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We need your help for an upcoming article in Massage & Bodywork magazine.

Tell me--why are your massage sheets so important? What should you know when you're choosing a set of sheets? Why is it important to launder them regularly? What tips & tricks for massage sheets do you wish you'd known when you started in the profession?

Reply here and you might just see your comments in the next issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine!

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Massage Sheet Recommendation for Massage Therapists and Spa Owners: Comphy Company

My Comphy Company massage sheets are silky, soft and durable. I've had them for years and they still don't show any wear. My clients love them and frequently comment on how comfortable they are. Comphy sheets are specifically designed to conform to traditional specifications of the size of your massage table, thus producing the spa experience in your private office or home studio. I first discovered Comphy sheets when I was offering continuing education classes at Spa Aloha in Austin. Comphy sheets feel like silk but launder beautifully. These sheets are perfect for all of your massage clients who are desirous of being wrapped in luxury during their sessions. They are also excellent for oncology clients and clients with super sensitive skin. With Comphy Company products, you can have functionality and elegance at the same time. Treated for stain release and wrinkle-free, you’ll love Comphy Company's sheets as much as your clients will love the look and feel. 

In addition to super soft, silky sheets, the Company Company carries a line of high quality products for the discerning massage therapist: blankets, bolster covers, comforter, face cradle cover, bed skirt for the massage table, duvet covers, eye pillows and cases, massage towels, quilted blankets, saddles (decorative cloths to go across the table), pillow cases, and shawl collar robes.

They are a special microfiber polyester blend that are the softest and most luxurious sheets I have ever had the pleasure of using. I liked them so my for my massage room, I purchased them for my own personal use and have given them as gifts. You can even sell them retail in your office or spa. I highly recommend Comphy Company linens for your massage practice, spa and home use.

You can contact the Company Company at:

The Comphy Company

7034 Portal Way #110

Ferndale, WA 98248

Phone 323-225-8234

Fax 360-366-0139

http://www.comphy.com

kathy@comphy.com

Testimonial by: Ariana Vincent, CEO and Founder of Ariana Institute, Austin, Texas

http://www.arianainstitute.com

I love Jersey Knit sheets. They remain soft after many uses, seem to hold up better thatn stiff cotton sheets. The regular cotton sheets seem to hold cream residue and end up with an odor after many uses. I think the jersey sheets hold up longer, smell fresher after they are washed.

I love the knit bags that the jersey sheets come in when you buy them from local stores- the bag can be used to hold rice bags/hot packs & easily washed with the sheets.

The Twin longs seem to be best for tall clients- the flat sheet is longer & keeps their feet covered when they have the sheet pulled up to thier chin.

I also like to plac a fabric softener sheet in between the flat & fitted while storing them to maintain their fresh smell before use

I watch stores like Target & Walmart, after the back to school sales have ended, they usually have huge amounts of sheets leftover, and reduce them to about $10/set- great deal, and they seem to last for several years!

My sheets are important because I usually travel to out calls or work in a co-op setting, and many times it is the only "Ahhh" moment I can bring to an almost stark setting. I feel it is important to provide a feeling of being wrapped in velvet. If you use any old sheets you will not have this. Why would anyone want to climb into "blend" sheets that pill? I don't agree with some who feel their massage is "so good" that in the end, the client doesn't care if the sheets match or are soft or worn.
Sheets are the MOST important thing after the comfort of your table. Besides keeping your sheets clean, laundering is important to " wash" the last client out. Staph is very contagious, certain strains can be passed from one client to the next, since most of us do not see our clients nude, we don't know if they have active staph infections in the form of "staph bumps" or eruptions on areas we drape or do not touch.
Laundering also removes the "essence' or "energy" out. The last thing I want to feel when I get a massage is the remains of the last client. It really does exasperate me when I find that some therapist don't get this, and use the same sheets for more than one client! It is just NOT a good practice.
I use 600 count sheets or better, Cotton, beach or bamboo. All these have an exceptional feel and no pilling. I use muted colors as brights are not really relaxing, though brights can be great for spa treatments ( scrubs, glows, wraps) especially if I am outdoors, they can be very fun. Good quality flannel is wonderful in the winter too.

