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Health Benefits of Inversion Therapy like Anti-Aging

Updated on July 19, 2016
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Inversion Therapy-- Inversion Table, Headstand

Inversion therapy with an inversion table.
Inversion therapy with an inversion table.
Inversion therapy with headstand.
Inversion therapy with headstand. | Source

Inversion Therapy and Spinal Traction

Many of the articles about inversion tables talk about the health benefits of spinal traction but not the health benefits of inversion therapy. Both have many benefits. The spine has vertebrae that are separated from each other by cushions.

When people sleep, these cushions expand absorbing water and nutrients. Then when they are upright like standing, sitting or squatting, gravity pulls down on these vertebrae and they contract. This is why people are a half inch taller when they wake up. While sleeping there is still 25% force of gravity on the vertebrae but while under spinal traction, there is no force on them.

I used to know an acupuncturist in West Palm Beach, Florida. He had many older clients. Besides doing acupuncture, he would also have them get inversion tables and use them and they would have many benefits while also getting acupuncture. He also had them use herbs so while under his care, they felt great. Unlike with medical doctors, they paid him to keep them healthy.

The video below lists the benefits of using an inversion table like improving circulation, relieves stress, heightens mental alertness, increases flexibility and improves posture.

Yoga: Headstands for Inversion Therapy

Yoga is 5,000 years old and the headstand is known as the the king of the poses, king of the postures or king of the asanas. Getting enough sleep is very important, but when you are not sleeping you have the force of gravity on you all the time. By inverting yourself, you are creating the opposite effect of gravity. So this posture is known as the king because it reverses the effect of aging and is anti-aging.

Some people stand a lot and the gravity is pulling their blood into their legs.They may even develop varicose veins in their legs. Being inverted or inversion is especially needed by them. Instead of the blood being pulled down into their legs, it is pulled down into their brain and out of their legs. Also many people think that the blood is is pumped from the heart to the cells and then back to the heart through the veins.

The first part is correct but the second part is different. Most of that fluid is returned to the heart as lymph. The blood and lymph return to the heart without any help from the heart. They both return through one way valves, muscular contraction from movement and from muscular contraction from breathing. So inversion has a big effect on this. The webpage under the inversion table picture says (about spinal traction):

Your discs have three jobs: to separate the vertebrae, provide flexibility to the spine and to act as shock absorbers. Disc separation is especially important since all communication between the brain and the body is via nerves that pass between each vertebra. Insufficient distance between the vertebrae can result in nerve root pressure and pain.

If nothing else, inversion is a great way to take a break and relax. The full body stretch can be rejuvenating and can also help to reduce muscle tension. A study conducted by physiotherapist LJ Nose found that EMG activity (a measure of muscle tension) declined over 35% within ten seconds of inverting. Inversion, therefore, is helpful in relieving tension and pain in your muscles that may have been caused by stress.

In fact, for centuries yoga practitioners have recognized the concept of turning the body upside down to find relaxation. The head stand position is a form of "postural exchange" (reversing the direction of gravity). Not everyone wants to do headstands, so inversion on Hang Ups equipment creates an easier alternative with the added benefit of joint decompression.

Inversion Helps Improve Circulation and Accelerates the Cleansing of Blood and Lymph Fluids [see webpage under inversion table for more on this]

Headstands can be done without any equipment and in yoga almost all of the weight of the body is on the forearms, which form 2 legs of a triangle. The link under the picture of the handstand tells how to do it. It is usually done with the fingers interlocked so this is a variation-- there are many variations.

I have a book that says the benefits of the headstand are better posture, regenerates and smooths the skin of the scalp, improves eyesight and hearing, cleanses the brain by flushing the blood vessels, relieves headaches, migraines and nervous fatigue, improves memory, concentration and intellectual capacity, relieves colds, infections of the tonsils, poor circulation and the overall lack of self-confidence and vitality.

