Guide for Using Inversion Tables

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Yoga not only burns calories and tones muscles, it also uses inversion to relieve stress and stretch the spine for stimulating better blood circulation. Inversion tables will accomplish similar advantages so that you do not have to stand on your head and balance your body weight with your hands. With an inversion table you simply strap yourself onto the table, angle it to the degrees you want, and stretch. You can also do exercises without any pressure being exerted on your spinal column. For naturally relaxing, hanging upside down will do this for you.

1. How to Use an Inversion Table Safely

Inversion equipment manufacturers for tables or chairs have different models with some differences to meet the needs of the customers. Some equipment is very basic without the bells and whistles while others offer more features that cost more. Some have abs trainers and infrared heat. The functionality for all of them is about the same.

Before you start using your inversion table or chair, be sure it is sitting flat on a smooth surface with front and back clearance for a full inversion if you choose it.

Adjustable pivot arms are on most tables. Beginners should use the lowest holes moving the backrest as far as can be done from the axis of rotation. This is for the aggressiveness of inversion, while an advanced user uses the higher sets of holes.

There is a height-adjusting bar with a scale for making the balancing easier. You might select the correct height, but that doesn’t mean the table is balanced correctly. Body weight distribution is different for everyone and that could be 3-inches below or above your true height.

Using a manual table rather than one with a motor means you have to set the max incline angle you want to be inverted to. Do this by adjusting the tether strap length or the bar provided. Some models have both functions.

Check to see that the footrest is adjustable then fasten in your ankles. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for where to put your foot and instep to the front that holds the feet in place. Some models have a knob to secure the footrest.

Some models have seat belts that must be fastened before you start your therapy.

Action 1

First read all of the instructions that came with your table. Each inversion table manufacturer uses different methods for the mechanical procedures. Set the table to fit your height. Rest your head on the table bed without it hanging over the edge.

Action 2

A new user will want to adjust the slant at about 20 to 30 degrees and not the full 180-degrees slowly moving up to more degrees after becoming accustomed to their body being upside down. Most tables have safety straps to attach around your waist and ankles.

By starting slowly you will prevent dizziness. Start gradually until you feel comfortable and become accustomed to the angle you select. Do not force a greater angle until you feel up to it. You should then be able to set it to 90-degrees moving forward.

Action 3

While standing, put your feet on the footrest with your back firmly against the table. Attach the straps according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Lean yourself backwards to turn upside down. Go back slowly and hold onto the handles.

Action 4

Inhale through your nose exhaling from your mouth deeply. Stay upside down only for as long as you feel at ease. This might be for only 2 to 3 minutes for beginners increasing up to 10 to 20 minutes and more as you become familiar with your body’s feelings and your mental stress level of any anxiety you might be having as a newbie.

Action 5

While you are upside down, stretch your back. Get your abs (rectus abdominis muscle, also known as abdominals or abs) involved in the stretching by sliding your shoulder blades down while extending your hands and arms behind your head to the floor. Your arms need to be straight, not bent, and your spine will be extended stretching it. Stay at this position for 20 to 60 seconds until you are comfortable. Do not stay in this position if you experience pain. Go at it gradually.

Action 6

To build up and make your abs stronger, do some crunches while you are upside down. Put your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the side. Those experienced in abs building are familiar with this routine. For beginners, pull in your ab muscles sliding your shoulder blades down your back while lifting your head, shoulders, and upper back up and off the tabletop. You will feel your muscles contracting. Hold the lift position for a count of 1 returning to your starting place. You can repeat to be 3 sets of 12 or more crunches depending on how you feel.

Action 7

Use the handles on the table to pull yourself up returning to an upright position. Do not move fast. Rotate slowly so that you will not feel dizzy. If you do feel dizzy, stop. When you feel stable, unfasten your ankle and/or feet straps, then unlock any footrest you might have on your table. Now you can walk away from your table.

2. Length of Time to use Your Inversion Table

Everyone is different and all bodies are not the same.

Beginners—see Action 2 above and begin for only 3 to 5 minutes each time. You could do several 5-minute runs during the day if you are a beginner. Your body will need to adjust getting used to the upside down position. After you feel comfortable with this time, increase your periods of time from 5 to 10 minutes up to 10 to 15 minutes in increment levels that feel best for you.

Intermediates—after you have used your inversion table for a few weeks, you will feel confident in your own skin knowing what you are doing. You want to feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and recharged not aching, tired, drained of energy, and exhausted. Take breaks in your session and have a glass of water. Continue as you feel fit to do so. Never push yourself; pace yourself and listen to your body.

3. Inversion Tables are Safe

Inversion tables are safe to use daily for decompressing your spine with a gentle traction. When you set up your daily routine you will strengthen weak muscles, realign your spine and doing it consistently will keep you in tip-top shape in your neck, shoulders, upper, mid- and lower back. Your legs and all of you will benefit greatly. Again, do not push yourself and start out slowly.

