Should a mobile massage therapist bring a massage table to appointments or not? Is a massage without a table a proper treatment? These are questions that divides therapists, teachers and customers ... but not us.
Anyone who has experienced a high quality traditional massage in Asia will probably know that a massage table is not necessary to enjoy a truly excellent massage. Chinese and Thai therapists usually perform their outstanding therapy on the floor, using a thin mattress for support and comfort.
The appropriateness of using a massage table depends on various factors. The type of treatment might be relevant but what matters more is whether the treatment is a mobile visiting massage or being held in a dedicated spa treatment room. Read on to find out why that's the case.
First off, it should come as no surprise that health and hygiene go hand in hand. But it might surprise you to discover that a recent study on bacterial contamination of treatment tables found numerous reputable clinics were in fact treating customers on tables infested with infectious pathogens. Yikes!
Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in: Licensed health centres, with dedicated treatment rooms and cupboards full of disinfectants, were actually found to have massage tables contaminated with toxic bacteria.
The study was not extended to tables used for mobile massage services but it is undoubtedly fair to assume that those findings would have most probably fared much worse. Just imagine, time rushed therapists who work alone and carry unwieldy tables from customer to customer all over a busy, heavily polluted, city like London.
Based on the findings of the study above, it seems entirely reasonable to conclude that the chances that a massage table used for mobile therapy in London is clinically clean and disease free is very slim indeed. YUK!
Therapists who use The Massage Rooms platform invariably use the customer’s own massage table or, if the customer does not own a table, a normal bed or the floor to perform their treatments. Being massaged on a surface that the customer owns is a considerably safer and less worrying proposition when it comes to hygiene.
Similarly, for hygiene reasons again, our policy for massage towels is exactly the same - always use the customers own.
Regardless of the surface being used for the treatment, our closing note on ensuring cleanliness and avoiding the spread of infections, is about personal hygiene. Good therapists always wash their hands thoroughly before and after performing any treatment. We also recommend that clients take a warm shower just before their massage, to both cleanse the body and warm the skin and underlying muscles. If you are staying in a hotel and getting an in-room mobile massage, then try having a sauna beforehand.
In addition to the increased risks of spreading infections, mobile massage appointments in London present some further challenges in respect of using portable tables.
Rooms in homes and hotels in London are often relatively small or crammed full of furniture. For a massage therapist to be able to properly perform a treatment on a massage table, there needs to be at least 50cm of clear space around every edge. Taking into account the size of an average portable table, this means you need about 5 square metres of clear space (2.8m x 1.70m) to adequately accommodate a massage table and the therapist.
Have a look around the room where you would be receiving your mobile massage. Do you have that much clear space available? If you do, then you are quite unique in London.
The difficulties of driving and parking around London make it practically impossible to use a car for on-demand mobile therapies in London. This means a masseuse who brings a treatment table has to endure travelling on the trains and buses with a large cumbersome item. And that's before you even consider any other items therapists often carry such as oils, candles, a music player, mobile phone and so on.
If you live in an apartment on an upper floor without a lift, beware that your therapist will have used a good chunk of her vital energy before even laying their hands on you, simply hauling the table up to your front door. It's not just physically exhausting for therapists, but mentally too. The best therapists should arrive happy and full of energy rather than hot and bothered or physically exhausted.
An average portable massage table weighs around 15 - 17 Kg and is about 1m x 0.5m x 0.3m when folded. Of course, that's not easy to transport around London, even with a specialist trolley, especially since many customers request massages on-demand expecting their therapist to arrive fresh and energised to perform goof therapy as soon as one hour after they have booked.
The lightest portable tables weigh around 12 Kg so these are easier to transport but are lower height and narrower than standard, which means most customers and therapists find them very uncomfortable to use.
But of course, even a standard mobile table is so much less comfortable than a dedicated spa treatment couch. Consider the stability of your bed at home and the comfort that weight gives it. Even an average bed mattress weighs around 70 Kg alone. Many customers complain that the portable tables they have experienced have been rickety and squeaky (due to all the folding parts), hard and too narrow (due to reduced padding and width to save weight).
Finally, after a really good massage, most of us simply want to drift off to sleep. The last thing you probably want to do is watch a therapist struggle to put their table away, move furniture back, or even accidentally knock into various items as they leave your home loaded with their bags of equipment!
As long as appropriate hygiene is implemented, getting a massage on a purpose built, fixed position massage couch at a dedicated spa can be a really wonderful experience. Clinic based treatment tables often weigh over 200 Kg and cost several thousand pounds. Unsurprisingly then, they are much more sturdy and comfortable than their portable counterparts. Importantly, this kind of table is suitable for all body shapes and sizes and set in a position that allows the therapist to work their moves freely and without restriction.
Portable massage tables on the other hand are designed primarily to make them suitable for regular transport by a single therapist, most of whom are not trained weight lifters! In London, therapists are usually not even able to use cars to visit their customers, so they have to opt for the very lightest of tables as they will carry them on public transport.
We think that's a compromise too far and prefer instead to focus on providing the best, cleanest and most comfortable treatment for our mobile therapies. This means our therapists are trained and experienced to perform wonderful treatments on the client's own bed or floor. This allows your therapist to arrive happy and energised, to perform the treatment in a hygienic manner without being constrained for space, and finally at the end of your treatment to leave you peacefully.
To get the best out of your next treatment without a portable table, simply follow our room preparation tips before your professional therapist arrives. Try it and see if you agree with us that it is not only possible to perform massage without a table, when it comes to mobile treatments in London, it is much better too!