Category Archives: Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

You Get What You Pay For! Saving your Massage tools

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surge protectorWe had an unfortunate incident at our home last week when a huge (250 volts) surge of electricity went through our whole house.

We were awakened by the popping and crackling noise of surge protectors literally melting with the strain of the current.

I had surge protectors on almost everything that I value, but here is what I learned. You get what you pay for…

The more inexpensive surge strips did absolutely nothing. As a result I lost one of my computers, speakers, monitor and a bunch of household appliances.

The more expensive protectors (the ones that come with a warranty if your equipment is damaged) worked like a charm, and so my main computer and lovely big monitor were fine.

And best of all are the surge protectors with battery back up and software to save your work and turn off your computer in the case of a power failure.

So I have gone out and replaced all my surge protectors with more powerful ones. Of course there is no guarantee that they will always work, but I’d rather increase my chances of saving my stuff.

Back Up your comuter

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computerI know you have probably heard this a million times, but just in case you have not done anything about it yet, may I share this with you in the hope that it will save at least one person from business disaster?

Having a hard drive failure (i.e. you lose ALL your data, music , photos, videos etc) is not a matter of IF but WHEN.

If you read my last post you will see that I recently lost a computer to a severe power surge. Thankfully I had my entire hard drive backed up to an external drive that was not plugged in at the time of the incident.

It used to be a real pain backing everything up. But you can buy an inexpensive external drive that you just plug into your computer and it backs up everything, either as you create it, or on a regular schedule.

Especially if you use your computer for keeping your massage client database, or client notes, or your business financial data, do back up on a regular basis. Otherwise a simple power surge such as I just experienced could be a massage business disaster.

Buying an Electric Massage Table?: Watch Out For Hidden Shipping Costs

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Massage_table_unloading.jpgWhen I was shopping around online for my electric massage table I was surprised to see that there was quite a variance on price when it came to shipping and handling costs.

These tables are heavy, (as you can see it took two guys and a trolley to move it) and so the shipping costs can be considerable. There was one vendor that I was considering buying my table from as they had it listed for a little bit less than competing sites.

But their web site said that after I placed my order I would be contacted by a representative and told the shipping method and cost.

That seemed a little dodgy to me so instead I called the company before I ordered. Good thing too – the amount they wanted to add for shipping was very high.

I did a bit more research and found my table at another site where the actual table was a little more expensive, but they were running a special and the shipping was FREE!

That saved me a couple hundred dollars! So if you are looking for an electric massage table do shop around and look for special packages.

By the way, my dog JJ wasn’t too excited about the new table, but he LOVED the box.


Do You Like Flat ot Tilted? buying an electric massage table

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everest_flat_250.jpgIf you are thinking about buying an electric massage table, do remember that some tables are flat, just like a traditional massage table, where the whole table lifts up in one piece.

callistoga_massage_table_250.jpgBut others have the additional flexibility of moving in sections, so that you can position the client even more precisely.

Our last electric table had three sections that moved independently, which was really nice.

But the massage table that we really liked this time around (as it matched all of our other criteria) only came with two options. We could get it flat, or with a tilt option.

Earthlite_Everest_Tilt_250.jpgWe didn’t know if we would use the tilt feature that much, but as the difference in price was minimal (all things considered) we chose the tilt option as it allowed us to position the client anywhere from slightly elevated to a full seated position.

As it turns out, I’m so glad we made that choice because we use the tilt feature quite a lot. It’s especially great for when a client is congested, or is uncomfortable for any reason lying flat.

I’d highly recommend that you consider a similar option if you are going to invest in an electric table too.

More Considerations When Buying An Electric Lift Massage Table

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earthlite_ellora_.jpgAs with any massage table purchase, you’ll want to consider the amount of leg room you prefer. For example, my husband does a lot of Cranial Sacral Therapy and energy work from a seated position. So leg room is an important consideration for him.

However, unlike portable massage tables, hydraulic or electric lift tables sometimes have the motor boxed in under the table in a way that reduces leg room considerably. We knew this would not work for us.

Other electric tables have legs that cross in a way that could also restrict your choice of positions when working on a client. For example, sitting at the side of the table could be a challenge.

