resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
Things to Consider Before You Buy
By Angie Patrick
In massage therapy, one of the biggest purchases you will make is your massage table. Choosing the proper table and accessories to buy can be a daunting task. There are so many choices, so many manufacturers, a multitude of table names, varied widths, specialized uses and a rainbow of colors. Whether I am on a trade show floor, speaking at a school or in our call center, the same concerns seem to be global in the industry. How can I possibly make an informed choice with so many decisions to make?
I would like to share with you some bits of information I hope may help you sort through some of the options and enable you to make the right choice for your needs, your body type and your budget. In this article, you will find some of the more frequently asked questions answered in a non-biased and informative manner. By taking the time to consider some of the points to follow, you can be confident you have made the best possible buying decision for you and your unique needs.
How do I plan on using my table?
You may be a spa company, student, seasoned professional, homemaker or a grandparent buying a gift for a loved one. What are your specific reasons for purchasing a massage table? Will you have a brick-and-mortar business? Or will you be on the road? Are you specializing in mobile therapy at sports events or will you be seeing individual clients? Once you have firmly established your needs for a table then making some of the other choices gets a bit easier.
How much can I afford to spend?
Believe it or not, this decision is not driven by budget alone. Once you have decided your intended use, you can weigh out the benefits of an open-end model as opposed to a more professiona-grade table. For instance, an average consumer wanting a massage table in their home will not have the same requirements a professional massage therapist will have. The needs are different.
Some will tell you to buy the most expensive table you can find because they equate cost with quality. Others will tell you to spend as little as possible because they are penny-wise and pound-foolish. The truth is, high cost does not always indicate quality and a less expensive table is not always a lesser quality table. The most important thing to remember is to buy professional-grade equipment for your practice.
You do not have to spend a great deal to spend wisely. The most economical purchase a massage therapist can make is an informed purchase. Investing in a product that can withstand repeated usage day after day, is far more economical than replacing a table every three years. Over the long haul, what features will withstand the ravages of time and usage? Comparing woods, vinyl, hinges, face rests, joints and support cables can help you decide what will best fit your needs.
What width table do I need?
This often is the biggest reason for buyer's remorse among therapists. The old adage "bigger is better" does not always apply to massage tables. Your own body style has a great deal to do with the width of the table that you will find most comfortable day after day.
If you choose a table too wide for your body type, you can begin using improper body mechanics and cause yourself discomfort and stress to your lower back. In most cases, if your height is approximately 5'4" to 6'5", I suggest the use of a table from 29" to 31". The most popular and widely recognized standard size table is 30" in width. This table accommodates most therapists, and a large percentage of clients will fit comfortably on this size table. If you are more petite, you may need to consider a table 28" - 29" wide. If you are taller in stature, you may want to consider tables 32" and up.
What height range should I look for?
Table height is determined by practitioner stature and the modality they practice. The majority of portable tables on the market today can adjust to a varied height of 24" to 34" or higher. This can accommodate most needs and is widely accepted as the average. Some modalities require the table to adjust lower or even lie flat on the floor. For example, shiatsu and Feldenkrais both require lower adjustment. Look at your needs to determine if this is a feature you will require in your regular practice. Keep in mind proper body mechanics when you are considering a table. You do not want to lean over too far and cause stress on your back; conversely, you do not want to stand on your toes to reach the mid-back of a client. Protecting your own health is paramount because an injured therapist is an unemployed therapist.
Is table weight really important?
Most wooden portable tables weigh in ranges of 30 lbs to 38 lbs. You also can purchase some well-made aluminum models that are 21 lbs to 29 lbs. You should think about how often you will be transporting your table. If you are planning to work outcalls, then weight is a factor. Keep in mind your carry case, face cradle, sheets, fleece pad, table warmers, oils, tools and bolsters will add weight to your transport. It's important to choose a quality carry case with cross-body, carry straps to minimize the wear and tear on your body.
One amazing little miracle designed to save the therapist's back was the invention of the table cart. These fabulous little devices are fantastic for a mobile therapist and can alleviate much of the transport woes for your table and peripheral products. Thanks to the genius of this cart, you can consider a heavier table and know that you will only be lifting it in and out of the car, rather than carrying it from the car to the client's door.
