Both standing and sitting as you work have their benefits and downsides, so it is helpful to alternate between the two while working. Standing as you work allows you to use the larger muscles in your legs, hips and core to generate force and to use a wider variety of motions. But standing continuously can be fatiguing, not only to the leg muscles, but also to the lower back.
Sitting allows you to rest your legs, and it lowers your position relative to the table, so you aren’t bending or stooping. Sitting also provides more stability and precision as you work on delicate structures of the neck, face or hands. At the same time, sitting creates more strain on the lower back than standing upright, and it tends to limit you to using the muscles in your upper body.
Most treatment sessions should offer opportunities to switch between the two positions. How much time you choose to spend in each position will depend on your own level of physical conditioning and how much fatigue you feel at that moment, as well as the specific techniques you are using. As a good rule of thumb, try to sit during at least one-fourth of the time in any treatment session, to avoid fatigue from prolonged standing. For a 60-minute session, try to spend at least 15 minutes of that time seated.
Reproduced with permission from Save Your Hands! The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists, 2nd Edition, , C.E.A.S., and Richard W. Goggins, C.P.E., L.M.P., © 2008 Gilded Age Press, www.saveyourhands.com.