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by Samantha Jenkins February 20, 2019 0 Comments

When was the last time you had a massage?


Do you find yourself making excuses?

  • “I don’t have time”

  • “I don’t have the money”

  • “I will go next month”

Ever think you are starting to sound a little bit like your clients!


Any salesman will tell you, without experiencing your product it's pretty hard to convince anyone! As massage therapists, we are always trying to persuade people that massage is an ongoing method to take care of your body and not a one-off treat! So why as massage therapists would we not regularly get treatments ourselves?


Why you need to make time to get regular massage treatments.


  • Your body is central to your work. Without it, you cannot serve your clients and keep growing your massage therapy business. You know massage is great for maintaining a healthy body and helping with a wide range of aches and pains. So practice what you preach and schedule the time to take care of your business' most important asset!

  • Refresh your knowledge without the need for expensive training. By visiting a therapist who delivers the same type of massage, you can check in on your techniques and potentially pick up some new ones. Massage Swaps


  • Some massage therapists prefer opting for a different style for their massage swap to have a more relaxing experience. When scheduling your appointment think about your needs. What do you need from this treatment? Are you looking to do a bit of research for your own massage therapy business or are you in need of some TLC and bodywork of your own.

  • Clients prefer therapists who can talk from experience. Not just from delivering a massage, but also receiving. When talking to your clients about the treatment you are giving, the trust between you is strengthened when you know how it feels on your own body.

  • Take the opportunity to see how others set up their treatment spaces, whether in a clinic or as mobile massage therapists. You may see something new or spark ideas of how you can upgrade your space.

  • Massage treatments vary widely in different cultures. By experiencing massage treatments abroad you can pick up some knowledge you might not be exposed to at home. For example, in the UK most of our clients prefer to keep their underwear on during massages. However, in most of the world, it is normal for clients to remove their underwear during treatments, to allow for smoother movements when working on the glutes.

  • It is not uncommon for therapists to practice a traditional type of massage without ever setting foot in its country of origin such as Thailand or Japan. If you do get a chance to visit, make time to check out a few different local massages. Notice what is the same and what might be different from your training. It will add colourful detail to your conversation with clients who will no doubt be impressed with your in-depth knowledge and passion.

So how can you schedule regular massage treatments when time and resources are tight?


Massage swaps are popular among therapists but people’s experiences can vary. There are also different ways to approach this relationship. Some prefer to pay for their appointments and others set up an exchange system.

Before getting started, research your local area for different types of massage therapists. Is there anyone you know already and have a good relationship with? Are there any clinics you have seen in passing and have been really curious to try out! Check on social media to see if any massage therapists near you are offering any special introductory deals or seasonal offers so you can save money if you do decide to pay for your treatment.

Which brings us to …


Massage swaps - the good, the bad and the ugly!


Some of you have shared the good experiences you have had with taking part in massage exchanges.

Good massage swap experience comment from Facebook from Kizzys Relaxatiehuis

However, lots of therapists reported finding massage swaps stressful after some bad experiences.


Bad experiences with massage swaps comment from Facebook from Marika Klejment


It was clear one of the biggest challenge putting you off massage swaps was scheduling.


Problems with massage swaps comment from Facebook from Erin Detka


It can definitely be frustrating to lose a paying client and work/life balance is hard to maintain as a self-employed massage therapist.

If you would still like to do a swap with a therapist you know or are getting to know, there are lots of different approaches depending on schedules and sentiments.


Tips for massage swap success


  • Be upfront. A great suggestion here. Starting off your arrangement with honesty is the best way to be sure both parties are on the same page and minimise the risk for any hurt feelings.

    Tip for a successful massage swap. Facebook comment from Nick Wilde

    • Try to analyse together which times in your schedule are often empty. Some therapists prefer to commit to one treatment a month each. Others schedule less regularly, but keeping track can be difficult and bring unnecessary stress to the arrangement. Decide on a timescale that suits you both and commit!  
    • Many massage therapists prefer to pay for their swaps. Some go completely anonymously, to get the same treatment as a client others want to contribute to the cost of their treatment and avoid the situation where either therapist risks losing a paying customer. However, some massage therapists want to network and build connections but would still prefer to pay. Establish a fixed fee and pop it in an envelope that way the money is always to hand and if the arrangement comes to an end no one is out of pocket or feeling like they are still owed. 

      Tip for a successful massage swap. Facebook comment from Michelle S Krause lmt

      • If you are struggling to find a therapist to swap with, reach out on massage therapist groups on Facebook or if you are happy with an unpaid swap then might be useful to you.
      • Whether you charge a fee or not, treat the therapists you swap with like a paying client! Use the experience to test your skills and as a potential job interview! If that therapist is ever sick and needs a last-minute stand-in, they could be calling you if they like your massage techniques.
      • If your massage swap is no longer working for you there are ways you can end the agreement without hurting anyone’s feelings. If you have been upfront about your arrangement it should be easy enough to back out, even if you haven’t found the next therapist to work with yet, sometimes a little white lie doesn’t hurt!

        Tip for how to leave a massage swap. Facebook comment from Ian Harvey


        Tip for how to leave a massage swap. Facebook comment from Allissa Haines

        How often do you go for a massage yourself? Have you ever taken part in a massage swap with another therapist? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

        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!