Seated Massage vs. Massage Table

Seated massage and massage tables are two different types of equipment that are commonly used in massage therapy.

Traditionally, massages are done with the client lying on a table covered with a blanket for maximum relaxation and a full-body treatment. However, did you know that you can also get an effective massage in a seated position? You can call a massage therapist to come to your home or office and they can easily bring a portable massage chair. Chair massage and table massage have their differences and advantages.

Seated massage and massage tables are two different types of equipment that are commonly used in massage therapy. In the article below, we’ll cover the main differences between these two (Seated Massage vs. Massage Table) to help you understand which one is more suitable for you.

Seated Massage

Seated massage, also known as chair massage or on-site massage, is a type of massage that is performed with the client seated in an upright position. The massage therapist uses a specially designed massage chair that supports the client’s head, arms, and legs while allowing access to the back, neck, and shoulders.

Seated massage is often used in settings such as offices, airports, and malls, where clients may not have the time or privacy for a full-body massage.

Massage Table

A massage table, on the other hand, is a piece of equipment used in traditional massage therapy. It is a padded, flat surface on which the client lies down, typically face-down, while the massage therapist applies various massage techniques to the client’s back, legs, arms, and other areas of the body.

Massage tables are often adjustable in height and may have accessories such as bolsters and headrests to increase client comfort.

Seated Massage vs. Massage Table

Main Purpose

Table massage provides full-body relaxation while allowing the therapist to address all muscle tension and reach more sensitive spots. It also allows the therapist to reach deeper muscles than when you’re seated in a chair. It helps relax your body, relieve tense muscles, and de-stress, providing a boost for your mood.

With a chair massage, on the other hand, you mostly get a relaxing massage for your head, back, and shoulders. Its main purpose is to bring brief relaxation at your office or home to give you a boost of energy to continue on with the day. No matter if it’s an electric chair massage or a session with a therapist on a portable chair, it will not be as relaxing as a table massage.

Targeted Areas

A table massage typically involves an entire body massage, including feet, shoulders and back, arms and hands, stomach and chest, neck, and head. However, the receiver can also choose the massage to target any specific areas. For example, you can ask the therapist to work only on the soreness and trigger points on your back.

A chair massage is mainly for treating the upper back, shoulders, and neck area. Additionally, it can include scalp and face massage. The seated position gives the therapist more effective access to these areas. Leg, feet, and chest massage is recommended to be done on a massage table. If you’re using an electric massage chair, it can also sometimes include arm and leg massage.


Table massage can be performed using a wide variety of techniques, depending on which type of massage was chosen for the session. The massage can also be done with the use of oils and creams to make hand movements over the skin smooth and comfortable. Some of the techniques that table massage can involve are kneading, tapping, strokes, deep kneading, rubbing, and stretching. A therapist can target an entire muscle at once using a long stroke or target an isolated spot to work on a specific tight knot. The horizontal position of the body on the table allows the therapist to work on all the tense muscles and joints from many different angles.

Since seated massage is usually done fully clothed, some techniques are not applicable. The most common techniques are pressure, kneading, stretching, and tapping. Clothing restricts the length of the stroke a therapist can do, so the massage involves more localized treatment. The seated position of the client allows the therapist to use full body weight for pressure on the muscles.


Table massage offers the benefits of full-body relaxation and treatment for all muscle groups. So a therapist can reach more sensitive spots or tense knots than on a massage chair. It helps to relieve tension in both your body and mind.

A massage chair gives the advantage of portability. Although you can also get a portable massage table, you can make an appointment with a therapist and ask them to come to your office so you can take a break from your stressful workday. Later, you can return to work feeling relaxed and refreshed. It effectively treats tensions in the shoulders and back area, loosening it, providing counter stress treatment, and energizing you.

BME. Wajih Habrah

BME. Wajih Habrah

I'm a passionate biomedical engineer with a love for writing about medical and wellness equipment. I have been fascinated by the intersection of engineering and wellness, and pursued my education in biomedical engineering to learn how to design, develop and maintain medical devices that improve patient health and well-being.

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