Table of Contents
- Tips for using an Inversion Table
- History of Inversion Tables
- Inversion therapy and spinal decompression
- Inversion Table benefits
- Top 5 Inversion Tables Available on the Market
- 1. Ironman Gravity 4000 Inversion Table
- 2. Teeter Hang Ups EP-560
- 3. Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Table
- 4. Body Max IT6000 Inversion Therapy Table
- 5. Ironman Gravity 1000 Inversion Table
- How to use an Inversion Table
- Inversion Table risks, therapy warnings and precautions
- Inversion Table Exercises
- How to find the table that meets your needs
Tips for using an Inversion Table
Observe a playground anywhere, and it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be that one kid on the monkey bars who is hanging upside down. That’s the general idea of what someone would look like on an inversion table if they were hanging by their feet as opposed to their inner knees. From an outsider’s view, both the inversion table and monkey bars may look like fun, but the purpose of an inversion table is not meant to just be recreational. It’s meant to help alleviate back and spine pain.
History of Inversion Tables
According to Teeter, archaeologists discovered drawings of yoga poses, including inverted poses as far back as 3000 B.C. The goal of that yoga pose, and many others, is to re-balance the body, improve circulation and relieve pressure on organs.
California chiropractor Dr. Robert Martin introduced the “Gravity Guidance System,” which also incorporated inversion therapy, in the 1960s. Dr. Martin spoke about his Gravity Guidance System on talk shows and was featured in “The Wall Street Journal” and “Time” magazine. Also, the 1980 film “American Gigolo” starring Richard Gere gave inversion boots commercial appeal.
Inversion therapy and spinal decompression
The goal of inversion therapy (also known as gravitational traction) is to take gravitational pressure from nerve roots and disks on the spine. When a person is standing, gravity compresses the discs, vertebral bodies and nerves. When participating in inversion therapy, the spine is temporarily lengthened. The idea for the therapy is to give bones, joints and discs more relief on the lower back.
Inversion Table benefits
One of the biggest perks of using an inversion table for someone with a bad back is giving them the flexibility to stretch and exercise without constant worry about feeling tension in the spine. Hanging upside from a couch or bed could also be decent alternatives, but without a safe way to lock feet, the possibility of further injuries could increase.
For people who shrink up at the idea of undergoing surgery or shots (example: cauterizing the nerve endings within the back disc wall), an investment in a $100 to $400 inversion table may be more economical. Check our inversion table reviews to find the best model for your needs. Although health insurance has improved, both physical therapy and certain types of surgery remain in shaky territory. The inversion table was created to do the same thing that a physical therapist or surgery would do — improve and permanently decrease lower back pain.
Top 5 Inversion Tables Available on the Market
Below are the 5 top rated models that we found during our inversion table reviews:
1. Ironman Gravity 4000 Inversion Table
Our selection as the best inversion table on the market currently is the Ironman Gravity 4000, and in our opinion also the best value for money. Ironman are known for their high quality construction which is reassuring considering that you’ll be hanging upside down from the device! Their 4000 model is a sturdy design with extra wide tubular heavy-duty steel framing that can support up to 300 pounds. Durable rubber non-skid floor stabilizers ensure secure grip to the flooring while you’re inverted. Its memory-foam nylon backrest with double stitching and ergonomically molded ankle cushions provide a comfortable experience every time that you invert. Rounding out the impressive feature set for the 4000 series is a maximum 180 degrees inversion, and easy fold away storage design and lightweight 75 pound frame.
Ironman’s 4000 model is a well designed piece of engineering effective for reducing back stress and increasing circulation. The ankle locking ratchet system ensures you are secure whilst using the device. Ensuring comfortable operation is the 2 ½ inch thick memory-foam vinyl covered backrest, surrounding both the head and backrest, while the removable lumbar pillow ensures lower back support while in use.
With 10 separate locking positions, you will always have a position that feels just right for sessions. With the table adjustable to accommodate a person between 4 foot 9 inches up to 6 foot 6 inches in height, the Ironman 4000 is a great fit for anyone. Extra-long safety handles allow users to easily change position, or return to an upright position. I found another nice feature was the inversion table includes safety vinyl side covers to protect your fingers during assembly.
