Inversion therapy has been around for hundreds of years and is used to help relieve back pain, improve flexibility, promote proper spinal alignment, reduce stress and reduce the effects of aging caused by gravity. During the day, people can lose as much as 3/4 inch in height, and even though there is partial recovery at night, the average person loses between 1/2 inch to 2 inches in height by their senior years.
How Inversion Therapy Works
Inversion therapy uses gravity to work for you by placing the body in line with its natural downward force. It uses your body weight as a natural form of traction and elongates the spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae, relieving the pressure on the nerve roots, discs and ligaments.
How Long to Hang from an Inversion Table
According to the Healthy Back Institute, beginners should invert for only one to two minutes a day for the first week or two until they are comfortable, after which they can begin to work up to longer periods of time. Most people will invert from five to 15 minutes, one to two times a day, although there is no real set time limit for inversion. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you become uncomfortable, return to an upright position.
The Angle of the Inversion Table
The length of time spent inverted is dependent on the angle of the table: the shallower the angle, the longer the time. Beginners should start at 20 to 30 degrees for the first few weeks until they become comfortable with the table and are able to relax while inverted. At this angle, the body experiences mild stretching of the muscles and joints, the circulation is stimulated, oxygen flow to the head is improved and the organs are repositioned. As you become more comfortable, you can then go up to 60 degrees, or parallel to the legs of the table. At this angle, the spine is now receiving the amount of traction it needs to completely decompress.
According to cure-back-pain.org, for some people, inversion therapy can be dangerous. Anyone with hypertension or any type of coronary disease should not even consider using inversion therapy. Pregnant women and people with eye problems such as glaucoma should also avoid inverting. Also, it is recommended to have a person nearby to help you if you require assistance while inverted.