1Massage Store Blog - Posts Tagged ‘Massage Table Face Cradle’

How to Adjust a Massage Table Headrest

Massage table headrests can be a bit tricky to get adjusted right. The last thing you want to happen is to have the face cradle slip down in the middle of a massage. To keep this from happening, it’s important to make sure the locking mechanism is tight and the cradle is securely held in place.

Depending on the design of your headrest, you may need to tighten or loosen the adjustment lever to find the right tension and tightness. The following instructions for adjusting your headrest apply specifically to OneTouch Massage face cradles and similar style headrests.

Attaching the Headrest to the Table
  1. Before you insert the face cradle into the attachment outlets, make sure the adjustment lever on your face cradle is the “unlocked” position (loose and in a freely moving position). This will ensure that the dowels slide easily into the attachment outlets. If the adjustment lever is tightened and locked down, the dowels will also be locked, reducing their amount of play and making it difficult to insert the dowels into the attachment outlets.
  2. Loosen the adjustment lever before inserting into attachment outlets.

    Loosen the adjustment lever before inserting into attachment outlets.

  3. Slide the dowels into the attachment outlets.
  4. Insert dowels into the attachment outlets.

    Insert dowels into the attachment outlets.

Adjusting the Locking Mechanism

Before you lock down the adjustment lever, it is important to test where the adjustment lever is set. This will minimize the potential for damage to your face cradle frame and reduce the chances of the headrest slipping down during use.

  1. To test where the adjustment lever is set, gently push down on the lever. If the lever does not lock down with this gentle pressure, turn the lever counterclockwise a few rotations while firmly applying pressure to the Allen head screw on the opposite side. This will loosen the lever. Then simply check the lever again for proper resistance.
  2. Test the adjustment lever to check for tightness.

    Test the adjustment lever to check for tightness.

    Rotate the adjustment lever as needed to secure the headrest.

    Rotate the adjustment lever as needed to secure the headrest.

  3. Repeat this process until the adjustment lever locks down with minimal pressure.
  4. The headrest should be held securely in place.

    The headrest should be held securely in place.

  5. After doing this, if you notice that the face cradle frame is loose while inserted into the attachment outlets, simply turn the adjustment lever clockwise while in the locked down position, until the frame feels solid. This will tighten the lever.
  6. Tighten the adjustment lever further, as needed.

    Tighten the adjustment lever further, as needed.

Adjusting the Headrest

You may need to adjust the face cradle position to compensate for the thickness of the face cradle pad and to customize it for your client’s needs. One technique that massage therapists use to customize the face cradle positioning for each client is described below:

  1. Loosen the adjustment lever.
  2. Ask the client to hold on to the sides of the face cradle frame.
  3. Then have the client adjust the cradle to the height and angle that feels comfortable to them.
  4. Lock the adjustment lever in place.
  5. Adjust the headrest to fit the needs of the client.

    Adjust the headrest to fit the needs of the client.

For more information, watch our video on How to Adjust a Face Cradle.

Choosing a Massage Table Face Cradle

Is it time to upgrade your face cradle or pad? Buying just a face cradle or pad is a great way to make your table more comfortable and adjustable without spending the money on a whole new table.

There are plenty of options available, but before you make your purchase, check to make sure that the face cradle will fit your massage table. The “on center” dimensions for the face cradle should be the same as the distance between the post holes on your table, and the diameter of the posts should be the right size for the diameter of the post holes. If the face cradle is the wrong size, it will not adjust correctly or safely hold the client’s head.

Aluminum Face Cradle Attachment

Aluminum Face Cradle Attachment

What types of face cradles are available?

Aluminum and metal are the most durable materials for a face cradle attachment. Wooden dowels are the least durable.

What types of face cradle pads are available?
The Aspire comes with a memory foam deck and fully adjustable face cradle with memory foam pad.

The Aspire comes with a memory foam deck and fully adjustable face cradle with memory foam pad.

Memory foam face pads provide an extra level of luxury and comfort for your clients. Some massage tables come standard with memory foam deck and face pad (such as the Aspire Massage Table), but you can also purchase a memory foam pad separately. Besides the different types of foam used, there are also slight variations in shape and design. Some of these specially designed face pads are used to relieve sinus pressure and prevent “cradle face.”

