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My Best Tips When Buying a Portable Massage Table

Updated on September 21, 2020
Portable Folding Massage Table
Portable Folding Massage Table | Source

How to choose your Portable Massage Table

I was involved in selling mostly Portable Massage Tables in the United Kingdom, so putting fingers to keyboard I'm passing on my hints and tips to you.

It's quite an expensive item to buy, so choose carefully and your Massage Table will last for many years.

I hope my best tips will arm you with enough info to find the perfect Portable Massage Table for you.

Read on so you are able to make an informed and wise decision when choosing!

* * * Remember * * *

Read and Research EVERYTHING widely and wisely, then decide for yourself what works for YOU!

*Philosophy of Barbs @ ChocolateAlchemy*

Music for ambience

It's an awesome stress buster! It's wonderful for the soul, the mind, the spirit and the body.

*Tip* Play soothing, background music during treatments to lull your clients into complete relaxation.

Why not browse the Guide to buying a Massage Table while playing this calming soothing music below.

I hope you find my advice and ideas helpful. That you find the answer you have been looking for .....or something that gives you a great idea .......

Massage is back in favour

Massage has been around for hundreds of years in all cultures, even dating back 4,000 years in Chinese Medicine literature.

It was in the early 20th century with the rise of industry and technology that prescription drugs began to replace natural treatments.

But, the tide is turning and many people are going back to alternative natural treatments for illnesses and stress.

So, yay, Massage is back in favour - we're turning back to those old treatments realizing that they are sometimes a better option than popping pills and drugs!

6 Questions to help choose a Massage Table

Ask yourself these 6 questions:

If you want to be out and about, able to move to different venues easily, then a Portable Massage Table is the best investment.

It's also the cheaper option, and you can even quite easily use it permanently in a Salon and Spa or at home.

  1. Is it suitable for the type of therapies and treatments I am offering?
  2. Does it have all the features and accessories I will need?
  3. Is it comfortable not only for my client; but for me too?
  4. Is it a manageable carrying weight for me to handle?
  5. Is it strong, sturdy and durable?
  6. Is it an affordable price for me?

There are so many massage tables and therapist couches on the market - literally thousands to choose from:

  • Go online and see what's available and what may suit you, new or second hand.
  • THEN ...... take the time to visit a few shops and stores to look at and actually physically try out all different massage tables - try out for height, width, comfort, carrying weight, etc.
  • Look out for Heath and Beauty Exhibitions, Hair and Beauty Shows, Holistic Events which are quite often held around the time the schools, colleges and universities begin their new year, when students get their lists of equipment they need to buy. Many suppliers of massage tables attend these events (I used to do so regularly) and offer substantial discounts for buying on the day.

1. Is it suitable for the type of therapies and treatments I am offering?

The type of Massage Table you buy will depend on what Therapies you are going to practise. It needs to be versatile to include any additional features that you may need in the future.

Are you planning to study further? Are you going to be learning and then practising additional treatments? Will you need additional features in a Table?

These are the must have things I think:

*** Lifting Backrest***

*** Height Adjustable Legs***

*** Face Cradle and Armrests***

Lifting Backrest
Lifting Backrest | Source

***Lifting Backrest***

A flat Massage Table (no lifting backrest) is usually a lighter carrying weight. This is the one for you if your clients need only to lie down for treatments,

BUT, A Massage Table with a lifting backrest is the most versatile. Your clients can lie down or sit upright so you can offer a variety of treatments.

Height Adjustable Portable Massage Table


***Height Adjustable Legs***

A fantastic feature to look for is a height adjustable Massage Table

You can lower or raise the height usually by using the leg extensions. For example, in my photo you see it has leg extensions that you need to unclip (one at a time) when the couch is laid down on its side and clip back into various settings to get the right height for you.

Why would you want height adjustable legs?

  • , It's so handy to be able to change the height quickly and easily for each treatment when you offer a variety of treatments requiring the Massage Table to be at a high height or much lower to the ground.
  • If a few of you are sharing one Massage Table (perhaps in a Salon or Spa or College), having the feature of height adjustable legs means each person can have the table at the their most comfortable height.

