Massage therapy equipment is varied and according to the skill of the therapist and the needs of the client, all striving to promote the massage experience and aid the therapist.. There is nothing as satisfying and relaxing as a good massage.
Massage therapy equipment usually consists of massage chairs, massage tables, towels, stools, cleaning supplies, lotions and oils, pillows and sheets, table warmers, candles, music and mood lighting.
Each day there are new massage therapy equipment ideas emerging. Some are designed to help the client, and some to help the therapist. For example, there are holsters available for the therapist to keep their lubricant in. This allows the therapist to move around the table without needing to reach for their massage lotion or oil, as it is always right by their side.
The Massage Table
Apart from the therapist the massage table is the most important piece of equipment. There are many different types of massage tables available. There are portable massage tables and stationary massage tables. Some offer adjustable height, either by adjusting the legs manually or using hydraulic adjustment capabilities. Also, massage tables are either made of light weight metal or made of solid wood and come in different heights. In addition, massage tables can be covered in leather or vinyl, come in various colors, and are durable and easy to clean. Most massage tables will have optional arm rests and/or face plates or holes. When choosing a table, it may be either custom built or readymade. Some custom built tables also have optional extra thick foam, or other design options such as open ends to allow the therapist to be seated at the end of the table.
The Massage Chair
The massage chair is made of similar fabric as the massage table but has wonderful contoured shapes that give complete relaxation and helps to decrease lower body compression. Massage chairs are used to give a client a quick but effective massage while the patient has his or her clothes on. Massage chairs are a great way to offer portable services to busy people in their work environment or their home.
The Massage Stool
Massage stools are also part of the massage therapy equipment. Massage stools are not always used but might be used when the therapist wants to give a deeper type of massage or massage in one area for a longer time period, for example, working on the feet, In this instance, the therapist might be seated on the stool while performing the massage. Massage stools help the therapist conserve their energy and promote ergonomics, helping decrease repetitive strain on the therapist.. Most models have adjustable height and are on wheels to give the therapist easy and smooth movement.
Pillows are used during a massage to support, or bolster various body positions and parts. They need to be covered with pillow protectors that are not only waterproof but also cleanable. There are, of course, many different shapes and sizes of pillows used for varying purposes. Regular flat pillows are often placed under the hips of the client when they are lying face down on the massage table, and then loved under the knees when they are on their back to promote comfort. There are wedge shaped pillows that help for massage during pregnancy, to support the woman’s belly during massage. As with any equipment, it depends on what modalities you practice, as well as your client’s preferences as to what type of pillow you use.
The Massage Towel or Sheets
Massage therapy towels/sheets are another very important part of the massage therapy equipment. During most massage therapy sessions, towels/sheets are used to cover or drape many areas of the body such as the arms, legs, face, and torso. The therapist simply uncovers the area being addressed, while the rest of the body is covered to keep warm, and for modesty. Client ‘s are all shapes and sizes, so the size of your towels/sheets must be adjusted accordingly.. Therapists also use separate towels to clean the equipment and to clean and dry their hands. The quality, texture and laundering requirements of the towel must be considered for optimal results and satisfaction for the patient.
There are also many massage tools available. These are designed to help therapists save their hands. For example, there are trigger point tools available that allow the therapist to apply the necessary pressure to a trigger point using the tool, rather than their thumb or fingers. These types of tool help therapist from muscle strain, the leading injury amongst massage therapists. Therapists still require their hands to palpate, or feel what is going on with their client’s muscles, but the tool can be used to replace the pressure needed to release sore muscles. Also important is the ergonomics of the tool, it needs to allow the therapist to keep their wrists straight during use, and promote good body mechanics for the therapist. There are many available on the market, and just like finding a match between client and therapist, one size does not fit all. Trial and error will allow you to find the appropriate tools for your practice and your clients.
Added Features of Massage Therapy Equipment
In order to reduce friction on the client’s skin, a lubricant is needed for most massage styles. Massage lotions, creams and oils are readily available, and many are scented or unscented, depending on your client’s needs. Some clients are allergic to artificial fragrances, and there are natural, aromatherapy lotions that make a great alternative to fragranced products. Pillows may also be required for padding or bolstering during the massage, and generally should have a waterproof pillow protector to allow them to be sanitized between clients. Pillows are also generally covered with cases, which need changing and laundering between clients as well. Other equipment may also be part of a therapy session, such as table warming pads, specialty lighting, music and even candles. The need for some equipment depends highly on the needs of the client, and the setting for the massage treatment. Massage therapists also require adequate cleaning supplies. There are ready made cleaning solutions, and also plenty of recipes online for cleaning sprays and solutions. The massage table must be sanitized between each client, regardless of the fact that sheets cover your table between clients. Sheets and pillow cases must be changed, and the pillow protectors sprayed and wiped clean also. A therapist needs some way to store laundry , and if massage oils are used, it is best to store used linens in an airtight fashion to prevent the oils on the linens from smelling rancid before you get them into the laundry. This brings up the question of how the laundry will be cleaned. Some therapists take the linens home and launder them themselves, and some use a linen service that picks up the laundry every day, replacing it with a bag of clean linens.