10 Best Massage Tables | March 2017
- easy to put together
- rather overpriced option
- wobbles under heavier customers
- comes in four colors
- adjusts to 23 positions
- holds up to 3000 lbs
- tables weighs less than 40 pounds
- cushions very comfortable
- release cables for easy closing
- comes with 1-year warranty
- three inches of foam in padding
- sleek and minimalist appearance
- covered in waterproof upholstery
- easily adjustable face cradle
- auto lock leg opening system
- disposable face pillow covers
- adjustable arm shelf
- limited lifetime warranty
- three layer cushion
- comes in three widths
- shelf on bottom for storage
What Do I Need to Consider Before Purchasing a Massage Table?
The first thing to consider before purchasing a massage table is whether you'll need that table to be stationary or portable. Most portable tables weigh less than 50 lbs, and they're collapsible, which renders a portable table a bit more flimsy than its counterparts. The biggest advantage to owning a portable table is that a masseuse can make house calls. The biggest limitation is that a portable table may not appear as reassuring, or antiseptic, to a lot of clients. The point being that most professional masseuses prefer to own a stationary table, regardless of whether they keep a portable table on hand for special calls.
A stationary massage table should be stable, and sturdy, weighing between 40-150 lbs. A stationary table should feature 2-3 inches of padding (preferably memory foam) beneath a smooth layer of upholstery that is constructed out of polyurethane or leather. The majority of stationary tables feature a solid wood or metal base (metal bases are adjustable). An average table measures 4-6 ft long by 2-3 ft wide, with a flexible back pad and a face pillow. If a table features armrests, you may want those rests to be detachable. Armrests tend to get in the way when clients are lying face-down.
Assuming that you're interested in a stationary table, it's worth investing in a model that comes with a lower-deck shelf (for storage). In addition, you'll want a table's upholstery to be water-proof, oil-proof, hypoallergenic, and bacteria-resistant. The more expensive a table is, the more you'll want that table to come with a warranty. It's difficult to gauge a table's usefulness until you've had an opportunity to see how a handful of your customers respond.
Several Keys to Providing a Soothing Atmosphere for Massage
A massage studio is only as successful as its ability to welcome clients. With that in mind, a masseuse should strive to create an atmosphere where every client feels at ease. The first key to achieving this is ensuring that the premises remain antiseptic. A massage studio needs to be cleaned, dusted, and mopped on a continual basis. Tables need to be wiped down and sanitized, and tables should also have a sheet placed over them whenever they are not being used.
Certain masseuses prefer to play ambient music in their studios, while others prefer to give each client the option of choosing his or her own music from a laptop, playlist, or iPod. The more tranquil the practice, the more a masseuse might veer toward silence. It's worth noting that an air conditioner or the constant hum of a fan can be used to drone out any disruptive sounds or unavoidable noise.
Short of the reception area, the lighting in a massage studio should be muted, with each massage station providing just enough visibility that the effect won't seem off-putting. Drapes should be closed and blinds should be drawn. You want each client to drift into a stress-free state of bliss, as opposed to getting distracted by passing shadows along the wall.
In terms of paneling and decor, you want to avoid any "loud" colors. The walls and furniture should feature moderate tones, with shades of white and brown throughout. Wherever possible, use walls as opposed to curtains. Curtains make a massage studio feel like a hospital, and that, in turn, makes every client feel like a patient.
A thermostat is one of the most critical features of any massage studio. A studio should always feel comfortable, which means keeping the temperature warm during the winter, and cold during the summer. Make limited use of potpourri or other manufactured scents, as some of these may not agree with your customers.
The crown jewel of any massage studio is its tables, which is why the upholstery on these tables should appear smooth and clean, if not immaculate, at all times.
A Brief History of Massage
The earliest evidence that massage existed comes by way of ancient cave drawings, and, subsequently, artistic etchings. Subsequent records confirm that certain forms of foot, hand, and back massage were practiced as a form of pain relief (particularly for soldiers) throughout Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, Greece, and Rome.
During the 3rd Century, BCE, the Chinese compiled a printed history of their medical practices known as the Huangdi Neijing (aka "The Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon"). This text included more than three dozen references to back, foot, neck, and body massage, with the majority of these references recommending massage as an effective means of alleviating pain.
It was around this period that a guru named Shivago Komarpaj created the first official form of Thai massage. Komarpaj devised a holistic regimen of therapeutic treatments based on acupuncture, reflex mechanics, muscle development, acupressure, and early forms of yoga. Komarpaj's research and methodology gained widespread acclaim after he began to treat the Buddha.
In 581, CE, China instated massage therapy as a part of its imperial curriculum, meaning that massage would be studied, performed, and prescribed by medical students and licensed physicians throughout that country, and a number of its surrounding regions.
Europe's elite employed massage as a form of stress relief throughout the Middle Ages. A few centuries later, a Swedish gym instructor named Pehr Henrik Ling developed his own form of massage based on relaxing, and then re-energizing, the upper-most layer of soft tissue. Ling's methods became so renowned among therapists, professional trainers, and coaches that by the end of the 1800s, the term Swedish Massage had been born.
Today, massage is more popular than it has ever been. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American consumers spend $6 billion a year on massage services, a figure which might seem ironic given that massage is customarily associated with the Eastern regions of the world.