Since face pads are removable, you can attach the face pad closer to the table or further away. The hook and loop attachment gives you flexibility in positioning the face pad. You can also remove the face pad and use it as a neck bolster in the supine or side-lying positions.

How adjustable does a face cradle need to be?

The more adjustments you can make with your face cradle, the better you can customize the fit, height, and angle for each individual client. Basically you want to be able to adjust the face cradle vertically and at an angle. Some face cradles adjust using one lever, and some cradles adjust with two levers.

The ability to raise and lower the cradle in a vertical plane is especially important for larger clients, who may need the face cradle to be positioned higher than for other clients. The tilt or angle adjustment allows you to place the neck in a neutral position. Different body types may require different positioning of the face cradle for neutral alignment.

What Is the Purpose of a Massage Table Face Hole?

Massage Table with Face Hole

This Deluxe Series Massage Table
includes a face hole and plug.

Some portable massage tables come with a face hole (or face portal) in the table bed that can be used in place of the face cradle when the client is in the prone position.

Whether or not you decide to use the face hole instead of the headrest depends on the client’s preference and on your preference as the therapist.

Some clients feel more comfortable using the headrest instead of the face hole (or the face hole instead of the headrest). This is largely based on personal preference; however, taller clients will generally be more comfortable using the headrest because of the extra length it adds to the table.

As a therapist, you may prefer using the face hole because it eliminates the need to attach or adjust the face cradle. It also gives you more room to move around the table than if the headrest were attached. If you work in a very small treatment room, a face hole can cut down on the space that you need for your massage table.

Massage tables with face holes also come with a plug to fill in the hole. This insert fills in the face hole recess to make it level with the padding on the massage table. If you are using the face cradle or if your client is in the supine position, simply insert the plug into the hole.

The Professional, Deluxe, Elite, and Euro-Light Massage Tables from OneTouch all come standard with both a face hole and headrest.

Face Cradle Versatility

6 Ways to Use Your Face Cradle More Effectively

The Velcro back allows you to adjust the face cradle pad as needed.

The Velcro back allows you to adjust the face cradle pad as needed.

Did you know you can use your face cradle as a bolster? Find creative ways to get more out of your face cradle with these 6 practical tips!

  • Use the face cradle pad as a neck bolster in the supine or side-lying position. Since the pad is Velcro, it can be removed from the face cradle attachment and used in a variety of different ways.
  • Move the face cradle pad closer to table or further away. The Velcro attachments allow you to adjust the face cradle pad position on the head base to essentially lengthen or shorten the massage table. Some clients may be more comfortable with the face pad close to the table, and others may prefer it further away.
  • If client prefers using the face hole, remove the face cradle to move around the massage table easily without maneuvering around the face cradle.
  • Ask if the client needs to meet with someone or return to work after the massage. If so, begin the session with the client in the prone position and then switch to the supine position. This will give time for any pressure or wrinkle marks left on the client’s face to fade away.
  • Use face cradle covers that are smooth and wrinkle-free to prevent them from leaving wrinkle marks on the client’s face. Your clients will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  • For extra luxurious service, consider purchasing a memory foam face cradle pad. It automatically adjusts to the unique contours of the client’s face and provides the most comfortable head rest possible for your clients. Sometimes a little extra luxury and special service can go a long way towards increasing your client retention rate.

Face Cradle Positioning

Face cradle positioned parallel to the floor

Face cradle positioned parallel to the floor

The most important rule to remember when it comes to adjusting the face cradle is to make sure the client is comfortable. For most clients, keeping the spine in a neutral line is the best way to find that comfort spot, and it’s the best way to position the client ergonomically.

Some clients like the face cradle tilted down slightly to relieve pressure. Other clients feel more comfortable with the face cradle parallel to the floor. For overweight clients or large-chested clients, raise the face cradle, while keeping it parallel to the floor. This helps keep the spine in a neutral line.

