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Whether you’ve got a sore back, are feeling a little stressed, or just need to pamper yourself, a good massage could be the cure for what ails you. In fact, massage provides a variety of health benefits, and receiving regular massages can actually bolster your physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re serious about your massages and want to receive them at home, having access to a real massage table is key to getting the full benefits. If you’re a massage therapist or practitioner-in-training yourself, it’s also very important to have the right kind of equipment.
At first glance, all massage tables might seem the same. In truth, however, some key differences separate them. Choose the type of table that works best for you, keeping factors like frame material, padding, upholstery, and accessories in mind. At BestReviews, we conducted deep research on the massage table market to find the best massage tables available for purchase. If you’re ready to buy a massage table, take a look at the matrix above for our top recommendations. For general information on how to choose a massage table, just keep reading.
So why would anyone want to receive a massage in the first place? It’s more than just a feel-good experience.
Massage can help relieve pain stemming from soft tissue strain. Athletes with injuries, sore muscles, and joints often benefit from massage.
Massage can bring relief to individuals with chronic pain issues including fibromyalgia and temporomandibular joint pain.
Doctors believe that massage can help manage symptoms associated with digestive disorders, headaches, and insomnia.
Massage can often help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Even if you don’t have an injury or chronic health issue, massage can help relax you.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Enhanced Introductory Table
The BestMassage table delivers accessories galore! Indeed, the manufacturer has gone all out on this budget-conscious product. The face cradle may be the only weak spot, as some customers worry about its durability. However, everything else is phenomenal. We award this product top marks for including a carrying case, armrests, and an oil pouch that hangs directly on the table. Extremely comfortable, oil-resistant sheets are also included. If you go with this model as an introductory product, you'll have more than enough to get started.
Let’s take a look at the three main types of massage tables available for purchase: portable tables, stationary tables, and hydraulic/electric tables.
A portable massage table is exactly what it sounds like: a table that folds easily and is lightweight enough to carry from place to place.
If you’re hoping to receive or give a massage while on vacation or at a friend’s house, a portable massage table is a convenient option.
Portable massage tables typically cost less than other types of massage tables.
Notably, portable massage tables consist of many moving parts that can make a lot of noise. They also feature a middle hinge that may not support larger individuals.
If you’re purchasing a portable massage table, weight is the most important consideration. It’s harder to lug around a 30-pound massage table than it is to carry a 20-pound massage table.
Unlike portable massage tables, stationary massage tables are designed to stay in a single location, so they’re usually heavier and sturdier.
There is no middle hinge in a stationary massage table. Therefore, a stationary massage table is a better choice for larger clients.
Stationary massage tables tend to have a mid-range price tag. They aren’t the cheapest massage tables available, but they aren’t the most expensive, either.
Stationary massage tables often include some storage space for linens, bolsters, and other accessories.
Stationary massage tables are heavy. If you need to move the table, you’d likely need at least one helper.
Stationary massage tables usually don’t allow for much adjustment, so you may not be able to raise or lower it.
When you’re giving a massage on your table, be careful to avoid the recipient’s bones and joints. Pressing on these areas can be uncomfortable and may cause bruising.
A hydraulic or electric massage table can be easily raised or lowered. This is great for clients who may have difficulty climbing aboard.
Hydraulic or electric massage tables are usually very sturdy and durable.
They offer more adjustability than any other type of massage table.
They also tend to be the most expensive type of massage table. If you’re only buying a massage table for home use, a pricey hydraulic table is probably not worth the investment.
Hydraulic/electric massage tables often require repair work, which can be costly.
Hydraulic/electric tables aren’t easy to move. If you do need to move one, you’d likely need to enlist the help of others.
Oils can damage a massage table’s surface. If you use oils or lotions in your massage practice, place a cover on the table first to protect it.
Granted, you’re the only one who knows what you need. But we posit the following recommendations.
For home use, a portable massage table is usually the best option. It’s lightweight, easy to move, and can be taken on trips. If you’re training to be a massage therapist, a portable table is also a good beginner option.
For professional use, a stationary massage table is a great solution. You can leave the table out all the time, and it will accommodate a larger population of clientele than a portable massage table would.
For office-bound professionals, a hydraulic or electric massage table is another good choice. Many therapists and clients appreciate the adjustability this type of table affords. However, it’s a pricey option.
You may want to get a small stool to use with your massage table. That way, you don’t have to stand the entire time you’re giving a massage.
