1. How long should I stay on the inversion table for each time?
This is a very common and very important question. The key to inversion therapy is to start slowly. You can start with just one or two minutes on a Teeter inversion table at a slight angle, and increase up to 3-5 minutes as you feel comfortable. Inversion frequency is more important than duration, so invert often, not for long periods of time.
2. To what angle should I invert the table?
A Teeter inversion table can be used at any angle, however, for the first few weeks, only invert the table slightly (approximately 20-30 degrees). At 20-30 degrees, you will already start to experience stretching of the muscles and joints, improved circulation, oxygen flow to the head, and realignment of internal organs.
After you feel fully relaxed at this angle, you can start increasing the angle of the inversion table. 60 degrees takes you parallel to the rear legs of the table and is considered the most beneficial angle of inversion.
According to studies, a pull of about 60 percent of your body weight is needed to decompress your lumbar. This is achieved at approximately 60 degrees on the inversion table, if your body is relaxed at this angle. You must feel comfortable at this angle in order for it to be beneficial, since tensing your muscles will prevent you from feeling inversion benefits. Most people choose to stay at this angle and never invert to any higher angle than 60 degrees.
Some people like to invert to 90 degrees. It is not necessary to do so, but you can experience some benefits at this angle. Many athletes like to invert to this angle to decompress their muscles and enjoy the ability to do fully inverted stretches and exercises.
3. How long will it take for me to feel the benefits of my inversion table?
Everyone is different, so there is no set amount of time in which we can guarantee results. That being said, some people start to feel benefits immediately, and others may need 2-3 weeks before benefits start showing. You will feel the most benefits from inversion after you have learned to relax and let your body release its tension.
Some of the many potential benefits of inversion therapy include:
• Reduced back pain
• Reduced stress
• Increased flexibility
• Improved core strength
• Reduced pressure in joints
• Improved blood circulation
• Improved lymph circulation
• Increased energy
• Alleviation of varicose veins
• Decompression of spine
• Relaxation of tense muscles
• Rehydration of discs in the spine
• Reduced frequency of headaches and migraines
One of the great things about the Teeter inversion tables is that they are so easy to use. Simply rest on the inversion table at an angle of 20 degrees or higher, and let your body decompress and relax. Allow your body to relax on the inversion table for a couple of minutes several times per day and your body will start to feel some of the benefits listed above. You can choose to incorporate stretches or exercises into your inversion therapy, but if you prefer a less active method, you can experience many benefits simply from spending time on the inversion table.
4. Can inversion cause health issues like strokes or popped blood vessels?
When used properly, inversion therapy is very safe.
One reason people ask this question is because a study in 1983 by Drs Klatz and Goldman led to some concerns about inversion therapy. In their study they warned that elderly people or people with a history of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke should use caution if planning to participate in inversion therapy, especially with full inversion. The media took these findings as proof that inversion therapy could increase blood pressure, and was dangerous, however this was not the case. Two years after publishing this study, Dr. Goldman published a second study showing that the risks mentioned in the first study were exaggerated, and that there had been no reports of strokes or serious injuries as a result of inversion therapy. He also stated that the new research shows that there is no more risk of a stroke when doing exercises when fully inverted than if you are exercising standing up!
Inversion therapy is safe when done properly, however, if you have any major health issues, be sure to consult with your physician to ensure that inversion therapy is right for you.
5. Is it ok to feel pressure in my head or turn red while I use the inversion table?
It is fine to feel some pressure in your head while inverted, or to turn a bit red. This means that you are having increased blood flow to you head. Increased blood flow to the brain can actually help your brain function more efficiently.
If you are a beginner and feel uncomfortable pressure in your head, simple return to an upright position and rest for a while.
Alternating between inversion and being upright can actually be a very effective form of inversion therapy, and is called intermittent traction. Intermittent traction causes less pressure in your head than static inversion, and can lead to many health benefits. If you are uncomfortable with staying inverted, intermittent traction could be an excellent option for you.
You can also try oscillation, which is a slow, rhythmic rotation up and down. This can also greatly stimulate blood flow and fluid movement in your body. This will also help alleviate any pressure you may feel in your head, and is a great inversion method.
Some people may feel pressure in their head as a result of staying inverted at an extreme angle for an extended period of time. Many people think that you need to stay inverted for long periods of time to experience the benefits of inversion therapy, but that is not the case.
Intermittent traction and oscillation intermittent traction (alternating 20-30 seconds of inversion with returning to an upright position) are actually the forms of inversion therapy that are most often recommended by doctors.
