You likely have heard of inversion therapy, and like most, are a skeptic. While the term seems new, it’s something we humans have been doing for generations. Somehow, as modern society and adulthood set in, we stopped taking the simple and healthy joy of hanging upside down.
Hanging Upside Down for Beginners
For beginners who are relatively new to this practice, inversion can be eased into. The nice thing about inversion tables is the ability to choose the angle or degree which the table inverts. This allows you to hang upside down in increments, as you get used to the new posture and feelings.
When you first start inverting, try to simply lay flat or at an angle up to 30 degrees. Find a position that feels best and is most comfortable. Use this angle for a week or two, until you have eased into the stretch completely. Also, slowly ease yourself into the amount of time you spend on the table from a few minutes, up to 30, over this 2-week period. The first benefits you will feel should be immediate. These include temporary cessation of spine related back pain, increased blood oxygenation, and a slightly better posture.
Hanging Upside Down for Intermediate Users
Once you get used to 30-minute sessions 3 to 4 times per week at 0-30 degrees, gradually lower the table each session, each day, until you reach 60 degrees. For most people, they will receive the best benefits here and need not go further for a while. At this angle, the table provides good traction and provides many of the same benefits as chiropractic care, without the realignment part. At a 60-degree angle, it fully stretches and decompresses the spine.
This natural traction allows the spine to decompress enough for them to fully hydrate. As you learn to relax, the benefits of disk re-hydration, traction, and gentle, natural stretching of the muscles and tendons will deepen. At this point, you will definitely start to see longer-lasting benefits to hanging upside down.
Hanging Upside Down for Advanced Users
After a few weeks or months of practicing at the 60-degree angle, you will want to push yourself a little more for enhanced benefits. Anyone who has experience doing exercises and stretches to lengthen and strengthen the spine will tell you how you are only as healthy as your spine is supple. People who work out regularly or who play heavy sports will also find advanced positions more beneficial.
In the advanced session, you go back and forth between an inverted position and a standing position in increments, usually starting at 30 seconds. At the same time, you increase the angle at which you invert a little every day to deepen the stretches and decompression of the spine. The higher the angle, the deeper the softer and delicate muscles are fully stretched out. Jumping into the advanced session is not a good idea, it may cause injury, dizziness, or other side effects.
Hanging upside down is not for everyone. Certainly those with health problems or concerns should speak with their doctor and find out if they are healthy enough for inversion therapy first.