In its simplest form, inversion therapy is basically hanging upside down. If you are a yoga fan, doing inversions without the help of chairs and tables might be easier than singing your ABC's.
However, most people require a little (read a lot) help with balance, and inversion tables come in handy. It is worth mentioning that being inverted is not only for people with back pains- it has more than a dozen benefits for the entire body. These include improved brain function, blood circulation, a better immune system and the general well-being of the body.
Dan Brown, the bestselling author of "The Da Vinci Code", even says inversion helps with with writer's block and gets the creative juices flowing.
In the spirit of educating you on how to use an inversion table , here are the steps you should follow:
- Secure the table on a flat surface: do not ignore this crucial step of checking if the table is properly and securely placed on a flat surface. Ensure the straps, joints and all the pivot points are well connected. Repeat this process every time you use the table to avoid unnecessary mishaps.
- Adjust the table to your height and rest your head on the bed of the inversion table making sure it does not hang down over the edge. The manual provided should be your guide at every step because sometimes each manufacturer has different mechanics of use.
- Set the table to your preferred degree. Beginners are advised to take it easy and start with 60 degrees as opposed to 180 degrees- you can gradually increase the angle as your body gets used to hanging upside down. Adjust the ankle clamps and secure them once you set your preferred angle of inversion.
- While your back is against the table, stand and place both of your feet in the footrests. Use the manual to direct you on how best to secure your feet. Lean back and let the table rotate to the invert position. If handles are available, hold on to them for stability.
- If it is your first time on an inversion table, you might experience anxiety and discomfort. These are normal for newbies but learn to breathe deeply and relax while facing down. Also, hang down for shorter periods of time, frequently turning the table around. As your body gets used to inversion therapy, you will be able to hang for longer periods of time
- While inverted on the table, perform a few stretch exercises for your back. Touch the ground with your hands to stretch your spine. You can also do a few abdominal and shoulder blade stretches.
- If you are able to, you can do some crunches while still in the inverted position by holding the back of your head with your hands as your elbows point out at the sides. As you contract your abs, slowly lift your head off the inversion table; hold the lift for a second or two then return to the initial position. Repeat this for 10-15 times.
- When you are done inverting, use the table handles to pull yourself up. Rotate the table slowly to avoid the feeling of dizziness. The moment you become steady enough, unlock the footrests and step out of the table. Simple, isn’t it?
How Long Should You Use an Inversion Table?
As a beginner, you should start at no more than 2 to 3 minutes before turning upright. Then gradually work your way up to longer inversion sessions as you get more comfortable with it. The frequency with which you invert is more important and of greater benefit than the duration. As you gain experience, you can go for longer periods of time. You should not exceed 20-30 min.
You can invert as often as you feel comfortable. A lot of people like to invert when they get up in the morning, others prefer to do it after a long day of work. A quick five minute session anytime can work wonders for you.
We would caution you, however, not to invert right after a meal for obvious reasons. Please give your body enough time to digest your food before hopping on.
As always, as your particular situation may be unique, it is best to consult with your doctor and/or chiropractor with any questions you may have about inversion therapy.