At the end of the day, what inversion therapy is really all about is stretching your spine. Having said that, most users are brought to the notion of inversion therapy in a quest to alleviate lower back pain, as this is the part of the back that is most exposed to various stress factors in ordinary life. Even something as simple and harmless sounding as sitting in a chair at your office for a few hours each day can lead to some disc degeneration of the lumbar area, and you'll almost certainly feel stiffness in your back muscles. In these cases, heat therapy can really be of benefit to you. I was hiking in some mountains not far from here a few years ago. The fantastic views must have really grabbed me by surprise because I stopped paying attention to my footing and wound up spraining my ankle.
The pain was horrible. I managed to get back with a friend's help. The scan showed that my ankle bones were okay, but of course that didn't take away the deep blue-purple bruise or the swelling in my ankle. My brother-in-law offered his infrared heat light to try, and I admit, I was pretty skeptical about that contraption, but when you're in pain you'll give most anything a try, and that is what I did. The relief I experienced was so impressive that when I heard about someone combining an inversion table with an infrared heating pad, I couldn't have been more excited!
The best way to describe FIR therapy is to simply tell you what it does, and in that case, it:
Easily penetrates human tissue to heat our body
This heat can penetrate more deeply into your muscles with no skin discomfort
Far-infrared heat therapy can increase blood flow and circulation without straining your heart
Increases the level of oxygen and white blood cells in your blood
More rapid healing of injured tissue
Is completely healthy and safe for all living things It is true that inversion therapy can improve your flexibility and increase the strength of your core.
By itself, it can even ease stress but the major thing it can do for you is ease pain. It does this in four different ways:
It re-hydrates your discs in your back (over time, the fluid can become squeezed out of your discs as they press together)
Reduces nerve pressure, which directly eases pain
Helps with spinal realignment (which improves posture in addition to providing pain relief)
Helps relax tense muscles
Perhaps the best, most succinct description on the web of the benefits of inversion therapy specifically for lower back pain is as follows:
“Inversion therapy is the safest, quickest and most effective way to increase the space between your vertebrae. Numerous clinical studies published in reputable medical journals have confirmed that inversion really does increase the separation between the discs of the spine, which brings relief from back pain. For instance, one study considered 175 people who were unable to work due to back pain. After eight inversion treatments, 155 of the patients were able to return to work full time. “ (http://inversionsling.com/Inversion_Therapy.html)
By themselves, both inversion therapy and FIR therapy are very good at helping to heal the body, but it's more than a simple additive process. When you put the two therapies together, they magnify the benefits that the other provides, leaving you with a therapeutic combination that's hard to top. There's literally no downside to combining these two. You get all the benefits of both, but since they work together so seamlessly, each winds up making the other more effective. The presence of the heat during the inversion only serves to relax tense muscles more quickly and more completely, which means that you'll feel bigger and better results more quickly with a table that combines the two, than if you were just using one therapy or the other.
If you are at all serious about inversion therapy, and want to maximize the benefits you'll receive from it, then you absolutely want a table that combines traditional inversion therapy with FIR. Having stumbled across it more-or-less by accident, I couldn't give it a higher endorsement.
At present, there are only two inversion tables with FIR pads built-in on the market, and both come from the same manufacturer. The Ironman. Also, the Teeter has introduced a vibration cushion with infrared arch support which fits with all of the Teeter manual inversion tables.
You owe it to yourself and your aching back to check these tables out!