Dim lighting, relaxing scents, and soothing music are all integral in creating a satisfying spa experience for clients, but another element that should not be overlooked is the right equipment. This includes warm towels, oils, lotions, and perhaps most importantly, the massage table. If a massage table is uncomfortable or creaky, both the client and the therapist can experience a less-than-ideal treatment. Many massage equipment companies are not only ensuring massage tables are comfortable, functional, and ergonomical, but they are also creating innovative tables that enhance treatments and offer a unique spa experience. “Function for the therapist and comfort for the client shall meet the needs of both parties involved,” says Matthias Kühl, managing director of Clap Tzu and a naturopathic therapist. “The more the therapist is supported by the massage table, the more he or she can give to the client with the least possible distraction.”
According to Philippe Therene, founder of SpaEquip, today’s massage tables boast many functional elements, such as reliable hydraulic lift systems and quieter lift operations. “Very often it is so quiet that the client on the table does not even realize the table is moving up and down,” he says. Also, technological elements are being added to tables, such as the use of iPads to allow clients to visualize a calming scene through the face cradle and listen to the sounds of nature at the same time and the addition of transducers to allow the table to vibrate to the frequency of the music the client selects. What’s more, aromatherapy platforms can be installed at the ends of the table to provide a constant aromatherapy experience, and the use of color helps turn treatment tables into a chromatherapy device and delivery system. “The table’s innovative features should not only benefit the client but also the therapist by allowing them to offer a better treatment and making it easier for them to perform it,” says Therene. “More and more spa clients want a personalized massage, and the new features definitely allow for more personalization and comfort.” Here are a few innovative tables on the market today:
Clap Tzu WaveMotion Bodywork Table
Description: The WaveMotion Bodywork table facilitates fluid movements to enhance bodywork treatments. The top rotates 360 degrees and inclines and tilts up to seven degrees in any direction. Plus, the tabletop locks into place for use during traditional massage services. “There are hardly any other treatments that lead into deep relaxation like water treatments,” says Kühl. “So what could be more reasonable than bringing the main elements from these treatments to dry land in order to reduce the immense efforts needed for treatments in heated pools? So we did it. The WaveMotion treatment table gently swings and rotates 360 degrees.”
Client Benefits: During a massage treatment, the table gently rocks the client, providing pain relief, increased circulation, deep relaxation, and a heightened sense of wellbeing. “The treatment on the WaveMotion table allows the guest to be weightlessly moved in a three-dimensional space,” says Kühl. “This is a unique and precious experience, which otherwise is only possible in water or outer space. The effect is very surprising. Within a very short time, the soft and rhythmic movements induced by the therapist lead to deep relaxation. At the same time, the WaveMotion treatment has a mobilizing and vitalizing effect on the whole body.”
Therapist Benefits: Utilizing the movement and momentum of the table to do much of the work, therapists will not tire out, as they do not have to use as much energy to perform the treatment. Also, it rotates and rocks, allowing therapists to use the weight and motion of the client’s body and limbs to help bring the body into alignment, according to Jean Kolb, director of wellness and business and product development for Kohler Co., which operates Kohler Waters Spas (multiple locations). “It incorporates stretching and traction techniques to release restrictions in the body,” she says.
Sample Treatments: Beneficial for use during massage treatments, the table is utilized in Kohler Waters Spas’s new Rock ‘n Roll massage ($155, 50 minutes; $202, 80 minutes), which is a full-body treatment designed to increase range of motion. “One experiences a sensation of weightlessness through stretches and specific techniques for relaxation,” says Kolb.
Gharieni MLX Quartz
Description: The MLX Quartz is filled with alpha-quartz sand warmed to the desired temperature by means of a heating system to help alleviate pain and promote comfort. As the client reclines, the warm sand flows around and envelops the body to help release muscle tension. The MLX Quartz is now available with Dynamic Flow, in which the lying surface’s integrated air chambers are filled and evacuated with air automatically to ensure that the warm quartz sand moves and flows. “When massages are given by a therapist, the MLX Quartz with its Dynamic Flow system offers a 360-degree treatment,” says Sammy Gharieni, founder and CEO of the Gharieni Group. “The quartz sand with its dry, mild warmth guarantees fast and deep relaxation, while the massage of the therapist is supported by the gentle movement of the sand from below.”
Client Benefits: The warmth of the quartz sand provides intense relaxation. The table also helps activate the lymph flow, as well as loosens up muscles and mobilizes the body.
