What is Inversion Therapy?

Conditions
Last Updated Jul 07, 2020
Conditions

What is Inversion Therapy?

Inversion therapy is a natural method of relieving strain on the spine, joints and muscles by removing the pressure gravity places on the body.  An inversion table, or gravity table, is a popular device that allows you to achieve this state.  By strapping yourself in by the ankles or knees, and varying the angle of the table, one eliminates some or all of this gravitational pressure.  This reduces the gravitational compression of the vertebrae, discs and joints and allows the muscles and ligaments to relax.  It is typically used to treat physical complaints associated with the back, but is also attributed with alleviating an array of conditions from depression to sports injuries.  Inversion tables are also a cost effective alternative for those not able, or unwilling, to utilise conventional medication or invasive surgery.

Back pain is often the result of pressure on the intervertebral discs, the cartilaginous tissue that sit between the vertebra of our spine.  These act as shock absorbers, and are under constant pressure except when we are resting or asleep.  The pain is the result of everyday muscle stress that puts too much pressure on these elements, and which over a lifetime, gradually weakens your spine.  Inversion relaxes the muscles of the spinal column, resulting in a reduction in tension and a release of pain.

What can an Inversion Table do for you?

The highest rate of success among inversion patients has been in the reduction or elimination of pain.  Owning an inversion table allows you to treat yourself in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and can help to:

  • Reduce pain - relaxes the muscles of the spinal column and reduces pressure on discs
  • Relieve sciatica or a pinched nerve
  • Decompresses the spine - reducing compression fatigue
  • Improves circulation - by stimulating blood flow and increasing the supply of blood and oxygen to muscles
  • Relieves stress - people feel more relaxed after inversion and sleep better
  • Heighten mental alertness - increases the supply of oxygen to the brain
  • Increase flexibility and the range of motion - joints stay healthy and supple
  • Improve posture - stretching realigns the spine

What to look for in an Inversion Table?

An inversion table is a significant outlay so research your purchase thoroughly beforehand.   Considering that you will potentially be hanging upside down, purchase an established brand with a reputation in the market.  Here are some pointers to help you choose the right inversion table for you:

  • Safety - the table should be structurally sound, with a stable base, and rated to carry your weight
  • Adjustable - for your particular height and weight, and to a variety of angles, including full inversion and upside down
  • Ease of assembly - it also needs to be dismantled quickly for  ease of storage
  • Comfort - are the backrest, ankle holders and hand grips comfortable?

Motorized versions are available, which can be helpful for those with more limited mobility.

Using an Inversion Table

Depending on your age, condition and weight, it is recommended that you use the gentlest inversion angles to start with.  Anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes a day will normally be adequate to realise a benefit from your inversion table

Using an inversion table does lead to an increased flow of blood to the head, and are therefore not suitable for people with a range of conditions:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • spinal injuries/back surgery
  • eye diseases, such as glaucoma
  • pregnant women
  • ear infections
  • hernias

If you have a back problem, are thinking of using an inversion table, please consult your doctor, osteopath or chiropractor.

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Originally published on Apr 17, 2009

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