Finding Your Comfort Table

How to select a good quality massage table at a reasonable price? What are the “must-have” points to pay attention to? Stewart Griffith explains
Finding Your Comfort Table

There is very little difference between requests from the 4 and 5-star spas in China and the United States. That is what I see as an American who has been in the international field developing equipment and furniture for the global spa industry for more than 30 years.

Specifications for treatment tables and other spa equipment are about the same. The major difference we see is with Foot Massage Chairs. The culture of Foot Massage in China is much better established than in the US. In the US, it is more about pedicures than reflexology or foot massage. So therefore the chairs are different.

I also see that the Chinese Day Spa market is more price sensitive than that in the US. Chinese Day Spas tend to be willing to sacrifice comfort and adjustability for price, especially in treatment tables. With the growing middle class in China and with more educated spa customers from spas and resorts, the Day Spa customers will demand more comfortable tables and help raise the standard for treatment tables in local Day Spas. Which means there will be less of a gap between the hardware quality of Day Spas and Hotel or Resort Spas.

From the perspective of facility design and equipment, I think the quality of the spas in the 4 and 5-star hotel and resort spas in China are on par with any other country. A big trend in the high-end spas in the US and Europe is the inclusion of Himalayan Salt in the spa. Halotherapy has a long heritage in European spa therapies, and is now gaining popular in the US. It is only a matter of time before we see Himalayan Salt grow in China. When the trend gains traction in China, TouchAmerica is ready to respond with equipment and products to support Himalayan Salt therapy growth in the China market.

As mentioned previously, the largest opportunity for development in the Day Spa market is to increase demand for quality treatment tables and equipment. Therapists will appreciate the ability to adjust the table to fit their height and the treatment. It reduces the effort it takes to deliver a spa service, which translates to a better experience for the customer and it helps protect staff from injury, long term. Of course, increased comfort will also be appreciated by the consumer.

And often spas select treatment tables that have fancy features, like lights or decorative surfaces that can only be seen by the staff once sheets and blankets are added. Another mistake is to underestimate the need for a comfortable FaceCradle and settling for a facehole in the top. One more mistake we see on occasion is not considering how the table will be installed in the room. Tight hallway turns and narrow doors can present a real issue during installation. These need to be considered when designing the space and selecting equipment. These are something to keep in mind while the spa owner or manager are working on the pre-opening preparations.

Comfort, adjustability and dependability are always the most important aspects to consider when selecting a treatment table. Comfort for the customer is very important with an Adjustable FaceCradle with a pillow that fits customers face being one of the most important features.

When working to improve our FaceCradle pillow a few years ago, we noticed strikingly different opinions on comfort between the people with a European-shaped face versus the Asian-shaped face. It was nearly unanimous that the two groups disagreed about what was comfortable. As a result, we have a pillow shape that we use for Asian customers, and a different shape for US and European customers.

Being able to adjust the angle of the back or legs to fit the treatment as well as the height of the table is also an asset. Adjusting the top of the table improves the guest experience, and makes delivering services easier on staff. Another consideration is ease of movement when working around the table. There should be no parts of the base that prevent the therapist from easily standing close to the table top, and the top edges and sides need to be padded for client and therapist comfort.

Dependability and ease of repair are key. Always purchase a table with quality motors. They are quieter and less likely to fail.