What is the right height?

Stand next to a Massage Table clenching your fist - your knuckles should only just touch the top of the massage table. Usually, this a good working height for most Therapists.

There is no "right" height; try out different heights and find what feels comfortable for YOU.

Massage Table Accessories

Face Cradles and Armrests
Face Cradles and Armrests | Source

*** Face Cradle and Armrests***

This is why I think these are useful extras:

  • Face cradles added to one end of massage tables adds extra length - helps if you have tall clients.
  • Arm rests on either side of a massage table will add a few extra inches to the width, sooo handy for those larger clients. And, bonus, you won't have lug a heavier wider width massage table around.

3. Is it comfortable not only for my client; but for me too?

24" is the standard width of a Portable Massage Table and wider widths, 27" and upwards (depending on the make) are available. The width you choose depends on what treatments you are offering, what is comfortable for your client, and what is comfortable for you to work with.

I think you need to consider your own comfort first before your clients.

Yes, really because, after all, you need to keep yourself in tip top shape to give wonderful treatments and most importantly keeping earning your living!

  • If you are quite short in height, have shorter arm length etc, you will find it more difficult to reach across a wider width table especially with a client on it - again not too good for you or back.
  • The wider width is, without doubt, more comfortable for your client especially if they are of a larger size. However, the wider the width, the heavier the Massage Table is going to be and when you are mobile, lugging a heavy weight around is not very good for you or your back.

Research and go and TRY OUT all different styles of Massage Tables to find one that works for YOU before you buy anything.

4. Is it a manageable carrying weight for me to handle?

The carrying weight of Massage Tables vary considerably, from about 22 lbs (9 kgs) to 40 lbs (20kgs) or even more.

I think this is actually going to be my number one tip! I've carried lots of Massage Tables around from venue to venue and believe me, lugging a heavy weight around is the pits.

My top tip - Choose the lightest weight you can afford!

Find a store that sells a variety of Massage Tables and try out the different types for yourself! You'll see what I mean when you try walk around with tables of different weights.

While you are carrying it ........... just imagine when you are out and about having to carry it for a long distance over a bumpy path or ... up a long flight of stairs - - - go for the lightest weight that you can afford; it will be worth the extra expense.

Research and go and TRY OUT all different styles of Massage Tables to find one that works for YOU before you buy anything.

5. Is it strong, sturdy and durable?

Massage Table Warranties

When buying your Massage Table look for a reputable seller who includes a warranty with the Massage Table.

Make sure that the company offers an after sales service too!

6. Is it an affordable price for me?

Money ... at the end of the day, it's the price of the Massage Table that will play a big part in what you choose.

If money is not a problem - lucky you, use tips above to choose.


  • Are you on a budget?
  • Are you are a student just beginning to study massage and other therapies?
  • Not sure you will practise once you have qualified so might not need a Massage Table once your course ends?

Then do consider buying a Massage Table secondhand. You can find some real bargains on sites like eBay, Bonanzle and the like. Also check out freecycle offers, Craigslist and your local newspapers.

It makes "cents" to get a used Massage Table until you can afford the one you want and sure that this is going to be your career.

Don't forget, getting a secondhand Massage Table is recycling at its best - a wonderful way to cut down on polluting our Earth World!

More Handy Tips below

Towelling Fitted Sheet
Towelling Fitted Sheet | Source

Massage Table Covers are a good investment.

You will find a wide range of colours and types of Massage Table covers as well as Face Cradle covers online and in specialist Massage and Beauty Shops.

These not only protect the couch from spills and stains from massage oils and lotions and look attractive; but add additional comfort to your clients when they are on your couch.


  • A dark coloured Massage Table cover is an especially handy extra to have as it hides marks and imperfections and is the perfect cover for your table when you are not using it, especially if you have a portable massage table and are travelling around a lot.
  • If you don't have a Carry Bag (or if the zip has broken so the bag doesn't close properly), pop on a black Massage Table Cover or fleece and it will help protect and keep the Massage Table clean.

Paper Towel is a great way to protect the vinyl on your Massage Table
Paper Towel is a great way to protect the vinyl on your Massage Table | Source

Keeping your Massage Table in good order.....

