How to Choose the Best Massage Table(s)
With so many styles and functions to choose from it can be difficult to choose the best treatment table for your modality and situation.
The perfect treatment table(s) should have all of the necessary requirements you as a professional therapist are looking for.
The treatment table is the most important piece of equipment for a massage therapist, but also for physiotherapists, chiropractors, aestheticians and a host of wellness modalities.
We invite you to consider the following 12 points when selecting a massage or treatment table for your professional or personal use.
12 Points to Consider
- Purpose – range
- Table weight
- Weight capacity
- Width of the massage table
- Table height and length
- Quality of materials and composition
- Adjustable and accessory features
- Longevity, durability, reviews
1 - Location
Where will you be using this equipment? Is your clinic on the third floor in a building without an elevator?
Take note of your location limitations if you have any. Best to take these into consideration before beginning to look at tables. It might be nice to dream of one of the 300 pound hydraulic lift tables, but perhaps a sturdy portable table is more realistic for the location of your treatment space.
Work backwards from your treatment room to the table warehouse. Custom "white glove delivery" is often an added cost depending on your location and situation.
- Stand in your room and place markers on your floor where you feel the table will be located.
- Imagine the table in place and see if you have enough room to work around your markers.
- Consider the lighting, the doorway, your stool and your position in relation to the client.
- Determine how much, or how little space you will have for your treatment table. Massage tables come in a variety of sizes. If you find your are restricted to a small work area, or a room at the end of a narrow hall, then there's no sense looking at larger options.
How will you move the table to your location?
If your clinic is on the second floor of a walk up, in the basement unit of a house, or in an older building with limited elevator space, narrow hallways, etc. your options may be limited. Several styles of stationary tables require minimum clearance distances to transport.
If you have lots of room in an elevator and a truck level loading dock, then the options are much easier.
Are you currently a mobile massage therapist, or planning on being one? Then you have already made the decision to select from the many portable massage tables available.
If you are looking to purchase a table for your home convenience, Portable massage tables often offer the best flexibility and storage convenience.
See more about selecting portable massage tables below.
2 - Adjustability
How many therapists will be using the table? Therapists come in all heights and sizes, so if you are going to share your table, height adjustability is a key purchase consideration.
Adjustable tables are available with electric lift features and/or manual adjustors. Purchase your treatment tables with the therapists' comfort in mind first, and then the client. A table that cannot be adjusted quickly and easily impedes the working health of the therapist, reducing potential income.
Do you have a large clinic with multiple working therapists? Serious consideration must be given to massage tables with electric lift table options. Electric lift features can increase convenience, comfort, and treatment options for both the therapist and client.
3 - Purpose - Range
Choosing the best massage table will not only make your job easier, but can help increase your income. Make sure your table choice does not limit your options.
- What do you need the table to do now and in the future?
- Who are your clients now and who do you want to have as clients?
- What kinds of treatments do you offer now and possibly in the future?
- Should you consider a flat top, backrest, spa style or medical table?
4 - Table Weight - Portability
If you are a mobile therapist, the portability of your table is key to your health and working ease. Transport carts make moving tables into place easier however, one of the most important facts to consider when choosing a massage table is the weight.
The portable massage table weight factor is a principle concern for the mobile practitioner. Portable tables are designed to be light enough to carry, but strong enough to endure years of treatments. The table you invest in should fit your own physical needs and restrictions. How easy is it to set up and tear down? How easy will it be to dress with linens, and to clean after each treatment?
Weight is not a factor when selecting a stationary or electric table. However, if you anticipate moving it around for cleaning ease, or possibly moving the treatment table from one room to another, consider including transport wheels to your table want list.
5 - Portable Table Weight
The best weight in which most of the therapists agree for a portable treatment table is between 22-46 lbs (10-20 kg).
The overall weight depends on the materials used. Lightweight aluminium massage tables are incredibly sturdy, yet light enough for you to transport easily. We recommend selecting the lightest weight and greatest portability that you can manage on a daily basis.
6 - Weight Capacity
How heavy are your clients? This matters. The last thing you want is for the table to collapse with a client on top.
The weight capacity of a table also known as the working weight. The working weight is the total amount of weight that a table can hold easily. You can calculate this by combining the weight of your clients, along with the pressure you will put while working. This total weight is the weight capacity of your massage table.
The best massage tables should have a weight capacity from 400 – 600 pounds.
7 - Table Width
Treatment/massage tables and spa tables are available from 27″ to 33″ wide. Table widths very between makers and table styles. Choosing your table width is highly dependant on your treatment services, your own working comfort, your physical size, as well as your client comfort. Generally, spa tables tend to be a little wider to allow for client comfort. Spa services and clients are often “on the table” for long periods of time. Also, clients come in all shapes and sizes. If you are tall, consider a wider table.
Some specific massage modalities require active participation of the therapist and/or client. Selecting a narrower table allows for greater interaction by the therapist.
8 - Table Height and Length
Whether you’re 5’2” or 6’10”, it is important to choose a table height that is comfortable enough for you to work on your clients. If the table is too short, or is too high, you will soon be the one in need of the massage. If you have the space and the budget, electric lift tables are always a good option. However stationary lift tables are easy to use between clients.