4. Pain and Discomfort

When you start using your inversion table you will feel some discomfort if you do it for too long a time initially. You are not familiar with hanging upside down and it’s all new for your body. When you start with 3 to 5 minutes at a time, you will adjust and be able to increase your time in subsequent days.

5. Inversion Table Exercises and Scheduling

Have in mind the exercises you want to accomplish whether you already own or are looking to buy an inversion table. Inversion tables do more than just turn you on your head; they are also great for doing exercises. Only specific areas of your body can be built up and strengthened, for instance increasing core strength in your abdomen and your legs. Take time to build up your muscles to improve your health and overall fitness.

6. Limited Inversion Stretching Exercises

While you are inverting be gentle with stretching your entire body outward. For your torso—trunk, chest, and upper body, arch this part alternately left and right similar to the side-to-side motion of a boat for a good stretch. This will be helpful to your mid- and lower spine and loosen the neighboring muscles.

Cross your arm over the length of your body holding the other sides of the table then rotate up on one shoulder to do a stretch. Do this as much as you want.

Invert, and rotate your head to stretch your neck. You can also lift up your head but do not sit upright. Only your head goes up at the base of your neck.

7. Maximum Inversion Stretching Exercises

Before you jump into this full stretching, be sure you can do the limited exercises and are comfortable with it. This is more stressful, so you want to be physically and psychologically ready. You might have sore muscles, so do the beginning ones first for a week or more. You do not want to damage your muscles, so once again, start slowly. With stronger muscles, the full stretch will be less stressful and you will be comfortable with it.

8. Sit Ups

Put your hands behind your head and sit up to your knees. If this is difficult being fully inverted, put your hands behind your knees for a little help. This is difficult yet you will have accomplished 10 normal sit-ups with one of these inverted sit ups. Do not keep doing this if your muscles and body are tired. Your body will tell you, so please listen to it.

9. Crunches

Crunches while being on your head will give you an overwhelming feeling of strength when you are finished. Put your hands behind your head or on your chest and slowly lift your torso midway to your knees.

10. Squats

Put your hands on the inversion table’s legs then bend your knees. Slowly start lifting your entire body up. This is similar to a typical standing squat. With this exercise, your legs are also included in the exercise regimen.

11. Stretching

When you do stretches on an inversion table you will release built up tension that eliminates stress from all of you, especially the spinal column.

12. Exercise Schedule

The 8-week exercise schedule will give you core strength and weight loss. This works using your inversion table.

Because the exercises are a bit difficult, you will experience more rapid gains and you will like that. Hanging upside down indeed gives great results.

  • Week 1 is to become aware of your body adapting and getting used to the inversion process becoming comfortable with the vigorous exercising. Include inverted crunches in 2 to 3 reps checking out your body for tiredness and soreness. Do not push yourself. Less is more.
  • Week 2-3 is when you will include stretching exercises into your schedule. Start with your inversion table therapy by doing stretches and end with crunches. Go ahead—push to your limit but be aware of any soreness or pain and stop. The stretches loosen you up and you will be ready for the next weeks ahead of you.
  • Week 4, 5, 6 are when you ought to feel competent and skilled at squats and sit-ups. Week 4 is for stretches, sit-ups, and crunches. Week 5 do crunches and squats. Week 6 is all of these being sit-ups, crunches, and squats in the order you prefer with stretching included. Be sure to rest and drink plenty of water to remove toxins from your body.
  • Week 7-8 is the time when you will know how much you need to do for a beneficial and healthful burning outcome. At this point you are able to do inverted crunches, squats, and sit-ups incorporating stretching to relax you to get you ready for exercises.

13. Brain Benefits from Inversion Therapy

Maybe reversing your position will improve mental clearness where you think and feel more lucid. Everyone wants to think logically and analytically. Inversion tables, inversion chairs, and inversion gravity boots are now trendy and everyone is doing it!

It has been suggested that hanging upside down whether a hand stand or hanging on the school yard’s monkey bars—even laying at an inverted angle—is fast taking hold. Inversion just might help with:

  • Aging
  • Anxiety
  • Awareness
  • Concentration
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Memory
  • Mood Swings
  • Observation
  • Tension
  • Stress

14. Turn Your Brain Upside Down for Benefits

Physicians, chiropractors, and therapists state that inverting each day has great effects for your body, brain, and overall well-being. With a small amount of time invested in doing inversion, you will gain a wealth of benefits. When your body is inverted or tilted downward, your brain will function 14% more correctly and that’s impressive! Your brain gets better when you hang it upside down.

This is accomplished by increasing blood flow with a more abundance of oxygen and glucose—the two most important chemicals for the brain: oxygen and sugar—not the candy type of sugar! Your brain’s metabolism is increased for better brain health and body health.

With increased blood flow sending essential nutrients to your brain, you might just protect against the horrific effects of dementia. Your mind will be more agile, you will find those lost words you seem to be unable to find, locate where you put your keys, and much more.

When circulation improves, depression can be a thing of the past. Good blood flow enhances spinal fluid flow to oxygenate more brain cells. You will function more adroitly in all your life processes.

