In the inversion therapy, people just hang upside down for some time. It might sound crazy, but the therapy is proven to be very effective in various ailments. One most common benefit is stretching the spine and thus relieving from back pain. The underlying principle is that in an inverted position, the body parts, which are always compressed by gravity in a normal position, get a chance to decompress and thus get relaxed by using the inversion table. There are numerous benefits as well as risks involved in this process which will be discussed in the following sections –
Types of Inversion Therapy Devices And Techniques
To perform an inversion exercise, you can adopt devices like –
- Inversion table: It’s a rotating table that reaches an inverted position when people lie on the top of it.
- Inversion chair: Same as the table, except for the sitting position.
- Gravity boots: They are heavy-duty ankle wraps and people use them to hang from a bar.
- Yoga sling: It’s a strip of fabric that is suspended from the ceiling where you wrap your hips up with the fabric and hang upside down.
How an Inversion Table Works
This device rotates once you mount the table and hold you in an inverted position. You can control the angle of inversion via various mechanisms. And after the therapy, you can again resume a normal position without others’ help. There are ankle locks to hold you safely in an inverted position. Also, non-skid attachment at the bottom prevents accidental slip.
10 Best Inversion Table
Since numerous models of the inversion table from different manufacturers. Each of them has a unique design and functionalities. To select a perfect inversion table from them within a budget can be a challenging task. In general, you have to consider issues like price, ankle support comfort, stability, backrest comfort, quality of construction and materials, weight capacity, inverting mechanism, ease of storage, extra relevant features, value for money, etc..
In order to assist you in this matter, a comparative framework of different models of the inversion table is given below
IRONMAN Gravity Inversion Table (Model No. 5406)
This heavy, secure, and durable model is built for endurance and performance. The main frame is made from tubular heavy-duty steel with a scratch-resistant powder-coated finish. Over the backrest, there is 2.5” memory foam vinyl with double stitching and a removable lumbar pillow to provide extra support and comfort while using the machine.
This inversion table can be adjusted for a height of 4′ 9″ to 6′ 6″. The most attractive feature would be weight capacity, 350 pounds. To hold a person securely in an inverted position, there is an accessible “palm activated” adjustable ratchet ankle locking system that has air mesh-covered paddings. Inside the padding, there are pockets for airflow and it’s designed for a comfortable grip without pinching.
A total of 180° inversion is possible with this table. To prevent skidding during the inversion, tough rubber non-skid floor stabilizers are placed around the corners of the frame. This model can be folded after use. The dimensions are 32” L x 27” W x 74” H and the weight is 82.5 pounds.
- Heavy duty
- Comfortable and easy to operate ankle lock. You won’t feel pain or a hot spot during the therapy session.
- Foldable and easy to store
- Large weight capacity.
- Adjustable lumbar pillow
- Adjustable height
- The table weighs 82 pounds. It can be difficult to move around with it.
Teeter FitSpine X3 Inversion Table
This is an earlier model of Teeter FitSpine LX9 which features almost all the premium characteristics of LX9. Although it’s not the latest one, It’s better than the top tier models of other brands. The table has comfortable but padding less backrest with acupressure nodes and lumbar bridge for extra lumbar support. With the tether arrangements, the inversion table can be placed at 3 different angular positions, and stretching is possible because of Grip-and-Stretch handholds in the bed and the frame.
You can go to invert and back to upright position very easily by simply moving your arm which shifts your body weight. A lock-out is possible in a full inversion position. To securely hold you in an invert position, superior ankle lock with gravity-activated locking mechanism and highly customizable ankle support act together. There is very little difference between LX9 and X3, which is the main frame. In LX9 it is bended in an arch.
This model is also FDA and UL approved.
- Highly customizable ankle support
- Ankle lock with a gravity-assisted mechanism
- Padless bed for deep decompression
- Acupressure nodes
- Extra lumbar support
- FDA approved health equipment
- Instruction manual may be difficult to understand
HARISON Heavy Duty Inversion Table
The Harison table is one of the toughest inversion tables available in the market. The main frame is composed of heavy-duty steel. Also, the frame is ergonomically designed which is triangle-shaped and numbers of safety features like Non-slip nuts and mat, protective pedal cover and cap, sponge foot cover, etc. are added. The easily accessible ankle lock has a pin locking system and ergonomic u shaped ankle cushion along with front roller ensures painless and safe experience.
