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Hygiene

COVID-19, THERAPISTS PREPARING TO RETURN TO WORK

At Massage Warehouse, we are aware of and are keeping up to date on the current and recommended guidelines published by the the professional associations and the GCMT (Council for Soft Tissue Therapists). You can read the current guidelines at www.gcmt.org.uk

Current guidelines advise to sterilise your couch between clients, especially face cradles. When using couch covers, they must be replaced between each client. Use fresh material covering for each client.

When you sterilise your couch, you must accept that the material will deteriorate over time. The alcohol and chemicals dry the fabric out and cause it to crack. This could take 6 months or many years to happen depending on the amount of use and the types of disinfectants used. 

We recommend some treatment table set ups for therapist below to both protect your health, the client's health but also, protect your treatment table from harsh chemical or alcohol disinfectants. The set ups below are ranked in terms of the amount of protection they offer, 1 being the highest. We've got some amazing solutions for you to make sure you are offering your clients the highest available hygiene setup.

Treatment Couch Hygienic Set Up No 1

Use the sanitary fitted couch protector on your table.  Use a washable fitted couch cover (see many choices in department below) on the massage table and an easy washable and quick drying draping sheet on top of the client. Remove couch cover and draping sheet after each client. Have a separate & secure laundry bin for these, where they are stored waiting to be washed. Disinfect the sanitary fitted couch protector after each client and replace with new couch cover and draping sheet for every client.

(Note: If your table has a face cushion, please follow the "Face Cushions" recommendations below)

Treatment Couch Hygienic Set Up No 2

Use our PVC couch protector on your couch. Put the PVC cover on the couch
Put a fitted terry towel couch cover on top of the PVC cover. Change the terry towel cover for each client and where necessary, disinfect the upper facing side of the PVC cover. Unless you want to, try not to let disinfectant or whatever cleaner you use touch the upholstery of the treatment couch as it can break down the fabric over time. Once the PVC cover is disinfected, put it back on the couch and put a new terry towel couch cover on for next client. Repeat this process for every client. Nothing from the treatment should touch the table top itself with this set up. If something happens, You can also sterilise the couch itself, being aware of the possible deterioration of the fabric over time from chemical or alcohol based disinfectants.

(Note: If your table has a face cushion, please follow the "Face Cushions" recommendations below)


Treatment Couch Hygienic Set Up No 3

Use our PU vinyl couch protector on your treatment table. This is the same vinyl leather we use on our professional treatment tables. It is very high quality and very nice to touch. But it can be disinfected and wiped down and in a few years you can replace it if necessary. Put a fitted terry towel couch cover on top of the PU cover.
Change the terry towel cover 
and client draping sheet for each client and disinfect the PU vinyl cover. Put a new terry towel couch cover and draping sheet on for next client.

(Note: If your table has a face cushion, please follow the "Face Cushions" recommendations below)

Treatment Couch Hygienic Set Up No 4

Use a fitted couch cover (see many choices in department below) on the massage table and an easy washable draping sheet on top of the client. Remove couch cover and draping sheet after each client. Have a separate & secure laundry bin for these, where they are stored waiting to be washed. Disinfect table after each client and replace with new couch cover and draping sheet for every client. Please accept the fact that disinfectants will wear down the fabric on the treatment table and in time you may have to replace the cover or the table. If that is the case there are economic PU vinyl couch cover to recover the table at any stage in the future if your fabric does deteriorate.

(Note: If your table has a face cushion, please follow the "Face Cushions" recommendations below)

Treatment Couch Hygienic Set Up No 5

On top of your treatment table, lay a liquid proof disposable sheet. It is a liquid barrier where no liquid can get through. Use a fitted couch cover (see many choices in department below) on the massage table and an easy washable draping sheet on top of the client. Remove couch cover and draping sheet after each client. Have a separate & secure laundry bin for these, where they are stored waiting to be washed.

If anything unhygienic were to make it through the couch cover, the disposable sheet acts as a 2nd barrier. Dispose of the sheet securely in a separate rubbish bin. With this set up, you can also sterilise the couch itself if your risk assessment supports it. 

(Note: If your table has a face cushion, please follow the "Face Cushions" recommendations below)

 

Face Cushions

If your massage table has a face cushion, great! They are separate to the massage table so are much easier to clean and disinfect after each client and are very economical and easy to replace, if in time the fabric deteriorates from disinfectants.

Face Cushion Hygienic Set Up  No 1:

Use the fitted sanitary face cushion cover. It fully covers the entire cushion so no part of the face can touch the cushion.

Cover your sanitary face cushion cover with a 2nd washable terry towel or cotton face rest cover (see below for both). These offer a nicer touch experience to the client. Optional - On top of the washable cover, put a disposable face rest cover. Our disposable face rest covers are extra large so they can be tucked in nicely to the gap in the middle so they cover the entire face cushion that is touched by the face. They are very nice and soft and very comfortable for the skin.

Remove washable cover and disposable cover after each client. Throw the disposable item in your secure rubbish bin following the guidelines of your professional association and put the terry towel or cotton cover in a secure laundry bin, ready for washing. 

Disinfect the sanitary face cushion. There is then no need to disinfect the actual cushion itself.

Face Cushion Hygienic Set Up  No 2:

Cover your face cushion with a washable terry towel  or cotton face rest cover (see below for both). On top of the washable cover, put a disposable face rest cover. Our disposable face rest covers are extra large so they can be tucked in nicely to the gap in the middle so they cover the entire face cushion that is touched by the face.

Remove washable cover and disposable cover after each client. Throw the disposable item in your secure rubbish bin following the guidelines of your professional association and put the terry towel or cotton cover in a secure laundry bin, ready for washing. 

Disinfect the face cushion thoroughly. If the material breaks down over time from the disinfectants they are very economical to replace (currently under £20) - see here for our ergonomic face cushion.

Bolster Cushions

There is no doubt bolster cushions enhance the treatment experience and allow you to make the client more comfortable either for relaxation or therapeutic positioning so we hope you continue to use them. For now, there is no sanitary covers made to fit bolsters that can be disinfected. So you will have to disinfect the bolster itself after each client. On the plus side, washable covers can be used for a nicer touch experience for the client and to prolong the life of the bolster from any oils or sweat that may get on the bolster.

We recommend you cover every massage bolster with a washable 100% Cotton Bolster Cover. They are economical to purchase and small, light and very easy to machine wash and dry.

After each client remove the washable cover and store it securely in a laundry bin ready for machine washing. Disinfect the bolster cover. When dry put a newly washed Cotton Bolster Cover giving your client an upgraded touch experience and increased peace of mind.

You will be disinfecting your bolster regardless whether you have a washable cover or not. The main  reason for the washable bolster cover is to instill a a sense of security and confidence for the client that you are taking things seriously and offering something fresh and clean for each treatment.  It is also nicer to feel against the skin for the client.









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!