Deprived blood flow and blood pressure, and insufficient arterial blood flow decreases the amount of oxygen and glucose getting to the brain. By doing inversion therapy on a regular basis, you can protect against age-related brain problems that again includes your entire body. Keep your arteries free from hardening—gunked up with plaque—and your brain functionality will stay young forever along with your body.

15. Inversion Therapy Fundamentals

The possibilities for your inversion therapy can be any or all of the following choices:

  • Yoga postures of head down positions and standing on your head with your hands supporting you
  • Inversion tables allow you to stand up then revolve backwards to an inverted attitude
  • Gravity inversion boots that fit around your ankles and attach to a horizontal bar so you are upside down
  • Yoga sling or Yoga inversion sling gives you the ability to be suspended from above similar to a hammock where the fabric spreads out where you can sit or bunch it up similar to a rope and you can swing on it or hang upside down

Inversion tables are probably the best method for beginners. Gravity boots and slings can be a bit more challenging since these types are more aggressive. Inversion tables offer support at a much higher level and comfort. All methods will give you the same benefits thus, it’s up to you to choose what’s best for your needs and ultimate outcome.

16. Inversion Therapy for Back Pain, Blood Pressure, Dizziness

Inversion therapy is not for everyone. It does not offer lasting back pain relief. Hanging upside down with your head down can be a risk for those with glaucoma, heart disease, and high blood pressure. When you are inverted for only a few minutes, your heartbeat slows while your blood pressure increases. The pressure in your eyeballs will jump intensely and that can be dangerous. High blood pressure can cause strokes. Check with you healthcare provider if you have any of these conditions before trying inversion therapy.

Theoretically, inversion therapy takes the pressure of gravity off the nerve roots and disks in your spine while increasing the space between vertebrae. This spinal traction has been used to have back pain relief. Spinal disk compression can be helped but not fully cured with inversion. Being upside down does not provide long-term relief.

17. No Strokes with Inversion Therapy

A 1983 study showed that inversion does increase blood pressure or eye pressure. However, the media warned that a stroke could happen from hanging upside down. A few years later, research indicated that there is no more of a risk for a stroke inverting than exercising standing up. The body is smart and has internal systems to avoid any harm when upside down. When you are inverted and oscillate—move back and forth—blood pressure has been shown to drop a few points. This study was done on people in good health. Be sure you discuss using an inversion table with your doctor if you have conditions preventing you from hanging upside down. In the years since the study, there has been no stroke cases reported or any serious injury. Inversion is healthy.

18. Inversion Table How-to for Back Pain

Back pain can be eased when you have herniated disks or disks that are degenerating, spinal stenosis and other conditions of the spine including low back pain. The pressure from gravity gives you pain from the pressure on the roots of your nerves. This will give you shooting pain in your back, buttocks, legs, and sometimes in your feet. By doing inversion therapy, your body is turned upside down to reduce the pressure and increase the space between the vertebrae. This will take pressure off the nerves. Start off at a mild angle and work up to a more robust therapy angle.

Be sure someone is with you the first time you use the table. At each session be sure that the straps, joints, and pivot points are connected right per the instruction manual.

For extra firm support, be sure to wear athletic shoes locking your feet into place on the inversion table. Never go bare foot with an inversion table.

19. Inversion Procedure for Back Pain

Inversion therapy is good for mild pain relief but not for chronic pain. Your doctor will advise you of a treatment program for your condition with other measures such as physical therapy and an exercise plan.

The first week do not select your angle over 45-degrees. Secure the straps and use mild and gentle motions to eliminate any additional pain. Safely get into the table and push back on the handles in a horizontal position and remain at that angle a few minutes for blood flow changes. Push back to 45-degrees and hold that for a minute or two. Relax and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Raising your arms above your head will give you more traction in your spine. Do these 5 or more minutes at 25-degrees for a week 2 times each day to become accustomed. You can increase your angle by 10- to 20-degrees each week. Always feel comfortable before increasing your angle. Increase the angle to 60- to 90-degrees for 1 to 5 minutes. Do this 3 or more times each day when you have back pain. Some people do not do the full 90-degrees and not more than 60-degrees. Many people only use 30-degrees for results. It’s up to you and how you feel.

Keep track of your daily times on the inversion table and the angles you use, repetitions, and all that you do for each session. This will let you know your progress. Keep a journal.

20. Pressure Feeling in Head and Turning Red

This is natural when being upside down and will not hurt you. The brain is getting more blood, including your face, hair, and eyes. This is actually good for you and the brain will be 7% faster and perform 14% better. After you become used to inverting the pressure feeling will decrease. When you first begin using an inversion table, stop and rest. The stopping of being inverted and standing up is known as intermittent traction and will let you become more adapted to inversion. You don’t need to simply stand; you can move back and forth swaying smoothly without jerking.

21. Inversion Table Floor Space

Each manufacturer gives floor space configurations. Please read about that here in the reviews.


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