Wood-framed massage tables tend to be heavier, but they have a classic look that many people prefer. A massage table with an aluminum frame is lighter in weight and very strong, but some people just don’t like the way they look.
For stationary and hydraulic massage tables, weight is not usually a major issue because the table isn’t designed to be moved. But for portable massage tables, weight is a key factor. We advise potential buyers to opt for a table weighing between 22 and 30 pounds.
When you’re giving a massage, don’t push too hard. While it’s okay to press more deeply to unravel knots, you should use only enough pressure to make the muscles move painlessly under the skin.
Massage tables vary in size, so it’s important to choose one with the right width and height for your needs. Both the masseuse and the receiver of the massage need to be comfortable.
Most massage tables range from 28 to 35 inches in width and 20 to 36 inches in height. The width isn’t adjustable, so it’s important to get a size that not only accommodates the individual on the table but also the masseuse, who will be bending over the table while massaging. Typically, a width of 29 to 31 inches works well.
Some massage tables allow you to adjust the height, so you can raise or lower the table within a range of at least 10 inches. Ideally, the table should touch the hip joint of the individual giving the massage.
Cover your massage table when it’s not in use to help protect it from tears, rips, and spills.
Many massage tables are upholstered with vinyl plastic. This material is strong, durable, and water- and oil-resistant. However, it’s not an environmentally friendly material, which could be an issue for some people. Other tables are upholstered with PU leather, a synthetic material that is very soft and durable. PU leather is a more environmentally friendly option, but it doesn’t resist water or oil.
For the sake of comfort, a good massage table will have some foam padding beneath the upholstered material. But how much padding should it have, and which kind? High-density foam doesn’t sag or flatten over time, so it’s worth paying a little more for. However, you should usually avoid massage tables that have more than three inches of foam padding. These tables are often uncomfortable, because the hard brick foam typically found beneath the upholstery doesn’t provide adequate cushioning.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Master Massage Therma-Top
The Master Massage's built-in heating system provides instant comfort to its users. And it’s built wider and longer than most other contenders; people of a large size adore this feature, adamantly stating that they feel comfortable and secure every time. Those who value comfort above all else would be hard-pressed to find a better massage table.
Most massage tables come with accessories that increase comfort and make the table more functional.
A face cradle gives the massage receiver a comfortable resting place for his or her face. Most cradles are removable and can be placed at either end of the table.
Some massage tables come with bolsters. A bolster can be placed under the ankles and knees for proper positioning.
Some massage tables come with linens designed to protect the upholstered surface.
Most massage table face rests are removable and can be inserted at either end of the table.
Massage tables vary in price based on type, materials, and accessories, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $60 and $2,000 for one.
For an entry-level portable massage table, a price tag of $60 to $125 is reasonable.
For a high-quality portable massage table, the cost will be higher. Expect to pay somewhere between $125 and $400.
For a stationary massage table, you’ll usually pay between $450 and $1,000.
For a hydraulic or electric massage table, you’ll usually pay between $1,200 and $2,000.
It’s best to work slowly when giving a massage. If you move too quickly, you could irritate the skin.
Clean your massage table after every use to avoid spreading germs. Wipe it down with a mild solution of soapy water, and dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.
Enhance user comfort with a table cover. Table covers are available in a variety of materials, including fleece, that can keep you feeling warm and cozy. Some table covers are made of memory foam for extra cushioning.
Regularly examine your massage table for mechanical problems. Pay particular attention to the frame, braces, and legs for signs of damage.
Periodically move the face cradle to the opposite end. This helps prevent one end of the table from sustaining too much wear.
Store your massage table carefully. When it’s not in use, always cover your massage table to protect it from possible tears, rips, and spills.
Q. What features can make a massage table more comfortable?
A. Look for a table with a good combination of foam thickness and density to provide adequate cushioning. High-density foam typically holds its shape better than other types of foam. It may cost more, but having this type of foam beneath your upholstery will enhance durability and user comfort.
Q. What’s the difference between the working weight and static weight of a massage table?
A. A table’s working weight refers to how much weight the table can support when it’s spread evenly across a surface. You should not massage a client whose body weight exceeds your table’s working weight.
Static weight refers to the amount of weight the table can take dropped onto it to test its strength. Manufacturers may boast a 2,000-pound static weight limit, but that doesn’t mean the table could hold a 2,000-pound person!
Q. How long does a massage table last?
A. A massage table’s lifespan depends on the quality of its construction and frame material. Those made with hardwoods like birch or maple can last ten years or more. Models made with soft wood or aluminum may last only a few years.
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At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.