Massage Therapy: Tools of the Trade

Massage therapy tools and tablesAs a massage therapist, having access to tools of the trade are essential for performing massage services at the highest level. Regardless of whether you are planning on working independently or for a local spa or massage franchise, here are some of the massage therapy tools you can expect to use on a daily basis.

Massage Tables

First of all, the most important massage therapy tool is the massage surface. Massage tables are key to performing services. There are two basic types of massage tables, stationary and portable. Both work excellent for full body, relaxation, or deep tissue massage.

Stationary Massage Tables

Spas, rehabilitation centers, and franchise settings often use stationary massage tables to accommodate their clients. Since the client comes to have massage services performed, these tables do not have to move regularly. Typically, stationary massage tables have a higher weight limit than portable massage tables.

When choosing a massage table, consider the table width and height. Client should lay comfortably during the massage therapy session. The table height should also complement the massage therapist to improve ergonomics and precvent stress injuries. For taller clients, the table can include attachments like leg rests, face cradles and side extensions. Stationary massage tables are made out of wood, while portable massage tables are aluminum for easier transport. The massage table’s padding should be dense, thick and comfortable for durability.

Portable Massage Tables

Folding massage tables are preferred by independent therapists or those who make house calls to perform their massage services. These folding massage tables are compact, relatively lightweight and easily transported. Many portable massage tables are also adjustable, so massage therapists can modify the height of the table.

Massage Table Tools and Accessories

Headrests, leg rest, arm shelves, and side extensions make massage tables more comfortable for clients. A face cradle helps the client stay straight on the massage table. Other accessories such as fleece pads, massage table warmers, support pillows, and massage table sheets help provide a more enjoyable experience.

Massage Chairs

Massage chairs are another option for performing massages. Many massage chairs are portable, allowing for quick setup in nearly any size space. These chairs also come with massage therapy tools and attachments including armrests, chest pads and head support. Padded seats provide maximum comfort throughout the massage therapy session.

Massage chairs are convenient in places with limited space or for performing more localized massage therapy on areas such as the back, shoulder, or neck.

Massage Oils

As a massage therapist, your goal is to provide a pleasant and relaxing experience. The use of massage oil aids in creating smoother skin, allowing the massage therapists’ hands to glide easier across the client’s skin. The application of massage oils prevents friction, which can get uncomfortable for both the client and massage therapist. Also, specially formulated massage oils can be used to help with relaxation or to treat soreness. Massage oils include essential oils such as lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and others that soothe and relieve.

Massage oils are used in athletic, sports, deep tissue, hot stone, Swedish, aromatherapy, and relaxation massages. When using massage oils, it is vital to know their advantages and disadvantages. Not all types of oils are ideal for use as massage oils. Some oils can be too sticky or greasy for regular use in massage.

To assure the safety and satisfaction of the client, massage therapists should have a variety of massage oils available for use. To avoid adverse reactions, massage therapists should always ask clients if they have allergies, to avoid using products that could cause a negative physical response such as an allergic reaction.

Electric or Manual Massage Tools

In some situations, it’s nice to have a few massage tools available. Electric and manual massage tools complement and extend massage service offerings.

Electrical massage tools such as percussive and infrared massage tools are excellent options. These tools apply constant vibration and heat to sore spots. Variable speed massagers apply consistent pressure on client’s problem areas.

Manual massage tools augment massage therapists’ capabilities. Simple, but practical manual massage tools include balls, rollers, thumb tools, handheld massage tools, hot stone massage tools, head and neck massage tinglers and massaging sticks.

Clients and therapists both benefit when the massage tools are used in combination with techniques. The client receives a more thorough and comprehensive massage to treat pain and stiffness. The massage therapist benefits by using tools designed to provide a better user experience, while alleviating some of the repetitiveness of regular massage.

Carrying Cases

For independent massage therapists, mobility and portability is key. Carrying cases make transporting items such as portable massage chairs and tables much more effortless. Additionally, having a travel bag to carry massage oils and tools streamlines the travel process for massage therapists.

Create A Great Ambiance

A comfortable setting is an essential part of getting a therapeutic massage. Items that help promote a relaxed environment include Himalayan salt lamps, live plants, lights with dimming capabilities, and a calm color scheme.  Items like towels and bathrobes are always great for clients to use during their massage therapy session.

The massage room should be well organized, offering the massage therapist easy access to any items they need. This could include extra bolsters, pillows, massage oils, and massage tools. The room should also be quiet, so the client isn’t distracted by loud noises that take away from the massage experience.

Did this information interest you in becoming a massage therapist? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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