How do I choose a massage table that is right for me?
What a 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 we 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 we would suggest is 72 cm (28.35 inches). But personally we prefer a massage table that has a minimum width of 76 cm (29.92 inches). We’ve mentioned our reasons below.
You can sometimes find slimmer 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 is slim like this.
Why are tables getting wider over time? Because people are getting bigger, certainly in the West. Definitely something to keep in mind. We do have a few 70 cm wide table and when we massage people who are not slender, their arms sometimes slip off the table. You can work around this but when you’re starting out, this can be cumbersome. In our massage studio we have some of 72 cm, 76cm and even a pregnancy table that is 81 cm (31.89 inches)
72 cm (28.35 inches) was considered standard but we would suggest that 76cm is the new standard.
Earthlite is one company we 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 our guide. We have only mentioned tables here that we have purchased, owned and have actually used. We can’t claim to be an expert on all tables. We only know our experiences with the tables we’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. We find most tables have features that we love and things we really would like to change. We have yet to find a table that 100% has all the features we really want; but a few come close. We have made the commitment to acquire a few different tables of differing costs so that we could decide what features we liked and what we 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 we highly recommend the following Higher End tables and it is true to say that you do get what you pay for:
Higher End – Our Top Picks
Jorgen Sorensen – Hand Made Ka Huna Massage Tables made by Jorgen Sorensen (Possibly only second hand ones available now, we missed the boat buying a new one, so we feel very lucky to have gotten our hands on a few second hand ones which have prize position as our massage studio and home tables). Some of these tables have a pregnancy hole which allows pregnant Mumma’s to lie on their front with their bellies suspended in a sling. The baby is held safely in a super comfortable position making the pregnancy massage even more relaxing, nurturing and delicious.
The first tables Jorgen made were 70cm in width, later he widened them to 76cm. Many were covered in leather, some with vinyl, some have the pregnancy hole feature but not all. So be sure to ask the right questions of you are buying one second hand. 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 over 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. We can highly recommend these tables but after 25 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 – Our 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. We have 3 of these tables and highly recommend them. Please NOTE that we don’t recommend 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, we 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. We find this has a slight drag and stretch that causes friction making the 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 is closer to emulating the feel and slide that natural leather would give. Our opinion only.
Some products 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 we’re trying to drive home is that I don’t want too much stretch in the upholstery as it hinders the under body work. Ultimately, leather is best so if ever you are getting a table re-upholstered, we recommend leather.
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. We 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.
We’ve also managed to purchase 2 Earthlite and 1 Stronglite table. Our brand new fully customised extra wide pregnancy Earthlite Spirit was $1500 brand new including delivery from https://massagewarehouse.com.au/custom-built-spirit-by-earthlite/. The other two we purchased second hand from eBay for $100 each. Each of those tables were probably $1000 or more brand new so we really picked up some excellent bargains.
Lower End – can’t say we recommend these as such but we do own some and they do the job very well enough
Firm n Fold – note, these guys do have higher end tables that we haven’t yet tried so it is possible they are really good. We bought one for about $300 and it’s OK, it does the job but isn’t our table of preference, it is oval which doesn’t really work for our massage style, most of our customers arms continuously fall off the table, a square cornered table with slight curve on the corners holds their shoulders up better, giving a better posture for the massage. We would recommend their lower end tables as an easy first purchase but it would be better if you could get a second hand table of Jorgen Sorensen or Earthlite.
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 at a bargain price of around $125 to get you started. Go Aldi! If you plan on doing mobile massage, this can be a great option for a table you are less precious about as it may get knocked about a bit if lives in your car boot.
Other tables Online – no name/no brand from a random internet source – this is just an example, 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. We keep our cheaper tables for mobile massage while our special ones live in our massage studio or at home.
Second Hand – We recommend only buying something really good second hand as you can buy cheap massage tables brand new 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 that is fine.
Can we also suggest, that buying a decent face cradle and cushion 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.
Our favourite, and the most expensive is the Earthlite Caress. Call Massage Warehouse direct to ask if they still have them in stock as they aren’t currently listed on their website https://massagewarehouse.com.au/brands/EarthLite.html
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 also very good as is the Firm n Fold one:
All in all we have 12 tables:
4 from Jorgen Sorensen, two 70cm width and two 76cm in leather (leather is king), 2 from Earthlite one Earthlite Spirit with the buttery soft cover (which we did not like) and the other is the Avalon with the older style vynil (older style vynil is better). Call Massage Warehouse for a chat to make sure you get the right covering. 1 from Stronglite (Earthlite Sister Company), 1 from Firm n Fold, 2 from Aldi and 2 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 our experiences with them all. Or even email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I rencently discovered this company….
Dr Lomi Lomi
We have never purchased a table from them but we are curious to try one out and will probably buy one at some stage if they do ship internationally. We’d love to hear your experiences with these tables.
OK, that’s all from us for now. Big Love to you all.
Tara ~ Conscious Touch Collective ~ Mahalo!