For clients with sinus problems or allergies, try bolstering the chest area and raising the face cradle (while keeping it parallel to the floor). Elevating the chest area helps to relieve congestion. You can also try adding a couple drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil to the face cradle cover. These essential oils aid in clearing the sinuses.

Ask for feedback. Ultimately, your client is the one who can tell you what’s working and what’s not. What you think should be comfortable may be completely different from what the client finds to be comfortable. Let the client guide the positioning and follow their lead.

Massage Table Accessories | Buying a Massage Table Series

Without certain massage table accessories, your options for client positioning are severely limited. That’s why most massage therapists look for a massage table package that includes a headrest and arm shelf, at the very least.

Other massage table packages may include side arm extenders, a massage table bag, bolster pillows, or a table cart. These accessories can also be purchased separately. So if you don’t have the funds to purchase all of the massage table accessories you need when you purchase the table, you can always make these purchases later or as the need arises.

Face Cradle / Headrest
An aluminum face cradle offers strength and durability.

An aluminum face cradle offers strength and durability.

Most massage therapists consider the headrest to be an essential massage table accessory. Unless your table includes a face portal (also known as a breathe hole), you will need a headrest in order to position your clients in a comfortable and ergonomic position.

Several types of headrests are available on the market. The cheapest headrests are stationary, which means you can’t adjust the height or angle. For a slightly higher price, you can buy a face cradle that allows for multiple adjustments. Most therapists prefer adjustable face cradles for more flexibility in client positioning.

Headrests are made from different materials. Some headrest materials are stronger and more durable than others. Plastic is the cheapest type of headrest but does not have the same strength or durability as metal or aluminum.

Forward Arm Shelf

Along with the headrest, most therapists prefer a forward arm shelf. A massage stool can double as a temporary arm shelf, but it is less professional and less convenient than a forward arm rest. A massage stool used as an arm rest can also get in the way as you move around the table.

Side Arm Extenders
Side extenders come in handy for wider clients.

Side extenders come in handy for wider clients.

If your clients are wider than the average body type, you may want to have a pair of side arm extenders on hand to temporarily make the massage table wider than normal. Your wider clients will appreciate the extra room, and you can easily remove the side extenders when you don’t need them.

Package Deals

For the best deal, look for a massage table package that includes all of the basic accessories that you need. It’s generally cheaper than buying all of your accessories separately.

For more information on massage table features, see the Buying a Massage Table Series.

Choosing a Face Cradle or Headrest: Buying a Massage Table Series

Learn the difference between different types of face cradles.

Aluminum Face Cradles offer strength and durability.

Aluminum Face Cradles offer strength and durability.

A face cradle (also called a headrest) can extend the length of your massage table by up to 12 inches. This allows you to accommodate taller clients without buying a table length extender.

Face cradles can also increase client comfort and therapist access. Many clients prefer face cradles over breathe holes, which can feel somewhat claustrophobic. In addition, combining the use of a face cradle with a forward arm rest opens up the scapula area for easy access to those hard-to-reach back muscles.

There are a number of different headrest styles out on the market, including different types of frames and crescent pads.

Headrest Frames

The material used for a face cradle frame can be wood, plastic, metal, aluminum, or a combination of these materials. The preferred choice is an aluminum headrest because of its strength and light weight. A slightly cheaper but comparably strong option is a metal headrest. Both aluminum and metal offer strength, durability, and flexibility in positioning. They are typically constructed with a quality wooden head base.

A high-density plastic frame is strong and durable enough to withstand regular use and costs less than aluminum or metal. Wooden attachment outlets are also economical, but they are non-adjustable.

A fully adjustable, removable headrest gives you more options for client positioning than a fixed headrest. With a locking cam lever, it adjusts vertically and at any angle, including all the way down to move your headrest out of the way. Most removable headrests store inside the table for easy portability.

Headrest Pads

Headrest pads come in all colors. They are typically constructed with vinyl upholstery that varies in softness. The padding is usually small cell foam. Some face cradle pads come with memory foam for added comfort.

Most headrest pads attach with Velcro and are easily interchangeable. For extra comfort, you can cover them with a fleece pad or other special cover.