Whether you are a new massage therapist or are a pro in this field who is now setting up his/ her own practice, finding the perfect massage table is the key to having a happy customer base. It is the key to identifying proper body mechanics and hence making sure your customer is comfortable and will be coming back to you for more massages.
A massage table is something you don’t purchase daily, so you need to be very careful about what you are buying and if it is the one that will work for you and your customers. Finding the right kind of a massage table is not as easy as it seems. Once you make the purchase, you will be stuck with it for the rest of your massaging career.
Factors to Consider while Buying your Massage Table
While selecting and finalizing your massage table, you need to know the answer to these frequently asked questions:
- Do you need a fixed massage table or a portable one?
- What material do you need to go for: Wood or Aluminum?
- What size should a massage table be? What length and width work best for your massage techniques?
- Does it have a height adjusting system?
- What is meant by Working Weight?
- Does it have a good quality upholstery?
- Can it be easily cleaned?
- Does the manufacturer offer after-sales service for replacement parts or repairs in the future?
While the cost of the table is a very important factor and needs to be considered while you are deciding on the massage table, make sure you don’t make it the deciding factor. A cheaper massage table may have a low-quality structure and padding, and you may end up buying another one after a year or two.
Some tables offer holes for side extensions for clients who have a larger frame. This way you can extend your table when you need more width for a certain client and take off the extension for normal day to day massages.
Fixed Table vs Portable Massage Table
If you are going to offer your services at one location only, you should go for a Fixed Massage Table. A fixed massage table, also referred to as a Stationary Massage Table, is heavier and sturdier and is hence generally more expensive than its portable counterparts.
You need to purchase a Portable Massage Table if you want to offer home-visits for massage services. A portable massage table must be lighter in weight without compromising on the quality as you may need to carry it up and down the stairs of your clients. Some portable massage tables do not have a lifting backrest as it saves up on the weight. Also, since a portable massage table needs to be carried in and out of your car, you need to make sure it can be easily folded and transported.
What is a Hydraulic Massage Table?
A Hydraulic Massage Table is a fixed massage table that can be easily raised or lowered. It works great for clients who have difficulty climbing on the table. Also referred to as Electric Massage Tables, they are very sturdy and offer more adjustability than the others, hence making them more expensive. If you are looking for a massage table for home-visits, this may not be for you.
Wooden Massage Tables vs the Aluminum Tables
The main advantage of using an Aluminum Table over wooden one is that aluminum tables are lighter in weight (by at least 4 pounds). However, there are many low-quality light-weight aluminum tables in the market so make sure you inspect the table well before making a final decision. If you plan to visit your client’s homes for your massages, you may find aluminum tables working better for you. They are sturdy, and their weight and easy portability factors make them ideal to be taken in and out of your car and carried through stairs.
You may, however, find no difference when it comes to the quality of wooden as well as aluminum tables. A good quality aluminum table will be as sturdy as a conventional wooden table. Since aluminum tables have started replacing wooden ones in the market, you may find that they offer a good replacement in terms of strength and weight.
What size should a Massage Table be?
Picking the right length and width of the massage table is crucial for any massage therapist. Not all of your clients will have the same body structure. Some may be petite while others may be too chubby; while some may be athletic and have a huge muscular body. Similarly, the height of your clients will vary too, and this will play a vital role when you decide about the width and length of your massage table.
Having a good length and width of your massage table will not only mean that you can accommodate different body structures, but it may also mean that your clients, whatever body frame they have, will be comfortable (no one wants their arm or foot hanging down the table). This ensures a good customer experience which means you will be seeing that customer again and the customer may be leaving you good online reviews – and you want both these factors for the growth of your business.
Length of the Massage Table:
The standard length of most of the massage tables is 73 inches. You can get a shorter version if you need one, but you need to make sure you have a good enough reason to purchase a massage table that has a smaller frame than the general ones.
Adding an adjustable face cradle to the end of your table means adding 7.5 inches to 9 inches to the total length. For a regular-sized table, this means that the total length will reach around 80 to 82 inches. Face cradles are removable so you can have the flexibility to add or removed them depending upon your massage requirements.
Width of the Massage Table:
The width of the massage table is important not just because of the comfort of your client, but also for your own comfort. Both the therapist as well as the client needs to be comfortable, as you need to massage your customers without putting a strain on your own body.
