How to choose a massage table that is right for me?
Very good question. Really the only way is to try them, and sometimes that means you have to buy them, unless you can borrow.
Let’s talk about size….
Before I go into detail, let’s talk about size. Does size matter? In the case of a massage table it really does matter, especially if you are going to be using it a lot. The absolute minimum I would suggest is 72 cm (28.35 inches). But personally I prefer a massage table that has a minimum width of 76 cm (29.92 inches). But I have my reasons which I’ve mentioned below.
You can sometimes find thinner tables of 70 cm (27.56 inches). A lot of older tables were this wide and therefore if you buy a second hand table that is very old you might find it being thinner like this.
Why are tables getting wider over time? Because people are getting bigger and bigger, certainly in the West. Definitely something to keep in mind. I do have a 70 cm wide table and when I massage people who are not slender, their arms continually slip off the table. I can work around this because I’m experienced but when you’re starting out, this can be cumbersome. So I’ve turned it into my home table as both my partner and I are pretty slim and its the perfect size for us. But in my massage studio I have some of 72 cm, 76cm and even a pregnancy table that is 81 cm (31.89 inches)
72 cm (28.35 inches) is considered standard.
Earthlite is one company I know of that sells the 76 cm (29.92 inches) and even a wider table of 81 cm (31.89 inches) which can be customised to have a pregnancy hole. Further details below.
There are so many on the market. All different prices. Here’s my guide. I have only mentioned tables here that I have purchased, owned and have actually used myself. I can’t claim to be an expert on all tables. All I do know is my own experiences with the tables I’ve used and to be honest, that is the only way you’ll know too, you must use a few to work out what you like and don’t like. I find most tables have features that I love and things I really would like to change. I have yet to find a table that 100% has all the features I really want; but a few come close. I made the commitment to acquire a few different tables of differing costs so that I could decide what features I liked and what I thought was missing.
Essentially you can use any massage table but for those of you who would like to own a table that works especially well for Lomi Lomi and Ka Huna Bodywork I highly recommend the following Higher End tables and it is true to say that you do get what you pay for:
Higher End – My Top Picks
Jorgen Sorensen – Hand Made Ka Huna Massage Tables made by Jorgen Sorensen (Possibly only second hand ones available now, I missed the boat buying a new one, so I feel very lucky to have gotten my hands on a second hand one which has prize position as my home table). There is a pregnancy hole in this massage table which allows pregnant Mumma’s to lie on their front with their bellies suspended in a sling, held safely in a super comfortable position makes the pregnancy massage even more relaxing, nurturing and delicious.
The first tables he made were 70cm in width, later he widened them to 76cm. Many were covered in leather, sone with vynil, some have the pregnancy hole feature but not all. So be sure to ask the right questions of you are buying one second. They are quality tables that get snapped up quickly so if you see one on offer jump as there is no guarantee that Jorgen will start making them again.
Jorgen and Mette Sorensen arrived on Australian shores 25 years ago with a massage table and a dream (in 1994)., Together they created the Mettes Institue of Bodywork and Personal Development, High Spirit Retreat and Tivoli Retreat. On arrival in Australia and beginning to teach Hawaiian Healing Philosophy and Massage, it became clear that excellent quality massage tables were needed for the students to practice the Art of Hawaiian Bodywork and Massage. Jorgen provided the solution, with his many years working as an engineer, he was able to design a beautiful, hand crafted piece of furniture that was both stunning and functional. Made with love, or Aloha. I can highly recommend these tables but after 20 odd years of making them Jorgen has moved onto new exciting adventures. Your best bet is to keep an eye out for a second hand one. If you are interested in attending one of Mettes Institute courses for Ka Huna Bodywork or Personal Devevlopment, or if you would like to inquire about buying a second hand table, you can connect with Mettes Institute at the following website:
Earthlite & Stronglite – My next and other favourites are the Earthlite or Stronglite brand, they make really nice tables, great width, you can also customise the table to be extra wide, include a pregnancy hole and other features too. I have 3 of these tables and highly recommend them. Please NOTE that I don’t recommed all of their upholstery coverings. If you have already studied or plan to participate in Ka Huna Bodywork Level 3 which teaches under body work, I personally recommend their standard upholstery covering rather than their upgraded version because their most basic vinyl has more slide capability making underbody work much easier.
The one to avoid is the buttery soft, yet eco-friendly Natursoft™ upholstery. I find this has a slight grain that causes friction making me need to use more physical force to slide underbody.
