As a massage therapist, the most indispensable piece of equipment you will own is a table. Massage tables are the solid surface on which therapists practice their trade. Some tables are designed to work best for certain types of massage. If you specialize in Shiatsu or Reflexology, you will own a table that is slightly different than a table owned by a sports massage therapist. Portable tables are available for those therapists who work outside of their home or office.
Massage tables come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Accessories can be purchased to augment the function of the table and create a more comfortable space for the client. What table you should use is based on what your clients want and where you are practicing massage.
When purchasing a basic massage table, regardless of any specialized needs you may have, there are a few features you should look for. Always purchase a table that is both sturdy and comfortable. A well-made massage table will be strong enough to hold the weight of client and have a thick layer of foam padding for comfortable cushioning. A durable covering, usually vinyl, nylon or corduroy, should also be present. Look for a good warranty, combined with a reasonable price, when searching for a massage table. Select a table that is has enough height for you to perform an effective massage and allow clients to position themselves effortlessly. Versatility is an important quality to seek out if you plan to perform a wide variety of massage. Some tables fold down for easy transport. Others have extendable elements for clients with broad shoulders or long limbs.
If you practice a certain type of massage, you will need to look for even more specific features when selecting a table. Sports massage therapists must usually buy a reinforced table with very durable upholstery to hold the weight of athletes. Therapists who practice massage in a resort environment should purchase a water-resistant table, as spa clients can show up for a session after an hour in a sauna.
Performing a wide variety of massage techniques requires an adaptable table. You should purchase a massage table that has adjustable height, usually accomplished through a hydraulic system. You might also decide to invest in a massage stool, if you sit down during sessions. As you gain experience as a massage therapist, you will recognize the particular needs of your clients and alter your equipment appropriately.
It is possible to augment the function of a basic massage table through the addition of accessories. When you are purchasing a table, ask about any add-ons or customizations the manufacturer offers.
Using head, arm and feet rests can customize massage tables for certain clients, such as expectant mothers. Adjustable headrests can be modified to provide comfort for individual clients. Arm rests and bolsters allow the therapist to position the client in ways that allows the best access to certain joints and muscles. Bolsters also alleviate tension by reducing strain on the body. You can look for a table extender, if you are practicing on particularly tall clients such as athletes.
Another tool massage therapists often rely on is a table warmer. As massage tables are mostly covered in vinyl, which can be cold and uncomfortable, it is important to prep the material for the client. Warmth is an effective muscle relaxant used by therapists to ready clients for a massage. Many table warmers have straps to affix them directly to the table. The temperature can usually be adjusted for heat sensitivity.
Massage therapists who make house calls must own a portable massage table to tote from place to place. Though portable massage tables are by nature lightweight, usually made out of aluminum, they are just as strong, durable, and effective as the more rigid kind. Many of them collapse for simple haulage.
In addition to face rests and bolsters, portable tables have a myriad of accessories that are designed to meet the needs of a therapist on the go. A carrying case is recommended for massage therapists who purchase portable tables. These cases protect the table from scratches and dirt during transport, as well as making it easy to move it from place to place. Some carrying cases come with wheels or shoulder straps for convenience. If you plan to use oils or lotions during massage sessions, select a carrying case with pouches. Storing all your equipment in one bag will make it super easy to transport and set up everything you need to perform a massage swiftly and professionally.