The design of an inversion table lets you invert from a standing position to different degrees of inversion. The table supports your body and lets you move from one position to another without the help of a partner. Unfortunately, inversion tables are expensive, but alternatives exist. These alternatives allow you to obtain most of the same benefits of inversion, but with less expense. Check with your physician before beginning inversion therapy.
Proponents of inversion therapy claim inverting improves the body and mind. Hanging upside-down utilizes the earth's gravity to stretch the muscles and relieve stress. Gravity pulls the blood from your lower body, sending it through the cardiovascular system to improve circulation. Back pain relief is obtained through decompression of the spine while hanging upside-down, letting gravity help with spinal traction. Additional inversion therapy claims include maintaining flexibility, providing core muscle training, workout recovery, strengthening ligaments, improving balance, slowing the aging process and providing a sense of overall well-being.
The health benefits of yoga include reducing stress, improving strength and fitness and could help with weight-loss. You can get some of these benefits through yoga poses that invert your body. Poses you can do to help with inversion include downward-facing dog, feathered peacock, plow, supported shoulder stand, handstand and supported headstand. One of the six basic movements of the body is inversion and using yoga poses helps you achieve this basic movement.
Gravity Boot Alternative
Padded gravity boots wrap around the ankle and secure through a series of straps, letting you hang from an inversion rack installed in your home. You get the same benefits of an inversion table, but with more freedom of movement. You must be in excellent physical condition to use gravity boots. You must possess the strength to lower yourself to a fully inverted position and have the ability to lift yourself back to the bar in order to release the boots. Never use gravity boots and an inversion rack without a partner.
Fitness Ball Alternative
Although you cannot fully invert your body using a fitness ball, you can achieve some of the stress relief by stretching your body across the ball and back pain relief through extending the spine across the ball. The fitness, Swiss or stability ball inflates with air, giving you a firm, but forgiving surface to stretch. Lay across the ball with your back on the top of the ball and allow your back to stretch as you open your arms over your head. Placing your hands on the ground stretches your body further. Using other stretches, such as the open chest stretch can stretch your spine to help with back pain.
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- Energycenter.com: Benefits of Inversion Therapy
- Spineuniverse; Turing Back Pain and Sciatica Upside Down; Susan Spinasanta; February 2007
- MayoClinic.com; Yoga: Tap into the many health benefits; January 2010
- Yoga Magazine; Yoga and Total Health; Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati; October 1996
- Yoga Journal: Inversion Poses
- Teeter Hang Ups; Gravity Boots; 2008
- “101 Ways to Burn Fat On the Ball”; Lizbeth Garcia; 2006
- “Back Rx”; Vijay Vad, M.D., and Hilary Hinzmann; 2004
- Energycenter.com: To What Degree Should I Invert?