So if leg room is a factor for you too, do choose your new electric table carefully.

Electric Massage Table Controls: One Set or Two?

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Some electric lift massage tables come with hand controls, some with foot controls and some with the option of both.

When I was researching tables I didn’t think I would use hand controls, so in the end I chose a table that shipped with one set of foot pedals. My last electric table had two sets of foot pedals, one for each end of the table (or each side if you prefer).

I decided to try it with just the one set, but I made sure before I bought my table that I could add an extra set later if I wanted to.

What I found was that I really missed the second set. The pedals somehow always ended on the other side of the table when I needed them.

So I ordered an extra set of foot controls (if you do this, don’t forget the “splitter” that lets you plug both sets into the motor unit) and I am so glad I did.

I do recommend you get two sets of controls. When you are spending this much money anyway, it’s well worth a bit extra to make your life so much easier.

Two other things to think about if you are shopping around for an electric lift massage

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no_noise.jpgTwo other things to think about if you are shopping around for an electric lift massage table are the noise of the motor and the smoothness of the movement.

I have found that “silent” is a subjective term when it comes to a company describing its table. Of course, if you can try out a table before you buy it that is ideal.

If not, you can always go online and read some reviews of the table you are thinking about. I’m happy to say that our new table is virtually silent, which is really nice. Our old one sounded a bit like a locomotive was in the room.

Also check out how smoothly the table glides up and down, and how quickly or slowly it moves. Again, this may be something you have to do via online reviews.

With a good table you can hardly even tell (if at all) when the table is moving. My husband (also a massage therapist) and I had fun with this. We took turns lying on the table with our eyes closed while the other person adjusted the height. We found that neither of us could accurately determine when the table started moving, but there was a slight “settling” sensation when it came to rest. Not bad!

We also liked that our table moves very slowly and the control pedals are very precise.

Choosing an Electric Massage Table: How Low Can You Go?

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When thinking about buying any new massage table there are always many decisions to make. You’ll want to consider things such as the table width and length, the thickness of the foam, the color and texture of the fabric, the weight capacity of the table, whether you want round or square corners, what brand you may have a preference for, and which optional accessories you may need.

However, there are additional considerations that are unique to buying an electric lift table. One of the first things you’ll have to decide upon is how low to the ground and how high up you would like the table to go.

For my husband and I, it was more important for the type of work that we do that the table went as low to the floor as possible. It mattered less how high, as long as it had about a 12 inch height range (which is the difference between the lowest and the highest setting).

I found that some tables had more range of movement and some less, but 12 inches seems to be about average.

So think about your clients (do they need a lot of help getting on and off the table, in which case one that goes lower to the floor may be better) and the type of massage that you do (for example, if you do a lot of work standing, make sure you choose a table that lifts up high enough).

So be sure to look for a hydraulic table that meets your height requirements.

But that’s just the first thing… more to come.

More Power To You

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power_woman_150by150.jpgIt’s been a long time since I had my massage practice in Kona, Hawaii and bought my first electric massage table (almost 20 years in fact!).

It was not the most comfortable table in the world, that’s for sure. And it was clunky and noisy.

But my oh my… the convenience of being able to adjust the height and position with a touch of a button were well worth it.

One of its biggest drawbacks was its weight – it was HEAVY. So when I left the islands I sadly left it behind (much to the delight of the therapist who inherited it).

My somewhat mobile lifestyle made it impractical to replace it right away, but I missed it so much. Once you have experienced the delights of using an electric table, it’s hard to go back.

When I finally went to replace my hydraulic table a couple of months ago, I was blown away with the selection now available. They’ve come a long way baby! They now come in a huge range of both price and features.

More about that later….

Meanwhile, if you have any comments about the pros and cons (yes there are a few) of using an electric table versus a portable one, do let me know. You can reach me at elizabeth @

Electric Massage Table Warranty

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We are having trouble with one of the foot controls of our new electric massage table. Luckily it came with a good warranty.

A good warranty is much more of an issue with an electric table than a portable one because in addition to the frame, the vinyl and the foam, you also have the motor and controls to consider. And they can be expensive to replace.

So if you are shopping around for a power massage table, remember, a good warranty is worth paying for.