Choosing a Massage Table? What to Know


No matter how experienced you are or how many continuing education classes you take, you still have to have the right tools to do the job. The right tools begin with your massage table.  It’s the most important tool you need for your practice; so, your massage table must fit your needs and preferences.  The right massage table also will impact the effectiveness of your treatment. If the client is uncomfortable, for example, even the most skillful treatment will be ineffective.


 The following tips can help you decide which table to buy.

  1. Table width and height: The width of the table is important for the comfort of your client and you. Make sure that your massage table is wide enough to accommodate all kinds of clients and doesn’t put a strain on your body. Massage tables come in widths anywhere from 28 to 35 inches, and range in heights of 20 to 36 inches. While the width is not adjustable, tables generally have an adjustment of about ten inches, which helps accommodate not only you as a massage therapist, but also allows for differences in client size. As a general rule, the average table height should fall somewhere around your hip joint, with some allowance for the size of your average client.[1]


  1. Table length: A standard table length of 73 inches (not including your face cradle) is sufficient for nearly all massage therapists.[2]


  1. Table weight: The weight of the table matters. If your work is mobile, you’ll want a lighter more portable table. Portable tables can range anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds, depending on the size and material it is made from. A good solid fixed table could weigh 150 to 300 pounds. In both cases those made with wood are generally heavier, those made from aluminum will be a few pounds lighter. [3]


Also consider working versus static weight. Working weight factors in how much weight the table will hold in addition to the added weight, pressure and side load of the therapist giving the massage. For most massage tables, the standard working weight is between 500 and 600 pounds.[4]  The static weight of the table refers to how much weight the table will hold with the weight remaining stationary. Static weight has a significantly higher threshold, up to 2000 pounds for a portable massage table. The static weight does not mean that you can put that amount of weight on a spot on the massage table. I It means how much weight the table will bear if spread out evenly over the top of the table. [5]


The type of massage you perform will determine the working weight you need.  If you are working on clients who weigh more or use techniques such as shiatsu where you stand on the table, you’ll want a table that can support a high working weight.


  1. Flat or tilting: The type of massage you offer will determine if you need a flat or tilting table. Flat top tables are the most common treatments. Tilting tables, also called Reiki, enable you to lift one section into a vertical position.


  1. Padding for durability and comfort. High quality thick foam will provide clients with sufficient support and comfort. The standard size of the foam is 2 inches thick. More superior is the foam that has at least 3 inches firm thickness.[6]


  1. Accessories: You’ll want to consider what accessories you’ll need to go with your table. You may, for example, need special bolsters or massage table extenders for larger clients. Also consider if you want a face or arm rest, cushions and pillows to position the client for ultimate comfort and relaxation.

Choosing a massage table is a major investment for your business. Make sure to do your homework and choose a table that will suit your needs for many years.


[1] Fehrs, Linda, “Buying A Massage Table: 6 Important Considerations,” Institute for Integrative Healthcare, July 22, 2008.
[2] Hulquist Ivy, “How to Choose the Best Massage Table for You and Your Clients,” Massage and Bloggywork, Accessed March 31, 2021.
[3] Fehrs, Linda, “Buying a Massage Table: 6 Important Considerations”
[4] “How to Choose a Massage Table,” Massage World, Accessed March 31, 2021.
[5] Zhang, MingYue, “What is the weight capacity of a massage table?”, Discover Health, March 24, 2016.
[6] “11 Ways to Choose a Massage Table,” Discovery Point School of Massage,” Accessed March 31, 2021.
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