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Tales from the Table - Nosey Neighbours

by Samantha Jenkins February 26, 2021

An image of the face cradle of a massage table with Tales from the Table Nosey Neighbours over the top to advertise a series of tales from massage and physical therapists from Massage Warehouse

I received a telephone call from a fellow physiotherapist the other day who works in the North East. Luckily this therapists has a fantastic sense of humour as this story could have been very upsetting. The therapist is in her mid 30’s, a single parent and comes from a family of healthcare  professionals, her father is an Osteopath and her mother a G.P. and both her brother and sister work within the NHS, so has been surrounded by medical people all of her life and you could say it is a family tradition. Her brother also played Rugby for a local club and in the little spare time she has, she is an active member of the drama group and can often be seen treading the local boards.


After she split up with her partner she bought a house in a small village and due to being a single parent she set up a clinic at home so she could get the best work life balance and spend quality time with her young child. This meant she tended to work mornings and evenings.

Not long after she had moved in there was a knock at the door. It was a chilly autumnal evening, her child was in bed and she had been working hard learning her lines for the upcoming production of Jack and the Beanstalk and wearing a long blonde wig as she prepped for her part. 

She answered the door and standing there was an elderly couple who introduced themselves as the neighbours from across the road. Realising she was still in the wig she snatched it off and threw it on a chair and invited them in for coffee. 

They sat chatting for about an hour. They explained they were part of the local church group and she explained about her recent split, her move to the village and why she was wearing the wig. Everything seemed fine but after this meeting things started to change.... 

She noticed that every time she had a client arrive the curtains across the road would twitch. This led her to nickname the neighbours as Mr and Mrs Twitcher.  She also noticed that she started getting odd looks from other people in the village when she was taking her child to school or going to the local shop. 


Now her father the Osteopath was referring clients to her for soft tissue work and her brother had been referring his teammates from the local Rugby club for treatments and they were so impressed she became the clubs unofficial physio. So the physiotherapist was seeing a large number of gentlemen clients. 


Fast forward to April the next year ...


The pantomime had gone off without a hitch and the physiotherapist was now preparing for her next role in a play called 'Not now Darling'. This play is set in a shop and involves a number of women running around in fur coats.

She was upstairs in the bedroom in a fur coat learning her lines for this play when out of the window she noticed a man sitting in a car who seemed to be watching the house. Understandably this made her feel very uncomfortable so she phoned her brother who was coming over for a treatment later that day and asked him to come earlier.

He came over and she explained about the man in the car and he went out to have a look, but as he approached the car drove off.

A few days later she noticed the car again on her way back from picking up her child from school. That evening she had another couple of clients from the Rugby club and as the last one left the car was still there. So again she phoned her brother and he sped over. As he approached the car it drove off again so he stayed with her that night just to be on the safe side.

As you can imagine this was upsetting and after talking about it they decided the best course of action was to call the police if it happened again.

Later that week after treating another male client she noticed the car again with a lone occupant so she dialed 999 and called the police. Then called her brother. 

The police arrived within a few minutes. 

She opened the door and there was a male and female police officer, they came in and she explained about the man in the car. 

The male police officer went outside and the female stayed with her as she was quite frightened by all of this and having a child asleep upstairs. 

After a few minutes the male police officer returned to the house with the man from the car. This made her really scared as he had brought back the man who was “stalking” her.  

The uniformed police officer then introduced the man. This is a detective sergeant who works in our local C I D vice team and would like to ask you a few questions.

The detective sergeant started with all of the usual stuff: name, age, date of birth etc. 

The detective sergeant then said “ we have had reports that you have a large number of male callers at strange times of the day to this address and with having a child in the house it may not be the best environment for them”

Shocked, she replied "what are you saying?"

The detective sergeant replied "I am just asking about the number of male “visitors” you receive."

Now have you ever had one of those moments when the words come out of your mouth and you wish you could just grab them out of the air! What happened next is one of those!

The physiotherapist replied  "I don’t have visitors, I have clients." The detective sergeant exclaimed "Pardon?" 

At this point the penny dropped. 


She turned to the detective sergeant and asked “can I ask what you think it is I am doing here?” 

The detective sergeant replied “ Madam I was going to ask you the same question, you have been seen with a large number of males entering the property and you dressing up in various costumes” 

This was when the physiotherapist's devilish sense of humour kicked in. 


“Why don’t I take you through to the back room and I can show you? In fact if we all go it will be more fun”  this got some very quizzical looks. She stood up and they all followed her through to the back room. She opened the door and took them into a very professional looking clinic room. 

She explained to them her profession and that she worked as a physiotherapist for the local Rugby club and about being a member of a drama group hence the costumes. 

When they returned to the lounge her brother recognised the female police officer as the mother of one of the young players he helps to coach at the club. 

With everything cleared up the atmosphere became a lot more relaxed.

However the story doesn't quite end there. 

Mr and Mrs Twitcher still live over the road and may still think she is running a house of ill repute as when ever she treats one of the players it has become a running joke for them to stand at the gate and blow her a kiss and then give the thumbs up to Mr and Mrs Twitcher. 


She also gained a new client a few months later, the detective sergeant phoned her with pain in his calf and foot. She treated him and yes you have guessed it he had plantar fasciitis POLICEMAN'S HEEL! 

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Tales from the Table is written by Andrew Stevenson - Sports and Holistic Massage and Reflexology Practitioner (Husband, Dad, Granddad, Chief cook and Bottle Washer) 

Andrew Stevenson Sports and Holistic Massage

I started my working life as an Engineer in the armed forces and I have spent many years participating in a wide range of sports at high levels both locally, nationally and internationally. My body was always in good condition and everyone called me “Peter Pan” as I was always up for a new challenge. However as my age increased so did the injuries, the severity and the recovery times. It was recommended by a friend that I try reflexology and massage to be honest I was very sceptical to point where I said “if jabbing things in your feet makes you better I will just walk around outside on the gravel with no shoes on and save myself a few quid”

My life changed in my 30’s when I had a particularly bad back injury and was given a choice to give up playing sport (Football as a goalkeeper) or give up walking. Having two young children at the time I can still remember my wife’s words "I can’t push the children around in the pushchair and you in a wheelchair so no more football"

At that point I thought my life was over and the world was going to end.

So I tried both reflexology and going for a massage. The older one amongst us will remember the old advert at Christmas for Remington shavers. “I was so impressed I bought the company”. I found the benefits astonishing not only to my physical wellbeing but also my mental wellbeing so in 2005 I qualified as a reflexologist and massage therapist through the AoR (Association of Reflexologists) and started my journey of helping others, working with clients, local sports teams and professional athletes.  

Since qualifying as a therapist I have become a qualified football coach, manager, and club “physio” only retiring from the game in 2020. I have driven rally cars, played cricket and still play golf and compete at both field and target archery. My experiences have taught me first hand to always remember the body is just like any other piece of machinery - if it is not properly maintained then it will fail!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter here! 

Samantha Jenkins
Samantha Jenkins


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Massage Table Size Guide

Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

  1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
  2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.


The Width of the Massage Table:

Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

measuring the width of a massage table

Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.


The Height Of the Massage Table

Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.


Massage Table Shape:

The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.


3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.

This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.


4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
5. Oval Shaped

 The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

oval massage table


Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!