Can your massage table be too low?
That’s the question I had asked myself last week. So, I did a Can Your Massage Table Be Too Low? experiment. For 7 days, I set my table on the lowest setting possible for each client I saw.
Guess what happened?
My body felt fine.
However, if you had asked me to do that experiment 2 years ago, it would have been a different story. My back would have been trashed.
Here’s what changed: I learned how to adapt to a low table.
Hold on, Mark. Before you get into adapting to a low table, why the hell would you want to adapt to a low table in the first place?
Here’s why: Over the years my upper-body was taking a beating when working medium to deep pressure because my table was too high. Once I lowered my table I could lean into the client and use my body weight to generate pressure rather than press with my upper-body.
A low table looks scary, like it’s going to kill your back–but it won’t.
The Can Your Massage Table Be Too Low? experiment put a spotlight on 3 things you must do successfully to adapt to a lower table so that you can effortlessly deliver medium to deep pressure. Here’s the first thing you need to do:
1. Bend your legs.
Here I’m delivering deep pressure with my knuckles and fists. The table is low so that I can lean into client.
But when I want to lighten the pressure it gets more complicated. I can either bend at the back and criple myself OR bend my legs like I’m the Karate Kid.
It will feel a little weird at first when you start doing Karate Kid stances, but you’ll love the results. No back pain.
During the experiment I took bending my legs to whole new level. But I didn’t fatigue because of thing number #2.
2. Use the table as support.
Think of the table as a wall to lean against. Use it to support your weight.
Look at my back leg in this pic. A lot of my weight is being directed into the table through my leg.
Here I’m leaning into the table in a Karate Kid stance. (Notice how I can really get into the lamina groove on this person….haha…)
Once you get that “the table can help hold you up”, you start looking for ways to rest against the table. And you begin to…
3. Approach massage as dynamic work, not static work.
By dynamic I mean moving and flowing with a purpose in mind–to effortlessly do a good massage.
Here’s a movement sequence that happens naturally when you bend your legs and use the table as support.
Deep pressure first.
Then I bend my legs for light pressure on the neck.
In this light pressure situation I switch to one hand and get vertical. Notice my leg against the table. I’m still using the table as support.
And at the end I throw in a stretch.
It may look like a lot of work, but if you’re at one with your massage table (using the table to support some of your weight), massage becomes effortless.
Can Your Massage Table Be Too Low? Answer
So, for all practical purposes your massage table can’t be too low because you can adapt by bending your legs, using the massage table for support and approaching massage as dynamic work.
BUT your massage table can be too high for medium to deep pressure because a high table will limit your ability to use your body weight to generate pressure.
For more about table height, check out: Table Height is Everything.
P.S. If you haven’t heard, I have an email group.
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