Therapist Benefits: The table provides relaxation even without the help of a therapist. It also features control panels on the bed for therapists to easily adjust inclination, surface temperature, and height.
Sample Treatments: The MLX Quartz is ideal for massage and body wraps. At Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York, for example, clients can sink into relaxation with the spa’s Signature Treatment ($399, 3 hours), which takes place on the sand-quartz bed and includes a body scrub, a wrap, and a warm poultice massage.
Living Earth Crafts Nuage Vector +Studio
Description: The Nuage Vector +Studio incorporates healing with relaxation. The programmable all-electric treatment table features chromatherapy lighting, an embedded digital table warmer, Bluetooth-enabled stereo speakers, an Apple iPad control system that offers meditative nature journeys and music, and acoustic resonance.
Client Benefits: Clients can experience the benefits of chromatherapy lighting, enjoy a meditative journey by viewing nature images on an iPad positioned under the face cradle, and listen to relaxing music to help calm the mind and body. They can also feel the music they hear with the table’s So Sound acoustic resonance option, which enhances the treatment and helps them further relax.
Therapist Benefits: The table offers programmable hand and foot controls and an embedded table warmer.
Sample Treatments: The Nuage Vector +Studio is ideal for massage services. At Rock Spa at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya (Puerto Aventuras, Mexico), guests can enjoy the benefits of a pulsating massage with the Synchronicity ($200, 50 minutes; $290, 80 minutes) treatment, which utilizes greatest hits from yesterday to today to create an experiential journey that is in sync with a performance of technique, pressure, and rhythm. Bass vibrations are felt through the massage table, and, as treble beats come from above, send pulses through the body, leaving guests feeling invigorated and energized.
Oakworks Nova Portable Massage Table with ABC System
Description: The Nova is a best-selling portable massage table that features specially engineered interlocking leg extensions, engraved easy-adjustment wooden knobs, a UniLock closure system, and easy-access end panels. The new ABC (Adjustable Breast Comfort) system package, which is available with the Nova table, provides support and comfort to all clients. “The ABC System is available on portable and stationary tables,” says Jeff Riach, founder and CEO of Oakworks. “It is a patent-pending design that allows therapists to make adjustments to suit a client’s comfort level while they are still on the table without any fuss. The system adjusts the height of a padded platform in the breast area to create the perfect balance between support and pressure, maintaining a comfortable position for the spine at the same time.”
Client Benefits: The table provides support and reduction of pressure on women’s breasts. The ABC System is ideal for clients who feel discomfort while laying prone, or who have naturally larger breasts, breast implants, have had a recent mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery, sinus pressure, neck pain, and general pressure on the face, according to Riach. “Most people experience one or more issues, so having these addressed allows clients to relax more quickly and for longer periods, permitting deeper work and longer sessions with better outcomes,” he says.
Therapist Benefits: The table allows therapists to make subtle changes in the breast area to fit each client while offering support for deeper work on the back. Also, a foot pump and simple release valve allow therapists to adjust the contour of the tabletop during treatment without interrupting the flow of the session, ensuring maximum comfort and results. The pump easily lifts even the largest clients on a super soft and conforming pad.
Sample Treatments: The table is best for body treatments that require women to lay on their front, as it provides comfort to the breast area.
Pevonia Equipment Lemi Venice Table
Description: The Venice combines comfort and ease of use with exceptional workspace optimization. It features an innovative mattress with the HBS Stress Relief System, which provides perfect ergonomics for the head, back, and shoulders while at the same time ensuring the best possible position for both the client and operator. The wooden structure includes a convenient spacious container ideal for storing work tools, such as a hot cabbie, and even comes complete with an electrical outlet.
Client Benefits: The table provides the ultimate in comfort for the head, back, and shoulders. Also, the design of the table allows clients to easily get off and on the table.
Therapist Benefits: The multifunctional table is easy to clean and offers an adjustable height to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic position for therapists. They can adjust the height, as well as the backrest and leg position using a foot pedal.
Sample Treatments: Because of its three independent height, backrest, and leg rest adjustments, the table is best for body and face treatments and massage. It can also be used during hair-removal and pressure-therapy services.
Silhouet-Tone Newstream Serenity
Description: The Newstream Serenity is a fully electric bed that features a laser-cut frame, four heated memory-foam cushions, wood panels, and multiple upholstery and stain options. It also features remote-controlled mood lighting and chromatherapy options to enhance the benefits of the therapy being performed.
