Massage Therapy Business Tips

Getting Started: A Massage Therapy Equipment Checklist

updated on

August 3, 2023

Massage therapy equipment

Starting or growing your massage therapy practice is a big deal, and there’s never been a better time. According to 2023 massage therapy statistics 36% of consumers got a massage in their massage therapist’s own office. That number continues to trend upward. While your hands are your most important tools, you'll need a few more things to set up shop. That’s why we created this massage therapy equipment list, to make sure you have everything you need for success!  

On this list we will share the top body massage equipment massage therapists need to succeed - plus some business equipment you will need for your massage therapy business to ensure your operations run smoothly and you end up turning a profit each month! Let's dig in.

What Is On A Massage Therapy Equipment Checklist?

When it comes to massage therapy equipment there are two camps: massage therapy body equipment, and massage therapy business equipment. Body equipment are tools to help you work on your clients - where as business equipment will include things like massage therapy software, licenses, technology and more. Here's a breakdown.

1. A Massage Table

Your massage therapy table will likely be the most expensive and most important piece of equipment on your list. Your table needs to be comfortable for your clients to lay on and adjustable to the shape and height you need for proper body mechanics.

Massage tables come in two basic varieties: portable and hydraulic. Portable tables are lightweight and sturdy, with a manual height adjustment. Plus they fold in half for easy transport. Portable tables are an economical choice, though prices vary depending on brand and design.

Hydraulic tables are stationary, very heavy, and allow you to adjust the height and angle with just the press of a pedal or button - all while the client is on the table. Massage tables like this are a bit of a luxury item, with a luxury price tag. Well worth it, if you have the extra money to spend.

2. A Massage Stool

Not many massage therapists like to stand the entire time they work, so invest in a sturdy stool on wheels. Get something comfortable, adjustable in height and easy to clean.

Just like the other equipment on this list, choose something meant to last. You’re going to be parked on this stool for hours every week. Well, maybe not parked. Your stool should have wheels so you can move around quietly and without notice.

3. Massage Chair

If you’re just starting out, offering chair massage at events or in corporate settings is good advertising. Even if you don’t plan to offer chair massage in your practice, it’s a good thing to have.

There will be occasions when a client can’t lay down. They may be recovering from surgery, experiencing vertigo, or their pain is increased by lying down. In these situations, a massage chair can be a life saver.

Look for massage chairs with a high weight limit and a warranty. Massage chairs aren’t as sturdy as massage tables. So, most have a lower weight limit than massage tables. Do your research before choosing one

massage room example

4. Linens

You need enough sheets to last you at least a couple of days if you do laundry on site. If you use a service to launder your linens, you may need a week or two’s worth.Choose the best quality sheets, blankets and towels you can afford. The feeling of these linens on bare skin is part of the massage experience. They should be soft. They also need to hold up to frequent washing. They might be thrown in the washing machine on a daily basis. That’s a lot!

Stock up on sheets, blankets, face cradle covers and towels. The linens you use need to stand up to frequent washing and be wrinkle resistant. Plan on having enough linens to cover at least 2 full days of massage appointments,  or more if you use a laundry service.

5. Bolsters

Not everyone is comfortable lying flat on the table. That means you need some sort of bolster for easy positioning and comfort. At a minimum, you need something to put under the client's knees when lying supine. There are a variety of different bolsters made to support specific body parts in different positions. If you’re on a budget, a couple pillows will work just fine.

6. Cleaning Products

You’re going to do a lot of cleaning. The surfaces of your treatment room need to be wiped down between sessions. The bathroom needs to be cleaned every day. The whole clinic needs to be swept, dusted and sanitized. And don’t forget about all that laundry!Choose products that are gentle on your equipment and are compliant with CDC guidelines. It’s worth buying in bulk if you have room to store it. Don’t forget about things like paper towels and hand soap too.

Stock up on cleaning products that are gentle on the latex cover of your table and stool. If you’re doing your own laundry, make sure to get a detergent that doesn't have a strong fragrance and is strong enough to get the oil out of your sheets.

pro tip massage

7. Massage Cream or Oil 

Buy massage oils, lotions and creams in bulk. It will save you a significant amount of money, and you won’t have to worry about running out.It’s a good idea to have more than one kind. Odds are, you’ll use your favorite most of the time. However, people have allergies to all sorts of things. You need to have options for those with sensitive skin and noses. Not everyone appreciates fragrances, but some people love them.

