Familiarize yourself with different inversion therapy equipments

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What is Inversion Therapy?

According to Healthline, inversion therapy is “a technique where you are suspended upside down to stretch the spine.”

The goal of stretching the spine, also known as spinal decompression, is to relieve the pressure and tension placed on the back and the neck.

The release of pressure and tension then reduces neck and back pain caused by any number of ailments, including pinched nerves, slipped discs, herniated discs, sciatica, and scoliosis to name just a few.

The way that inversion therapy provides this pain relief is by harnessing gravity. Suspending your body upside down not only eases normal pressure from the back, but it also provides traction for the spine.

In addition to those with chronic back or neck pain, inversion therapy is also ideal for those suffering from scoliosis.

A less common, but still effective, reason to use inversion therapy is to improve posture as well as overall physical fitness.

Inversion therapy equipment is now available in several forms, including tables, chairs, boots, and headstand benches.

The right type of equipment for you depends on your needs, preferences, budget, overall health, and any personal recommendations from your doctor.

What are The Benefits of Inversion Therapy?

The benefits of inversion therapy are numerous.

The most obvious is pain relief, particularly for chronic neck and back pain. The Mayo Clinic claims that this benefit is mostly short-term, with few long-lasting benefits.  

That said, the release of pressure, even for just a few minutes, does wonders to release pain and tension stored in damaged or stressed neck and back muscles.

Indeed, the Mayo Clinic goes on to state that while inversion therapy benefits are mostly short-term, they can provide long-lasting pain relief when paired with a comprehensive treatment program.

For this reason, inversion therapy is well worth your consideration if you suffer from back or neck pain.
HealthCentral states that inversion therapy helps relieve back pain by generating more fluid to protect spinal discs while simultaneously removing waste from the region.

The generation of this fluid and removal of the waste decreases inflammation while promoting increased blood circulation in the muscles surrounding the spine.

Not only does this process reduce back and neck pain, but it also improves overall spinal health.

Other main advantages of inversion therapy include:

Improved Flexibility – Spinal decompression makes it easier to bend and reach after continual practice.

Better Posture – Added flexibility also translates to better posture, especially while sitting (which is of utmost importance if you have a desk job).

Increased Height – Some people say that inversion therapy even increases your height by one or two inches (though this is probably due to better posture).

Better Fitness – Athletes, in particular, get benefits from inversion therapy as it relieves pain and increases flexibility to enable them to train harder and perform at a higher level.

Reduced Need for Surgery – Though the jury is still out on this one, a 2014 study submits that spinal decompression potentially reduces the need for spinal surgery by easing back pain.

Remember that no matter how great the benefits of inversion therapy sound, it’s imperative to seek the advice of your doctor before trying out the technique for the first time.

What are The Potential Risks of Inversion Therapy?

Inversion therapy isn’t without its risk – and it’s certainly not for everyone.

As mentioned above, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before trying out inversion therapy for yourself.

The most common reasons your doctor might recommend avoiding inversion therapy is if you have any:

– Bone or joint disorders (especially osteoporosis or spinal fractures)

– Cardiovascular conditions (especially high blood pressure or heart disease)

– Certain diseases or infections (especially pink eye, ear infections, or glaucoma)

Inversion tables and other inversion equipment is particularly risky for people with glaucoma, heart disease, or hypertension.

Your doctor will also likely recommend avoiding inversion therapy if you’re pregnant, obese, or use blood clotting medications.

Even if inversion therapy is safe for you, it’s essential to use the equipment correctly. Improperly using inversion tables, chairs, and other devices are extremely dangerous.

Another concern is taking the proper time to adjust. Chances are your body isn’t used to being suspended upside down.

You’ll want to start with short increments of suspension, perhaps a minute at first. Do several one-minute sets with breaks in between to adjust your body to the process.

Afterward, you’ll be able to suspend vertically for five to ten minutes or more comfortably. Pay attention to how your body feels. Dizziness or muscle strain are sure signs that you’re overdoing it and need to take a break.

Does Inversion Therapy Work?

Research into inversion therapy is still a reasonably new pain management technique.

There’s no hard and fast answer, whether it works or not. Though the short-term benefits are mostly proven, the long-term benefits are another story.

Most people will experience pain relief from inversion therapy, in various degrees. You’ll likely notice increased flexibility, better circulation, and pain relief almost immediately.

Indeed, improved flexibility and posture are likewise proven. Inversion therapy works if these are your goals.

The only areas in which inversion therapy’s benefits aren’t 100% proven is in the long-term. Not enough research has been done to verify its effectiveness.

It’s important to note that most researchers believe inversion therapy is effective for long-term pain relief if you combine it with other treatment methods.

On its own, inversion therapy isn’t likely effective for more than short-term relief. Paired with other physical therapy and treatment techniques, however, it’s chances of long-term success skyrocket.

Which Inversion Equipment to Buy?

There’s a surprisingly wide variety of inversion therapy equipment on the market today.

Your classic option is an inversion table. You lay on a table-like platform, strap your legs in, and then tilt the table to one side, so your head is lower than your feet.

You can control the angle at which you’re suspended with a lever. Most inversion tables have an almost vertical angle of maximum suspension.

A newer type of inversion therapy equipment is the inversion chair. It’s designed to place far less stress on the hips, knees, and ankles. Though you still strap your legs in, there’s also a secure lap belt to better distribute the pressure.

Inversion chairs are also ideal for those with a lower level of physical ability. They’re far more comfortable to use if you’re elderly, overweight, or injured.

Inversion boots are yet another option. However, these require a high level of physical fitness to use appropriately.

You strap your ankles into half-boots with book-like clips on them. The clips them go over a bar. They enable you to hang vertically from the bar with your head below your feet.

Inversion boots are extremely dangerous if not used correctly. We recommend you use them only if you’ve tried a regular inversion table or chair first.

Your final option is a yoga headstand bench. This type of inversion therapy equipment is different than the rest.

The goal is to perform a handstand to achieve some of the benefits of inversion therapy.

No matter the type of inversion therapy equipment you choose, it’s essential to consider your personal needs, preferences, and overall health.

Another concern is your budget. Specific models are much more affordable than others. However, a high-end model has the benefits of better materials, increased durability, more comfortable padding, and additional features.

We also recommend buying new rather than used. A used inversion table is a recipe for potential disaster. It’s hard to confirm that a used inversion table isn’t dangerous.

Sometimes the materials wear down to the point where they won’t support your body. Other issues include a hard time properly adjusting them.

Can You Do Inversion Therapy Without Equipment?

It’s essential to invest in the right equipment, whether that’s a table, chair, or boots, to achieve the full benefits of inversion therapy.

Still, it’s possible to achieve many of the benefits without equipment. The number one way to do this is through stretching.

Try basic stretches, and yoga poses to reduce back pain. Find stretches and poses that specifically target the back and neck areas to get the best results.

Any yoga pose that has inverted elements is a great choice. The most basic is the downward-facing dog. It’s a great pose for beginners.

Other yoga poses that offer a form of inversion therapy include the feathered peacock, plow, supported shoulder stand, handstand, and supported headstand.

Yoga is also a great tool to get even more benefits from your inversion equipment. It increases flexibility, so actual inversion therapy helps your body even more.