How can I find a massage table thatís right for me

By Abram Herman
[Tell Me]

“Width, thickness, length, padding life, wooden legs, warranty, load capacity, weight, padding, comfort.”

Patty Duckett-Moore, from Facebook, on what she considers when buying a massage table.

Finding a Balance

The perfect table meets the needs of practitioner and client alike. Consider what your practice will look like. “Where are you using the table, and what type of bodywork are you doing?” asks Karla Linden from New Mexico. Then, decide on what type of table fits, keeping in mind the client’s comfort and your ease of use, including body mechanics, setup and breakdown, and the weight of the table. If you’re just starting massage school and are looking at a first table, you want something that’s versatile enough to let you follow different interests. Once you’ve identified the type of bodywork that you want to pursue, you can purchase a new table with the features that best suit your style. An outcall practice will require a durable, lightweight, and versatile table, whereas a home or spa-based practice is the place for a large, sturdy, more stationery table, maybe even with a lift system if it fits your budget.

Did You Know?

Collapsing tables are a frequent cause of injury to clients, and can even lead to the practitioner getting sued. Your table should have a listed load capacity—be careful to never exceed the manufacturer’s recommendation. Also, check all your table’s nuts and bolts before every session, make sure everything’s tightened, and inspect the entire table for anything that could become a problem.

Wood or Metal?

Kirsten Kayser of Colorado prefers a wood frame table. “The metal ones tend to squeak,” she says. “I like my wooden one that I can oil whenever it needs it.” If you’re moving your table around frequently, though, you’ll probably want a high quality metal frame table for the weight savings. “My first question is how much does it weigh?” says Tyler Goodman from Arizona. “As a therapist who primarily provides in-home massages, I move my table 5–10 times a day.”

Firm or Soft?

If you mostly use techniques with a softer touch, like energy work or light relaxation massage, you should opt for more padding to increase the client’s comfort. “When I work on clients who just want to relax, I want to ensure that they feel very comfortable lying on my massage table,” says Jose Acevedo of California. However, if you practice techniques that require a lot of pressure, a highly padded table can hinder your work.

Wide or Narrow?

A wide table can be great for larger clients, but if you’re short, it may be cumbersome to reach across the bigger table, which is bad for your body mechanics. Average table width is between 28” and 30”. If you need a more narrow table, consider purchasing side-extendors for larger clients.