If you’re in the market for a new massage table (or even if you’re not), you’ve likely seen a slew of table descriptions that include static weight and working weight. Most massage therapists know the difference, but if you’re new to the profession or are a client yourself, you might be in the dark. So, what is the difference?
Static weight is exactly that: static and unchanging. It is, essentially, the amount of weight that you can put on a table (without moving around or applying additional pressure) before compromising the integrity of the table (in other words – without breaking it). Most quality massage tables hold a minimum of 2000 lbs. This means that a table with a 2000 lbs. maximum static weight limit can hold 2000 lbs. of “perfectly still” human being.
Working weight has a significantly lower weight threshold than static weight (by approximately one-fourth). Working weight is referred to as dynamic, meaning that it flexes. It applies to the ever-changing pressure placed on a table while in use. As clients move and as your pressure on their bodies changes, working weight applies.
The type of working weight that you require will depend largely on the type of clients that you service and on the type of modalities that you offer. Certain modalities require massage therapists to climb on the table with their clients. Other modalities, like deep tissue, involve rigorous, intense pressure. For those working with obese clients, working weight is immensely important.
While working weight and static weight aren’t going to make or break your business with every client, they are crucial to your ability to work safely in varying modalities with a wide range of clients. Simply put, not paying attention to static and – especially – working weight can cause injury to both you and your client. To me, it simply isn’t worth the risk. So, pay attention to these numbers when purchasing your table. Understanding this difference can truly make a difference!