The life of the massage therapist can be quite interesting; it certainly comes with a lot of variety and I’m not just talking about the clients. If you work out of a clinic that’s one thing, but it becomes really interesting when you take the show on the road. The opportunity to visit clients’ homes can really make for a fun and interesting workday, but not if you’re not prepared for the rigors of a traveling job. An essential piece of equipment for any massage therapist that visits clients in their homes is a portable massage chair.
The Therabuilt ApexTM Portable Massage Chair is a great option that comes equipped with all the features that you’d expect in a portable massage chair, at a price that is much lower than some of its competitors. This chair generally retails for under $150 and it’s a decent option for the price.
The great thing about a portable massage chair is that you can easily fold it up and take it with you wherever you need to go. Preparing this chair for travel is a simple process; it has adjustment knobs for this purpose, so you can fold the chair quickly and easily. In all honesty, it shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to fold it when you’re done with a therapy session.
Light as a Feather
While it might be a bit of a stretch to say that this chair is as light as a feather there’s little disputing that it is extremely lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around with you. In fact, this chair weighs in at less than 20 pounds – easily manageable for just about anyone. There’s nothing more frustrating than a clunky chair that weighs a ton – especially if the majority of your work involves traveling with your equipment.
Most reputable portable massage chairs include a face cradle designed to hold and support your clients’ necks while allowing them to sit in relative comfort. The Therabuilt ApexTM also includes a face cradle, and it’s fully adjustable so that all of your clients will have an enjoyable experience while sitting in this chair. The cradle is adjusted using the attached adjustment knobs; while they do the job some customers have complained that they’re made out of cheap plastic that can break easily if you’re not careful with them.
Rest Your Arms and Legs
While this chair does have nice padded leg rests for your client’s legs I was a little disappointed with the lack of any recognizable armrests. There is a section in front of the face cradle where your clients can rest their arms, but it doesn’t seem like it would place them in a natural position. For a massage therapist the comfort of their clients has to be at the top of their priority list and I’m not convinced that’s really possible with the design of this chair.
Thick and Plush
When you take a look at this chair the first thing that comes to mind is that the padding seems to be thick and Plush. In an industry where comfort is so important this is a necessary feature which can’t be overlooked. The vast majority of customers that have purchased this chair seemed to be satisfied with the padding provided, but some customers complained that it doesn’t work so well if a client weighs any more than about 200 pounds. I came across several complaints about the material not holding up to the stress of heavier clients.
The Warranty’s Not Bad
One thing that did impress me was discovering that this chair comes with a one-year warranty. That might not sound like anything spectacular, but generally most products like this tend to wear a fair bit in the first year – especially if they’re used a lot. The inclusion of a one-year warranty with this chair seems to suggest to me that the manufacturer is confident in the quality of their product.
While you may be able to carry this chair around with you even without a case it’s still nice to know that it does come with a free carrying case that makes it much easier to transport. The case is essentially a large black bag with a nice big handle that you can strap over your shoulder, leaving your hands free for carrying other equipment. It doesn’t look like it’s of the greatest quality, but it certainly looks like it can do the job.
Sturdy Metal Frame
There may be a few complaints about the quality of seat’s material, but I didn’t come across too many complaints about the strength of the frame. It’s made from a sturdy metal and is designed to withstand a fair bit of abuse. Anything that you take on the road with you is going to get banged around a little bit so it’s nice to know that this chair can stand up to a little bit of wear and tear.
Not Impressed with the Knobs
Another problem with this chair that seems to crop up from time to time is the fact that the knobs that you use to adjust it are made from a cheap plastic material that has a tendency to wear quickly over time. That’s a big problem, as a portable chair is going to need to be adjusted quite frequently – especially when you consider how much your clients are likely to vary in their heights and proportions.
A Bit of a Gamble
I’m undecided about the merits of this chair. It does seem fairly sturdy and it’s got a lot of padding, which is a big plus. But the fact that the knobs seem to be made out of a cheap plastic and that the material covering the seat doesn’t stand up to extra wear and tear is a big concern.