Hanging Around

We can easily commend Rich for his resolve!  On the other hand, you can marvel at Ed who managed to get himself hog-tied and hung out to dry.

Of course, Ed volunteered for one of my regular training techniques – Inversion.  Inversion boots were quite the fad in the 1970’s but Inversion (head below the heart) dates back to Hippocrites who treated some of his patients by hanging them upside-down.  Inversion techniques offer a lot of rewards and present a few risks.

First, let’s look at the benefits.

Spinal Decompression – our vertebral discs lack blood circulation.  They are nourished throughout the day by the repetitive compression and decompression which circulates the fluid of the intervertebral discs.  Inversion provides a sustained decompression, allowing the discs to expand and fluids to circulate.
Joint Decompression – much like the spine, Inversion takes pressure off of the ankles, knees and hips.  The surrounding ligaments get a great stretch.

Lymphatic Circulation – the Lymphatic System lacks any form of consistent pumping mechanism.  Instead of a heart-like mechanism, lymphatic fluids are circulated by our movement and muscular contractions.  Inversion facilitates Lymphatic circulation by mere gravitational force.

Circulation of Endocrine Glands – just like the lymphatic system, the endocrine fluids are rejuvenated by the reversal of gravitational force.

Organ Decompression – as we age, our organs gradually settle.  Decompression of the stomach, intestines, liver and kidneys is excellent for digestion and excretion of wastes.

What are the risks of Inversion?

Two-thirds of our circulatory system is positioned below the heart and one-third is above the heart.  This naturally makes it easier for the heart to push oxygenated blood up to the brain while blood flow to the lower extremities is assisted by gravity.  The increased gravitational pressure forces the blood vessel walls below the heart to be a few microns thicker than the blood vessels above the heart.  Throwing the circulatory system upside-down poses an immediate risk to certain individuals.  The thinner-walled vessels of the eyes and brain will now be forced to handle more blood pressure than normal.  Therefore, ANYONE who has any issues with their heart, eyes (detached retina, recent surgeries such as Lasik) or brain (aneurysm) should certainly consult a physician before considering Inversion.

Certain spinal issues can be aggravated by Inversion.  Herniated and ruptured discs must be handled much more delicately.   Again, consult your physician before considering Inversion.

Inversion can also be risky to certain joints.  Not all knee, hip and back issues will necessarily feel good in the inverted position.  While Inversion is a great way to stretch these joints, there is also the possibility that they can be irritated, subluxated or even dislocated.  Again, consult your physician before considering Inversion.

Regarding Ed, this is one of the healthiest and most athletic men you’ll ever meet over the age of 50.  I had no reservations about placing Ed in the Inversion Boots.  While it is beneficial to most people.  It poses certain risks to some.  Talk to your doctor to see where you stand…or hang.


Back Stretch | Beaverton Strength Training Program | Lake Oswego Personal Fitness Training | Spinal Stretch

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