Inversion therapy has been a secret health practice, revered for centuries among yogis, ninja warriors, and other clandestine societies. Inversion is the act of hanging upside down, performing a headstand, or using a simple surface to lie at an inverted angle.
The coveted wisdom of this practice is understood only in the tightest-knit circles, even now. Why? Because its health benefits were so powerful and wide ranging that few were willing to share their special advantage with outsiders!
It’s little wonder you’ll now find the tradition of inversion being carried on among modern elites such as the Army Rangers, who perform gravity boot inversion exercises behind the walls of Fort Bragg, at the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School.
But the secret of inversion has also found its way into another kind of society — high society. Among rising stars and socialites, inversion is fast becoming the hottest new treatment for its growing list of positive benefits.
Dan Brown, author of the worldwide best seller, The Da Vinci Code, says he practices inversion to get his mind working and spark creativity; while Rosie O’Donnell, star of TV’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show, uses the treatment to fend off occasional bouts of depression. Meanwhile, countless professional and Olympic athletes use inversion for strength, balance, and pain relief.
Inversion therapy could be the answer to years of chronic pain, the solution to mental decline, or the opportunity to recapture your youthful strength and vigor. The practice takes only minutes each day. A regular practice of daily inversion carries long-term powerful benefits forward into getting your overall health right-side-up. As one physical therapist points out, “Gravity never sleeps.”
Body, Mind, and Spirit: Inversion Therapy Can Be a Life-Saver
Inversion therapy shouldn’t be a secret at all. It’s exceptionally simple and easy to do. Moreover, inversion has shown positive results among a surprisingly wide spectrum of conditions.
Recent clinical research has shown that inversion therapy can:
• Relieve chronic back stress by stretching out the spine and reducing pressure on soft tissue between vertebrae
• Reduce arthritis pain by flushing harmful compounds from joint areas
• Stimulate the immune system by circulating lymphatic fluid
• Prevent joint injury by improving ligament strength
• Alleviate varicose veins by enhancing blood circulation
• Improve muscle strength and organ health by stimulating blood flow, cycling fresh oxygen throughout the body
Other research indicates significant benefit to the brain. Just a few minutes a day can…
• Improve mental agility by increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain
• Relieve depression by enhancing blood and cerebral spinal fluid flow, oxygenating more brain cells.
Dr. Karen Koffler, director of Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University, says the reason inversion therapy boost brain health is because it increases blood flow. “If there is increased blood flow to the area, there will be increased bioavailability of oxygen and glucose, the two most important metabolic substrates for the brain,” she says.
Inversion therapy may even play a serious role in arresting the brain’s “aging process.” In his internationally renowned book, The Brain Book, Peter Russell notes that much of mental deterioration can be traced to poor blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, both of which reduce oxygen flow.
Thus, with regular inversion therapy, we can overcome these risk factors and keep the mind from sliding into dementia.
Inversion Therapy Benefits Basics
There are four general options for practicing inversion therapy:
• Yoga-based postures — such as headstands and other head-down postures
• Gravity boots — fit around the ankles and hook onto a horizontal bar for hanging upside down
• Yoga sling — like a trapeze, used to invert from the lower torso or upper legs
• Inversion table — allows a user to start out standing up vertically then gently rotate backward to a suspended inverted position.
For beginners, headstands, gravity boots, and slings can be challenging. Inversion tables, by contrast, are easy to use and offer a high level of support and comfort. “Many of my patients have responded dramatically to only short periods of inversion [table],” says Dr. John Tanner, “and others with chronic problems, which one would not necessarily expect to improve with any form of therapy, have experienced considerable benefit.”
A good inversion table can be rather expensive, however. And as always, quality is key. You should never skimp when it comes to your body. Therefore, purchasing a good table is worth the investment. You should take the time to do some online research and compare online reviews and testimonials before you buy.
Inversion therapy raises blood pressure, so it’s not recommended for people already facing hypertension or other circulatory issues. For the same reason, pregnant women should also be careful. Those who suffer from obesity may experience pulled muscles and strained joints.
The increased blood flow can also put pressure on the eyes, making inversion a problem for those with cataracts or glaucoma. Ideally, if you have any concerns, consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting an inversion routine.