- The origins of table showers can be found as far back as Ancient China and Greece.
- They can be found in numerous spas and even wellness centers.
- The table shower treatment can also come with several others – like a Swedish massage, hot stones, or acupressure.
- They come with plenty of relaxing benefits and several potential health perks.
Like many other things, the shower has undergone several variations and upgrades since the Ancient Egyptian times of luxury. The latest trend is a table shower, which is just as luxurious and relaxing as it sounds.
But what exactly is it, and how does it benefit your health? These tables are waterproof constructs with an attached metal bar facing the table horizontally.
On this bar, five to seven shower heads usually release water jets onto your back. The masseuse can adjust the water temperature and the pattern of the sprays at any point during the session.
The table shower is a growing hydrotherapy trend in many spas and beauty parlors. Although it’s more often seen in Asian or Chinese parlors, it is steadily making its way toward different types of establishments.
Still, there are several things to consider before going to a spa for such a treatment, like their benefits, different types, and certain precautions.
Our article details the history of table showers, how different the modern version is from the traditional one, and why it can benefit you.
Table Shower History
Although table showers are most associated with Asian parlors, the modern table comes from France. Specifically, they were first introduced in the village of Vichy during the 19th century, which is why they are also known as Vichy showers. Similar constructs also appeared in Sweden and several Asian countries such as Japan and India.
However, the origin of table showers goes even further back to Ancient Greece and China. In both cultures, the Asian table used various acupressure and massage oils to afflictions.
Today, table showers have become much more widespread and can be found in many countries, including the US. This massage treatment has evolved to include techniques and treatments to bring you the ultimate luxury experience.
Many adults have been to a massage parlor at least once. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but many enjoy finding a quality parlor to soothe sore and aching muscles. It’s also a good way to help you relax and forget about your usual day-to-day thoughts, even just for an hour or two.
One massage parlor service growing in popularity is the table shower massage. It’s often provided at Chinese and other Asian massage parlors, though other massage parlors, spas, and wellness centers offer this. It’s a relaxing service that helps manage stress. Unfortunately, it gets a bad reputation for its erotic undertones.
What Is a Table Shower?
True to its name, a table shower is simply a spa shower where a patron lies down on a modified massage table equipped with a drain. They are then treated to a shower through a horizontal bar with multiple shower heads above them.
The table shower is also commonly known as the Vichy shower, affusion shower, rain massage, or water massage. Small hole-in-the-wall parlors are unlikely to offer this service, but bigger spas equipped to handle wet services usually have something like this.
Where Did Table Showers Come From?
While table showers are commonly associated with Asian or Chinese massage parlors, they originated in Vichy, a city in France known for its five natural mineral springs. These springs inspired the design, hence why traditional Vichy shower designs have at least five showerheads.
By the 20th century, Vichy showers were brought to the United States and became more popularly known as table showers.
Traditional vs. Modern Table Showers
What separates the traditional from the modern table shower spa? Over the hundreds of years since they first appeared, they now have new attachments and features. Here is how traditional and modern table showers differ from one another.
These tables included various massages in Ancient China, Greece, and Rome. From stretches to pressure points, the purpose of the table showers massage treatments is to relieve back and muscle pains.
Acupressure, in particular, was especially common and is still used in traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners target the many pressure points of the body to help with the body’s energy flow.
The water portion of table showers did not appear until much later in France. It was in the village of Vichy that thermal water was used alongside the massages and stretches.
The modern table shower treatment that we know today is a combination of hydrotherapy and other treatments. Practitioners and masseuses use them to bring you a relaxing experience and alleviate your daily life’s stresses. These tables are made of waterproof materials as the shower heads above release gallons of water with each session. Over time, the procedure has also become even more hygienic. For these reasons, you’re often asked to bathe before your appointment or shower in the spa’s facilities.
Key Differences: Traditional and Modern Table Showers
Contrasts between the two versions of table showers come down to the tools and techniques used. These differences are further visible between different cultures. Whereas in one culture, more importance is placed on targeting pressure points, and in another, remedies and oils are preferred. Modern table showers also employ far more hygienic practices and safety standards than they did in the past.
How Do Table Showers Work?