Client Benefits: The bed provides extreme comfort, relaxation, and an innovative spa experience by creating equilibrium in the mind and body using color therapy. “Color has long been associated with mood and thought processing,” says Jessica Davies, marketing project manager at Silhouet-Tone USA. “Ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromatherapy, or the use of colors to heal. Chromatherapy is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment. Color therapy is another type of vibrational or energetic therapy that uses color to affect energy and emotional wellbeing. It can be used to balance individual chakra-energy centers.”
Therapist Benefits: The Newstream Serenity is ergonomic to offer therapists a safe and comfortable experience, helps enhance the benefits of therapies performed and offers an individualized approach, as therapists can quickly change the color in the room by use of a remote control to suit a client’s specific needs, according to Davies.
Sample Treatments: The Newstream Serenity is ideal for both face and body treatments.
SpaEquip Jouvence Dry Float Spa Bed from Unbescheiden
Description: The Jouvence Dry Float Spa Bed offers a feeling of weightlessness that helps relax and rejuvenate the body.
Client Benefits: When the client lays on the dry float bed, he or she experiences a floating sensation that helps calm and relax the body and enhances blood circulation.
Therapist Benefits: The bed is easy-to-clean and features an integrated control with glass keyboard, a water-temperature display, and an air cushion that can be adjusted to determine the firmness of the bed. Also, because the client’s head isn’t covered, therapists can easily perform a mini facial or face massage during the treatment.
Sample Treatments: The dry float bed is best for use during body wrap treatments, such as mud and seaweed wraps. Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa (Manalapan, FL) utilizes a similar bed, which was custom made for the spa, during certain treatments like the Couple’s Chrysalises: A Taste of Hammam for Two ($320, 90 minutes). The treatment includes a head, neck, and shoulder massage. The couple is then encouraged to relax and enjoy Champagne while feeling cocooned in the float bed. “The dry float bed is excellent for guests who would love to experience the sensation of being warm and weightless in water without having to get wet,” says spa and leisure director Catherine Warren. “The bed is so comfortable that guests often fall asleep immediately as they are wrapped in the warm ‘wings’ that overlap the sides of the bed. The heat assists in the absorption of moisturizers and detoxifying agents that create a smooth and silky complexion. It is excellent for hangovers, jet lag, and anyone who wants to make 25 minutes of sleep feel like seven hours.”
A Bright Future
According to Gharieni, the trend in massage tables is to optimize the spa experience for both clients and therapists. From the integration of quartz sand or water to create new ways for clients to relax to design elements that ensure a more comfortable experience for clients and therapists, massage tables are becoming integral aspects of a client’s spa visit. And with the addition of new technologies, massage tables will continue to enhance spa treatments. “New technologies will play an important role in reaching new dimensions in spa relaxation,“ says Gharieni. “This also includes a perfect construction, adjustability, and design of spa tables to offer clients an extraordinary experience.”
These debuting technologies and innovations will require that therapists be properly trained to perform treatments on each massage table for both their safety and that of their clients. As a result, it’s important that you discuss training and education options with the massage table manufacturer. According to Davies, it’s also imperative that spa therapists learn how to protect spa equipment using the right cleaning products, as alcohol- and bleach-based formulas can lead to cracked upholstery, plastic, and wood. You also need to educate therapists on the mechanics of the table, because non-electric beds often have different height-adjustment mechanisms, and electric beds have remote controls that need to be explained. Finally, lubricating the joints of the table once every year is essential to keep the bed moving smoothly. “If you are purchasing new furniture, providing training should be a top priority,“ says Davies. “Misuse of a furniture piece could lead to damage, which can have a domino effect on your business.“
Equipment training is also important so that therapists feel comfortable describing the treatment to clients and understand the benefits. “If therapists are excited about their tables, they may also convey their enthusiasm to their clients, perform better treatments, and get more repeat business,” says Therene. You may also want to show a short video that demonstrates the treatment or provide signage or marketing materials that describe the equipment’s benefits to encourage clients to book a service that uses the table. However, Davies believes that the best marketing a spa can offer is word-of-mouth from happy clients, as satisfied clients are likely to return to the spa and might recommend the spa and its treatments to family and friends. “If a treatment is uncomfortable due to a poor quality bed, people will hear about it,” she says. “Likewise, a relaxing experience will be talked about by your clients, as well. Never underestimate the power of great equipment.”
Learn more about the innovative massage tables available from these companies.
Living Earth Crafts