How To Set Up & Use Your Massage Table and Headrest

How To Set Up & Use Your Massage Table and HeadrestAs a practicing Massage Therapist, it’s definitely in your best interest to learn how to properly setup and use your massage table. This might sound pretty basic, but consider that if your table’s not working with you, it’s working against you – and obviously not performing to your clients’ expectations in terms of getting the most from their session. Also keep in mind that happy, repeat customers don’t mind referring their friends and co-workers. It’s a win-win situation, and you may just save your aching muscles in the process, too!

The first thing you should do is to adjust the height of your massage table.

Locating the proper height will eliminate excess reaching or bending, which puts unnecessary strain on your back. Everyone’s style and preference is different but a good starting point is to stand with your palms parallel to the floor and adjust the table height to just under your palms. From there, take the time to experiment and find the most comfortable height for you. Once you have your working height, lock the legs in place by fully tightening the knobs to keep the table solid and secure.

It’s a quite simple but often times overlooked process. I’ve received way too many massages on tables with loose table height adjustment knobs. The result is a wobbly, unsafe table that makes me never want to come back. Obviously, you don’t want any of your clients to have that similar experience.

Lower the height of your table for bigger, thicker clients to maintain a relative working height.

Having your table adjusted to a comfortable height will keep you fresh, allowing you to see more clients each day without as much fatigue and strain. If you’re not comfortable, your clients will sense it. When you are comfortable, your clients will let go to a deeper level.

The second thing you can do is learn how to adjust your headrest.

When properly adjusted, there will be no strain on the back of the neck and minimal pressure on the face. The best way to learn how to adjust your headrest is by lying on your table and playing with the adjustments yourself, so you can feel the differences.

  • The first adjustment is height. If the headrest is too high or low, it will put a strain on the neck and upper back. Raise the headrest up for thicker chested clients and down for thinner clients.
  • The second adjustment is the angle. I have yet to meet anyone whose back, neck and head are in a perfectly straight line. That’s why headrests are designed to be adjustable. Everyone has a different idea of what’s comfortable, but I like to start by matching a person’s natural curve, which means tilting the headrest down a little. You will notice most good headrests adjust height and angle with one lever, release the lever, find the place that’s most comfortable, and then lock the lever in place.
  • The third adjustment – width of the headrest pad – is often overlooked. The headrest pad is attached with Velcro so it can be adjusted to fit different sized faces. Make the pad wider for larger faces and narrower for thinner faces.

Remember: Your hands and massage table are your only tools, so taking the time to make your clients as comfortable as possible only makes your job easier and ensures repeat bookings.

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EarthLite, Inc., ( has been the premier brand in professional spa and massage tables for nearly 25 years. Headquartered in Vista, CA, EarthLite has operations on three continents, producing premium quality, handcrafted equipment using sustainable manufacturing practices and materials. Their continual efforts to create innovative, industry-beneficial tools and technology to help Massage Therapists do the very best job they can throughout the long lifetimes of their evolving careers.