Table showers are kept in private wet rooms, as the patron will be wet from head to toe and naked (or in your undergarments or a disposable garment provided by the spa) during this treatment. To use a table shower, patrons lie down on the table before the showerheads drop water over their bodies. A technician then adjusts the showerheads to comfortably reach certain parts of your body. There is a drain on the bed to keep it from overflowing.
On its own, table showers are a popular form of hydrotherapy. Some spas use it to complement other treatments like massages, body wraps, and body scrubs. Spa technicians will perform these treatments while the customer relaxes at the table. People who have undergone table showers before claim that it simulates the relaxing feeling of floating on water.
The Table Shower Process
Table showers can last from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the other treatments you get. Be sure to leave your belongings in a secure location, like a locker room.
First, you will have to remove all clothing and be asked to bathe thoroughly in a separate room before you can enter the table shower room. This is for hygienic purposes to get rid of any excess dirt, sweat, and particles from getting in the shower.
You may be brought to a wet room with multiple table showers. If you are uncomfortable with this, you could ask to get a private room, which may cost extra. If you are not comfortable with being naked, some spas offer disposable garments or place a towel over your private parts. Remember, table showers are not for those overly conscious about their bodies being exposed.
You will be directed to lie down on a table shower. You can start on your back or on your stomach, depending on your preference. Once comfortably settled, the technician will turn on the showerheads, adjusting the temperature based on your preference and the showerheads’ position to key points on your body.
For other added treatments, a spa therapist may perform table shower massages or apply body scrubs and wraps. The most popular added treatment is the salt scrub, which helps remove dead skin cells from your body, leaving it fresh and clean. After these treatments, the table shower may be used to wash away any residual products left on your body.
Once finished, the technician will help you sit up and safely get out of the table. They will leave the room to let you finish drying.
Amazing Benefits of Using Table Showers for Massage
Like many spa services, table showers can offer many physical and mental benefits.
Improved Blood Circulation
Showering at the right temperature can cause the blood to move closer to the inner organs, causing improved circulation. This can help muscles regenerate lost tissue faster and deliver oxygen to other body parts faster.
The feeling you get from undergoing a table shower can be relaxing and help you forget about things that are stressing your body. When prolonged, stress can make your skin age faster (making you look older) and cause physical and mental conditions like depression, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Aside from the fact that it can help you relax and reduce stress, showers release hormones that can reduce the risk of depression.
Improved Immune System
Table showers can help with lymphatic circulation, which helps your immune system work more efficiently. When your blood circulates faster, it can produce more white blood cells, making it more difficult for bacteria and viruses to infect your body.
Those who have undergone table shower massages report its effects against migraines, headaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and other mild to acute forms of pain. This may be because improved blood circulation can reduce inflammation, thus treating common types of pain.
Better Spa Experience
People who opt for table showers find that their technicians try to accommodate their entire spa experience on the table itself. If you’ve ever been on a spa day before, you know how inconvenient some treatments are, as they require you to move from room to room. With a table shower, you get to relax on a cushioned table and enjoy the whole or at least most of the experience there.
It also provides a much better spa experience because a table shower can complement other services. So, as a whole, your experience can be invigorating, soothing, relaxing, and rejuvenating.
Why Do Table Showers Get a Bad Rep?
Everyday massages can be done with clothes on or a towel covers the customer. However, because table showers are done naked or half-naked, this treatment is often associated with erotic undertones.
During the early to mid-2000s, Asian massage parlors began adding table showers. It was advertised as a sensual experience, which some took to mean a sexual or erotic one. Add in the negative perception of massage parlors in terms of foreign workers and “happy endings”, so the stereotype of associating prostitution and Asian massage parlors are stuck.
It’s no help that the term “table showers” has now also become another term associated with “happy endings” in shadier massage parlors. But as long as you’re getting a table shower massage in a reputable establishment, there’s no need to worry.
Tips for Getting a Table Shower
- Table showers are not for those who are uncomfortable with being half-naked or naked in front of a spa technician. While some spas offer disposable undergarments to wear, some may not even be comfortable with showing a lot of skin. Spa technicians in reputable massage and spa parlors are professionals, so there is nothing to worry about. But, if you spend the entire time conscious about your body, you may not be able to relax and enjoy the experience.
