This is a response to a news article from KDVR in Aurora, Colorado about a client that was turned away from getting a massage, because of her size.
Laura Smith, after training for months to complete a 1/2 marathon, scheduled a massage post-race, to recover. She was turned away because, at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, she was told that she was too large for the table.
I have a problem with this. At her size, ‘being too large’ for the table should not have been an issue. If the client would have been male, it definitely wouldn’t have been. On a quality table, the weight wouldn’t even matter. Most tables, especially portable ones, the static weight (just the client, alone) that the table can hold is approximately 500, pounds. When I bought my table, the VERY first thing I did was to lay on my table, turn over, and roll around. I did this because if I feel comfortable on my table, at MY size, anyone on my table would feel safe doing the same thing. When I worked on my clients in Massachusetts (pic below, 2003) I was 5’9″ and 325 pounds, so even me working on my clients didn’t even worry me at all, and I was heavy handed, then. I also bought it so that if I needed to do some deep tissue work, it would do the job.
Volunteer Team at the LowellWalk for Cancer Care, Lowell, MA 2003.
I make it a point to ensure that whoever is on my table feels the MOST comfortable, because this massage isn’t about me, it’s about them, and what they need to accomplish in the session. I check my table for creaks and cracks, because that is the last thing that you need to hear on my table, and worry if this table is going to hold. A nervous client doesn’t make for a great massage, and bracing every five seconds thinking that the table may not hold you will definitely not make for a great session. I would definitely NOT put you on a table that would break under your weight, and then, insult upon injury, charge you for breaking the table.
If you have any questions about anything prior to your massage session, you go ahead and ask them. If the therapist tells you anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t you DARE be afraid to ask for another therapist. I really hope that Laura goes to get that massage. Body image is already such a sensitive issue, and this shouldn’t have been a worry, for the client, much less, the therapist. Anyone that trains and runs marathons I have the deepest respect for; That is no joke.
Completing The Color Run & the Long Walk Home. April, 2011