A webpage, Turning Upside Down: the Benefits of Headstand, tells how the headstand helps the cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous and endocrine systems. It says:

Lymph, like the blood returning to your heart via the veins, is dependent upon muscular movement and gravity to facilitate its return. Because the lymphatic system is a closed pressure system and has one-way valves that keep lymph moving towards the heart, when one turns upside down, the entire lymphatic system is stimulated, thus strengthening your immune system.

It also tells some of the health problems that make it best to avoid inversion like menstruation, high blood pressure, detached retina, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, thrombosis, arteriosclerosis, and kidney problem. There are more with the headstand and the inversion table, like eye disease and ear infection so you can check with your doctor if it is okay.

Inversion Tables for Inversion Therapy

The inversion tables cost money but have the above health benefits of inversion, like the headstand, and also the health benefits of spinal traction. Although it is nice for self-confidence to learn to do the headstand. I can still do it and I have been doing yoga since age 12. You can do the headstand for as long as you are comfortable.

With the table, you can aim toward doing it 30 minutes a day if you have the time (like the above mentioned people in West Palm Beach), but once a week will still help a lot. On the page about the table below, it says to do it 10 minutes a day. Many people do not tilt all of the way so they are not vertical. They may just stay at 60 degrees. Before using the inversion table, I used gravity boots where they hang from a bar and vertical is the only position with them.

I know a cab driver that was having bad back problems. He went into the hospital and they put him in spinal traction where they have weights suspended from pulleys to pull your upper and lower body apart. After a few days of that he was better. I also have articles on 23 Celebrities That Do Yoga and The Many Health Benefits of Hatha Yoga. The last one has a video of a vet that was disabled and he lost 130 pounds from yoga. He went from crutches to running and was no longer disabled.

As far as discussions on inversion tables focusing on the spinal traction, The description of the inversion table below says:

Inversion therapy counteracts the forces of gravity on the body (particularly the back) by decompressing and elongating the spine. [Actually the spinal traction is doing this] Not only can this relieve pressure on your spinal cord's ligaments and nerve roots, but it can also relax the back muscles that support the vertebrae. And when your back relaxes, the rest of your body invariably follows. The Body Champ IT8070 Inversion Therapy Table can make a great addition to your daily routine, and help to improve your circulation and posture while relieving muscle aches, back pain, and stress.

Easy Alternative-- Legs Up the Wall

In case the above are too much to try or you have contraindications against doing the above, you can do legs up the wall pose or posture. Your legs are above your heart in this pose. For more on this see Yoga: The Many Health Benefits of Hatha Yoga. This article links to an article called 6 Yoga Poses for Depression and Anxiety. That article has this pose with a picture of it.

It also links to 7 Yoga Poses for Insomnia. This pose is not in the 7 pictures but is in the video at the bottom of this article so you know that this pose at least helps with depression, anxiety and depression.

Low Price Inversion Table and Back Health Books

Benefits of Inversion Therapy


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    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London

      Ooh, the inversion table looks fun! I'd love to try one. Makes a lot of sense to me. My back always feels worse by the end of the day, and this would be a good way of counteracting the pressure of being upright. Nice hub, thanks for the information. :)

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 5 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      I think that I should write an article about rebounding (using a mini-trampoline) since that is excellent for health. Thanks for reminding me about it. Don't stop rebounding.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Doing a handstand does feel good, I think I will do one now, it's been a while since I've done one. Typically, I use a mini-trampoline which also aids the flow of lymph.

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 5 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      BlissfulWriter, Yes!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Could it be that part of the benefit comes from more blood going to the brain supplying it with oxygen and nutrient from the blood supply?

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 5 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      Beingwell, The headstand is not that difficult. It just takes a little practice. Using the inversion table is as easy as falling off of a log (American saying). But I know what you are talking about. Trying anything for the first time seems difficult. Like the first time you used a computer, rode a bike, tied your shoe and learned to walk as a baby. Although if you get very old, walking may become difficult again.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Looks very difficult. Oh my oh my! I don't think I can do this.