Put at least 2 different kinds of lubricants on your list. The first being your preferred massage cream or oil. The second should be an alternative option for people with sensitive skin, allergies or personal preference. 

8. Music 

While music is not essential to the massage experience, it certainly enhances it. Soft music sets the tone for the session and helps people relax. Make sure you choose music that the majority of your clients will appreciate. You should either download music or pay for commercial free streaming.

9. Massage Room Essentials:

Everything you include in your massage room set up will have to be considered as a potential item. This could include aromatherapy, tools, decorations and more. Check out our full article on massage room set up's to learn some of the key things to include to make your room really pop.

What Are Some Other Essentials Tools You Need For Your Massage Therapy Business? 

Running a massage business isn't just about the massage, it's also about the business! Here are some massage therapy software and business tools we recommend you implement when starting or growing your massage therapy business.

essential massage business tools

10. A Business License

If you’re opening your own practice, you may need a business or vendor's license, in addition to your massage therapy license or certification. Check with your local jurisdiction to find out if your city requires you to register your business, and what, if any, additional licenses are required.

11. Liability Insurance

When you work for yourself, you need to protect your assets. In the unlikely event that someone sues you, liability insurance protects you. Liability insurance can be purchased through your favorite massage organization or insurance provider. Since massage therapy is relatively low risk, annual premiums are fairly affordable.

12. A Massage Therapy Website

These days, virtually every business has a website. Potential clients are searching online for massage therapists. If you don’t have a website, they likely won’t find you that way. Even when you get new clients with referrals, they’ll most likely visit your website before committing.

Design your massage website to reflect your brand's values and promote your services. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to look professional. Use a template or hire a designer to create it for you.

Once you have everything on this massage equipment list, you’re ready for business! Down the road, you may think about adding things like hot stones, essential oils, or topical analgesics. But for now, it’s time to set up shop and start attracting new clients!

Don't want to take the time to build a massage therapy website, no problem! Some massage therapy software solutions (like ClinicSense) have "website profile pages" that you can use to provide your clients a space to book online. This online profile also includes your business address, an online booking link, and the ability to share additional basic business information! Speaking of massage therapy software...

13. Clinic Management Software / Massage Therapy Business Software

This is the second most important piece of massage therapy equipment on your list. When it comes to administrative tasks, you have 2 options. An all-in-one massage therapy software solution like ClinicSense, can save you money and make life easier by handling all your client files, scheduling, marketing, payments and reports. Alternatively, you can buy or create a system for each of the following: 

  • Scheduling system: Your clients need an easy way to schedule an appointment.  Hiring a receptionist is not practical for most massage therapists. Online scheduling is the perfect solution to this problem. More and more people are expecting to be able to schedule appointments online. The ease of online scheduling can have a huge impact on the growth and success of your business.

  • Bookkeeping system:  You need to record all your income and expenses. Investing in software that makes this simple is well worth the money at tax time. There are many options out there, and most scheduling and POS systems have built in record keeping.

  • Point-of-Sale (POS):  A POS terminal allows you to accept credit cards in person, online and on the go. These days more people are carrying plastic than cash.

  • Intake forms and SOAP Notes: Every new client should fill out an intake form that includes at least their contact information and medical history. You’ll also need a place to record your notes from each massage session.

  • Website: It takes some time to build a successful massage therapy practice. Having an online presence is an important part of promoting your business. The simplest way to do that is to build a website. Your future clients are asking google where to find you.

The difference between using software to manage your practice and doing it by hand is like day and night. Having this one thing in place will drastically eliminate your workload. It’ll also provide a smoother, more accommodating experience for your clients.

The First Thing You Should Do Before You Open A Massage Business

If you are taking the leap to open up your own massage therapy business, congratulations!  We recommend you use this list as a guide to ensure you have all the tools you need to succeed. Next, be sure to sign up to try massage therapy software so you don't have to navigate piles of paperwork, play telephone tag with your clients, or manage your bookings manually!  

The reason this matters SO much is that having software to help you will save you up to 72% of your time! And when you are a new business owner, you need all the time you can get!  Good luck! 

Software to run a massage business
Sick of client No-Shows?
Download our FREE prevention playbook, with proven tips, tools and more to help you eliminate no-show drama.
Download PLaybook
Read more

Relevant Articles

Want An Easy Way To Manage Your Client Files?

Ready to give it a try?

For 14 Days