Everything in our lives requires a certain amount of maintenance. From our cars, our technology, our bodies, to even our relationships; each require regular routine maintenance to ensure optimum performance. This is especially true of equipment we use in our work. As a massage therapist this includes your biggest tool of the trade – your table.
Whether you have set yourself up as a mobile massage therapist or you work in a spa your massage table and your massage table linens can pose the biggest health risk to your clients and yourself. Proper cleaning and maintenance between clients can greatly reduce that risk. Your massage table has upholstery that is porous, and that is a recipe for contamination. Even if you use massage sheets, sweat and makeup from your client, as well as residue from massage oils and lotions can soak into the fabric and spread infection from one client to another, or to you. You already know that you need to wipe down your table, including the face cradle, in between each and every client, but what else can you do to ensure the health and safety of your clients?
You will also want to give your table a more thorough weekly cleaning as well, not limiting your sanitizing efforts to the table top, but also to the legs and any attached shelves. You can also use this time to make sure everything is in working order; that bolts are tightened, and that your table is generally sturdy and safe. As far as the tabletop and face cradle go for this weekly intensive clean, you will have to disinfect every surface, every crease, every crevice to ensure you are following best practices for your clients.
Between clients you should use a solution composed of ten percent mild liquid soap to ninety percent warm water. Spray the solution on the table and face cradle, and wipe with a clean cloth. Allow the solution to dry then spray and wipe the surface with water. This will remove any soap residue that can attract contaminants from your next client, and allow the table to dry again. At this point you can cover the upholstery with clean massage table linens or sheets.
For the more intense weekly cleanings or any time you notice stains or marks on your table’s surface you should mix approximately ten percent all-purpose cleaner with ninety percent warm water. Gently rub the solution into the surface to remove any stains, then wipe with clean water to remove any cleaner residue. You will then want to apply a disinfectant thoroughly as I described above. For trouble stains, you can mix roughly ten percent bleach with ninety percent warm water and follow the instructions above, ensuring that your table is residue free and dry before applying your massage sheets.
Taking the time to care for your massage table properly will help the table stay in good condition longer, which means a greater time span before you have to lay out the expense for a new one. And we all know how expensive a good table can be. Your table conveys a message to each of your clients. The better you care for your table, the more obvious it is to your clientele that you take a certain pride in your equipment, your work and your time. Whether they can pinpoint the reason or not, they will feel more confidence in working with you and referring friends and family to you.
This is true of your massage table linens as well. You should have extras that are clean, wrinkle free, and ready to go. These massage sheets are not meant to hide any blemishes on your table, but to be just one more level of protection for your client draped over a clean table. When caring for your linens it is not only important to select a fabric that will clean up well and look great after a long period of time and repeated washes. The comfort of your client must also be considered, as well as price since you will need a fairly large assortment of massage linens. Using oils and lotions that are water-soluble will also make washing your massage table sheets easier and more effective.
If you have a mobile practice, you will want to make sure it is clean using the same instructions as above. Additionally you should always store your table in a carrying case. This will prevent rips and tears as well as any other forms of general wear and tear from transporting it in and out of your car, and into people’s homes or place of business. I also recommend that you do not store your table in your car. It can be tempting, but the heat and humidity in a car can severely damage the upholstery. Just as a client will feel a greater sense of confidence in your ability the more pride you take in your equipment, the opposite is also true. If your table looks shoddy, dirty, or damaged, your massages will feel that way as well.