The backrest has 3D memory foam padding along with a safety belt. The padding is ergonomically designed to support the curved area efficiently. 20°, 40°, and 60° angle of inversion can be selected with a full 180° inversion. The height of the table can be adjusted for 4.3‘‘ to 6.5’’ and the maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds. The dimensions are 75″ x 28″ x 55″ and the weight is 83 pounds.
- Safety belt attached to the bed for added safety
- To prevent skidding, there are slip-proof nuts and mat at the bottom
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Ergonomic design
- 3D memory foam backrest
- Wide range of user height
Exerpeutic 975SL Inversion Table
This model is manufactured by IRONMAN which is a popular inversion table. It is far advanced and technologically superior from the Exerpeutic 225SL. The wider and durable tubular steel frame can withstand 350 pounds of body weight and facilitate users from 4’10” to 6’6”. To position the table from different angles, the Exerpeutic 975SL utilizes the iControl Disk Brake system. You can easily lock and unlock the table at any angle you want. For a comfortable backrest, it has 2.3” thick memory foam with vinyl cover and removable lumbar pillow for extra lower back support. It has a stretch handle for easy body positioning in a vertical inversion.
At the end of the frame, strong non-skid rubber stabilizers are used. The ankle grip has good ventilation and enough padding for painless inversion. The grip has a double lock ratchet tooth mechanism operated by hand. You can fold the table to fit in your storage area. The dimensions are 75. 6″ L x 31″ W x 58. 3″ H and the weight is 74.1 pounds
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Large weight handling capacity
- Standard quality materials
- Any angle inversion
- Height can be adjusted.
- Farm stabilizers
- There are some plastic parts which get damaged easily.
- Locking mechanism in the ankle grip troubles sometimes.
IRONMAN Gravity 4000 Inversion Table
Another great product from the brand IRONMAN. This model also features a heavy-duty tubular steel frame with powder-coated finishing to support up to 350 pounds. To invert and back to normal position safely, there are extra long handles covered in foam placed on both sides of the table. Also, strong non-skid stabilizers made of strong rubber stop skidding and stabilize the table when someone is on it. The ankle locking system adopts ratchet mechanisms that can be operated by hand and molded ankle cushions which are ergonomically designed hold ankles securely and comfortably.
For the comfort of the back and head, the backrest features vinyl-covered memory foam. The table supports 180° inversion. The dimensions of the table are 49 L x 26 W x 65 H inches and the weight is 72 pounds. It can be conveniently stored as you can fold the table.
- Strong and durable
- Due to rubber support, the table won’t slide over the floor on a standing position.
- Long foam covered handles allow you to invert and back smoothly
- Comfortable backrest
- Ergonomic ankle lock which is safe and easy to operate
Health Gear ITM5500 Inversion Table
This model of the inversion table belongs to the high-end and technologically advanced members of the group. It’s a crossbreed of the inversion table and the high tech massage chair. The backrest incorporates a remote-controlled vibrating massage pad with isolated heat therapy. This pad is completely removable and portable which you can use in your lounge chair or bed when you are not using the table. The backrest is ergonomically designed and made of 4″ Memory-Style foam which is plush and rather comfortable.
You can invert to 4 pre-defined inverting positions: 20°/40°/60°/90° with the help of the side inversion pin system of the table which will support up to 300 pounds. The height range of the user is 5’1” to 6’5” and this height is adjusted by the height adjusting rod. For the ankle support when inverted, there are 4 adjustable oversized high-density foam leg rollers to prevent calf pinching. You can fold the table for easy storage. The item weighs 56.8 pounds.
- Ergonomically designed and highly comfortable table top
- Extra massage pad with heat therapy.
- Painless ankle grip rollers
- Adjustable height for different users
- Not very sturdy. Be careful with the weight capacity.
EXERPEUTIC 225SL Inversion Table
The inversion therapy is easier and comfortable with the EXERPUTIC inversion table because it’s easy to reach the ‘Palm Activated’ Surelock adjustable ratchet ankle locking system which has a solid two-piece ratchet design for more security and safety with double lock ratchet tooth mechanism. The AIRSOFT ankle holder allows air to flow into different chambers inside for cooling and save you from pinch and pain while inverting. The backrest has 1-inch soft foam and removable lumbar pillow for extra lower back support. Full loop foam covered handles allow you to return to normal position rather effortlessly.
The table discards the traditional strap system and adopts a 3 angle position adjustable rear crossbar for the purpose of inversion angle adjustment and the table is UL certified for safety. A person of 4’9″ to 6’6″ height will fit on the table. You can do a 165° vertical inversion and there is a stretch bar for easy body positioning in that angle. The weight capacity is 250 pounds and the item itself weighs 64.4 pounds. The frame is made of steel and has dimensions of 56.5” L x 26.5” W x 64” H. For ease of storing and portability, the table can be collapsed to smaller dimensions.