You have invested a lot of money in your Portable Massage Table, so keep it in good shape and it will last a long time.

Make sure that you do a thorough safety check on your Massage Table regularly to ensure that all connections, braces, nuts and bolts, cables etc are in good working order to avoid any mishaps.

Most Massage Tables are upholstered with an easy to clean vinyl fabric. Use a gentle cleaning product to wipe down the surface often to keep it fresh and clean. Afterwards, I love to mix an essential oil like Tea Trea or French Lavender with water and wipe down again - they're natural antiseptics and makes the massage table smell lovely.

A paper towel roll is a great way to cover your massage table and protect it from the stains caused by massage oils. There are Paper Roll Holders available to fit the end of your couch to hold the Paper Roll and make it easy to then cover the length of your Massage Table.

2 Step Foot Stool
2 Step Foot Stool | Source

Safety tips when using your Massage Table

Use a simple step, it's is all that's needed to make sure your clients, from the shortest to the tallest, no matter what age, can get on and off your couch safely and comfortably.

  • Portable couches although sturdy, may unbalance if the floor is uncarpeted or if your client is too near the edge when getting on and off the couch - use a step and also make sure you are there to assist each client during this process.
  • Remember - your clients will be different heights and ages and have different capabilities, which may make getting on and off the couch more difficult and challenging for some.

You could buy a special step; but you could also just buy one from Ikea - you know, one of those plastic stepping stools you use in the kitchen if you're a bit short for the top cupboard (like me!)

Has the vinyl covering on your Massage Table got a cut or tear?

If the vinyl on your massage table has a cut or tear, it shouldn't get any bigger as most coverings have a stretch in them to prevent this.

However, it could eventually affect the padding around that area and most importantly, it's going to bug you!

Use a Vinyl Repair Kit for a quick and easy solution to repair the tear.

You are left with a neat repair which no one is going to notice probably - except you.

  • Tip: Keep a Towelling Cover or Sheet on your Massage Table, so it will be hidden from every one including you!

An idea for you

If you can't manage to carry around a Massage Table, maybe this would be the perfect alternative?

Investing in a Desk Top Massage Unit may be a small business idea for you............

Could this be the perfect earner for you?

Do you find carrying a massage table around and still doing full massages too strenuous and affecting your back?

Well, what about these handy little tools? Desktop Massage Units are very easy to carry around as they have their own carry bags and being small, only weigh a couple of kilos.

Desktop Massage Units will stand on any flat surface like tables or desks. The client sits in a chair, rests their arms around the unit which will also anchor it in place and puts their face into the face cradle. They are then in a comfortable position for a massage of neck and shoulders or head etc. These massage systems are not that expensive and could be a great way to start off your own small business.

  • You could go to businesses at lunchtime and offer neck and shoulder massages for 5 - 10 minutes to office workers while they are seated at their desks. Everyone who is desk bound and stuck in front of a computer all day could do with a few minutes of massage.
  • You could approach local Hairdressing Salons and offer your services - a neck and shoulder massage for customers while they wait for their turn with their Hairdresser. A lovely extra bit of pampering as well as a new hair style!
  • Take a stand at local fairs, exhibitions, even markets and fetes etc and offer 5 - 10 minutes neck and shoulder massages - if your price is competitive people will be queuing up!
  • Volunteer at Hospices and Care Homes or wherever you think people could would benefit from your help. It may lead to an income based business eventually.
  • Learn additional techniques and treatments such as Indian Head Massage that would also suit the use of a Desktop Massage Unit to appeal to a broader range of people.

Whatever next?

There's always something new coming out in the market created by clever people ...

A Massage Table with heating element!

I'm constantly amazed by how inventive people are - coming up with new designs and products.

So I'd just thought to myself - I can't imagine what could be done to update and further improve massage tables and I was right - I couldn't ......but someone else has!

Check out Massage Tables that have a heating element in the padding. What a clever idea!

This added bonus will help your clients further relax into your soothing therapeutic massage.

The only drawback I can see is that they are heavy to carry around (40 lbs)

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2010 Chocolatealchemy


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