Three best inversion tables
Inversion tables are a new way to treat back and joint pain. Spending at least a few minutes a day in an inverted position allows the neck, spine, and hips to stretch naturally and restores the soft spinal discs to their original positions. Inversion therapy also improves blood flow to the head and extremities. This is believed to improve sinus drainage as well as lymph node performance. The key to good inversion therapy is a high-quality inversion table. Our quick guide has everything you need to know about buying an inversion table, including a shortlist of the best models on the market.
Considerations when choosing inversion tables
Inversion tables are designed to suspend the entire body by the ankles. The connection between the user's ankles and the table is vitally important for overall support but also comfort. Look for models with quick-release mechanisms and well-padded ankle braces. Stabilizing straps or pins should be solid and secure. Handrails or holds should be accessible from any angle of inversion. The frame should be wide enough to provide a stable platform, with no wobbling or bending under stress.
Ease of use
Mounting and dismounting an inversion table can be challenging. Users with limited mobility may not be able to comfortably reach the ankle braces of some models. A user should be able to return to an upright position simply by shifting his or her body weight along a balanced pivot point.
A good inversion table offers a range of incline angles, from a 20° or 30° lean to a therapeutic 60° angle to a full 90° total inversion. Some advanced tables allow users to customize their degree of incline. The inversion table should safely hold the user at the chosen level of incline without the risk of overextension.
Some entry-level inversion tables do not offer much in the way of padding. This is not necessarily a deal breaker for short inversion therapy sessions. However, for those who want to spend 20 to 30 minutes in an inverted position, overall comfort is an important consideration. Memory foam is a common feature on higher-end inversion tables, while high-density polyurethane foam is often found on mid-range models.
While most inversion tables share a basic design, there are some differences when it comes to additional features.
Heat and massage
Some inversion tables include basic heat and/or massage functions. Infrared heat encourages muscles and joints to expand during inversion, bringing additional pain relief. Vibratory massage loosens tense muscles and adds to relaxation during longer sessions. A separate shiatsu or heating pad can also be attached to most inversion tables.
Some inversion tables include a lumbar support device that presses down on the lower spine during inversion and provides a therapeutic stretch. However, some users may not find this feature beneficial, so it is important to find a model with detachable lumbar support.
Acupressure involves putting direct pressure on specific points on the body. Some inversion tables include hard plastic nodes that can be placed strategically on the table's backboard. This is especially useful when addressing pinched nerves or other specific areas of nerve or muscular pain. That said, these nodes should always be an optional addition, since a number of users find them a little uncomfortable.
Q. How safe are inversion tables?
A. Inversion tables have a number of safety features to reduce the chance of injury. A reinforced nylon strap or metal pin prevents the table from tilting beyond the desired incline. Ankle restraints have quick-release mechanisms. Many models also incorporate handrails that allow users to pull themselves back to vertical without assistance.
Q. How long can I stay in an inverted position?
A. It varies from user to user, but experts recommend starting out with just a few minutes of inversion and gradually working up to a full 20 to 30 minutes. People with high blood pressure, a history of vascular disease, or other medical conditions should consult a physician before doing extended inversions.
Q. I have very limited mobility. Will I be able to use an inversion table safely?
A. Some inversion tables can be challenging to mount and dismount, but others are designed with limited mobility in mind. There are inversion tables that form a seat in the vertical position and transition to a flat surface when horizontal. Others use special ankle supports that do not require the user to bend at the waist to mount or dismount.
Inversion tables we recommend
Best of the best: Teeter EP-960 Ltd. Inversion Table with Back Pain Relief Kit
Our take: This inversion table's construction and attention to safety make it suitable for all ages and physical conditions.
What we like: This table features solid steel construction with a generous weight limit. It's engineered to invert with minimal effort and allows users to select degrees of inversion.
What we dislike: It's very heavy and requires significant assembly and floor protection.
Best bang for your buck: IRONMAN Gravity 4000 Inversion Table
Our take: This affordable inversion table offers the same level of comfort and safety as higher-end models.
What we like: The well-cushioned backrest includes memory foam. This table also features detachable lumbar support, a 350-pound weight limit, and adjustable ankle supports.
What we dislike: It's difficult to move once assembled. The Velcro restrictor strap is challenging to adjust.
Our take: An inversion table for those who want to incorporate heat and massage into their inversion therapy.
What we like: The heating and massage functions are built directly into the table. This table has a generous amount of padding and a 300-pound weight limit. It allows for a minimal 20° incline for beginners.
What we dislike: The heat and massage functions are not very powerful, and the assembly instructions are challenging to follow.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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