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What is the Ideal Temperature for Your Massage Room?

by Denys Shchotkin October 07, 2014 0 Comments

Treating clients as the weather turns cold can be a real challenge.
A body on a massage table tends to cool down quite quickly, while the body moving around the massage table warms up! This presents a challenge: keep the client warm, while allowing the therapist to access the body and simultaneously stay cool enough to deliver an effective treatment.
In order to get around this tricky situation, there are a couple of simple steps you can take:
Heat the room to a warm temperature - around 25°C is pleasant. In order not to overheat yourself, dress yourself in light layers that can be removed. Some loose cotton pants and a tank or t-shirt with a light sweater is a good combination. This way you can lose a layer if you’re getting too hot.
You can then set up a small fan that will flow away from the client if you are too warm. Having some moving air coming towards you can certainly help keep your temperature down when you are practicing. 
If you do not have a heating system that will heat the room effectively, then it’s very important you take alternate measures to ensure your clients’ comfort. Invest in a good table warmer and start warming the bed 30-45 minutes before the client is due to arrive. 
To really make the most of the table warmer, cover it with a fitted sheet and a top sheet. This will warm the sheets nicely as well, creating a warm cocoon for the client to crawl into when they arrive. 
Additionally, you can use back and neck warming pads to heat these areas that are often exposed during treatments (and can always do with a little relaxing before you get to them!). We have found that reusable heat packs are the simplest option for this. 
These heat packs are a thick plastic filled with sodium acetate, a 100% non-toxic gel. You click a metal disc in the pack, and the friction causes the gel to solidify and generate a lot of heat. This last for 60-90 minutes, so they are a very useful tool to add to your practice. Then you simply add them to boiling water for 10-15 minutes to return them to gel form for your next treatment.
While these two options will likely keep your client comfortable in most situations. However, if it is very cold, you might need to deliver even more warmth in order for them to have a comfortable and relaxing treatment.
Some therapists keep extra blankets on hand for this purpose. However, some clients dislike the heavy weight of thick blankets, and of course it’s key to choose blankets that are pleasant on the skin while being breathable. This can present a challenge in itself!
A simpler option is to keep a fleece pad set handy for those very chilly days. A fleece table cover and head rest cover will add a great deal of warmth and comfort to the table. These sets are very plush, adding over an inch to the thickness of the table. The client will feel completely enveloped in the cosy set and will be sure to relax completely with the extra warmth and padding. 
If your treatment room is freezing, you could use all three options in tandem - the electric table warmer, covered with the fleece set and supplemented with the back and neck warmers. If your client is still cold after that, you might want to check their pulse!
Some final pointers on maintaining the ideal temperature for your massage room:
* Make sure there are no drafts from door or window jambs
* Warm your oils or lotions so that they are not cold on an otherwise warm body
* If you are likely to get very hot and sweaty, have a towel on hand for yourself, or even sweat bands if you feel it necessary. 
* If your hands are instead very cold, keep some warm towels or hot water nearby to warm them up before treating the client.
* Keep some water on hand to stay hydrate and for your client to rehydrate at the end of the treatment.
Now we’d like to hear from you! How do you maintain the ideal temperature for your massage room? Any tips or tricks up your sleeve for reaching a happy medium that works for both you and the client? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!

Denys Shchotkin
Denys Shchotkin


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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!