- UL certification for safety
- Comfortable and safe ankle holder which is easy to reach and operate
- Easy and improved positioning system
- Adjustable height.
- Although it’s foldable, it takes time to do that.
- Moderate weight capacity.
Innova Fitness ITM4800
To provide the finest inversion therapy experience, the ITM4800 has three adjustable points for different heights of the users. Apart from the standard height adjustment mechanism, the head rest and the footrest can be adjusted for finding the exact center of the gravity of the user. When the center of gravity is located, one can invert rather smoothly and effortlessly. It also features a large backrest pad and soft touch foam handlebars for more comfort and control.
The Innova ITM4800 inversion table incorporates a 6-Angle pin system with a protective cover instead of an old tethered strapping system that gets loose after some time. This 6-pin system ensures the safety and consistent outcome every time.
In order to elevate the inversion experience more, it has an adjustable lumbar massage pad that provides isolated heat and vibration with multi-mode settings for massage. The heavy-duty steel frame can support 300 pounds weight and 4’10” to 6’6″ height. The dimensions are 46″ L x 28 “W x 63” H and the weight is 63 pounds.
- The user can adjust and locate the true center of gravity. Pivoting around that center will make the inversion very easy
- High weight capacity
- Additional massage pad with heat therapy
- Easy and secure inversion angle adjustments
- Comfortable backrest
- Padded handlebars
- No padding and ventilation in the ankle grip
Innova Heavy Duty Inversion Table ITX9600
This model of the Innova inversion table also facilitates three adjusting positions for pivoting around the center of gravity. The ankle holder system is both adjustable and reversible which is ergonomically designed to invert easily. There are two designs of ankle holders you can choose from, one with a foam roller on the rear and the other has the foam roller in the front. On the opposite side of the foam roller, a U shaped holder is situated.
When taking back the upright position, the soft, foam-covered handlebars give a more comfortable grip. The 6-position adjustable pin will provide 180° inversion securely. The table can be adjusted for 4’10” to 6’6″ person and the weight capacity would be 300 pounds. The thick cushioned headrest and backrest with lumbar pad offers extra comfort. The heavy-duty steel frame has dimensions of 46″ L x 28″ W x 63″ H and the table weighs 52 pounds
- Due to center of gravity pivoting and ergonomic footrest, the inverting take minimum effort
- Comfortable backrest
- Adjustable and cushioned headrest
- Large weight handling capacity
- Safe and modern inversion angle-adjusting system
- Footrest get loose with time
Teeter FitSpine LX9 Inversion Table
It has been long argued that the padded backrest of an inversion table hinders the process of decompression as the body sinks in. Such is the belief of Teeter and hence Teeter FitSpine LX9 inversion table bed has a firm yet comfortable surface and an 8- point floating suspension system lifts the bed from the steel frame which makes the bed feel softer. That’s not all, a removable lumbar bridge adds deeper traction for the lower back which takes away more pressure from the disks and helps to square misaligned hips. The removable acupressure nodes relieve the trigger points to release painful muscle tension.
In terms of ankle support and safety, it’s hard to find a match for Teeter FitSpine. The ankle lock handle, which is quite long and easy to reach, has a push button to control the micro-adjusting lever to fit the lock perfectly. Apart from the primary ankle lock, there is a redundant gravity-assisted lock that engages as you rotate into inversion. The ankle support of the lock has foamed comfortable contour which wraps around your ankle. The foot platform that rotates to a high or low setting for a customized fit of the ankle support around the smallest part of your ankle.
The boarding platform is slightly elevated and the main body frame is arched for open and easy mounting. There are Grip-and-Stretch Handholds around the bed frame for stretching during inversion. For additional decompression options and assistance, it provides traction and extra-long Stretch Max handles. Teeter FitSpine facilitates 3 pre-set inversion angles 20°, 40°, and 60° controlled by a tether system that can be removed for optional lock-out in full inversion. The user height range would be 4’8″ to 6’6″ with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. This inversion table is UL certified for safety and FDA approved.
- Non padded yet comfortable backrest for maximum decompression during inversion
- Acupressure nodes for painful tensed muscles
- Lumbar support
- Double ankle lock
- Wide and convenient boarding platform
- Comfortable and customizable ankle support
- Handles for stretching during inversion
- FDA approved.
- Customize TeeterLink app
- The overall size is large. It can be difficult to store or move.
