Key Takeaways:

The tools of your trade–most notably, your massage table–are essential to your success as a massage therapist. Familiarizing yourself with the technical specifications of massage tables is a key step to ensuring your equipment is facilitating a safe, positive experience for your clients.

Massage professionals are experts in their field; that’s what allows them to help clients manage various physical issues. From the education and training to the hands-on experience, you work hard to refine your craft and become the best massage therapist you can be.

Chances are, you know multiple techniques, the composition of the body, and how to cater to your clients like the back of your hand.

All of this culminates in a positive experience for your clients. However, all of the knowledge and skill in the world can be downgraded by one thing – your massage equipment. That’s why knowing the ins and outs of integral pieces of equipment–like massage tables–is so important.

Massage Table Specifications You Should Know

Technical specifications may not be exciting, but they do determine the capabilities of your massage table. Choosing a massage table with the technical specs that fit your needs ensures that it will serve you and your clients well for years to come without compromising comfort or suffering from unnecessary wear.

Static Weight

This specification is a good indicator of how robust the construction of your massage table is. Simply put, static weight is the maximum amount of stationary weight that a particular table can hold safely. In other words, how much unmoving weight could you stack atop the table before it would be prone to failure?

Working Weight

If static weight applies to weight that does not move, working weight is the opposite–it refers to weight that is dynamic or in motion. This specification is particularly important, as the majority of your massage work will be performed on the table and involve working weight.

Your client will shift throughout the session and your massage movements will cause weight to become dynamic. Working weight can typically be assumed to be 25% of a table’s static weight rating, but be sure to confirm this rather than assume. Your client’s safety depends on it.

Drop Testing

While the image of throwing a massage table off a rooftop to test its durability may appeal to that childlike spirit we all cling to, drop testing does not relate to the ability of the table itself to take a tumble. Rather, it refers to the amount of weight that can be dropped onto the middle of the table from a reasonable height–usually between six to eight inches.

This is another important number to note when investing in a massage table, as it indicates how well it can handle normal scenarios like your client hopping onto the table at the start of a session.

Portable Massage Tables and Stationary Massage Tables

There are two primary types of massage tables–portable and stationary. They are designed for different purposes, as the names suggest. Portable massage tables are engineered to be lightweight and foldable, making them easier to transport for massage professionals who need to take their equipment with them. Stationary massage tables tend to have a higher working and static weight, can be electric and have thicker foam as they do not need to be moved much, but are confined to one location.

Massage Table Foam

One of the most important factors in the comfort of a massage table is the foam used in its construction. The material used in the foam matters, but the two most important characteristics are density and thickness.

Foam density directly affects the comfort a client will experience. The less dense the foam, the more comfortable it tends to be. However, low-density foam is also more subject to wear–for example, it will develop indentations as time passes.

Try to find a table that strikes a balance between the two extremes of foam density. It is typically wise to invest in multi-layered foam tables that provide more comfort and longevity than single-layer foam. As a general rule, the material of the foam is very important, so opt for something of high quality and look out for more earth-friendly options such as CFC free foam.


The adjustments you can make to the height and angles of your massage table can play a direct role in your ability to provide clients with a safe, thorough, and comfortable massage experience.

Most portable massage tables are height adjustable manually, allowing you to find the best settings for your height. Some portable massage tables have a manual tilt option that can lift up one end of the table to a slightly more seated position. Further, some portable manual chairs even feature a salon top that offers adjustable backs and legs, allowing you to fine-tune the table for optimal adjustment and comfort.

Stationary tables can be manually adjusted at the legs or electronically adjusted. These kinds of tables have a variety of top options, like flat, manual tilt, pneumatic tilt, electric tilt, or electric salon. The best way to choose the right table for you is to take an audit of the types of services you plan to offer, then establish which might best facilitate those needs (and fits your budget).

When choosing an adjustable table, it’s crucial to consider the height ranges you can access with adjustment. Some tables ensure ADA compliance, and that’s something you and your clients might appreciate or need.

The maximum width ranges also vary. Presently, table width options range from 28” to custom-made 35” tables. For stationary tables, the most popular width option is 32” though some prefer extra-wide tables that come in around 35”. From a portable standpoint, the most popular width option is closer to 30”.

The technical specifications of your massage table are vital to ensuring patient safety and creating a good experience for everyone involved. Because massage tables can be such a hefty and integral investment in your massage business, be sure to research thoroughly and choose wisely. A quality table will serve you well into the future!