The idea for an inversion chair stemmed from standard inversion tables. It was meant to address specific customers' conditions. Whereas there are a good number of users who see inversion tables as the perfect tool for toning their abs, the vast majority of users have been drawn to inversion therapy seeking a remedy to their various back conditions like chronic back pain, herniated or degenerative discs, sciatica, or neck pain, just to name a few.
There are various types of inversion chairs on the market today. Most of them differ significantly in their performance and features, but have one in common, that being the seated starting position which may well prove to be the perfect solution for people with acute back pain who find it really hard to bend down to operate the ankle restraint mechanism that secures them during inversion therapy on regular inversion tables. Also, people with limited mobility will feel much more comfortable sitting in the upside down chair, rather than struggling with the standing position.
There's also a segment of the market who cannot bear the pain in their ankles during inversion therapy, despite even the most sophisticated ankle locking systems developed by manufacturers. Some inversion chairs provide a solution with very limited ankle area engagement for holding the body's weight.
In general, inversion chairs can be divided into two basic types. The first type includes models like the Body Power IT9910 and Stamina 55-1541, which converts into a regular inversion table with a flat backrest as soon as the user starts inverting. The further inversion process runs in exactly the same way as every other inversion table. On the way back, the backrest frame construction will gently bring the user into a secure seated position. These types of inversion chairs usually have the ability to perform an almost full inversion, but can't be seen as machines for a big challenge.
The next type of inversion chair is characterized by the additional roll built-in supporting the user's knees. Thanks to the construction of this type of inversion chair, the user remains more or less seated during the entire inversion process, rather than being in a completely prone, or flat position.
These types of inversion chairs allow for inversions no greater than 70-75 degrees, which will absolutely suffice to decompress your spine and stretch your back muscles. Usually an incline angle of 60 degrees is enough to gain the full benefits of gravity traction.
The seated position and limited inversion angle translates into minimal stress to the user's ankles. For the same reason, the ankle holding system's construction is very simple, missing the footrest and locking mechanism, but also missing the need to operate and adjust them every time you want to use your inversion chair.
The construction of inversion chairs is more complex than for inversion tables, which results in a few drawbacks. The assembly will certainly take more time, but also the storage will be more demanding. Some models fold up for storage, but you still need to consider that it is a rather solid, heavy, bulky machine that will be pretty hard to maneuver. You would be much better off keeping it in a designated space.
It's worth mentioning that none of the inversion chairs on the market today have any sort of locking mechanism to stop and hold inversion at a given angle. Also, inversion chairs are not capable of locking out in full inversion, so you will probably find it difficult to perform exercises other than body twists for additional stretching, and not full range sit ups.
Inversion chairs offer significant advantages over standard inversion tables for those who suffer from acute back pain, and for those whose ankles cannot stand the strain caused by using most inversion tables. If this describes your condition, then an upside down chair might be just what you are looking for.