How long should I invert?
Approximately 3-5 minutes of inversion is necessary to effectively decompress the weight bearing joints; however, this depends on the ability of your muscles to relax and release. While there is no pre-determined time limit for using your inversion table, it's important to listen and respond to your body and remember that inversion is about relaxation and enjoyment.
Beginners should ease into their inversion therapy routine, starting with only 1-2 minutes per stretch and advancing only as they feel comfortable. Remember that you are stretching and realigning your body, so just like other exercise programs or methods of relieving back pain, you may feel soreness in the beginning. If you do, simply reduce your angle or duration of inversion and move at a more gradual training pace.
How often should I invert?
To achieve maximum results, we recommend routinely inverting with the Teeter several times a day. The Teeter® is a great morning wake-up or as a way to wind-down in the evening for a good night's sleep. It can also be used in conjunction with a fitness workout as a way to recover from high impact, compressive, or rotational activities - or simply as a go-to tool for occasional relief of back pain and tension.
To what degree should I invert?
Beginners should start at a mild angle (approximately 20-30 degrees beyond horizontal) for the first few weeks until you become comfortable with the operation of the equipment. You should be able to completely relax your body at this angle before you invert to greater angles.
20 - 30 degrees: At this angle, muscles and joints begin to experience mild stretching with improved circulation and lymph flow.
60 degrees (parallel with the rear legs of the table): According to the Nachemson medical study, which surgically implanted pressure sensors in the third lumbar disc and compared pressure at different body positions, a pull of 60% of the patient's body weight is necessary to decompress the lumbar. This roughly equates to 60 degrees on a Teeter. To experience the full benefits of inversion, take your time and work up to the 60 degree angle.
90 degrees (full inversion): Although advancing to 90 degrees is not required to get the decompression benefits, our survey shows that nearly half of all users do fully invert, enjoying the added freedom for stretches and exercises offered at this angle.
Intermittent traction / Oscillation: Intermittent traction (alternating 20-30 seconds inversion with returning upright) or oscillation (rhythmic rocking back and forth) are actually the "preferred" methods of inversion for stimulating circulation and waste removal in and around injured discs.
Isn't all the blood going to go to my head? Are there any risks?
The body accommodates for the changing blood pressure by dilating the vessels and capillaries and increasing the cerebral spinal fluid to support the vessels. Will you feel increased pressure and will your face turn red? Probably. The redness is a result of the increased blood flow and dilation of the capillaries, which actually brings more oxygen to the brain, eyes, skin and hair. That feeling of pressure (caused by a reversal of the hydrostatic column) actually occurs outside of the skull in the face and eyes. Inside the skull, there are compensating pressures, as discussed above.
The increased circulation and therefore nutrients to the brain can actually be good for you! One preliminary study showed that the brain runs 7% faster and 14% more accurate while inverted! Any discomfort caused by the superficial pressure changes usually lessens over time as you become accustomed to inverting. If you are a beginner and are uncomfortable with this feeling, it is OK to come up and rest a while. This is referred to as "intermittent" traction (alternating inversion with being upright) and is a good way to help get used to the inverted world. You can also try "oscillation" which is a rhythmic rocking back and forth.
How do I focus on the lower back/upper back/neck region?
Inversion is a natural form of gravity-assisted traction that results in progressive decompression. This means that each joint is decompressed by the same weight that compresses it while upright. Incorporate inverted stretches to lengthen muscles and encourage decompression and alignment. If your Teeter inversion equipment came with an Instructional DVD (all of our manual inversion tables do), look for the section on stretching and exercises to help get the most out of your inversion experience!
What exercises do you recommend while inverted?
Most of Teeter's manual inversion tables come with an instructional DVD that includes some basic inverted stretching and inverted exercise tips. In addition, select Teeter products come with the DVD bonus Advanced Secrets to a Healthy Back, which includes a class featuring the inversion table and a series of partial and fully inverted stretches and exercises. Movement while inverted helps to maximize the benefits of inversion for your joints and ligaments by encouraging re-hydration and increased flexibility. Joints that are slightly out of alignment from overuse and misuse are helped to naturally realign with gentle stretching during decompression, resulting in better body symmetry and posture.
Can I get stuck upside down if I invert?
This is a common fear for those who are new to the exercise of inversion. It's important to remember three things:
1. It is possible to realize most of the benefits of inversion without going completely upside down. All Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables come with tether straps that let you preset your angle of inversion. It is very simple to come out of inversion while using the tether strap - simple arm movements allow you to rotate upright. If that's not enough for you to rotate up completely, simply bend your knees to help redistribute your weight to the lower half of the table. (Don't lift your head or try to sit up!)
2. It is important to identify your individual user settings before inverting. Read the owner's manual and watch the instructional DVD that accompany the table. If you do use the incorrect settings, you may rotate more aggressively than you would like and you risk unintentionally rotating into or locking out in full inversion. If you utilize the appropriate settings for your body type, you will have full control over the rotation of the inversion table. Remember to always have a spotter for your first few times, until you are sure you have found your correct settings.
If you choose to rotate to full inversion, the table will "lock out" in place, so you can perform stretches and other inverted exercises. The manual and DVD show you how to easily come out of the "locked" position and return upright by placing one hand on the table bed and one hand on the frame, and bringing your arms together to disengage the bed.
3. Finally, if you are still nervous about easily returning upright, Teeter Hang Ups offers accessories for your table to help you return upright more easily. Large Over-EZ handles help you return upright by serving as a guide to help gently pull yourself upright. Additionally, the traction handles accessory provide a simple "push-button" control to disengage from the full, locked position.
Remember, when you practice inversion correctly, you will always be in control. Always refer to the DVD and instructions to find your correct settings and always have a spotter nearby until you gain confidence.
I'm feeling some aching in my back when I return upright from inverting. Is this normal?
There could be several causes for this.
You did too much too soon: If you are new to inversion, your body is not used to being inverted (chances are you haven't hung upside down since 2nd grade!) By inverting too much too soon, you are probably going to be a little sore. You can liken inversion to beginning any new exercise program. If you over-do it on the first day, you will probably pay for it later!
You returned upright too fast: When inverted, your vertebrae have a chance to separate and the discs can decompress. This action reduces pressure on the nerves that run through your spinal column. When you ascend (return upright) on the inversion table, your spine "re-compresses"-- the vertebrae return to their normal position and the pressure on the discs increases again. If you come up from inversion too fast, you might place sudden pressure on the nerves that run through the spine, which can cause some pain. Instead, you should invert to a mild angle (30-40 degrees) for a just few minutes. Come back up so your head is only slightly above your feet, just past the horizontal position (lying flat). Remain here for several minutes to allow your spine to slowly re-compress. Then slowly come up the rest of the way.
Always keep in mind that if you experience extreme pain, or if you always experience pain while inverting, you should discontinue inversion until you have had a chance to talk with your doctor.
Are there any medical contraindications for inversion?
Inversion therapy can provide innumerable benefits to your health. However, inversion may not be for everyone. If you have any of the following health conditions, please do not invert without your licensed physician's approval (this is not an exhaustive list - it is intended only for your reference.)
|Middle ear infection
Recent stroke or transient ischemic attack
High blood pressure
Bone weakness (osteoporosis)
Recent or unhealed fractures
|Heart or circulatory disorders
Surgically implanted orthopedic supports
Use of anticoagulants (including high doses of aspirin)
Acutely swollen joints