1. How long should I invert?
This is probably the most commonly asked question about inversion. The answer really varies with
different people. For the most part, we recommend beginners to start slowly: invert for only 1-2 minutes during
the first week or two until you become comfortable, and then work up to longer periods of time, if you feel
they're necessary. The angle of inversion also affects the length of inversion time. The shallower the angle,
the longer the inversion time. Most people will invert for 5 - 15 minutes once or twice a day. There is no real
time limit--the important thing is to listen to your body. If you're at all uncomfortable, simply return to the
Virtually all issues of discomfort that occur with new invertees are due to going too far, too fast. You are
wonderfully designed to be upside down, but if you are like most people, you are not used to being inverted. Just
listen to your body, increasing the duration of inversion only as you feel comfortable doing so.
2. To what degree should I invert?
Again, the answer varies with different people. Beginners should start at a mild angle
(approximately 20-30 degrees beyond horizontal) for the first few weeks until they become comfortable with the
operation of the table and are able to completely relax while inverted.
20 - 30 degrees: At this angle, your body begins to experience mild stretching of your
muscles and joints, while benefiting from stimulated circulation, improved oxygen flow to the head, and
repositioning of internal organs.
60 degrees (parallel with the rear legs of the table): This is the angle at which the average
person experiences virtually all the benefits of inversion. Your spine receives the amount of traction it needs to
completely decompress (once you've relaxed). Most people don't really need to go beyond this angle.
90 degrees (full inversion): In full inversion, your body hangs freely and can perform
inverted exercises and stretches. You never really need to go to full inversion if you are not comfortable with it.
Of course, those using the EZ-Up Inversion System or Inversion Bar will only be able to fully invert. You may need
to alternate between inverting and resting with your hands on the foam grips until you are used to the feeling of
prolonged inversion. You may also want to hang for short periods of time to begin with until you become more
Top athletes are one group that may enjoy the extra traction from full inversion. Strong muscles and ligaments need
heavier loads to decompress. Intermittent traction / Oscillation Intermittent traction (alternating 20-30 seconds
inversion with returning upright) or oscillation (rhythmic rocking back and forth) are actually the "preferred"
methods of inversion, recommended by many doctors, for stimulating circulation and waste removal in and around
3. Does inversion cause strokes / popped blood vessels?
A medical study published in 1983 by Dr. Goldman and colleagues showed that inverted patients
experienced an increase in blood pressure and internal eye pressure. The media widely reported the study,
warning that stroke was a potential result of inversion.
Two years following the inversion study, Dr. Goldman reversed his original position, stating, "New research shows
that you are at no more of a stroke risk hanging upside down than if you are exercising right side up." More
in-depth research found that the body actually has mechanisms that prevent damage from hanging upside down. In
fact, while oscillating (inverting with movement), some of the patients' blood pressure actually dropped a few
points. (*Note: these studies were based on patients in generally good health. Make sure you review
contraindications prior to inverting.)
Dr. Goldman stated that the warnings to the public about the dangers of inversion were "grossly inflated" and that
"in the 15 years these devices have been in use, there has not been one single stroke case reported, or any serious
injuries." (This statement, to the best of our knowledge, is as true today as when Dr. Goldman made it 17 years
Other universities, including Marquette, Iowa, and Portland studied inversion during this time, with results that
also helped to vindicate Inversion as a healthy physical activity.
4. Why do I feel so much pressure in my head--is it normal to turn red?
This is very normal and actually is good for you, indicating increased blood flow to the brain,
eyes, skin and hair. One preliminary study showed that the brain runs 7% faster and 14% more accurate while
inverted! The feeling of pressure usually lessens over time as you become accustomed to inverting.
If you are a beginner and are uncomfortable with this feeling, it is OK to come up and rest a while. This is
referred to as "intermittent" traction (alternating inversion with being upright) and is a good way to help get
used to the inverted world. You can also try "oscillation" which is a rhythmic rocking back and forth.
