I’ve been asked a couple times over the last couple weeks about inversion tables, or whether hanging upside down is good for you. So in case anyone else was wondering, thought I’d give my two cents here.
Do I think there is some value in inversion tables?
I think the concept of stretching your spine is a good one. Clearly, we are all compressed for far too much of the day. A big part of this is all the sitting we do…the most recent estimates is that the average North American will sit for 10-12 hours per day…over 30 YEARS of your lifetime!
That’s A LOT of sitting.
All of that sitting absolutely compresses your spine, so yes, some way to help decompress it would be a good idea.
The question is, do inversion tables decompress the spine, and in a safe way?
The first part of this is a partial yes. Wish it could be unequivocal, but it isn’t.
Hanging upside down, or even partially upside down, would cause tractioning of your body, which will stretch some of it.
However, where exactly is this stretching happening, and is this really a good thing?
Depending on which part of your body is fixed, or attached, to whatever apparatus you are using, it’s THAT PART which is getting most of the stretch, and not your spine.
If you’re hanging from a chin-up bar, most of the stretch takes place in your shoulder girdle, not in your spine. This would be the easiest way to stretch, and likely the safest. Stretching your shoulders and upper back is good, but it doesn’t really target your entire spine.