Massage table size depends on two things: the size of the therapist and the size of your typical client. The table needs to be narrow enough to allow easy access to the client but wide enough for the client to fit comfortably on the table.
Why Width Is Important
In considering massage table size, the most important dimension is table width. The width of the table will affect the ergonomics and working posture of the therapist, and it will affect the comfort of the client.
Choosing the right massage table width helps prevent muscle strain in your back and legs. The healthier you can keep your body, the longer you will be able to work as a massage therapist.
If you are shorter than average and have short arms on top of that, reaching across a wide table to reach the client places undue stress on your body. The further you need to reach, the harder it will be for you to maintain proper ergonomics.
Standard width for a portable massage table is 29-30 inches. As a general guideline, therapists with a height of 5’4″ or shorter should choose a table no wider than 29 inches. Therapists ranging from 5’4″ to about 5’10″ should consider a table up to 31 inches wide. At a height of 5’10″ or taller, therapists can select a table up to 33 inches wide.
Width and Client Comfort
Although therapist height and ergonomics are important, so is client comfort. If your clients are too wide to fit comfortably on the table, they will have a hard time relaxing. One option that allows you to choose a narrow width and still make your clients comfortable is to find a table that can accommodate side arm extenders. These side extensions allow the client’s arms to fit comfortably on the table as well as allowing the therapist to step in closer to the client for better access.
Some table models are contoured for a narrow width at the middle of the table and a wider width at either end. This gives the therapist easier access but still leaves enough room for the client’s shoulders and arms to fit on the table.
Width and Portability
Keep in mind that narrow tables are more portable because of their lighter weight. If you plan on carrying your table around, you may want to choose the narrowest width recommended for your height range.