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How To Choose A Massage Table For Personal And Professional Use

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

For home use, a massage table is a luxury rather than a necessity for most people. For a professional like a massage therapist however, it is one of the necessary tools of the trade. Nevertheless, both uses share a number of points in common, and the same features that a professional looks for in his or her massage table is something that a home user will often find helpful.

You can give someone a massage by having him or her lie down on a mattress placed on the ground. For some types of massage which need you to step on the subject with your feet to apply pressure to muscles deep under the skin, a massage table will not work. Unfortunately, for most types of massage commonly used as therapy in the United States, that is not the case. The subject needs to lie with his neck bent or tilted to one side, which is not a comfortable posture and also will not allow him to receive a relaxing massage to the back of his head and neck. It is also not comfortable for the masseuse - having to kneel down and bend over the subject is very hard on both the knees and lower back. A massage table has one more major advantage over the mattress on the ground or a common bed - there is a cutout where the subject can place his face when he is lying on his stomach.


A massage table needs to be sturdy enough to take the weight of the subject as well as the weight of the masseuse leaning over him when applying deep pressure. When the masseuse applies force in a strong back and forth motion, the massage table also needs to be able to resist the resulting rocking motion without creaking and falling apart. And it needs to do all these while placed in the middle of the room without any support from the walls, unlike a cheap normal bed.

Height Adjustment

Next to sturdiness of the massage table, the ability to adjust the height of the table is very important to the masseuse. Especially for a professional who has to massage many clients everyday, using a table that is too low means they will over strain their lower back while a massage table that is too high does not let them apply enough pressure on the subject. Portable massage tables usually only allow the height to be adjusted when they are being set up.

Portability/Storage Considerations

Portability is not an important factor for home use, but it is still helpful when you need to move the massage table around. More importantly, a portable massage table is also easy to break down for storage, which is an important factor for home use. After all, many people do not have a room dedicated just for massage.

For a professional massage therapist who visits clients for out calls, his massage table also needs to be light enough to carry. For a home user, a medium weight table is good enough - as long as he or she can move it around when necessary.


Massage tables normally range from 25 inches wide to 30 inches wide. With only 5 inches difference between the narrowest table and the widest table, you would not think this a major factor. However, you would be surprised.

The width of a massage table is important to both the subject and the masseuse. For a subject with broad shoulders, it could be the difference between being able to rest his or her arms on the massage table against having to let it hang down uncomfortably.

For the masseuse, a table that is too wide forces them to work at too shallow an angle - this means they have to apply more brute force from their muscles instead of leveraging the force from gravity and their own body weight. Besides the extra strain on their lower backs from having to bend down more, it also tires them out faster. This can be a big difference in income for a professional massage therapist - it could mean seeing one or two fewer clients everyday.


A massage table with a thick mattress is more comfortable than a table with a thin mattress or padding. However, if the mattress is too thick, it may not be firm enough to support the subject. A mattress that is too thick can also absorb some of the pressure being applied by the masseuse, forcing him or her to work harder to relax the subject.

However, finding the happy medium between too thick and too thin a mattress or padding requires some experience and is not something that should bother a home user or new massage therapist. A home user should just pick a massage table with a thicker and more comfortable mattress, as long as he can still afford it. On the other hand, a new massage therapist needs to keep in mind that a thicker mattress also means a more expensive massage table, while a thinner mattress may result in less comfort for their subjects and decrease repeat business and referrals.

Ease of Cleaning

Ease of cleaning the massage table is something that many people forget. However, it is critically important for massages using oil. Not all massage tables are made equal (even for different models from the same brand), and some cannot be cleaned using common cleaning agents like alcohol.


What is your budget for buying a massage table? This determines the price you are willing to pay. But note that many newer massage tables, like those made by Master Massage Table, are comparable in quality yet cheaper than older professional grade massage tables used in massage schools and studios. And when you buy online, you can sometimes find a good sale, up to 50% off the list price.

So these are seven factors that you need to consider when buying a massage table. The best way is really to walk into a specialty store and try out their display models. Go in with a friend, give him a massage and get a massage from him using the table you are testing out. How does it feel as the subject and as the masseuse? If it feels good, then that massage table is a good fit for you.



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