How to Use an Inversion Table
For different inversion tables, the user instructions for operating the equipment can vary depending on the design. Here is a general outline of the operating principle.
- First of all, you have to adjust the height of the backrest and headrest according to your size.
- Now, you have to select the angle you want to invert to.
- Mount the table with the body on the backrest and feet secured on the footrests
- In order to invert the table, you have to lean back. For extra support, you can use the handlebars on both sides of the backrest.
- Breath deeply as you stretch your back.
- Be in a stretched position for a few seconds and relax.
- After that, pull yourself back to the upright position by reaching for the handles.
- Wait a bit before dismounting the table and be sure that you are not disoriented.
Benefits of Inversion Therapy
There are mixed up opinions about inversion therapy’s benefits. A number of clinical studies have been performed and some results are promising, such as
Back pain: According to some people, the inversion therapy relieves low back and compressed disk pain for a short period. The spine disks are rejuvenated as the inversion position decompresses the disk and increases the flow of lubricating fluids. In a study, it was found that 78% of patients treated with regular physical therapy have to have back surgery where 23% of patients who undertook the inversion therapy needed that surgery.
But some other studies suggest this could be a placebo and this therapy doesn’t work long-term.
Sciatica: Inversion therapy along with conventional physical therapy can be effective for treating sciatica pain from a protruding disk and also prevent the requirement for back surgery. This fact was found in a study from England in 2012.
Kidney stone: After an ultrasonic shockwave treatment, the combination of diuresis and inversion therapy helps to break the kidney stone. The diuresis is a procedure where the fluid is introduced inside you to make you urinate. It is intended to force the kidney stone out.
Joint pain: Due to heavy workout, major joints of the body experience stress. In such cases, the inversion therapy can reduce these stresses by stretching the joints and muscles as hanging upside down elongates them. Also, inversion therapy can rectify any misalignment due to someone sided activity like tennis.
The therapy stretches out lower joints, knees, ankles, and hips and these areas are flushed with lubricating fluids that keep those parts healthy.
Arthritis: The inversion therapy relieves the joint pain of arthritis patients when it is incorporated with standard therapy.
Improves blood circulation: When you hang in an upside-down position, gravity stretches out some body parts which are generally compressed all the time (e.g. spine) and thus decompress them. As the normal pressure is relieved, capillaries, arterioles, veins, and arteries in those areas allows more blood to circulate. This phenomenon relaxes the stiff muscles and improves the blood circulation around them.
Increased flexibility: If you have to sit on a desk all day, inversion therapy can improve your flexibility and posture. Micromovements in the spine during the therapy increase your strength.
Lymphatic drainage: The toxin can build up in your lymphatic system and it would stop to function properly. There are a number of physical symptoms associated with a poor lymphatic system. Exercises, yoga, inversion therapy, etc. helps to drain the lymphatic system and detoxify.
Maintain height: The inversion therapy helps people to maintain heights who have reduced cartilage between the joints of the body.
Insomnia: Experts suggest that inversion therapy will improve sleep. It will also relieve stress and heal depression
Brain function: In an inverted position, blood flow increases significantly in the brain. So, more oxygen and glucose which are the primary metabolic substrates for the brain are supplied. It will help the brain to concentrate and operate more efficiently. It will improve your memory, too.
Risks of inversion Therapy
Although inversion therapy can be beneficial in many conditions, some pre-existing medical conditions might prohibit the therapy for a person. The blood tends to rush towards the upper area of the body when you lie in an inverted position for a couple of minutes. It increases blood pressure and decreases heart rate. The pressure within the eyeball also spikes. Due to these reasons, this therapy is not recommended for patients of high blood pressure, heart diseases, or glaucoma.
In addition to this, inversion therapy can create complications for the following disorders:
- Retinal detachments
- Patient taking blood clotting medication
- Pregnant woman
- Herniated disk
- Fractures or spinal injuries
- Ear infections
Besides, if you encounter any sort of discomfort during the therapy you should consult a medical doctor. This therapy may contribute to stroke. You must be careful not to overdo it. Take time to get adjusted to the therapy and increase the intensity gradually.
What to consider before buying an inversion table
Since there is a considerable amount of risk involved, you should check for fitness and ask for a physician’s opinion. If you are qualified to use the inversion table, you have to consider a few other things-
If you are suffering from arthritis or joint pain in the ankle, knee, or hip area, you should consider the inversion chair rather than an inversion table. Because the table elongates the heap joints, knees, and ankles which may degrade the situations. The inversion chairs only stretch the spine area and avoid others. So, if you want the inversion table for your back but you have those conditions, you should consult experts.
