In today’s world, with cars, television, computers and time spent working in the office, most people spend too much time sitting in chairs.
According to research, sitting for eight or more hours a day without exercising poses a health risk that is as serious as obesity and smoking.
Sitting too much puts you in an unnatural posture that stresses your back, legs, arms and shoulders.
Ultimately, this can lead to pain in your back, neck, spinal disks and joints.
As people are becoming more prone to such conditions they are fighting back in many ways.
Inversion therapy is the therapeutic practice of hanging upside down or at an inverted angle with the help of an inversion table.
The reported benefits of an inversion table include back, neck, joint and sciatic pain relief, headache relief, improved circulation, mental clarity, posture, muscle tone and flexibility.
In this post, we will take a look at what inversion therapy is, how it works and the top benefits of inversion therapy.
How Does Inversion Therapy Work?
An inversion table is a type of inversion therapy that works by shifting your body’s gravity, removing pressure from your back and allowing the vertebrae of your spine to decompress with the help of your body weight.
It gives you all the benefits of inversion therapy without you needing to turn completely upside down.
You set the table to your height so that it can stretch the length of your body, then you secure your ankles into the table and use your arms to rotate the table.
Most inversion tables let you control the speed and degree of this rotation. You can start at a 20-degree angle and work your way up to 60 degrees or more, where the pressure on your spine is eliminated completely.
It only takes 1 to 2 minutes for your spine to decompress, but you should stop as soon as you feel discomfort.
With regular use, you can work your way up to 3 to 5 minutes on your inversion table, or even longer.
Using your inversion table frequently is more important than how long you stay inverted at a time.
You want to use it multiple times a day for the best results. Watch the video above for best practices for using an inversion table.
Is Inversion Therapy Suitable for All?
Due to the nature of being held upside down inversion therapy can increase blood pressure, decrease heart rate and place pressure on the eyeballs meaning that inversion therapy may not be suitable for everyone.
If you have any doubts of whether inversion therapy is safe for you, always consult a qualified doctor beforehand especially if you have bone, joint or cardiovascular disorders.
Top 10 Benefits of Using an Inversion Table
Studies that support every listed benefit of inversion therapy has yet to be seen.
There are some studies that are beginning to appear but most are based on theory. Nonetheless here are the reported benefits of using an inversion table.
1. Increases Circulation
Long stretches of sitting in chairs slows down your circulation, which can cause fluid retention, varicose veins and even life-threatening blood clots.
Putting yourself upside down using an inversion table reverses this effect, as it allows gravity to bring your blood upwards.
2. Helps with Headaches and Migraines
By allowing your blood to flow upward to your head, an inversion table increases the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in your brain.
Although clinical evidence of the use of inversion tables to treat headaches and migraines is lacking, experts know that many migraines are caused by blood vessel constriction and low oxygen levels in the brain.
According to studies, increased oxygen levels are linked to headache and migraine relief, which suggests that using an inversion table may be a promising natural remedy.
3. Improves Spinal Health and Alleviates Back Pain
The more you sit, especially if you slouch, the higher you raise your risk for herniated lumbar discs.
When you’re slouching in a chair, your upper body weight isn’t evenly distributed throughout your spine.
This leads to collagen (the structural protein that makes up connective tissues) to harden around your tendons and ligaments, ultimately causing you pain.
An inversion table allows blood to circulate between your vertebrae so that this doesn’t happen.
In a study on 47 people with chronic back pain, eight weeks of using an inversion table daily at 60 degrees effectively alleviated back pain and improved torso strength and flexibility.
4. Reduces Neck and Shoulder Pain
Sitting at an office desk can put a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders.
An inversion table reverses the effect of leaning over a keyboard or bending over paperwork, allowing these muscles, tendons and bones to stretch out and relieve tension.
5. Boosts Mental Clarity
Increased blood flow to your brain results not just in more oxygen, but also more neural transmissions that improve cognitive function and boost your mood.
6. Improves Posture and Flexibility
When you hang on an inversion table, gravity and your body weight work to align your spine and neck, which can improve your posture with regular practice.
It also improves flexibility and your range of motion by improving blood flow between your spine’s vertebrae.
7. Reduces Appearance of Varicose Veins
By boosting your circulation, an inversion table can help treat varicose veins, which result from the pooling of blood in areas where circulation is cut off.
Being inverted drains blood away from bulging veins in your legs and helps it disperse throughout the rest of your body.
8. Tones and Defines Muscles
You can also use an inversion table for abdominal strength training.
Your abs are muscles that help prevent back pain by improving spinal alignment and reducing your risk of back injuries.
Most ab exercises can injure the back, but doing crunches while using an inversion table makes back injury less likely by relieving spinal compression.
Instead of doing crunches on the floor, you can do them while you’re inverted to take the compressive load off your back.
You can also try doing inverted squats on your inversion table to strengthen your hamstrings, quads and glutes.
Doing an inversion before your regular workout helps loosen up your muscles and boost your oxygen supply.
Doing it at the end of your workout will promote better recovery by increasing circulation and decompressing your muscles and joints.
9. Strengthens Joints and Ligaments
The stronger your ligaments are, the more support you have for your joints.
Daily use of an inversion table is shown to strengthen your ligaments and improve the lubrication of your joints.
As a result, it lowers your risk of disc herniations, spinal stenosis and other spinal conditions.
10. Promotes Relaxation
Research has linked inversion table use to stress relief and a feeling of wellness.
They cause your brain to release endorphins, which alleviate stress, anxiety and depression, while boosting energy and motivation.
Summary on Choosing the Best Inversion Table for You
Inversion therapy with an inversion table can realign your spine, reduce nerve pressure, decompress spinal disks and relax your muscles using gravity.
The best inversion table for you depends on your body type, the space you have for it in your home and the amount of money you’re willing to spend.
In general, however, a good inversion table is made with sturdy manufacturing materials and has been third-party tested for safety, and is designed to provide adequate comfort and support.
You want to use your inversion table every day for the best results, so it’s important to make sure you choose one that’s convenient to use and allows you to feel relaxed while inverted.
Related: Best inversion tables