Most massage, spa, and treatment tables range from 72-76 inches in length. Seventy three inches is the norm for most North American massage tables. If you are looking for a longer table, remember adding an adjustable face cradle will add an additional 7-9 inches to your table length.
If electric tables are out of your budget and you have a good portable table in hand, seriously consider an electric convertible base. Designed to accommodate most portable table brands, this electric lift base offers the best of both options.
9 - Materials and Covering Compositions
Consider the environmental impact of the foam padding used in the construction of your treatment table. Table padding and foams that do not “off gas” and/or “collapse” are now standard construction materials on quality tables. These environmentally safe table paddings and coverings have a significantly longer life, but they may increase the price when compared to tables made with cheaper materials. Some very inexpensive tables made with non-environmentally friendly foam and coverings may seem like a good deal but may not be the best choice for a closed treatment room.
In light of new disinfecting and sanitization regimes, spas, therapists, and clinics need to consider the type of vinyl used on the table. Natural leather has long been replaced by some kind of synthetic leather. These new artificial leathers are often brand specific. Leather substitutes have unique textures, lifespans, colour availabilities. They also have varying abilities to hold up to continued disinfectant use. Check the warranties for these coverings. You should be looking for coverings that do not dry out and crack under pressure.
10 - Massage Table Frames: Wood or Aluminium?
Aluminium has different qualities. The tables built with the best quality aluminium are made of aircraft-grade aluminium. Whereas, the basic level aluminium tables are made up of aluminium composite.
If you are considering a wooden table, double-check the quality of wood for common flaws like knots and cracks. The Spirit Full Reiki Package from Earthlite has extra strong wooden braces at both ends that allow for full-on bodywork without losing any stability.
Parts and Repairs
From time to time, even the best tables may break down, get damaged, need a new cable, or perhaps an electric foot pedal. When considering one brand over another, or just comparing prices, ask if parts are readily available.
Your tables operation is critical to your income, so you cannot afford to be without an operational table for very long. Brands like Oakworks® design their tables for longevity, and also have table parts ready to ship directly to you at a moment's notice. Whereas overseas tables may or may not have easily obtainable replacement parts.
10 - Warranties
Massage tables are made from a selection of wood, aluminum, fabricated steel, foams, vinyl coverings; as well as a host of moving parts, hinges, cables and motors for electric operations, etc. Every moving part is produced to a particular quality and price. Reputable manufacturing brands will provide construction, operation, and/or life span warranties.
It is very important to consider the materials used in construction your table before making a financial investment. The materials used are responsible for the weight of the table, the longevity as well as the visual appeal of your massage table. Be sure to compare these warranty offerings.
11 - Adjustable Features and Upgrades
- Padding – Standard padding on most treatment tables is 3-4″. Some brands offer 6″ padding upgrades.
- Back lift – Tables that divide into two sections where one section can “lift” are called lift back tables. This feature is available as lift-assist (manual lift) or electric lift (automatic).
- Spa features – Tables that offer both head and leg adjustments either manually or automatically are called spa tables. These articulating tables can be purchased with or without arm rests and head cradles.
- Head rest cradles – Standard padding on most treatment tables is 3-4″; some brands offer 6″ padding upgrades.
- Bolsters - Bolsters come in all different shapes and sizes and are handy accessories to have on hand for clients with special needs
- Arm rests – Depending on the services you offer, arm rests offer added comfort and security for clients and therapists.
- Stools – A good sturdy, quiet rolling stool is a must have for most clinic rooms, usually available in a variety of heights and colours to match your table and decor.
- Heated table tops – This wonderful upgrade for most electric tables from Oakworks offers embedded heated tops. Fully controllable, this new feature eliminates cleaning and contamination concerns from previous heated table toppers.
- Table shelves – Most stationary and electric tables are available with added shelves for bolsters or towel warmers. If you are in a tight space adding a shelf to your table base may just be the tidy element you need.
- Music – Yes, blue tooth connection in now available as a feature for many treatment tables
- Carry bags – for portable tables
- Travel cart – for portable tables
12- Table Life and Price
If you are a new RMT or still studying, consider the best quality portable table you can comfortably afford. You will always need a back up portable table. As you gather your clients, then you can move up to a table with all the features you are looking for.
If you are a clinic owner looking to engage professional RMT’s and bodyworkers, consider the best electric lift treatment tables you can afford. You will find the quality of your equipment is a key factor in attracting quality therapists.
If you operate a spa and offer your clients specific and or multiple aesthetic treatments, select the most comfortable and visually appealing table you can afford.
As a therapist, spa, or clinic owner consult with your accountant about the depreciation and tax write off implications of your massage table investment.
Your new table should have a lifetime of approximately ten years under normal wear and tear conditions.
The price you pay and the options you select can also be the decision that determines income options and long term future benefits. As a business owner it is always a good idea to consult with your accountant before any major investment. Massage tables can be depreciated over time.
Where to Buy a Treatment Table?
Body Best represents the following reputable North American Treatment table manufactures:
Please contact any one of our Table Experts for more information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-881-1681.
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