2. Teeter Hang Ups EP-560
Another trusted manufacturer in the inversion industry is Teeter, who have making products to help reduce back pain and release stress since the 1980’s. The special feature of this model is bonus Acupressure Nodes & Lumbar Bridge which are designed to assist your back and spine and also encourage better circulation. One of the few downsides to the Teeter Hang-ups is some buyers have found assembly difficult because of the instructions. I encourage buyers to view the Teeter produced YouTube video which makes assembling the inversion table easy. Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 can be used for people weighing up to 250 pounds
3. Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Table
Another highly rated Ironman inversion table is the IFT 4000 model, which is basically the same design as the earlier mentioned 4000, except it includes infrared therapy sensors on the lumbar support. The patented Ironman innovative Far Infrared Therapy (F.I.R.) system benefits the circulation in your body along with the benefits of a normal inversion table.
4. Body Max IT6000 Inversion Therapy Table
Another great value for money inversion table is the Body Max IT6000. Priced at a very reasonable sub $150 price range, the IT6000 is suitable for almost any owner with its deluxe dual-pin adjustment system which allows users across a height range of 4′ 8″ to 6′ 3″. Lower spring loaded pull pins secure your ankles during use and can support a body weight up to 250 pounds.
For owners living in compact accommodation storing the Body Max inversion table in a cupboard or under the staircase is easy thanks to the folding design and U shaped carry handles.
5. Ironman Gravity 1000 Inversion Table
If you haven’t previously used an Inversion table and would like to buy a basic model to see if they improve your spinal pain, the Ironman Gravity 1000 is a perfect choice. Including all the usual benefits that Ironman products provide, the 1000 series is available for under $150.
Many owners of Ironman products report they’re more comfortable around the ankles and feet than Teeter leg clamps.
Including the usual fold away frame, 300 pound maximum weight support and suitable for persons up to 6 foot 6 inches in height.
How to use an Inversion Table
With feet securely placed in the foot straps, the user can control whether the body is tilted upside down anywhere from 45 degrees to perpendicular to the floor. For newbies, it may be extremely uncomfortable to be totally upside down for lengthier amounts of time. Start at one or two minutes and work up to the maximum amount of recommended time if need be.
Inversion Table risks, therapy warnings and precautions
Anyone who has ever done a headstand or “stood” on their heads may feel the rising sensation of blood rushing to their heads. This is one of the most common complaints against using an inversion table. A 1983 scientific study completed by Drs. Klatz and Goldman has stated that the machinery is dangerous and sometimes fatal for those with high blood pressure, heart disease or eye pressure issues from glaucoma.
However, two years later, Dr. Goldman had a change of heart. According to Teeter, he confirmed that his earlier health warnings about inversion tables were “grossly inflated” and that “there has not been one single stroke case reported, nor any serious injuries” in 15 years of the devices being available to outside users. However, he wasn’t the only person to try to defend inversion tables. Universities in Iowa, Marquette and Portland also did so.
As with any negative press, too much of the original damage had already been done and potential consumers became skeptical. On top of that, some inversion tables were not nearly the same quality as others, which made it more difficult to defend ones that could efficiently and successfully improve back issues.
Inversion Table Exercises
A simple search of video tutorials will help people with ideas for how to use an inversion table for a plethora of exercises. For ideas about how to use inversion tables and inversion bars for exercise, try a couple of these videos for inspiration:
Reverse squat & Abdominal crunch
Bicep strengthening & Mini sit-ups
How to find the table that meets your needs
As mentioned earlier, a safe way to lock legs is one of the key factors in using an inversion table correctly and with ease. Look for a certified inversion table that is sturdy enough to hold the body and the ankles securely without major discomfort. While lightweight inversion tables may be easier to move around, that also means they may be more likely to not be able to distribute weight evenly. Pay attention to the weight requirement for each inversion table to make sure the person using the table is in that range, too.
Unless the person using the inversion table is a regular yogi or break dancer, hanging upside down is more than likely going to be uncomfortable. This is why it’s imperative to work oneself up from beginner to expert instead of going full throttle. If there is continuous hip or ankle injuries when using the inversion table, something is wrong. The body should be able to adjust. Holding onto handles or bars may eliminate some of the pressure from the lower half of the body, too.
There is no right or wrong answer on whether each inversion table should have a nylon or mesh board or extra padding anymore than any other kind of exercise equipment does. If at all possible, try to test the equipment out before purchasing it or getting familiar with the warranty policy if testing it out at home proves to be strenuous.
Gravity boots may not be the most attractive thing to wear while using the inversion table, but they are also a useful way to take some strain away from the ankles, especially in the beginning stages of using the equipment.
For shorter or taller people, make sure the table fits the correct body type. The head should never hang over an inversion table when upside down. With an inversion machine where the head is free to roam, just make sure that the machine is set up so that the body can easily hang approximately one foot above the floor. (Note: Even for an incline machine, there should always be a floor mat for hands to easily grip.)