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~~What Is Inversion Therapy?
Inversion is the pose in which you hold your heart higher than your head. Inversion therapy helps your body to recover from the compressive effects of gravity and daily activities. Scientifically, it has been proven to be quite advantageous for cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous systems. In fact, inversion is a perfect exercise for the body as a whole.
What Are The Health Benefits of Inversion Therapy?
Inversions are so effective that the US Army is planning to include it in its physical training. You can achieve a lot of benefits by inverting 3-5 mins every day. One of the most shocking facts about inversion is that bats and slots are the only creatures on earth who will never suffer from osteoarthritis. This is because inversion is in their natural habitat. So, if you have a family history of osteoarthritis, then make sure you start inverting from today. In case, you are not able to invert on your own, you should try leaning against the wall while inverting that will also give you the same advantages. Inversion table and/or gravity boots are amazing as they can help you easily alleviate debilitating back pain and other health issues without surgery or drugs.
• Relieves Spinal Pain
One of the basic advantages of inversions is that it relieves spinal pain to a great extent. It enables a person to have a better posture. Since the spinal cord is the most important part of the body, which affects how the person sits and stands; inversion can help improve the outlook of a person.
• Improves Blood Circulation
Inversions increase the blood flow to the brain, giving it more oxygen and nutrients and making the brain function faster and better. This improves concentration, memory, observation and boosts clear thinking. Standing inverted actually makes the brain work better. According to Dr. Robert Martin, the author of ‘The Gravity Guiding System, Turning the Aging Process Upside Down,’ the brain operates 14% more accurately when the brain is operating on an inverted, inclined plane. Inversion also helps move the stagnant blood in the body because you are standing against gravity when you are inverting. It forces the blood to move which would not do so standing in a straight position.
• Controlling Indigestion
Inversions are the yogic approach to control indigestion. Indigestion, which may cause anxiety and skin disorders, is considerably improved when one practices inversions.
• Decreasing Mood Swings
Standing upside down can actually make you feel better! When blood circulation gets fine, this releases neurotransmitters, balances the hormones which make a person feel light hearted and more happy than usual. So, if you are really sad, try doing inversions! It might make you feel a lot better! This is said to control depression, premenstrual symptoms and mood swings.
• Enhancing Immunity
Inversions increase the ability of a person’s body to fight with diseases. Since it cleans the blood, an overall healthy feeling is maintained.
• Countering Insomnia
Inversions also help to decrease insomnia. When your mind is all relaxed and in high spirits because of the healthy blood flow, a person will be able to sleep better. When inverting, muscle tension decreases by 35%. This is one of the reasons why a person can sleep better after inverting.
• Look Beautiful and Feel Beautiful
This is an amazing benefit of inversions. Inversions can actually make you beautiful. When a person’s posture is improved through inversion, it shows grace, poise and sophistication. Good circulation will automatically bring brightness to the skin making the person look younger than he/she originally is. Acne and other skin conditions will also tend to decrease with performing inversions.
Inversion makes the body flexible and adaptable to changes. A flexible body remains healthy and strong even when it reaches old age.
• Maintaining Proper Posture
For athletes or workers who perform lots of physical work, inversion is the best to keep the spine in proper posture. It will also reduce tardiness and will gain back your strength after a workout. Inversion therapy works wonders for the lower back pain caused by this physical work. It also helps reduce muscle pain.
• Strengthening Bones
Inversion helps to make ligaments strong which are one of the basic elements of your bones. Ligaments hold your bones together. When they’re strong, you will often be saved from a bone breaking accident.
• Stress Therapy
Inversion is an amazing therapy to counter stress. When a person is under a lot of stress, his body tends to revolt by back pains, headaches and joint muscle pains. Physiotherapist LJ Nosse did a study titled ‘Inverted Spinal Traction’ published in Arch Phys. Medical Rehab 59: 367-370, Aug 78. The study confirmed that inverting decreased muscle tension by over 35% within the first 10 sec! When muscle pain is gone, stress reduces. As a result, the person feels lighter and happier, ready to face the challenges in life.
• Maintaining Height
A lot of people will shrink over time as their old age approaches. Inversion can help stop that and retain your original height. Inversion therapy is one of the “after yoga therapy” which carries immense benefits. Even when you do it the first time, the psychological feeling of turning your body against its natural position will be enough to lift you up both physically and mentally.
History of Inversion Therapy
While many have the misconception that inversion therapy is a relatively modern concept, the practice actually began in ancient times. Inversion therapy history dates back to prehistoric times as archeologists discovered ancient stone seals dated around 3000 B.C. Drawings on the stones depicting individuals in inverted positions. Yoga practitioners believed that inverted poses had a number of health benefits including circulation enhancement, brain stimulation and alleviation of pressure on internal organs. Hippocrates, whom many equate with being the father of modern medicine, documented the first inversion device sometime during the 6th century B.C. The mechanics of inversion tables was born when the physician suspended patients upside down on a ladder using ropes, pulleys and winches to realign fractures and expand the spinal column. The winches tightened the ropes and stretched the limbs or the affected spine. Unfortunately, Hippocrates' invention later became equated during the Middle Ages as a horrifying instrument of torture. While physicians throughout inversion therapy history carefully monitored the amount of tension required for the therapeutic benefit of the patient, heinous individuals commonly exceeded the point of safety and increased the tension until the victim suffered dislocation or dismemberment.
Progressing into the 20th Century
Playing off of the original concept discovered by Hippocrates, inversion therapy history continued and practitioners around the world began incorporating various means of achieving tension in a therapy that soon became known as traction. Inversion devices also went through an evolutionary process and during the 1960s, California physician Robert Martin introduced the “gravity guidance system, which entailed using gravity and an actual inversion table said to treat everything from back pain to improper posture. The concept grew in popularity and soon manufacturers introduced the Bud Leach tables and the BackSwing. During the 1980s, gravity boots emerged and dozens of manufacturers made various types of inversion equipment available to the public. Some devices suffered quality defects. Health care providers across the country grew concerned about the possible adverse reactions of the therapy.
Beneficial or Detrimental?
Inversion therapy history almost ended when a study performed by a group of physicians led by a Dr. Goldman in 1983, concluded that the practice would lead to dangerously increased blood and intracranial pressures, which could initiate a stroke. Upon performing further research on healthy patients, Dr. Goldman retracted his original theory and later admitted that individuals in an inverted position actually experienced a decrease in blood pressure. He also found that the spinal fluid protected the delicate blood vessels of the brain. Other universities around the country performed additional research and came to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, the damaging press drew enough concern from the public, that the practice began a downward spiral. The therapy was then only prescribed by chiropractors, physical therapists and professional athletic trainers. During the 1990s inversion therapy began re-emerging in the latter part of the decade. The United States Army Physical Fitness School incorporated the practice as part of the organization's world-wide fitness regimen. In 2007, the England's Newcastle University studied the effects of inversion therapy on patients suffering from sciatica. All slated to undergo surgery, researchers took half of the patients and subjected them to inversion. The control group performed conventional stretching exercises. The scientists found that the group performing inversion experienced amazingly beneficial results that included a reduction in the need for surgery.