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Table Talk : Assessing your Massage Table Needs

posted by Custom Craftworks on June 06, 2018

It's time for a new massage table. Where do you begin? For starters, It is important to understand the different massage table characteristics and the purposes they serve. The team at Custom Craftworks put together a list of features, trade-offs, costs, benefits and other factors (quality, durability, performance) to consider when choosing the table that is right for you. 

Price

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Questions to consider: Is there a meaningful relationship between price and quality? What is the real cost of a massage table? Which table will best help me build a successful practice? Which table will help make the best first impression on clients? Which table will help me deliver my best work?

There is a direct relationship between the price and quality of a massage table. Building a high­ quality table requires a well-conceived design, the use of appropriate materials and skilled workmanship. To achieve cost savings, companies often compromise on materials and workmanship. The differences in table quality can significantly affect the experience of both you and your clients. To build a successful practice, you must give your clients an experience that invites them back. Every component of a therapist's work, from the uniqueness of touch to the comfort and safety of the equipment, leaves an impression. An unstable, uncomfortable or squeaky table detracts from a client's experience. If a client, who might otherwise become a regular, chooses not to return, it could compromise hundreds if not thousands of dollars in potential earnings. Therefore, well-designed, high quality crafted massage tables have more value.

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Safety

Questions to consider: How do I identify if a table is safe or not? Are there objective indicators of table safety?

Many companies assign a "weight capacity" to their tables after performing a series of different tests specifically for massage tables. The most significant test is intended to reveal a table's "dynamic load" capacity. This is the capacity of the table to withstand a dropped weight from a specific height (simulating the effect of a table undergoing the rigorous movements that accompany massage.) You make a commitment to client safety when you put a client on your table. The implication is that the equipment you use will safely and securely support the client without fail. Choosing a high quality, professional table is the first step in providing that assurance. The subsequent steps include proper set-up and maintenance of the table. With adequate care, a

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professional grade massage table will safely perform in a practice over many years. 

Stability

Questions to consider: Does the stability of a table contribute to my client's experience? Does stability impact the amount of energy I expend during a treatment? Does increased stability add to the weight of a table?

Stability affects a massage treatment in two ways. For clients, stability or "containment of
movement" instills confidence and a feeling of safety. Feeling safe is a prerequisite to "letting go" and the disengagement of the sympathetic nervous system. For therapists, containment of movement means greater stroke efficiency and less fatigue of your hands, wrists, arms and
shoulders. Therapist's energy is intended to affect muscles and joints. If the table flexes or
moves excessively, that energy is wasted. With few exceptions, reinforcing tables to minimize movement and enhance stability adds to the weight of the table. A well-designed table offers ample stability with minimal additional weight.

Comfort

Questions to consider: How important is comfort in a therapy treatment? What factors influence comfort in a table? Why is foam density an important consideration in comfort and longevity? 

Delivering an experience of total relaxation to clients is the first step toward a great treatment, client satisfaction and retention. A well-designed foam system should offer firm support tor the skeletal structure and moderately firm support to accommodate the soft tissues. Foam systems that use light density foams offer an initial feeling of plush softness, but have thinner cell walls that break down much faster. These systems quickly lose memory and full loft, compromising the longevity of the table. 

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Weight

Questions to consider:  Are you planning to do "outcall" work in your practice? Will outcalls be primarily an initial marketing strategy to build a clientele base or an ongoing component of your business plan? What else do you plan to bring along?

If you are primarily set up in one location, table weight is not a factor. However, if you do a lot of outcall work, ease of transport is  important. A table cart is ideal for transporting your table and all of your supplies in one trip. Some portable massage tables have carry cases with a designated oil and lotion pouch with room for tools. If a table cart isn't necessary, consider a carrying case to protect your table from wear and tear.

Noise

Questions to consider: What is the impact of noise during a massage therapy treatment? What does squeaking reflect about a table?

Often overlooked as a factor in client satisfaction, noise adds can be extremely distracting to you and your client. It can prohibit the client from entering into deep relaxation. Not only does it distract, noise can also raise questions about the safety of the table. In an article in "Massage &
Bodywork," Nina McIntosh writes, "If anything disrupts the quiet of a session ... clients should be given a discount... we're responsible for providing a relaxing environment." The point is to secure a quiet and relaxing environment for your clients. The success of a treatment, and of a practice, rides on it. Because noise is created when table parts rub together, a solidly built table offers greater opportunity for silence (not to mention reliability and client security.)

  

TableTalk
 

Tags: massage tables, massage therapy

About Author

Custom Craftworks

Originally founded in 1986, Custom Craftworks supports the vital work of professional manual therapists and educators in the massage therapy and holistic health fields by designing, building and sourcing the best-quality massage tables, chairs, equipment and accessories available. In 2009, the company was acquired by Pivotal Health Solutions based in Watertown, South Dakota.