6. How do I focus on certain areas of my body like the lower back, upper back, or neck?
The great thing about inversion therapy is that it is a natural form of traction that is assisted by gravity, and this helps decompress your spine. Your neck is build to hold up your head, and that same amount of weight that it holds up when you are upright is perfect for applying traction to decompress and mobilize your spine when you are inverted. Without doing any additional stretches or exercises, inversion will start to help your lower back, upper back, and neck. But if you would like to increase the intensity of your session, some gentle stretches and exercises can be done during inversion therapy to help specific areas of your body.
Gentle stretches can help move the muscles and tissues in your lower back. You can rotate gently from side to side or slowly rock your pelvis backward and forward while partially inverted.
If you have become comfortable with full inversion, sit-ups and crunches can be beneficial to your lower back, since developing abdominal muscles helps you to have better posture and back health.
You can also try slightly extending your back by placing your hands behind your head on the bed frame and gently arching your body away from the table.
Upper back pain is very commonly caused by stress and muscle tension. The best way to relieve this pain is to let your body completely relax during inversion therapy.
Deep breathing exercises can be greatly help with relaxation on the inversion table.
Receiving a back and shoulder massage while inverted is an amazing way to relax and loosen your muscles.
Movement can also help with upper back pain. You can round your shoulders forward and push them back. Another stretch for your upper involves stretching one arm at a time across your torso.
A gentle neck stretch can be done by slowly moving your head from one side to the other while inverted.
Inverted massages can be very beneficial to your neck. Be sure to only avoid applying pressure to the front of the neck, and focus only on the back and sides of your neck, the base of your head, and your shoulders.
You can also try resting your arm behind your head, at the base of your skull to have some gentle traction. Be sure not to pull, but to simply use the weight of your arms.
7. Are there any exercises you can recommend for while I am using the inversion table?
There are many exercises and stretches that can be done on the inversion table. Just be sure to take things easy at first and stop whenever you are tired or feel any discomfort. Exercises may sometimes feel easy because of the inversion, but the stretch is often much stronger than you realize. Be sure to be gradual with your exercise regime, and see how you feel the day after doing some exercises.
Partial inversion exercises:
Cross one arm across your body to do a gentle stretch. Grip the opposite side of the table frame, and then rotate gently upwards on one shoulder.
You can also loosen muscles and help stretch your spine by arching your torso from side to side.
To relieve stress in your neck you can rotate your head gently from side to side, lift your head gently without sitting up, or push back against the table with your head while lifting your shoulders off the table.
Full inversion exercises:
Only attempt exercises in the fully inverted position once you are completely comfortable relaxing in this position. Do not feel the need to overexert yourself. Just a few repetitions of one of these exercises will be sufficient for an inversion session. Start slow and see how you feel after each session before increasing your workout intensity.
Did you know that you can exercise your legs while on the inversion table? You can do an inverted squat by bending your knees and lifting your body toward the ceiling. You might want to place your hands on the rear legs of the inversion frame to steady yourself. In this type of squat, you are using your legs to lift your body weight up while going into the squatting position rather than resisting your body weight when straightening up from a regular squat. Be sure to use your glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself up into the squat.
You can improve your core strength by doing sit-ups on a Teeter inversion table. Fully inverted sit-ups are the safest kind of sit-ups to do, since your spine is aligned with gravity, so a full sit-up doesn’t place harmful pressure on your back.
To perform an inverted sit-up, hold your hands on your chest or place them behind your head. Sit up completely, rising all the way to your knees. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly lower your body.
You might need to place your hands behind your knees to help you to get all the way up. Full inverted sit-ups are much more difficult than regular sit-ups, but place much less strain on your back. If you are unable to do a full sit-up, try a half sit-up.
Like sit-ups, crunches can improve your core strength. Inverted crunches feel much more difficult than traditional crunches. You can change the incline position of the table to adapt the difficulty level of the crunches. Place your hands on the back of your head and try to lift your body upwards. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower your body down.
Reach your hands over each shoulder and hold the bed frame. Use your back muscles to arch your back and push your body away from the bed. You should not use the rear legs of the A-frame to do back extensions, since this might put your body weight outside of the safe support area of the frame.
Reach one arm across to the opposite side of the table and use the frame or support structure to pull and rotate your body to one side. Repeat on the opposite side of your body, using your other arm.
You can get additional traction while on the inversion table by reaching forward and holding the crossbar of the A-frame. Pull gently to feel the added stretch in your lower back.
