Chair, Bench, or Table: Which Massage Surface Provides the Best Support

When people come to you for a massage, they need to have a massage surface that is comfortable and provides good support. Typically, you should give your clients the option between a massage chair and the standard massage table/bench, after explaining the advantages of each one. Take a look at the times when each of these massage surfaces provide the best support for a massage.

Advantages to a Massage Chair

two massage therapists giving chair massages

Image via Flickr by srqpix

Massage chairs have adjustable head, arm, and seat rests to support your client’s body. The biggest reason your clients might choose a massage chair is because of time. With massage chairs, your clients can leave on all of their clothes because you only work on their shoulders, neck, and back. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to use a massage chair.

Reasons to Choose the Chair as a Massage Surface:

  • Since the back is exposed, massage chairs are perfect for quick rubs.
  • Some clients prefer to sit rather than lay during their massage, which makes massage chairs ideal during these situations.
  • Clients don’t have to undress when using a massage chair, which is something that makes a lot of people more comfortable.
  • Massage chairs are typically smaller than massage tables, which makes them easier to take to client sites.

Advantages to a Massage Table/Bench

massage table in therapy room

Image via Flickr by thebone

A massage table is probably the most recognized piece of massage equipment. They are seen in spas, massage therapy offices, and even carried to client houses. Basically it is a raised table that the client lies on to receive their massage. There are lots of variations to the massage table — some have head rests, arm rests, incline adjustments, and adjustable heights. Each of these settings should be configured to best support your client’s body and preferences.

Reasons to Choose the Table as a Massage Surface:

  • With massage tables, clients can be placed in several positions, making it easier for you to reach all the knots and sore muscles in their body.
  • Massage tables are good for full-body massages because you don’t have to bend down to massage clients’ thighs and calves.
  • Massages administered on massage tables are typically given to direct skin, making it easier to feel the muscles that need to be massaged the most.

How to Determine the Massage Surface to Use

beautiful massage therapy room

Image via Flickr by Unique Hotels Group

If you are a new massage therapist and you want to know which massage surface is the best before you buy one, you’ll have to consider the types of massages you will be giving. Massage tables are great for massage offices, but massage chairs are better if you are going to be giving massages at client sites. So, you should choose a massage surface based on the type of massage you will be performing the most.

If you have access to both a massage chair and a massage table, you can ask your clients if they have a massage surface preference. That’s a great way to make sure your clients are happy and comfortable.

Both massage chairs and massage tables provide support to your clients. The one you use should be based on your clients’ preferences and the the type of massage you are going to perform.



  • Rodney Trepess

    I know this is an in-house post but I’m not sure if I agree. I think that a table it superior to the chair in all situations except when I have to go off-site

    • Disagree. I’ve had plenty of clients who are just not cozy laying down, and the chair has come in handy at the office. That said, I find my body mechanics are awful when I’m working with the chair, so I try to limit that.

  • Tracy

    I prefer to work with a massage table. My posture and body mechanics are better. But I have a few clients who cannot lay down so I thrilled them with the opportunity to use a massage chair. In-office I cover it with a pretty blanket and it doesn’t look so scary.