The Health Benefits of Inversion Therapy – An Introduction To Inversion Tables
For anyone not very acquainted with the human anatomy or how the body supports itself in the upright position, it can be hard to believe that maintaining an upside down state physically could have health benefits and yet, over the last couple of years, many scientific studies have demonstrated that inversion therapy, when practiced correctly can help relieve many forms of back and neck pain.
By definition, inversion refers to the state in which a person holds his or her heart higher than their head. Inversion therapy helps the body recover from the compressive effects of gravity and daily activities. Scientifically, it has been proven to be quite advantageous for the cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous systems. In fact, inversion is a perfect exercise for the body as a whole.
A valuable fact at this point would be note that based on scientific investigations, inversion therapy proved to be so beneficial health wise that the US Army is currently planning to include it in its physical training thereby your proof if you need any that as an individual, you can get so much out of inverting 3-5 minutes every day. One last important fact before we get to the health benefits of inversion therapy in some pretty deep details, scientifically, it has been demonstrated that bats and slots are the only creatures on earth who will never suffer from osteoarthritis. It does not take a genius to figure out why so if you have a family history of osteoarthritis, then you know what you should include in your daily routine as soon as possible.
The health benefits of inversion
1. Inversion can help many forms of back and neck pain
There are many causes of back pain including poor posture, a genetically weak back and stomach muscles and misalignments to name a few. Many of these causes can actually be attributed to one force we must all battle: gravity. Inversion therapy puts gravity to work for you by placing your body in line with the downward force of gravity. Using your own body weight as a natural form of traction, inversion elongates the spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae, relieving the pressure on discs, ligaments and nerve roots.
2. Inversion helps care for the discs
In the human body, discs have three jobs: to separate the vertebrae, to provide flexibility to the spine and to act as shock absorbers. Disc separation is especially important since all communication between the brain and the body is via nerves that pass between each vertebra. Insufficient distance between the vertebrae can result in nerve root pressure and pain. Note that the inner core of your discs is made of a jelly-like material that provides the flexibility and “cushioning” in your back. When you are sitting, standing, or exercising, this fluid is squeezed out of your discs and into adjacent soft tissue. As a result, your discs lose some of their moisture and height. Inverting once in a while will give your discs a break.
3. Inversion helps functional fitness
A person can only achieve functional fitness by incorporating several element of fitness into their lifestyle including cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility. Inversion can be utilized as a simple, relatively cheap but effective method to achieve the essential elements of fitness. Did you know that the simple act of inverting the body helps stimulate circulation, resulting in a mild and sometimes even relaxing, cardiovascular workout? Similarly, passive inversion can help a person maintain flexibility of the joints and spine, encouraging good posture and properly hydrating the discs between the vertebrae.
4. Inversion trains the core muscle groups
The core muscles of the human body include the muscles providing support for the torso and these are responsible for the maintenance of posture, efficiency in movement and transfer of power in the body. Unfortunately, most exercises designed to build core muscles must be performed with great technical accuracy or they can cause injury to the lumbar spine. Inverting on one of the many inversion tables offered here including the Teeter EP-550, the Ironman Gravity 4000 and the Body Champ IT8070 can help users to focus on building their core strength without loading the spine. When performed from full inversion, exercises such as crunches, sit-ups and back extensions can build strength in the core with minimal risk of hyperextension or loading the spine improperly.
5. Inversion helps recover from high impact workouts
Nearly every activity involves some form of compression of the spine. The compressive effect of gravity is compounded everyday with activities such as running, weightlifting, aerobics, skiing, biking, and golf, which can exact an incredible toll on the spine, discs, and back muscles. Inversion after physical activity may help to realign the spine and keep athletes performing at higher levels for longer periods of time.
6. Inversion reduces soreness in overworked muscles
Athletes prone to stiffness or muscle spasms after a workout can benefit from the lymphatic wash provided by inversion. Intense muscle activities cause muscles to become sore. This is due to the build up of large amounts of lactic acid and cellular debris in the muscles. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system has no pump. Only the alternate contraction and relaxation of muscles move lymphatic fluid “uphill” through capillaries and one-way valves to the upper chest for cleansing. Inverting the body so that gravity works with, not against these one-way valves helps to push the lactic fluid up to the chest. The faster the lymphatic system is cleared, the faster the ache and pain of stiff muscles disappears.
7. Inversion relieves stress
Your body will let you know when you are stressed out and the common red flag for this condition is back and neck pain, headaches and muscle tension. If nothing else, inversion is a great way to take a break and relax. The full body stretch can be rejuvenating and can also help to reduce muscle tension. A study conducted by physiotherapist LJ Nose found that EMG activity declined over 35% within ten seconds of inverting. Inversion, therefore, is helpful in relieving tension and pain in your muscles that may have been caused by stress.
8. Inversion is good for balance and orientation training
The performance of inverted activities can be enhanced through inversion training. Inversion helps people develop balance awareness, which occurs when the upper regions of the inner ear are stimulated. Skydivers, gymnasts, springboard divers, and scuba divers find that inversion therapy fine-tunes the body and inner ear to the inverted world. Inversion therapy has also been used to normalize the ear canal as a treatment for motion sickness.
9. Age gracefully
Most people will decrease from 1-5 cm in height during their lifetime due to thinning discs. An active inversion program can help maintain more of your original height. Equally interesting is the fact that as the human body ages, internal organs including the kidneys, stomach, intestines begin to prolapse as a result of the constant downward force of gravity. Inversion helps prolapsed organs resume their normal shape and place in the body