Photo: Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge
A massage table is your most important instrument, second only to your talent and skill. When you find the right table for you, it will magnify the quality of your work and give your clients the high-quality experience they are looking for. With such a wide variety of massage tables on the market, how do you find the right one for you? Our experts at Buy-Rite put together a guide to buying a massage table with a list of the important factors you should consider before making your big investment.
1. Type of Massage Table
First, you need to decide if you want a portable massage table or a fixed massage table. A portable massage bed is exactly what it sounds like – it can be folded and carried from location to location and usually will weigh much less than a fixed table.
Once you’ve decided if you’d like a portable or fixed table, you can choose between two models – a tilt-back (or Reiki table) or a flatbed. Tilt-back tables are open on all ends and the head of the tables can be adjusted – which essentially gives them a lifting backrest. This can be especially useful if you are offering services such as acupuncture, reflexology, beauty treatments, head massage, and sports leg treatments. A flatbed massage table is a simpler model, which you cannot tilt or adjust. Many massage therapists choose a tilt-back model, as it offers assistance in a wider variety of services and can add to client comfort.
2. Massage Table Dimensions
Now that you know the type of massage table you are looking for; it is essential to choose a massage table that has the right dimensions for your comfort and your client’s comfort.
Massage beds are usually between 25 – 32 inches wide, with standard dimensions generally being 30 inches wide by 72 inches long. You want to make sure your table is wide and long enough for your clients to lay comfortably on the massage table.
While client comfort is important, it is crucial to choose a width and height that will allow you to perform your duties each day without wreaking havoc on your body. Most massage table heights are adjustable anywhere from 22 – 38 inches. A rule of thumb is to have your massage table at a height that falls approximately at your hip joint. As the adjustable height varies from table to table, measure the height that would be ideal for you before making your purchase.
While massage table height is often adjustable, the width is not. As a general rule:
Massage therapists 5’10” or taller should consider a massage table, such as the Multipurpose Massage Bed, which is 31 inches wide.
Massage therapists that are anywhere between 5’5” and 5’10” should work with a massage table that is 27-30 inches wide, such as the Radi+ 2246B Electric Multi Purpose Facial & Massage Bed.
Massage therapists between 5’2” and 5’5” usually prefer a massage table that is 25-27 inches wide, as these will be easier to work on and lean over. If you’re between these heights and can ensure you have a strong enough posture to handle leaning over a wider table throughout the day, you can also choose a standard 28-30-inch-wide massage table.
Massage therapists under 5’2” should consider a massage table that is 26 inches wide or less, unless they can ensure they have a strong posture that can handle leaning over a wider table throughout the day.
Photo: Portable Massage Table
3. Massage Table Weight
The next aspect you’ll want to consider is the massage table’s working weight and carrying weight.
A massage bed’s working weight is the amount of weight the bed can hold, and you’ll want to make sure your massage bed’s working weight meets your needs and your massage style. A working weight can be calculated by combining the weight of the massage therapist and the client. The higher working weights tend to be heavier tables, but if you perform services such as shiatsu massage or sports massages, a higher working weight is essential. The working weight of massage tables typically ranges anywhere between 300 – 600 pounds, so be sure to find one that is right for you and your clients’ needs.
If you are not transporting your table, the carrying weight is not an important factor. But if you are purchasing a portable massage table, it is vital to consider a weight that allows you to be mobile. As a standard rule, massage tables that are 30 pounds or less are considered to be portable.
4. Client Comfort
Once you’ve narrowed down what type of massage table is best for you, it’s time to consider what padding will keep your clients the most comfortable. Both the thickness and density of the padding will make a difference in how comfortable your clients are. The thickness of massage table padding generally ranges from 2-5 inches. While there are a variety of options, our experts recommend a minimum of 2.5-inch-thick padding. High-density foams will preserve the padding shape, leaving clients comfortable and making a longer-lasting, more durable massage table.
Photo: Multi-Purpose Massage Table
Often, it seems like upholstery can be an afterthought, but you want to ensure your massage bed is durable and easy to clean. Most massage tables are upholstered with vinyl, leather, PVC, or other synthetic materials. Our experts recommend high-quality vinyl, as this can check the boxes of being both easy to clean and long-lasting.
6. Massage Table Frame
The final factor to consider is the frame material for your massage table. You can choose between a wood or metal frame, and both are solid durable options. Most massage therapists choose wood frames for aesthetic reasons, but metal frames are a great choice for individuals looking for an electric bed.
With so many factors to consider when choosing a massage bed, it’s important to take your time and find what is right for you. A massage table can enhance or diminish the quality of your services and will have a huge impact on how you feel at the end of each day. After considering these six important elements of a massage table, you should be able to find one that will be perfect for your unique needs. Want more information and recommendations? Contact our salon and spa experts today!