5. How do I focus on the lower back / upper back / neck region?
Inversion is a natural form of gravity-assisted traction. This means that the amount of traction
applied to various locations of the body is exactly the right amount! Every vertebra and related disc is just
the right size to support the weight above it. The large discs in the lower back are the right size to support
the 60% body weight that is above them. The small discs in the neck are just the right size to support the
weight of the head. When inverted, the weight normally supported is just the right weight to apply traction.
Gentle stretching and exercise is beneficial to help decompress and mobilize the spine:
You may perform gentle stretching exercises to help move the muscles and connective tissues in the lower back area.
In partial inversion, try rotating gently from side-to-side, or slowly rocking your pelvis forward and
If you have worked up to full inversion, abdominal exercises (sit-ups, crunches) can be beneficial to the lower
back, since strong abdominal muscles are key for proper posture. On the inversion tables, you can try a gentle back
extension by placing your hands behind your head on the bed frame and pushing your body in an arch away from the
Many people experience upper back pain as a result of stress and muscle tension. The key to relieving this pain is
to totally relax while inverting. Try deep breathing exercises. Also, partner work can be beneficial. Nothing is
more relaxing than an inverted back and shoulder massage!
Movement is also very beneficial. Try rounding your shoulders forward and pushing them back. Also, stretch one arm
at a time across your torso to extend those upper back muscles.
Again, movement can be beneficial. Try rotating your head from one side to the other. Partner massages to the base
of the head and back of the neck are very relaxing (do not apply pressure to the front of the neck). You can also
add gentle inverted traction to your neck by resting your arms behind your head at the base of your skull (don't
pull, just add the weight of your arms).
6. What exercises do you recommend while inverted?
Partial inversion. Gentle stretching can be performed while partially inverted by crossing one arm
over your body, gripping the opposite side of the table frame, and rotating up on one shoulder for a stretch.
You can also arch the torso from side to side to loosen muscles and to help the mid- and lower spine to
Similarly, stress in the neck can be relieved by gently rotating the head to either side, plus lifting the head (do
not sit up, only lift the head) or pushing back against the nylon cover while lifting the shoulders off the cover
for a stretch in extension.
Full inversion. Only perform these exercises when you are comfortable with being fully inverted. Do not overdue
it-as with any exercise to which your body is unaccustomed, you may experience sore muscles if you do too much too
Inverted crunches. Place your hands on your chest or behind your head and lift your torso half way to your
Full sit-ups. This is the only way to perform a full sit-up that is safe for your back. Your spine is in line with
gravity, so the full sit-up does not place a harmful load on the back. Place your hands behind your head or on your
chest. Sit up all the way to your knees. You may need to place your hands behind your knees to help pull yourself
up to a full sit up. Some people claim that 1 full inverted sit-up is as difficult as 10 regular sit-ups (without
the strain on your back!)
Inverted squats. On the tables and racks, you are able to exercise your legs as well! You may want to steady
yourself by placing each hand on the rear legs of the A-frame. Bend your knees and lift your entire body toward the
sky. This action is similar to a standing squat, except that you are utilizing your leg muscles to pull your body
weight up instead of resisting your body weight.
Rotational stretching. You can use the A-frame, support structure or doorframes to aid with stretching. Reach with
one arm to the opposite side of the structure and pull, rotating your torso to one side. Do the same with the
Back extensions. For the inversion table, reach your hands over each shoulder and grab onto the bed frame. Push
your body out away from the bed, arching your back. (Do not use the rear legs of the A-frame for extensions, as
that may place your body weight outside the safe support area of the A-frame).
Added traction. On the inversion table, reach your hands forward and grab onto the crossbar of the A-frame. Pull
gently to feel added traction to your lower back.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS NOT TO OVERDO IT. INVERSION IS NOT A "NO PAIN, NO GAIN"
SITUATION. AS SOON AS YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH, STOP!
