you're reading...
Massage types, The massage

Chair massage vs table massage

Both seated massage and table massage have their advantages and areas where they are more effective and useful than the other. In general a table massage is good for a full body treatment and complete relaxation and de-stressing, allowing the therapist to work through all areas and muscle groups. A seated massage is good for addressing specific conditions related to the back area, arms, shoulders and neck, working in shorter sessions taking less time than a table massage.

Table massage Seated massage
Main purposes: The purpose of table massage is to provide the entire body with a full and in depth relaxation while addressing tensions and eventual problems. It is a good way to de-stress and counter stress related problems. Seated massage focuses primarily on relaxing tense muscles in the shoulders and back, while providing a brief relaxation and boost of energy to deal with the rest of the day.
Areas treated: The whole body is treated during a table massage. The therapist has easily access to all muscle groups, and can address the tensions and soreness effectively. A table massage can include foot massage, legs, back, shoulders and neck, scalp, face, chest, arms, hands and stomach. It is even possible to mobilize joints and do stretches, though mostly limited to legs and arms. With a seated massage it is primarily the back, shoulders, neck and arms which are treated. The seated position allows for easy and effective access to these areas. The scalp can be massaged and if the client turns around, the face can be massaged. Seated massage is not effective for massage of the legs, feet, hips and chest due to the position the client sits in. It is possible, but is recommended for a table massage instead.
Benefits: The benefits of a table massage includes a full relaxation of the entire body, while all muscle groups can be treated. Table massage is highly de-stressing, and gives you a chance to fully let go and rest body, mind and spirit while the therapist treats you. After the massage there is time to lie on the table and slowly come back, get a drink of water or tea and in some spas a visit to a hammam or a shower is offered to complete the experience. Chair massages are generally relaxing and refreshing. Since most people have to return to work and activities quickly afterwards, the massage ends on an energizing note, allowing the client to step from the chair with less sore muscles and energy to face the rest of the day. Chair massage effectively addresses the tensions building up in the neck, shoulders and back during a workday. It is also easy to employ stretching techniques which both energizes and treats. A chair massage is a quick way to loosen tensions, counter stress and increase well-being.
Techniques: Table massages can use a wide number of techniques depending on which method is used during a session. Shared is though that the client usually is naked with or without a drape, that massage oils and other creams are used to make the movements over the skin smooth and comfortable. Long soft strokes, deep kneading, pressure, rubbing and stretching are the techniques most commonly used. During a table massage the therapist can easily work on an entire muscle at once with long deep strokes, or work on isolated spots as she pleases. Due to the horizontal position of the client, it is harder to do deep pressure weight as the therapist only indirectly can use her bodyweight on large muscle groups such as on the back. In return she can easily knead and lift the muscles, relaxing them and work out all the little tensions from many different angles. Due to the nature of seated massages where the client is fully clothed, several of the techniques used for a table massage can either not be used, or has to be adapted. Kneading and pressure are the two techniques used most, combined with stretching and tapping. Due to the clothing it is not easy to work on an entire muscle at once, The techniques are more aimed at localized specific treatments, such as trigger point releases. Because of the seated position, pressure on especially the back is deep and firm. The therapist can use her full bodyweight to sustain a releasing pressure on the muscles.
Setting: A treatment room is needed for a table massage. It must be private and undisturbed, warm and comfortable to give the client the best experience and relaxation. In clinics and spas treatment rooms will have decorations, candles and music to further the relaxation, a shower is often at disposal for the client to use after the treatment and there must be privacy for disrobing prior to the massage and relaxation afterwards. Not much is needed for a seated massage. A peaceful corner in a bustling office is often enough since the client does not have to disrobe and the treatment is often of shorter length and less relaxing. All which is needed is a space large enough for the char and easy manoeuvring around it, as well as being undisturbed by people navigating around the chair. The more quiet the setting is, the deeper relaxation can be achieved by the client.
Location: A table massage usually takes place in a clinic, spa or at the client’s location. Chair massages are very flexible in regards to locations and can be done practically everywhere.
Preparation: There are several preparations needed for a table massage. The room must be warm and ready for the session, sheets and towels on the table, massage oils readily available and the client needs to disrobe and get onto the table before the session can start. Often the client needs to travel to get to the clinic or spa where the massage takes place, making it into a bigger undertaking. Hardly any preparation is needed for a chair massage. Once the therapist arrives at the location, she or he will only need a few minutes to find the allocated spot, unfold the chair and wipe it before the client can take seat and the treatment begin. In situations where the client comes to the therapist in an airport, mall or clinic, all which is needed is for the client to remove jacket and big pull overs and then settle in the char and the massage begins.
Time: A table massage typically lasts one to one and a half hours, though some offer shorter session specifically aimed at one area of the body. For a full body massage one hour is minimum and one and a half ideal. A chair massage can last from 10 minutes to 40 minutes, where the typical length is 15-20 minutes. This allows the therapist to effectively address the issues in the back area. Longer sessions will include more throughout treatment, especially of the arms and hands, employ advanced stretching of the muscles and possibly a scalp massage.
Price: The price of a full body table massage reflects the time the session lasts as well as the setting in which it takes place. Prices vary from therapist to therapist, as well as from area to area (or country). In the Paris area the prices currently range between 70€ and 120€ for one hour massage. Seated massages are usually inexpensive. Many set their prices on a per minute charge and can in some instances be half the price per minute than a table massage would be. It is not unusual to find chair massages for 1€ per minute, though typically a 15 minutes chair massage will range between 15€ and 25€ in Paris.

One massage form is not better than another, but simply targeted differently. Some people will prefer one type over the other. Those unused to receiving massages might find the seated massage more appealing since there is no requirement of disrobing and the stimulation is of shorter duration.

Seated massages are ideal for people who can’t take the time for a table massage, or who wants relief from desk related work. A table massage is very relaxing and a good way to treat yourself emotionally and physically. It all comes down to personal tastes and needs.

Other related articles:
What is Massage Créatif, More about Massage Créatif, What to expect from a Massage Créatif, Why get Massages, Seated Chair Massage, Pain from Computer and Desk, and Why get Chair Massages.

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


Comments are closed.