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A high-quality portable massage table is an important investment for a professional massage therapist. When you buy a table, start by asking these questions:
You get what you pay for. For home or occasional use, a less expensive table is fine. If you are a professional massage therapist, your table is an investment in your business, and you might even consider buying an electric massage table. Choose the massage table that best fits your requirements. The following information will help you know what to look for in a portable table.
While more foam makes the table softer and more comfortable, the type of foam is also an important consideration. For example, a very soft foam contains a lot of air and can settle over time, meaning it’s not very durable. So, consider getting a table that has a layering system with a more durable foam on the top. This information is usually available in the literature of massage table manufacturers.
You want to know that your table will hold up well under severe conditions, including having the strength to support a heavy person with you using strong pressure or rocking techniques.
What kind of wood is used in the construction? Is it hardwood, like maple or oak? What kind of plywood for the platform? How is it assembled? Well-built tables can be trusted to give full support and not squeak during use.
How much weight can the table support? Static weight is the amount of weight the table can hold without any movement on the table. You are more interested in working weight, which takes into account the weight of the client and any movement of the massage table that occurs during a massage session.
What locking system does the table use? In a cable-lock system (the most commonly used system), the cables support both sides of the folding table and keep the braces in the open position, automatically securing the braces when you set up the table. With a table that has a locking pin system, you have to secure the braces after you set up the table.
What’s the warranty? Good manufacturers usually offer a lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. However, read the warranty carefully and understand exactly what it does and does not cover.
The table width you choose will depend on how you plan to use the table. Width is an important consideration for both client and therapist comfort. The most usable all-around width is 29 to 30 inches. However, if you are very short, you probably want a narrower table.
If you don’t need to move the table often, then a 32-inch table is more comfortable for clients. However, a wider table also is also heavier, making it harder to move, and may not work well for you if you are not tall.
The standard length for most tables is 73 inches.
A larger portable massage table typically weighs more. Consider how important table weight is to you. How do you see yourself using your table? Will you work in mostly in one location with an occasional house call, or do you plan to primarily make house calls, where you need a lightweight table that you can haul around easily and store in your car? You also need to take into account your size and strength. If you need a super lightweight table, consider one with aluminum legs.
Endplates are an important structural component of a table. Do you want a table with a standard endplate, which makes getting your legs under the table difficult when you are sitting on a stool? A reiki endplate gives your legs more space. Several other endplate variations are also available.
While a cheap portable massage table may be OK for occasional home use, for the professional massage therapist, a cheap table can be a risky choice—if the table breaks with someone on it, you are liable. Save yourself the headache and invest in a quality portable massage table.