What’s a Face Cradle?

Have you ever seen photos used in advertising for massage therapy where the person is laying on their stomach with their arms folded under their head, and their head wrenched to the side?



Image by Body and Sole


It doesn’t look too comfortable, does it? Well it’s not. At all. Truth be told, these pictures are used in advertising so you can see the serene look on the model’s face, indicating that he or she is relaxed and enjoying their spa time. In other words, it makes you want to experience what that person is experiencing when you can see the enjoyment on their face.

Positioning your head that way for a half hour to an hour (depending on your massage needs) is actually not good for your neck. It causes strain on the muscle, making them sore and tense – the exact opposite of what the massage is trying to accomplish. It can also cause the dreaded neck kink.

To make you more comfortable, the massage table is equipped with what we call a face cradle. It is a half-donut shaped cushion that attached to a metal bar via Velcro. The metal bar can be let down when not in use, or extended out right from the table. It is locked in place by levers on the side.



Image by Rehab Mart


Your face is placed in the half-donut cushion, allowing your neck to stay in a neutral position. The metal bars and the cushion itself can both be adjusted to maximize your comfort.  The face cradle give you those lines across your face that massage therapists affectionately refer to as “massage face.” It is the telltale sign  that you’ve just gotten an amazing massage.

You can see how it would be considered more aesthetically pleasing when advertising to depict an attractive person smiling than to depict a person with his or her face in a hole. Truth is, massage therapists have more respect for their clients than to make them crane their necks in an uncomfortable position. Just know it’s all for show!


About Tonya Sapiel, LMT

My goal with The Wellness Seeker blog is to educate the general public on the benefits of massage therapy, why it is an important addition to their health care routine, and what they can do to help themselves in between their massage therapy sessions. I welcome feedback and questions. I also accept requests for post topics. For more information about me or my practice, please visit www.tonyasapiel.massagetherapy.com

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