Inversion Therapy – The Good and The Bad
Contrary to popular beliefs, inversion therapy is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, hanging upside-down to relieve pain and the health benefits of gravity have been documented as far back as 400 BC when Hippocrates, the famous physician, observed a patient being hung by his knees and ankles from a ladder to relieve an ailment. Today, inversion therapy takes the form of an inversion table, which people use for health benefits that come from reversing the gravitational pull on the body’s organs, bones and joints.
Key benefits of inversion therapy
1. Lower back pain
A study entitled, “Adaptation of Tilt Table for Lumbar Traction” published in the Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association concluded that 88% of patients who underwent a series of eight inversion table therapy sessions experienced major health improvements including spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, lumbar osteoarthritis with sciatica and coccygodynia. The study also suggested that inversion treatment can help increase the space between spinal discs and reduce paraspinal EMG activity, an indicator of muscle pain. Note that reducing the pressure on the spinal discs and increasing disc space has been found to relieve lower back pain. Inversion tables can therefore help to stretch and elongate the spinal column, allowing the discs to separate and opening up the vertebral spaces where nerves enter and exit, which enables nerve impulses to travel unhindered to and from the brain.
2. Increased trunk flexion
Another study published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association found that inversion therapy increased forward trunk flexion, the ability to bend over forward, by 25%. Note that the inability to bend over forward severely restricts some everyday activities like putting on shoes and socks and contributes to muscle atrophy in the long run.
3. Overall health benefits
It is suggested that inversion tables can help reduce headaches by taking pressure off the nerves there. They also increase flexibility, promote lymphatic drainage and blood circulation and improve a person’s general sense of well-being. By reversing the effects of gravity on the body, blood is able to circulate more freely to the upper body, including the brain. Inversion therapy may therefore be very beneficial in recovering from high impact workouts.
Some counter arguments
Inversion therapy is not without complications. For most healthy people, inversion therapy poses few threats and it causes no increase in heart rate or blood pressure. However, there may be an increase in eye pressure and people with retinal detachment are advised against the use of inversion therapy for the purpose of relieving back pain. Other contraindications include the risk of head injuries and spinal injuries if you hang upside down the wrong way. Additionally, inversion tables are not recommended for people who have had recent back surgery, glaucoma, herniated discs, high blood pressure, hiatal hernia and other conditions that may be made worse by inverting.
Common reasons why people turn to inversion therapy
Inversion therapy has been used for a long time now by people all over the world to maintain a healthy back, relieve stress from fatigued muscles and treat injuries. Inversion tables allow you to use the effects of gravity by hanging upside down applying a gentle traction to the spine. Inversion helps the muscles relax. It increases blood flow, decreasing painful spasms and improve neck and back conditions such as scoliosis and lordosis.
1. Condition of the core muscles of the body
Core muscles of the body including those of the abdomen and lower back, provide support for the torso. These muscles maintain proper posture and efficiency of body movement. Weak abdominal muscles promote poor posture and allow for misalignment of the spine, making you vulnerable to injury. Inversion tables help people maintain and tone the core muscles of their body without loading the spine. Properly executed exercises on an inversion table such as crunches and back extensions can condition the core.
2. Brain exercises
3. Relieving pain
Inversion helps your spine receive mild traction from the weight of the body. The spine is stretched and slightly elongated, which increases the spaces between the vertebrae and minimizes pressure on the intervertebral discs. Nerves run through the spaces between each vertebra. Reducing compaction on the nerve roots means less back pain.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, it is important to note that inversion therapy can be dangerous in certain circumstances. This is why you should always seek professional medical advice before using inversion therapy for health purposes. Inversion tables should not be used if you are pregnant or you have eye problems such as glaucoma or retinal detachment. Inversion therapy is also not suitable for people with conjunctivitis, high blood pressure, heart conditions or circulatory disorders. If you have had recent injuries such as hernia, spinal injury or unhealed fractures, you should not use inversion devices.
Teeter Hang Ups EP-550
Early this year, Teeter Hang Ups released their new EP-550 inversion table. For people who follow this sort of thing, this is pretty big news because it’s been a while since Teeter has had a major redesign. As you probably already know, Teeter Hang Ups has been around for over 30 years, long before any other inversion table manufacturer came to exist. Teeter Hang Ups is widely recognized as a leading solution provider when it comes to inversion therapy and innovation. Looking back at their track record, warranties and UL certification, it is a no-brainer that if you want an inversion table, you want one by Teeter Hang Ups. The Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 is one of the finest inversion tables on the market today. The design highlights comfort and durability. The accessories that come with the table are unmatched for. As far as inversion tables go, you really can’t go wrong with the newly designed EP-550.