Should I invest in an adjustable face rest?
In all things, a positive first impression is key. When it comes to the comfort of your client, nothing should be left to chance. There are a wide variety of manufacturers producing adjustable headrests and most are well worth the investment. A few things to look for are quiet release knobs, easy adjustment and overall strength. Your clients will feel you have provided a more personalized treatment if you can adjust the headrest to fit their comfort level. To go one step beyond the adjustable cradle, perhaps you should consider a memory- foam face rest. This table additive can enhance the overall massage experience by reducing facial pressure points and preventing sinus pain. This also can make the best of a standard non-adjustable platform if budgetary restraints are an issue. In most cases, manufacturers offer their tables in packages and often include a carry case and adjustable face rest.
Endplates? What are endplates?
You often will have an option of choosing standard or Reiki endplates. The differences are subtle but important. Many modalities, including varied types of energy work, require you to position your knees under the table while seated. If you practice one of these modalities or like the idea of enjoying that capability, then you will want to ask for Reiki endplates. These are the support beams on the ends of the tables and can be built to allow easy access for your legs. If your planned modality will not require you to work in a seated position, you will do well with standard endplates that cross the lower portion of the table.
I have no idea what color to choose! So many choices!
Individual tastes vary, but ultimately there are a few colors that have been proven to be tried and true favorites: teal, agate, black, burgundy, green, tan and purple. But even though these are the most commonly stocked and readily available does not mean they are the only options. In fact, there are so many colors on the market the choices are virtually endless. Ultimately, your table rarely will be seen by anyone, given you have properly layered it with a body warmer, fleece pad, fitted sheet, top sheet and blanket. Perhaps you will leave your table stationary for the most part and have décor to consider, or you may want to be bold and make a personal statement. In either case, manufacturers have a wide array of colors to suit your needs. Some colors may require special ordering and may take a bit longer to ship. So just have fun, and do what makes YOU feel good!
I have seen tables at discount/wholesale clubs with a great price. They look OK, so why should I continue to look?
Have you ever heard that beauty is only skin deep? It can be especially true of discount or bargain store tables. Here are a few things to consider when you are comparing tables.
Wood: You should look for well-made construction of hardwoods such as oak, birch, bamboo or maple. Avoid soft woods your fingernail can sink into. Soft wood means low weight support, and can result in table warping and bowed legs.
Hinges: Additionally, you should pay attention to the hinges used to join the two halves of your table. A full-length hinge is best in avoiding table torque and twist. The center of your table is its weakest point. You should be sure the hinges are built to withstand weight and repeated usage.
Foam Density: "Discount" tables often have a 2" - 2.5" single layer of foam or less. This will not withstand repeated usage on a professional level. These are better suited for the consumer who is looking for a table for home use. For better comfort over the life span of your table, I recommend tables with double- or triple-layered 2.5" foam systems or higher. Most professional-grade tables have a multi-layered 2.5" - 3" or higher foam system, built to withstand the needs of the professional user. Multiple layers of foam in varied densities help to prevent the client from eventually "bottoming out" on the platform of the table. The single- layer, single-density foams have a distinct habit of wearing out and breaking down with repeated use.
Noise Reduction: After time, some discount membership club tables can begin to squeak and creak, leaving the client uncomfortable and concerned about the table integrity and ability to support their weight. Tables built with the professional in mind will have squeak-resistant legs and joints, built to withstand continuous use.
Some Basic Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Table
Just as with your car, truck, lawnmower, or any other equipment you depend on, your table requires maintenance. I suggest going over your table once a month to make sure the wheel knobs are securely tightened. Check your table legs to inspect for any fractures or cracks that may have developed. If you have screws or bolts, check them to make certain they are tight and secure. If you take the time to make sure your table is performing up to par, you will lessen the likelihood of mishaps and table failures.
There are many manufacturers and retailers that provide professional products. Most have very informative Web sites you can peruse and see images of the tables before you buy. Do your research online and make the comparisons. You are now armed with a bit of knowledge that should make choosing the right table much easier.
Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.
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