Some high-end features like a comfortable bed, angle tethers, and high-quality ankle support, inversion pin locking system, etc. will elevate your experience significantly.
Safety features are pretty important, too. If not properly used, there are chances that you will get injured. So, check the features like ankle locks, adjustability, and handlebars before mounting the table.
The quality backrest materials will endure the regular weight over an extended period. To provide support and comfort to your back, high-density foam is preferred. Some tables don’t incorporate foam, but they can be equally comfortable (like Teeter).
The base of the table should be stable when someone is mounting on the invert position. It depends on the quality of construction material and design. Non-skid attachments also improve stability.
Sometimes, the most expensive inversion table fails to deliver the expected performance where moderately priced items can be highly satisfactory. A high tech table with lots of complicated functions may actually discourage you sometimes to use it frequently. So, you should focus on your requirements and the functionality of the device before comparing the price with others.
Frequently Ask Questions on Inversion Table & Therapy
Do inversion tables work?
There are numerous cases and studies that indicate the effectiveness of inversion therapy as well as the inversion tables. However, there are contradictory results for long term benefits of inversion therapy. But it will relieve the pain during the session or for an extended period of time afterward. You have to decide for yourself whether it’s working or not. You should try the inversion table first in a local health club, medical center, or a therapy center nearby and make your decision based on the result.
Are inversion tables good for you?
The answer depends on your medical conditions. As mentioned earlier, inversion therapy poses risks in case of pregnancy, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and some other conditions. Even if you don’t have any of those conditions, you should consult a physician first and have a medical check.
Are inversion tables safe?
If you don’t have any medical conditions or prior injuries which can be affected by inversion therapy, it is safe for you. As for the safety features of the table, you have to look for a sturdy base and rugged constructions, ankle locks, and others so that you can mount the table without any unwanted incidents.
What is the best angle for inverting?
According to the experts, a 60° angle of inverting will achieve full decompression compared to the pressure on the spine in a standing position. However, if you are not comfortable and feel dizzy, you should consider a lower angle. But the angle has to be less than 180°
How often should you do inversion?
Experts suggest two sessions per day for optimum results. In a study, it was found that, within the first 10 seconds of the therapy, the muscle tension level dropped by 35%. So, you can have multiple sessions in a single day to relax your muscles.
Can an inversion table cause a stroke?
Since the blood pressure increases during the inversion therapy and blood rush to the upper body due to gravitation, it is suspected that it may contribute to stroke along with other factors
Is inversion good for your brain?
In a general situation, the increased blood flow in your brain may be advantageous. In a study, it was claimed that the brain operates 14% more accurately due to elevated levels of oxygen and glucose as the blood flow increases. It will improve your memory and concentration level.
Do inversion tables help sciatica?
Researchers have found that the patients of sciatica are 70.3% less likely to require back surgery if the inversion therapy applied in conjunction with traditional physical therapy. But 78% of the patients, who have the only physiotherapy, need that surgery.
How long should I use an inversion table for sciatica?
In the beginning, you should try to be in an inverted position for 1 to 2 minutes as long as you are comfortable. When you get habituated, you can hold for 3 to 4 minutes. You should feel better after the session unless you are engaged in activities like grass cutting or something strenuous.
What if I get dizzy or headaches?
It is advised to consult a physician in such cases. If there are no serious concerns, then try an inverting position of lesser angle and for lesser time. Even a 15° invert can be beneficial.
Should I be doing anything while inverted?
Although they are not mandatory for inversion therapy, there are few things you can do while you are in an upside-down position for better experiences:
- Breath deeply. It will help to oxygenate your body. You will be more relaxed
- If the table has handlebars, you can twist in different planes
- If there is no handlebar, you can stretch your neck slowly and gently
- You can also do crunches and squats in inverted positions. If you intend to do so, start with a smaller angle of inversion to warm up. In an inverted position, hamstring and heap muscles are engaged rather than your quadriceps when you are doing squats.
Should I invert if I’m pregnant?
Doctors prohibit the usage of inversion therapy during pregnancy. Again, you may ask your doctor whether the slight angle inversion for a short period is permissible.
Finally, you shouldn’t trade the inversion table issue lightly as there are considerable amounts of risk involved especially if you have any medical complications. Funny thing is, except for the serious bodybuilders, healthy people won’t spend money on it normally. So, if you are looking for an inversion device for an ailment, you must have to consult with chiropractors or medical doctors for advice. Otherwise, things might get worse. But if you get the right device along with the right advice, it can be rather helpful for many conditions.
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