When deciding on the right massage for you or your client, there are many options to choose from. The type of techniques used, the amount of time and also, what type of table or chair to use are all things to think about before choosing the perfect massage for you or your client. Today, we will be going over the differences between table and chair massages and when they each make the most impact.

What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a chair massage and a table massage is that the chair massage is performed with the client seated in a chair. This chair is specialized for receiving an upright massage. The chair that is used is often at a slight decline angle, and there is a face cradle for the client to rest their face into and be supported by. There is often a support for the knees so that one does not slide forward and oftentimes for the ankles/feet to rest upon as well.

A table massage or “regular massage” is performed with the client laying down on a massage table. The client can be prone (on belly with a face cradle), on their back or side lying. The tables are often very comfortable with padding and linens for sanitary reasons. This is often a more common position, however oftentimes a person can request a chair massage instead.

Clients may prefer a chair massage over a table massage or vice versa. The chair massage can be more comfortable for people who do not like to lay down. Various health conditions may also cause discomfort on a table vs a chair. For example, when people have difficulty breathing they may prefer to remain seated.

Time is also a differentiator between table and chair massages. A chair massage usually ranges from 15-20 minutes while a table massage can range from 30-120 minutes. If you or your client has a specific amount of time they desire, this could be a good indicator of which massage would best fit their wants and needs.

Pregnancy and Chair Massage

Another consideration is if the client is pregnant. This may mean they can no longer tolerate certain positions, such as laying prone or on their back. They may just prefer a chair massage as well. There is a special chair made for prenatal clients that can provide a more comfortable experience. If in a regular massage chair, the client will sit backwards after the 12th week of pregnancy or before depending on their comfort level. Prenatal massages can be performed on a special table with bolsters designed for side-line massage.

A benefit of a table massage is that the client may find that they are more able to fully relax and enjoy the massage. At times, people may even fall asleep during the massage and this is often easier to achieve when lying down. There is often a nice benefit to allowing the client to stretch out their limbs and be in an “anti-gravity position.” Both types of massages are effective and appropriate for certain situations. Often the better option is related to client preference.

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