7. I'm feeling some aching in my back when I return upright from inverting. Is this
There could be several causes for this.
You did too much too soon: If you are new to inversion, your body is not used to being inverted (chances are you
haven't hung upside down since 2nd grade!) By inverting too much too soon, you are probably going to be a little
sore. You can liken inversion to beginning any new exercise program. If you overdo it on the first day, you will
probably pay for it later!
You returned upright too fast: When inverted, your vertebrae have a chance to separate and the discs can
decompress. This action reduces pressure on the nerves that run through your spinal column. When you ascend (return
upright) on the inversion table, your spine "re-compresses"--the vertebrae return to their normal position and the
pressure on the discs increases again. If you come up from inversion too fast, you might place sudden pressure on
the nerves that run through the spine, which can cause some pain. Instead, you should invert to a mild angle (30-40
degrees) for just a few minutes. Come back up only to the horizontal position (lying flat). Remain horizontal for
several minutes to allow your spine to slowly re-compress. Then slowly come up the rest of the way.
Always keep in mind that if you experience extreme pain, or if you always experience pain while inverting, you
should discontinue inversion until you have had a chance to talk with your doctor.
8. Is the inverting detrimental if you have heart disease or high blood
It is true that people should not invert if they have uncontrolled high blood pressure. However,
inversion can cause a state of relaxation that results in a drop in heart rate and BP (sometimes even lower than
at a resting state). Some doctors have used inversion as a treatment for high BP. If you have concerns, you
should check with your doctor before inverting.
9. Will inversion therapy help with a bulged disc?
When inverted, the natural pull of gravity allows a separation of your vertebrae, which lessens the
pressure on the discs in between each vertebra. The action of increasing the space margins between the vertebrae
can actually create a mild suction in the disc, which may help encourage the bulged disc to return to its proper
The main benefits are realized by increased circulation and waste elimination to injured discs. In the opinion of
many medical professionals, several sessions of intermittent traction are the best way to help the body dissolve a
The length of healing time will vary with different people. However, it has been our experience that you should
hang three or more times every day for short sessions at an angle most comfortable for you. Do not overdo it...
this is not a "no pain, no gain” situation.
10. Will inversion help with headaches or migraines?
Some people have found that inverting on a regular basis can actually help reduce the frequency of
migraines. However, we do not have any medical studies to specifically support this claim. I would advise not to
invert while experiencing a migraine, as it could potentially worsen the headache.
11. Will inversion therapy help with draining blood from the lower limbs?
When inverted, you are helping your heart move venous blood from your legs and torso to the heart
and liver to be purified. Inversion also helps to move fresh, oxygen rich blood from your heart and lungs to
your upper body and brain.
When a muscle contracts, this squeezes capillaries and slows removal of wastes from the muscle. Sustained muscle
contraction due to stress or cramping causes wastes to accumulate in the tissue and this produces pain. What
inversion does for muscles is two-fold: first, it stretches and relaxes them; second, gravity helps the lymph
system to clear out the pain-producing toxins trapped in the tensed muscles.
By stimulating circulation, inversion has been known to relieve varicose veins. Varicose veins are caused when
blood pools in the veins due to weakened one-way valves. The downward pull of gravity causes blood to slip back,
and over time the vein will distend and become painful. When inverting, the pressure is relieved and the heart is
able to clear the blood from the lower body.
12. Is it save to invert if I have a fused vertebra?
There are many types of fusion surgeries. Some post fusion patients are helped by inversion. Any
fusion patient should consult with a licensed physician before inverting.
13. Can inversion help children with scoliosis? Does age matter?
Our medical advisor prefers to get patients involved with inversion as early as possible. Using
inversion to help slow or reverse the effects of scoliosis is helpful at any age, but especially before the
bones fully harden between the ages of 12-14. The size of the equipment may be an issue... so younger children
will need an attendant.
