Reiki is no big secret these days, and with its relatively newfound notoriety has come a certain level of acceptance of its ability to benefit the human body and mind, although the majority of people who have not been trained in it are unable to understand how it works. What is commonly known is that Reiki is a form of healing and that it works using the person’s energy field. These energy fields are not widely acknowledged, which is why it has taken Reiki a relatively long time to become familiar in the west. Termed ‘biofields’, these subtle energies can be manipulated through the intentions and actions of a competent healer and such therapies are thought to create harmony and balance within our energy fields.
Translated as ‘universal life energy’, Reiki was the creation of Japanese born Mikao Usui in the early 1920s. Mikao Usui was known to be very interested in spiritual matters and his healing practice existed within Japanese culture alongside other still-popular practices such as Taoism, Buddhism and Shinto.
These days, Reiki is growing more and more popular with newly certified practitioners popping up all over the globe; this of course serves to lend even more credibility to its efficacy, and Reiki patients are flocking to find out what it’s all about and get a piece of this sought-after healing. This Japanese wellness practice is famed for both relaxing and energizing the patient, as well as leaving them with a sense of renewed clarity. These are three of the common benefits attributed to Reiki healing, but there are many more.
It shouldn’t be underestimated
Patients report that in their first session they usually feel a strong sense of relaxation, with subsequent sessions often creating much stronger physical effects. It is for this reason that Reiki has benefited victims of accidents, resulting in a need for intensive care treatment. It’s not only emergencies that Reiki can assist with; people with chronic health disorders have regularly seen a marked improvement after having regular Reiki sessions, consequently reducing their intake of medicine.
One commonly noted thing by both the practitioner and the patient is that an unusually large amount of heat is generated in the practitioners hands during the treatment; this is one of the more immediate and tangible effects of Reiki healing, and the practitioner – often in a trance-like, meditative state themselves – can feel intuitively drawn to place this heat over areas of the body that need it.
As science has not made any attempts to prove that our energy fields (which also can not be measured) can be cleansed by holistic treatments, the evidence of its benefits is largely anecdotal. Patients have reported such effects as reduction of chronic pain and/or anxiety, improvement in depression and a profound sense of well-being. It has also been known to ease issues experienced by those with terminal illnesses, making their passing a much smoother transition.
Why it stands out from the crowd
What makes Reiki different to other holistic therapies such as massage is that it requires no physical manipulation, so it is only the energy field that is worked on by the practitioner. There is often a minimal amount of touch involved, but it is not necessary and can be performed without any physical contact if preferred. Patients remain fully-clothed and any touch is very light and only on top of the clothing. One of the great things about Reiki is that you can perform it on yourself, so practitioners don’t need to rely on anyone else to do it on them. It can be done on anyone at all – children and animals benefit greatly from it, although they seem to require a lot less than us jaded and weathered adults!
Because of the non-physical, passive element to Reiki, it has been likened to a form of meditation for the client, and does frequently induce deep meditative states even when the client wasn’t anticipating it. The Reiki practitioner's hands are still for most of the treatment, moving only to change hand placements. The Reiki practitioner acts as a conduit and doesn’t try to exert any influence over the outcome for the patient; they simply place hands lightly on (or above) the various areas of the body recommended in the training.
Your environment and equipment is important
Comfort is paramount for clients if they are to achieve the desired state of relaxation, but it also important that the practitioner is comfortable too as they need to ‘tune in’ to the client’s energy field and focus on the healing intentions. This means that it isn’t great to carry out treatments next to a noisy main road, or anywhere where they may be loud noises or interruptions, as this can ruin the flow. It is also wise to ensure that you have the right equipment for the job.
At Massage Warehouse we have a range of tables with Reiki end panels so that Reiki practitioners can be comfortably seated with their legs under the table while they carry out the treatment. Our professional grade range comes with comfortable 6.5cm high-density foam and soft PU leather, so clients will be at their most relaxed throughout your treatment. If you’re looking for a new table for your Reiki therapies but not sure which would be the right choice, feel free to get in touch with us for some advice.
We hope you have all been enjoying our "Ask The Muscle Whisperer" series. This month we asked the UK massage industry's top thought leaders to share key tips for massage therapists to help their massage therapy businesses navigate the changes in our industry brought about by Covid-19 and come back stronger in 2021!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.