What I wish I knew in the beginning, is just because an oil may be good for the skin, it might not be what you want stuck to your sheets. Some oils, grape seed for one has a VERY short shelf life and does not come completely out of your sheets, and when it turns your sheets smell bad! I now use only Jojoba or Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) as their shelf life is 5 years+. If I can get 5 years out of a set of sheets, I'm good!
Jojoba is very much like our own body oil, so is easily absorbed into the skin, along with any essential oils you have added. The only consideration is, if you are wanting to move lymph for any reason (there are a few) this is not the choice .It is a fat that is large enough to have to be carried by the lymph. This means the lymph system gets an even heavier load and has little extra room for the waste you want to move.
FCO Has a wonderful feel and is easy to use, like Jojoba, a little goes a long way. Having no fats (these have been removed) it is Ideal for moving lymph. It has no smell of its own making it a great carrier for essential oil blends.

Neither of these oils stain or leave behind something that will degrade in a matter of weeks or months that will cause your sheets to stink.
It is also good to have on hand a few Queen size flat sheets you can fold top to bottom, and turn side ways to drape larger clients. If your sheets are thin, as many high counts are, be sure to us a blanket, not for warmth, but for a feeling of security for the client. No one wants to feel as though the therapist can see ALL of them! It allows many to relax and enjoy their massage rather than holding onto a certain amount of anxiety over just how much of them the therapist is seeing.
One tip I got early on is to buy sheets made with Pima cotton.  Pima cotton has a longer fiber length than cheaper cotton varieties and therefore holds up better to repeated washings (some reports say it has a 50% greater wash life).  On the other hand Pima is also much more absorbent and therefore can be less desirable for those who use oils in their massage.  Another tip (self discovered), many higher end department stores such as Macy's have inventory reduction sales annually around February/March to move out last years colors, which can be a great way to find bargains on the higher thread count sheets.  I have found better deals this way than at any "discount" supplier, even compared to online bulk purchases.
Massage sheets are an important part of what you put on your massage table. When looking for your sheets, you need to pick 1 or 2 colors that go well with the decor and colors of your Massage room. To save time while laundering, it is nice if the colors you choose can be washed and dried in the same load together. You also need to know what kind of fabric " blend " that works best for you. There are many to choose from, so a good idea would be to maybe choose a set or 2 from a couple different blends and just try them out. I live in the Pacific Northwest, we get some nice weather sometimes, but most of the time we have rain and cooler weather. I have tried different blends over the years, and in my experience, I have had the best results with the  " NRG 3-piece Deluxe flannel sheet set " from Massage Wharehouse.( $ 20.99/set ) I use the " natural " color, it matches my room perfectly, it feels soft on the skin and keeps the client warm in the cooler weather and cool in the warmer weather.I also have a couple different blankets to choose from depending on the client and their needs. When it comes to laundering sheets, it is important to launder them after each use. Not only is it sanitary, you don't want any cross contamination happening, who wants to lay down in another person's desquamated skin cells? Yuck ! My sheets last much longer when I use a Massage cream or lotion as opposed to oils. I wish I had known about creams and lotions as opposed to using oils when I first started out because I would have gotten more use out of my sheets and probably saved more money.
The Westpoint outlets have good deals on names like Ralph Lauren, I have purchased single, top or bottom high count, beautiful sheets for as little as 7.00 each. They are not always that way but as you say, watch for the sales.

Aaron Allen said:
One tip I got early on is to buy sheets made with Pima cotton.  Pima cotton has a longer fiber length than cheaper cotton varieties and therefore holds up better to repeated washings (some reports say it has a 50% greater wash life).  On the other hand Pima is also much more absorbent and therefore can be less desirable for those who use oils in their massage.  Another tip (self discovered), many higher end department stores such as Macy's have inventory reduction sales annually around February/March to move out last years colors, which can be a great way to find bargains on the higher thread count sheets.  I have found better deals this way than at any "discount" supplier, even compared to online bulk purchases.
Vinegar is NOT anti-fungal and NOT good to add to soap, it will negate the soap. It WILL soften and deodorize and do all those other things plus break what is left of the soap when used as a rinse agent. check this out

Laundry Hints (from the Vinegar Institute)

Clothes washing magic:
Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water. The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents.

