twin bottom-lines. With your client in the prone position, how will you support their face? Is a face-hole just “good enough” or would it be worth having one of a range of headrest options for greater client comfort? We can incorporate the flexibility you need into your table.
Talk to your fellow therapists or get in touch with us. We are committed to assisting you in making the right choice and will share our information and experience to help you work through your purchase decision.
Your Table Specifications...
This chart will help you to determine...
The ideal height of your fixed-height table or,
The flexibility you will need in your new adjustable table in order to adjust to the height changes needed every day in your bodywork practice.
Should you choose an adjustable table? Consider the following...
The range of bodywork styles you use across your client base
The varying body sizes of your clients
If you share your table with other practitioners, they will have their own working heights
What will be your future requirements
Experiment with whatever tables you can access to determine which height, or height range works best for you - use a tape measure and record your findings. Table height is the vertical dimension measured from the floor to the top, upholstered surface of the table.
Walk your talk...
Avoid straining your back and ensure that the table you use for mobile work is light enough for you, yet wide enough for your clients.
Not too wide? Not too narrow!
Use this chart to see the relationship between suggested table width and the styles of bodywork you intend to employ.
- Your table must be wide enough to ensure that your clients feel comfortable and are encouraged to let go and relax; otherwise you will be creating extra work for yourself.
- Know that in many instances a table that seems to be too wide is, in fact, a table which has not been set at the appropriate height.
- Remember to inform your client at the commencement of the session, that you may from time to time ask them to move to one side of the table. Advise you clients that they don't have to leave their relaxed state in order to make the move.
- A table with well padded edges is much easier to lean against when you are working in close
The best support for your clients?
Your clients deserve the whole body support they want, where they need it. With the right design you are able to work in close, in comfort and in silence. Bliss
The distinguishing features of our core table design is summarised below;The Bodyworker
- Our top-selling structure
- Maximum strength, rigidity and adjustability
- Minimum weight, maximum adjustable height range
- Available in all width configurations and shapes