There are many causes of scoliosis. Some causes may be problematic for inversion (bone infection,
cancer, compression fracture). Most scoliosis found in children is related to bone anomalies or calcification
disorders, both of which do well with inversion. Of course, if you have any doubt, you should always consult
with a licensed physician.
Inversion therapy can provide innumerable benefits to your health. Inversion can relieve back pain,
decompress the spine, stretch muscles and ligaments, relieve stress, improve circulation and help maintain
overall good health. However, inversion is not for everyone. If you have any of the following health conditions,
please do not invert without your licensed physician's approval (this is not an exhaustive list - it is intended
only for your reference.)
Anti-Coagulants (Use of): Blood-thinning drugs to reduce clotting of the arteries and blood
vessels. The use of anti-coagulants signals people at risk for circulatory problems. Advise speaking with a
physician before inverting.
Bone weakness, recent fractures, skeletal implants: Having a person's weight pulling down
when inverted may exacerbate these conditions. Osteoporosis is a calcium deficiency disease in which the bones
become porous, brittle, and very weak. We advise speaking with a physician before inverting.
Conjunctivitis - (Pink eye): An inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the
front surface of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids caused by bacterial or viral infection. We advise
speaking with a physician before inverting.
Glaucoma: A condition of elevated pressure within the eye because of an obstruction of the
outflow of the clear, watery fluid circulating in the chambers of the eye. The resulting pressure (which is
imperceptible without an eye exam) kills cells in the optic nerve, which can lead to a gradual loss of vision.
Anyone with an eye condition should speak with a physician before inverting.
Heart / circulatory disorders: Any person having a condition involving the circulatory system
should speak with a physician before inverting.
Hiatal hernia, ventral hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when intra-abdominal pressure increases
cause a portion of the stomach to move into the chest cavity through a weakness in the diaphragm. A ventral hernia
develops at the site of previous surgery, usually along vertical incisions. It may also result from weakness in the
abdominal wall. We advise speaking with a physician before inverting.
High blood pressure, hypertension: A common disorder in which the heart is pumping blood
through the circulatory system with a force greater than that required for normal blood flow. An elevated blood
pressure exceeds 140/90. It is true that certain people should not invert if they have uncontrolled high blood
pressure. However, inversion can cause a state of relaxation that results in a drop in heart rate and BP (sometimes
even lower than at a resting state). Some doctors have used inversion as a treatment for high BP. We advise
speaking with a physician before inverting.
Middle ear infection: The middle ear helps equalize air pressure in the ear. A person may
feel discomfort or disorientation during inversion. We advise speaking with a physician before inverting.
Obesity (extreme): In some people obesity can be associated with the undetected onset of many
of the circulatory and eye problems mentioned above. The weight capacity of each of the inversion products should
not be exceeded.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women should exercise caution while inverting. It is advisable to talk
with physician first.
Retinal detachment: A separation of the retina, the thin, delicate membrane covering the rear
portion of the eye, from the optic nerve. Usually results from a hole in the retina that allows the vitreous humor
fluid to leak. Treatment is almost always surgical. A retinal hemorrhage, in most cases, can heal by itself. Anyone
with an eye condition should speak with a physician before inverting.
Spinal injury: Any severe spinal cord trauma requires a person to consult their physician
Stroke: Occurs when a blood vessel in the neck or brain becomes blocked or when a vessel in
the brain bursts open. Symptoms include paralysis, difficulty speaking, memory loss, and impaired thought
processes. It is advisable to talk with physician first.
Transient ischemic attack: Often called a "mini stroke," a TIA occurs when the blood supply
is temporarily interrupted to a part of the brain due to a blockage. Often precedes the onset of a full stroke, and
requires immediate action.
Total Hip and Total Knee Replacements: Anyone with a THR or TKR condition should speak with a
physician before inverting.
Any Spinal Surgery: We Advise speaking with your physician before inverting, its not that you
can not invert... but you need to be sure it is safe for you.