Their standard upholstery called Nature’s Touch upholstery which comes in only four colors is more like a vinyl, so it’s strong and emulates the feel and slide that natural leather would give. My personal opinion.
Some only say they offer one or other upholstery but it’s worth asking them when you place your order for the firmer more slidy covering to see if they’ll use it on the pregnancy table for example. The point I’m trying to drive home is that I don’t want too much stretch in the upholstery as it hinders my under body work.
For their tables of 76 cm and above you can purchase a vinyl covering for your table which is perfect if you plan to use an electric blanket in winter.
Consider Going Second Hand….
Also consider a second hand table – try shopping by brand on eBay, or by specification such as pregnancy massage table or leather massage table or portable or wooden or extra wide. This may help you narrow down your search and find something really good. I picked up one of Jorgen’s leather pregnancy tables for only $200 on eBay. It was probably about $1000 or more brand new. Real leather covering with Jorgen’s unique pregnancy hole design.
I’ve also managed to purchase 2 Earthlite and 1 Stronglite table. My brand new fully customised pregnancy Earthlite Spirit was $1500 brand new including delivery from https://massagewarehouse.com.au/custom-built-spirit-by-earthlite/. The other 2 I purchased second hand from eBay for $100 each. Each of those tables were probably $1000 or more brand new so I really picked up some excellent bargains.
Lower End – can’t say I recommend these as such but I do own some and they do the job very well enough
Firm n Fold – note, these guys do have higher end tables that I haven’t yet tried so it is possible they are really good. I just bought one for about $300 and it’s OK, it does the job but isn’t my table of preference, it has rounded corners which don’t really work for my massage style, most of my clients arms continuously fall off the table, a square cornered table with sight curve on the corners holds their shoulders up better, giving a better posture for the massage.. I would recommend this table as an easy first purchase but if I could get a second hand table of Jorgen Sorensen or Earthlite brand I would much prefer that.
Firm n Fold also sell a vinyl covering for any table of approx 72 cm which again is perfect if you plan to use an electric blanket in winter.
Aldi – Yes! Aldi sometimes sell massage tables that are OK and will do the job too and a bargain at $125 to get you started. Go Aldi!
Other Online – no name/no brand from a random internet source – these are just examples, they look a bit like one that I have and I like it because it provides good slide for under body work but the vinyl is cheap and didn’t last long as my mobile table living in my hot car boot.
Note to self, if you are doing a lot of mobile massage maybe using your best table isn’t a great idea to care for it if it’s going to live in the car and get bashed about going in and out of different places. I keep my cheaper tables for mobile massage while my special ones live in my massage studio or at home.
Second Hand – Personally I’d probably only buy something really good second hand as you can buy cheap massage tables for less than $200.
Do consider the weight and if you plan to do mobile massage you will want something you can lift in and out of you car. Plus it must fit in your boot or back seat.
Tables with wooden legs are preferred from an earth elements perspective and visually they look nicer although they can sometimes be heavier.
Some cheaper tables are fine but there are a few little nuances that can be a bit annoying. But if that’s where you must start then that is fine.
Can I please also suggest, that buying a decent face cradle is a really good idea. The ones that often come with cheaper tables are generally rubbish. Earthlite and Firm n Fold sell some good ones.
My favourite, and the most expensive is the Earthlite Caress https://www.earthliteaustralia.com.au/product/caress-headrest-platform/
It is the most adjustable and comfortable and with the earthlite memory foam crescent cushion it makes for complete comfort.
The Earthlite Deluxe face cradle is pretty good as is the Firm n Fold one:
I have 10 tables.
2 from Jorgen Sorensen a 70cm width in leather and a 76cm in vynil (leather is king), 2 from Earthlite one Earthlite Spirit with the buttery soft cover and the other is the Avalon with the older style vynil (older style vynil is king which I think maybe their Harmony table still uses but all them when you call for a chat), 1 from Stronglite (Earthlite Sister Company), 1 from Firm n Fold, 2 from Aldi and 3 from a random cheap internet source. There are downfalls and benefits to each of them. Please do comment below for a chat if you have questions or want to know more about my experiences with them all. Or even email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I rencently discovered this company….
Dr Lomi Lomi
I have never purchased a table from them but I am curious to try one out and will probably buy one at some stage. I would love to hear your experiences with these tables.
OK, that’s all from me for now. Big Love to you all.
Tara ~ Mahalo!