- Ask your spa or massage parlor what their policy is on table showers before booking one. Some spas do not provide disposable undergarments and expect patrons to be naked during the treatment. Ask if you can choose a male or female technician if you feel uncomfortable being serviced by someone of a certain sex.
- If you’re worried about sexual services being offered, get a table shower from a reputable chain spa and massage parlor rather than a boutique store. Despite the negative stereotype, it’s unlikely that your treatment will have any sexual acts. But if you want to feel safer, check the reputation of the parlor.
Contrary to what many think, table showers are much more than just a sensual experience. It’s a relaxing and refreshing treatment that can soothe your body, ease your mind, and leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Table Showers
Massages, in general, are known for helping the body be far less stressed as they lower your blood pressure. The main reason is that massages stimulate the production of hormones like dopamine and endorphins, bringing you into a relaxed state of mind.
As hydrotherapy relaxes you, lowering your blood pressure leads to improved blood circulation. High water pressure, oils, and aromatherapy relax your mind and body, increasing blood circulation and oxygen in your cells.
In some spas and wellness centers, table showers are also accompanied by scrubs and wraps. Some treatments also include salt scrubs that exfoliate the skin and remove dead cells. Exfoliation rejuvenates the skin by unclogging your pores and improving its appearance.
High-water pressure jets target areas of your body in a way that is similar to acupuncture treatments. The stronger the water pressure used, the more effectively it presses on different pressure points in the body. This can be quite helpful for both tense muscles and reducing body aches. There are several pros and cons of table showers to consider before going to a spa or wellness center. Here are some of them.
- Promoting lymphatic drainage
- Assisting in detoxification
- Enhancing immune system function
- Supporting overall wellness
A lymphatic drainage massage reduces tissue swelling by moving around the lymph until they are back in the lymph nodes. Pressurized water also encourages the movement of lymph fluids, easing the tension in the body.
As this treatment increases the circulation of your blood, it also improves the functionality of your kidneys so that they can better filter out the toxins in your body. The stress-relieving factors of hydrotherapy could, in the long run, enhance your immune system.
Safety Precautions and Considerations
Table showers use highly pressurized water jets as part of the overall treatment. With the intensity of the showers, this treatment is not recommended for those with the following conditions:
- Skin conditions or allergies
- Open wounds or recent surgeries
- Cardiovascular or circulatory issues
Best Pick: Asian Massage Table Shower
The Asian table shower has become common in Western spas and wellness centers. However, it’s much more popular in Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese spas.
This treatment is often part of a package with various massages and scrubs as part of their services. Due to the variety, clients can tailor their Vichy shower experience precisely to their liking, right down to the temperature of the water.
Although, it’s essential to choose the right establishment before booking your first appointment. This is because of the negative perception surrounding Asian massage parlors as places that offer more sexual services. But you won’t encounter any problems as long as you only use the services of reputable parlors and spas.
Table showers are a trendy treatment in many spas, massage parlors, and health centers. Part of their appeal is the many potential health and cosmetic benefits that can be gained with even just one appointment.
If you’re interested in trying out this rejuvenating treatment, find out more by looking up the most reputable spas that offer them. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from professionals in the industry to point you in the right direction.
FAQs About Table Shower
1) Is a table shower a common service offered at spas or wellness centers?
Table showers are fairly common in multiple kinds of spas, especially in Asian establishments. They’re also becoming more common in wellness centers as they’re incorporated as part of many services.
2) How long does a typical table shower session last?
The length of the treatment varies depending on whether you’re also doing any scrubs, aromatherapy, or massages. It’s not unusual for a table shower session to last around an hour or even two.
3) Are table showers available for both men and women?
Table showers are open to any adult who wants the treatment and needs a relaxing time. As such, they’re available for men and women.
4) Are there any specific preparations or requirements before getting a table shower?
Clients need to do a few things before going for their session. These include avoiding large meals, staying hydrated, dressing comfortably, and ensuring the area is hygienic. It’s also important not to skip before and after skin-care treatments.
5) Can I choose the products or oils used during a table shower?
Before the treatment, discuss with your massage therapist or technician what products will be used. If you’re likely to react to a specific product or oil, it’s crucial that they know and change them.
6) Are there any potential health or safety considerations when getting a table shower?
Consult your doctor about the potential risks table showers might bring you. This is only necessary depending on whether you have any medical conditions or are pregnant.