The secret of using gravity to straighten backs and other parts of the skeletal system, by turning the body upside down or hanging by the feet, has been around for many thousands of years. Even Hippocrates,who was born nearly 500 years BC, was known to use it in his practice to set bones. Not only that, but he even had a bed with ropes and weights which was designed to pull and stretch the body in various ways for medical benefits.
The modern day equivalent, an inversion table, has more scientific validation, however, and was first put to use in 1964 by Dr. Sheffield to reduce back pain. His first study took 175 patients that were in so much pain they couldn't work, but after just 8 sessions 155 of them were able to return to their jobs.
Research is now showing that there are many inversion benefits and the research continues.
Inversion Benefits Can be Seen in as Little as 10 Minutes Per Day
A 1993 research study showed that just 10 minutes per day was enough to eliminate lower back pain for the group and led to a reduction in days off sick from work of 33% over the course of a year. Since back pain is one of the leading causes of time lost from work, that's a significant amount of money lost for the entire economy.
Especially where the spine is concerned, it seems that by relieving the vertical pressure on the vertebrae, cartilage and spinal fluids, they are all able to realign and repair themselves in just a few short minutes of therapy per day. While continuing to stand, sit and walk with the spine out of alignment was detrimental.
It's Not Only The Spinal Column That Gains Inversion Benefits
By inverting oneself, more blood flows to the brain giving it a boost in oxygen and other nutrients that help it wake up and concentrate at a higher level. A study done by Dr. Martin showed that mental acuity increased on average 14% after being treated on an inversion table.
The subjects experienced clearer thinking, better concentration, memory and observational powers. It's thought that when the body is inverted blood that has been stagnant in various locations throughout the body, then get pressured to move about and circulate.
This extra circulation is especially noticed in the colon and other parts of the abdomen where blood can tend to pool. Indigestion was relieved and anxiety was also lessened, leading to many different theories as to the causes of these ailments.
Inversion Has Been Shown To Help Posture And Flexibility
When the body is in the same position for an extended period of time the compression of the fluids in the joints tends to settle into one spot. This is partly what causes all of the popping and cracking that a person experiences when they arise from sitting too long.
By using inversion to relieve the compressive stress due to gravity, the joints can then be more flexible without all the cracking. Posture is also improved by allowing the inversion to straighten out all of the joints and let them realign themselves correctly without the pull of gravity. One of the benefits of inversion therapy is maintaining proper posture. This is important as we age because a stooped over frame tends to get worse as time passes.
It's a well known phenomena that we grow shorter over the years as we age. If a person wishes to combat that process, it's believed that just a few minutes per day on an inversion table would help them keep their bones straightened. This also helps the tendons and ligaments straighten out and reposition themselves for better posture to maintain the original height.
If you are thinking of getting your own inversion therapy table, but are unsure of the many inversion benefits, you should find a health club or yoga studio that has one and try it out. Just 10 minutes per day for a week and you'll already feel the difference, it's that amazing.
Always remember to consult with your doctor before trying an inversion table.