Purchasing a Massage Table Made Simpler

It’s time to buy a massage table and you are not sure where to start. Browsing online you feel overwhelmed by the volume and varieties of massage tables available. What to do? Take a deep breath and look over these following massage table features to consider before purchasing a table. Once you get an idea of what is important when choosing your massage table, you’ll feel more comfortable when making that final purchase.

Stationary or Portable?

First you must decide if you are going to keep your massage table in one place and purchase a stationary massage table or if you plan on travelling with it and buying a portable table. There are benefits of both stationary and portable massage tables.  Stationary tables are generally used by spas and salons as well as by therapists with established practices who don’t travel outside their place of business. Stationary tables are generally more stable, can handle larger amounts of weight, don’t have to be set up every time, and have a more luxurious, spa-like feel compared to portable tables. Portable tables, on the other hand, give therapists more versatility—allowing them to work either in their offices or visit their clients on site. Portable tables are lighter-weight, more easily stowed, and are generally less expensive than their stationary counterparts. Once you know if you’re going to go portable or stationary, it’s time to consider the weight of the table.

How Much Does it Weigh?

Since stationary tables will rarely, if ever, be moved, weight is not a major concern when purchasing them.  With portable tables, however, weight is a very important consideration. First ask yourself how often you plan on travelling with your table. If it’s a lot, it’s best to look into tables that are lightweight. What makes a table heavier?  Wider widths, longer lengths, thicker padding and some features like adjustable backrests (the additional hardware in the backrests adds pounds).  Aluminum tables are generally lighter in weight than their wood counterparts, and sometimes just as sturdy, so it might be a good idea to look into those if you are constantly on-the-go. If you already own a heavy table, you can always purchase a massage table cart to make travel a bit easier.

How Wide is it?

Determining what width your massage table should be can be tricky. On one hand you want your table wide enough so that your clients are comfortable and are not in danger of falling off the table. On the other hand, you don’t want the massage table so wide that it restricts your access to your clients causing you stretch and strain to reach them. Generally, taller therapists can go with a wider table while shorter ones are better off with a narrower table.  Above all, it is important for you, the therapist, to practice good body mechanics. You are risking injury if you are straining and stretching to perform your job.  Find a width of table that makes you the most comfortable. Side table extenders are always an option if feel your table is too narrow for some clients. 

What about the Padding?

Padding on a massage table can range from thin (under two inches) to thick (over three inches). It can be dense (small cell) or loose. Some tables even include a layer of memory foam, the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Generally, the thicker the padding, the more comfortable it is for the client. If you practice bodywork that requires a client to lie still for long periods of time, like acupuncture, you are better off going with a thick padding. In practices where you administer more rigorous strokes and need more resistance from the table, it is best to lean toward a thinner padding. Overall it is advisable to stick with densely packed foam versus the loosely packed version. The more tightly packed the foam, the longer it lasts on a massage table.

How Much Should I Spend?

Let’s talk money.  How much should you spend on your table?  First of all, decide how and how often you are going to use your table. If you will be mostly staying at home giving massages to your loved ones a couple times a week, you do not have to consider a top-of-the-line table (unless you want to, of course).  If, however, you are planning on using the table for your business, consider a more professional table.  In that case, think of your table as an investment—you will be using your table often and you want it to be as durable and comfortable for yourself and your clients as possible.  If you purchase a high-end professional massage table, after a certain amount of massages, you will have paid off your table and will be able to continue to use it without having to worry about replacing it.  Students, who often do not have much money to spare, should look into student packages and discounts offered by massage table companies.  Some retailers even allow students to trade in their existing massage tables for a new, higher-end one after a certain amount of time.

There are several aspects to consider when purchasing a massage table. Take your time and do your research. The more you know, the better decision you will ultimately make. When in doubt, visit a massage table showroom and test out a few tables. See what feels best for you. Or call a retailer’s customer service line and ask for advice.  Good luck on your massage table purchasing journey.

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