1. Table Width:
Many people think they should purchase the widest table available, but there are several factors to consider when deciding on the width of your table. Ease of access, comfort for your client, comfort for you as the therapist, and portability are all things that need to be considered when making your purchasing decision.
Generally speaking, the narrower massage tables will offer you the most access to your clients, patients, and athletes, as well as greater portability. Wider tables do offer a larger work surface and increased comfort for your client. However, if your table is too wide, you may have difficulty reaching your client effectively. This can become tiresome and difficult on your body over a period of time. The table below is a general guideline to help choose a table width that’s right for your size.
Below is a general guideline to help choose a table width that’s right for your size.
- Therapist Height of 5' 4" or shorter should generally be looking at tables no wider than 29".
- Therapist Height of 5' 4" to 5' 10" could go up to a 31" width table.
- Therapist Height of 5' 10" or taller could go up to a 33" width table.
For most general wellness massage choose a 29" - 30" width depending on your size and the size of your clients. Most tables come in a standard width; however Oakworks, Earthlite, Custom Craftworks and Stronglite do offer tables in various available widths. These tables are custom made to order, have numerous options and are typically a little more expensive.
Finally, as the width of the massage table increases so does the weight. If you intend to travel and still want a wide table, consider purchasing a massage table cart to assist in portability.
2. Table Height:
The standard height range on most tables is around 24” – 34” and will serve the bulk of most practitioners who perform various massage modalities, facials, physical therapy, acupuncture and other therapeutic services. Generally speaking, the height range should be based on the height of the practitioner.
As a rule of thumb, your table should come no higher than your hip joint. You’ll probably want a height a little lower than this to provide room for the height of the body on the table. If you are exceptionally tall or short, you may want to consider a table that has various available height ranges. Again, Oakworks, Earthlite, Custom Craftworks and Stronglite do offer tables in various available height ranges. These tables are custom made to order, have numerous options and are typically a little more expensive.
3. Table Top:
The most common massage table top is the standard flat top with or without rounded corners. This is perfect for massage, Reiki, some physical therapy and other common modalities. It’s becoming increasingly popular however, for therapists to offer multiple services, thereby creating the need for a more flexible table.
Other popular massage table top options include the tilt and/or flex top. This type of massage table is most popular among massage therapists who may also be estheticians, providing massage, skin care and other spa services. The tilt top is most common among portable massage tables, while the Flex top or Salon tops are more commonly found on stationary tables. Tilt tops provide sufficient leverage to support the client’s back in a seated position while the Flex or Salon tops offer more comfort with additional support for the legs and underneath the knees.
Many stationary spa tables will offer electric or hydraulic lift options as well as power for the table top itself. Many flex and spa tables will also offer flexible or self-adjusting side arms. A hydraulic lift massage table with fully electric spa top will obviously cost a lot more than a portable tilt. Your decision depends on your budget, need for portability, desire to expend energy positioning clients and also the impression you want to give with respect to your spa’s image and décor.
Some massage table manufacturers also offer breast recess, pregnancy or prenatal massage tables. These massage tables are flexible in the sense they can be used with or without these options. Most tables are fitted with cut-outs for the breasts and/or belly. Plugs are used to make the table flat again for other clients. The pregnancy tables have supportive netting underneath to hold the belly and keep stress off the fetus inside.
These custom tables generally cost a little more, but allow you to offer your clients additional comfort. Specializing in pregnancy massage or being able to offer additional comfort to your female clients is also a great way to differentiate and add value to your services.
4. Padding Thickness:
While considering the thickness of your foam you should always keep in mind foam density. These two factors work hand-in-hand in determining comfort and durability. Since most every table MassageTools offers comes in a multi-layer foam, the only option left to consider is the thickness.
Massage table padding thickness generally ranges from 2 ¼ inches to 3 inches. This is usually sufficient to provide a comfortable experience for most clients. Though you might be tempted to add thickness, this will add weight to the table and may not be conducive to portability. Finally, some modalities like Sports Therapy are more appropriate for tables with firmer padding.
You will find that our higher end tables offer a selection of optional tops, including firm, semi-firm, plush and Breast Comfort.
5. Easy Access Panels (Reiki Endplates):
Easy access panels are simply different support braces that connect the two legs on the narrow ends of a massage table. Generally, the support panels go straight across the ends connecting the two legs.
Rather then go straight across, easy access panels are shaped like an upside-down U, creating an arched support. This allows the practitioner to place their legs between the table legs and get closer to the client on the table. This is more important for Reiki tables, where practitioners need access both above and below the client. It can also be convenient for any therapist to slide under the client on a rolling stool, in order to work on the head and/or feet.
Some massage tables come standard with and without Reiki endplates, while some are optional. This option is often available on better tables for free or a nominal charge.
MassageTools.com only offers tables from the finest manufacturers in the industry. Companies like Earthlite, Custom Craftworks, Oakworks and Stronglite always stand behind their products. Most tables we offer carry lifetime warranties on the frame and 2-3 year warranties on upholstery and padding. (see individual products for details)
It is important to be weary of cheap imports with no recognizable brand. The saying “you get what you pay for” definitely applies. Do not risk you or your clients safety on a no-name brand, cheap table. It’s just not worth it!
7. Metal or Wood Frame:
Both wood and metal frames can provide a strong table base. Most wood tables can support at least 450 lbs. The most popular tables have wood frames as these generally have better esthetic appeal and tend to be less expensive than metal framed tables. However, metal frames do often weigh less than their wooden counterparts. If you foresee doing a lot of traveling with your table, it might be worth looking at a metal frame table.
8. Stationary or Portable:
If you will be traveling frequently with your massage table, you will clearly need a portable table. Make sure you get a package that includes a carry case and other accessories. You might also consider purchasing a table cart so you don’t have to support the weight on your shoulders.
If you have a day spa, medi-spa, massage studio, or salon, you should consider both portable and stationary massage tables. Some of our most comfortable and highest quality tables are stationary models. These can vary widely in price, but are generally driven by the number of features and options like electronic height adjustment, manual or electric tilting tops, salon tops, manicure armrests and much more.
Although weight is important when considering a portable massage table, it is no more important than the other factors considered above. Weight is mostly dependent on table size, material and padding. Wooden tables are typically heavier, but often look better and can be more stable than metal tables. Remember the wider the table and the thicker the cushioning, the more weight will be added to the table. Again, consider a table cart to help make traveling easier without sacrificing size and comfort.
Most manufacturers offer an aluminum framed table, but the vast majority do have wooden frames. Wood has proven to be the most often used material for the aforementioned reasons and the fact that it is more abundant and cost effective. You usually want to stick to the hardwoods like Maple or Oak as these tend be more stable and durable.
If weight is very important to you, be sure to check out our complete line of aluminum tables. But be prepared to pay more as aluminum is typically more costly than wood.