Each therapist massages differently and hence may want different things from the massage table depending upon their massage techniques. For this reason, there are no set rules for the width of the massage table as what works best for you may not work for some other therapist.
As a rule of thumb, if you are not very tall, a 28 inches narrow table may work well for you. For taller massage therapists or for therapists who generally have wide-structured and heavy-built clients, a range of 30 to 32 inches may be ideal.
If you are still unsure about the length and width that may work best for you and your clients, you can always go to a nearby massage place or your therapy school to get a feel of what may work well for you.
Choosing a Massage Table with Adjustable Height
No matter what type of massage table you choose, nowadays almost all the massage tables come with an adjustable height option. The general height ranges of a modern adjustable massage table are from 23 to 33 inches.
Ideally, you will have to adjust the height of your massage table only once unless multiple therapists are using the same massage table. Also, if you have a certain client who has an unusually different body structure, you may need to adjust the height of your table.
Adjusting the height of your massage table should not take much time. Generally, wooden massage tables have one or two height adjustment knobs on each side. Aluminum tables generally come with a push-button mechanism on each side, which does not take more than a second or two to adjust. The hydraulic massage tables are electronically operated and adjusting their height is the easiest as it is done by the push of a button.
Your Massage Table’s Working Weight
Your table’s working weight is not the actual weight of your massage table. The Working Weight of a massage table refers to the maximum weight that could be safely applied to the table. This includes the weight of your client as well as the downward pressure you are going to apply to your client (and hence on the table) during the massage.
For most massage tables, the acceptable working weight limit is between 500 to 600 pounds. Considering that most people weight between 120 and 200 pounds on average, most of the massage tables are safe and it is highly unlikely for you to reach an upper threshold limit of 500 pounds.
Choosing the Right Upholstery
A massage table is all about comfort and that’s what a good foam padding and a comfortable surface provide you with.
A good quality foam thickness means your foam is of higher density, which also means that you can handle heavier clients without causing wear and tear to your massage table. An ideal foam padding should be durable enough to last the lifetime of your table. You may be tempted to buy a massage table that is relatively cheaper, but in the long run, you will have to replace your table when the foam sags or develops air pockets. You also need to be careful about not buying a thinner foam for padding.
The industry-standard density in foam padding is about 2 inches. A good massage table may use 2.5 to 3 inches of padding making it more comfortable for the customer as well as increasing the life-span of your table.
PVC Vinyl Leather vs PU Leather:
PVC vinyl is a synthetic material that looks like leather but is of a cheaper quality. Vinyl plastic is strong, durable and is water and oil resistant. Although PVC vinyl leather Massage Tables are cheaper to buy and their covers can be easily cleaned, they make your massage table look inexpensive, and are not very comfortable for the clients.
PU leather is also a kind of synthetic leather, but it is closest to genuine leather in terms of texture and feel. It is more environment-friendly as compared to its vinyl plastic counterpart but cannot resist oil and water. It is soft and comfortable and feels more luxurious than PVC. For this reason, many good massage tables only offer PU leather covers.
What is the Best Brand to go for?
Buying a massage table is an investment so always go for a good brand of massage table. This will save you money in the long run. You may find a lot of cheap options in the market and on the internet, but a renown brand gives you the option of aftersales service for the replacement of parts. In case you need a spare part or repair, you know where to go to. Master Massage, EarthLite and GreenLife are some of the famous brands offering good quality massage tables.
How Much Does a Massage Table Cost?
The price of a massage table depends upon the type (portable, fixed, hydraulic) and material used in it. Generally, a massage table may range between $60 and $2000. If you are purchasing a good quality portable massage table, it may cost you somewhere between $125 and $400. A fixed massage table may cost you between $450 and $1000. If you want to purchase a hydraulic massage table, make sure you have a budget of $1200 to $2000.
Most of the massage tables may look similar at first glance, but once you examine all of the above factors, you will have a clear mind on what you want. There are two important components of an excellent massage – your hands (and technique you are offering) and that massage table. While you are confident about your massaging skills, make sure you do not compromise on the table. A good and comfortable massage table can certainly boost your massage business, and may guarantee client retention and excellent reviews, and hence, more income!