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.Adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine saves you from buying a separate laundry softener. Vinegar works naturally to soften your laundry and has the added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent very effectively. This added benefit means less detergent sensitive allergies for families that struggle with sensitive skin. Don't be put off by the fragrance of vinegar. The odor disappears when vinegar dries. So go ahead and try a bottle of vinegar in place of your laundry softener. (See  http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/laundry/qt/vinegarlaundry.htm)


Kimberly A. Ramirez said:

Flannel is the way to go! You can pick them up on clearance each past season. They are 100% cotton. They wash up soft and they offer privacy with or with out layering a blanket. I have a heating pad as well on my table. I use white vinegar with a green liquid laundry soap. Vinegar has anti-viral, bacterial, fungal & microbial properties. Flannel lasts a long time without pilling. I like to work with a massage "cream" vs lotion, gels or oils. I find it requires less replenishing while working on the skin and leaves the least amount of residue on sheets. Flannel offers warmth and privacy. Great for summer or winter months! My second choice would be Jersey.

~PEACE

Natural cotton all the time for me. I always use a table warmer (unless otherwise requested). In the summer, it feels nice to slip between the coolness of a high thread count sheet, while in the winter the comforting warm of the flannel is so relaxing. I use jojoba almost exclusively, so a rancid odor is not an issue, but washing is. Sheets are always washed within a few hours of use. I typically use a fragrance-free detergent and no fabric softener. I try to be conscious of chemical sensitivities.

Some cotton fiber sheets need a good washing before use. A spa I once worked at bought new cotton sheets. The fabric was initially comfortable, but stiff, i.e., sheets did not conformally drape, but 'tented' when moved. Until they softened up, I had to be very careful to prevent any unwanted exposures:-)

Are there really therapists that do not wash sheets between clients? (I hope I am reading some of the previous comments wrong). Just the thought of therapists stacking sheets for a quick changeover bothers me, who knows what fluids seep through the fabric. As a client, I always check the table to make sure sheets are clean & not stacked before hopping onto the table. 

Massage sheets and how a massage table is dressed tells much about the therapist.  The linens have to be free from stains, odors, wrinkles and tears.  They should be of a high thread count for durability, softness and repeated washings and they should match the blanket or throw.  Color is important and should be inviting to the senses.  Ask yourself, "Would I want to lay between these sheets?"  Every client is entitled to fresh, clean linen.  I wish I had known starting out how many sets are enough for the beginner and that department store sheets for twin beds work just fine. If one is handy with a sewing machine or knows someone who sews, more money can be saved making your own face cradle covers.  I've gotten some really nice sheets from estate sales, garage sales and resale thrift shops too.  The quality of your sheets should reflect the quality of your service because first impressions are lasting impressions and how they look, smell and feel will make a difference in what your clients will say about your practice.

 

Thanks for all of the great tips everyone! Keep 'em coming! :)
I have been a massage therapist since 1973. My first  long term spa /salon job was in a very nice part of town with a Swedish  women named Hedi. She was my mentor and was very professional and a determined women. She would massage up to 10 people a day with a very short lunch. The massages in those days were $12.50 for the hour. We used a laundry service at the spa. Hedi taught me the ropes with the spa & her clients.The rooms always look fresh. We used white pressed sheets and Royal Blue bath sheet towels. The sheets were serviced and we washed the towels. It is very important to have a fresh & clean envorment. Hedi retired and moved away and pasted on her clients to me.I have had my own office since 1980 as a private contractor and I still use the same laundry service for the crisp white sheets and use peach bath sheet towels this year. I replace the towels about once a year and purchase them from the same factory we used at the spa. I am proud to see my profession come into its own after all these years !
I use an under sheet to drape the table but over this I use towels. They are easier to keep clean and don't show staining. A bath sheet over the sheet with a bath towel at one end covers the table. Either a bath towel or bath sheet (depending on client size) is used as the drape. Or in summer a sarong can be used. For lomi lomi sarongs are used top and bottom unless doing temple style, then there is no bottom sarong. The towels leave less excess for easier draping.

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