8. I have a bulged disc in my back. Can inversion therapy help me with this?
To answer this question, it helps to have a basic understanding of the spine. A disc is the soft tissue between the vertebrae of the spine. A disc’s centre is soft and jelly-like, and is contained within a ring of cartilage. When the cartilage is weakened or stressed, the nucleus of the disc can extend past the point it should be, and can even rupture. You cannot feel the actual disc, but this bulging can result in pressure on the nerves in the spine, which can cause pain, numbness, or weakness. This is what is referred to as a bulged disc, herniated disc, slipped disc, or prolapsed disc.
Using a Teeter inversion table helps to elongate the spine, increasing the separation between each vertebra and releasing pressure on the nerves in the spine. This can help the bulged disc return to its proper location. It can also help rehydrate the disc, which helps the healing process.
Intermittent traction is recommended to help your body recover from a bulged disc. You can use the inversion table several times a day, but only use it for short periods of time to get the best results, and be sure to only use it at an angle you are comfortable with. Be gentle and don’t overexert yourself and you should see results over time.
9. Can I get relief from headaches or migraines from using this inversion table?
Using inversion therapy has helped some people have migraines and headaches less often. However, there have not been studies to prove the benefits of inversion therapy on migraines.
It is best not to use the inversion table while you are having a migraine or headache, but using the table when you are not experiencing a migraine or headache may prove to be beneficial.
10. Can using the inversion table help drain blood from my lower limbs?
Inversion therapy helps to move blood from your legs and torso to your heart and lungs to be purified and re-oxygenated. Then, oxygen-rich blood from your heart and lungs moves to your upper body and brain.
Muscle contractions cause waste products to build up in the muscle. When your muscles are contracting often or for long periods, as they do with stress or muscle spasms, waste products can build up in your body and cause pain. Using inversion therapy helps to stretch your muscles, relax them, and helps your lymphatic system to clear toxins and waste from your body. This helps to relieve pain.
Inversion’s effect on blood circulation also can help with varicose veins (when blood gathers in the veins because of valves that have become weakened and less functional). That pooled blood gathers in the lower body, but inversion allows gravity to help to move it back up through the body, providing relief.
11. Is inversion therapy safe and effective for children with scoliosis to use?
Using a Teeter inversion table at a young age can be beneficial. For children with scoliosis, inversion can be especially helpful before the bones in their bodies harden between the ages of 12-14. Because inversion tables are made for adults, small children might not fit on them as well, so they should always have someone help them use the table.
Scoliosis has many causes, and some of those causes may not make them prime candidates for inversion therapy. Anyone with major health issues should discuss inversion therapy with their physician before trying it to make sure that it is safe for them.
12. Will the inversion table hurt my ankles? What can I do to alleviate any discomfort I might feel in my ankles?
The most important thing to do to avoid discomfort is to adjust to the inversion slowly. Inverting too quickly or for too long a period each time can lead to discomfort. Incline the table more only after you are comfortable with the previous stage, and stop inverting when you experience any discomfort. This will help your body to adjust to the process, and should minimize any ankle discomfort.
Some other things you can do to help alleviate any ankle discomfort are:
• Wear socks and lace-up shoes when using the inversion table. This will help support your ankles.
• Make sure that the ankle clamps are safely secured, but not too tight, since this could restrict blood flow.
• Position the rear ankle cups slightly downward before securing the lock system. This will help you as you invert, since they will rotate and help to support your heels.
• Adjust the foot platform so that it is close to your foot, so that your body doesn’t shift as much during inversion.
13. What is the most common misconception about inversion therapy?
The most common misconception about inversion therapy is that you need to hang at extreme angles for long periods of time in order to feel any benefits. This is not true. You can fully invert over time if you are comfortable and that is what you wish to do, however, lesser angles are highly beneficial. You do not ever have to go to the fully inverted stage if you don’t wish to, and you can still experience many benefits. Even angles of 10-15 degrees have been shown in studies to greatly benefit people!
You also do not need to stay inverted for long periods of time. It is recommended that you invert multiple times a day for a few minutes each time, rather than one very long session.
Intermittent traction (alternating between inversion and being upright) and oscillation intermittent inversion (a slow, rhythmic rotation up and down) are actually the most highly recommended forms of inversion therapy according to doctors.
Don’t be extreme in your inversion. Take your time to progress, and always make sure to listen to your body. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop. Don’t advance too quickly, and don’t feel the need to be extreme.
When used correctly and conservatively, inversion therapy is very safe and can provide a multitude of health benefits.