DFM Gravity Inversion Therapy
DFM Decompression & Functional Movement Gravity Inversion Table:
Watch the above video to help you understand Spinal Decompression
and how it might help you.
These Are Just Some Of The Many Benefits Of Inversion Therapy
Over half of people who invert on a regular basis do so to relieve
back pain. But to discount inversion as simply a back pain remedy
would be to ignore a wide range of benefits that can be easily achieved
by a passive, or more active, inversion session.
Inversion represents the Quiet Side of Fitness, helping
your body to recover from the compressive effects of gravity and
daily activities. Doctors, physical therapists and sports trainers
recognize inversion as a safe and effective form of therapy for
the spine and weight-bearing joints. In fact, the US Army is writing
Inversion into its worldwide physical training manual that will
be adopted for the new millennium.
Whatever your reason for inverting, TeeterTM Inversion Equipment
provides a comfortable and easy method to turn your world upside
Inversion Can Help to Relieve Many Forms of Back and Neck Pain
There are many causes of back pain, including poor posture, weak
back and stomach muscles, and misalignments to name a few. Many
of these causes can actually be attributed to one force we must
all battle: gravity.
Inversion therapy puts gravity to work for you by placing your
body in line with the downward force of gravity. Using your own
body weight as a natural form of traction, inversion elongates the
spine by increasing the space between the vertebrae, relieving the
pressure on discs, ligaments and nerve roots. Less pressure means
less back pain.
Every nerve root leaves the spine through an opening between the
vertebrae - the size of this opening is largely controlled by the
height of the disc. Discs that are plump and contained in their
ligament "wrappers" are necessary to keep the nerve roots
free of pressure and your body free from pain.
Stress and tension can cause muscle spasms in the back, neck and
shoulders, as well as headaches and other problems. Tense muscles
produce spasms and pain by reducing the supply of oxygen and by
reducing blood and lymph flow, allowing the accumulation of waste
chemicals in the muscles. Inverting yourself to as little as 25°
for even a few minutes can help relax tense muscles and speed the
flow of lymphatic fluids which flush out the body's wastes and carry
them to the blood stream. The faster this waste is cleared, and
fresh supplies of oxygen are introduced, the faster stiffness and
pain in the muscles can disappear. A study conducted by physiotherapist
L.J. Nosse found that, "EMG (electromyographic) activity, an
indicator of muscle pain, declined over 35% within ten seconds of
assuming the inverted position."2
Inversion can also help to encourage good posture. When inverted,
your body is in line with gravity. Your spine wants to naturally
go to it proper form (a gentle "s" curve). A regular program
of inversion can help you to maintain proper posture and keep your
body in balance. Poor posture is not only unhealthy, it's unattractive.
Inversion Helps Provide Care and Feeding for the Discs
Your discs have three jobs: to separate the vertebrae, provide
flexibility to the spine and to act as shock absorbers. Disc separation
is especially important since all communication between the brain
and the body is via nerves that pass between each vertebra. Insufficient
distance between the vertebrae can result in nerve root pressure
The inner core of your discs is made of jelly-like material that
provides the flexibility and "cushioning" in your back.
When you are sitting, standing, or exercising (weight-bearing activities),
fluid is squeezed out of your discs and into adjacent soft tissue
(just as you would squeeze moisture out of a sponge). As a result,
your discs lose some of their moisture and height. To prove this
fact, measure yourself in the morning and then again at night. You
will lose 1/2" to 3/4" in height by the end of the day.
This lost fluid translates into your discs loosing some of their
When you are sleeping, "a non-weight bearing activity",
your discs (or "intravertebral sponges") expand as they
soak up fluid and nutrients and increase the length of your spine
by as much as 3/4". But you don't gain the full height back,
accumulating to a total of 1/2" to 2" in height throughout
In fact, the only time in your life when you are giving your discs
a break is when you are inverting. See graph. The medical study
that generated this graph measured the pressure inside the 3rd lumbar
disc - it was assigned a baseline pressure while standing of 100%.
The study reported that even when you are lying down, the disc pressure
remained at 25%. The hundreds of ligaments and muscles that encase
and mobilize the spine act like a bunch of rubber bands holding
the spine in compression equal to 25% of standing body weight. Inverting
to 60 degrees is necessary to reduce the disc pressure to zero.3
Inverting is the most effective posture that allows your discs to
recover from the constant pressure placed on them during your daily
When your discs are compressed and thinned, your vertebrae potentially
place more pressure on these nerve roots. More pressure equals more
pain. As you relax, your spine begins to stretch. The space between
each vertebra will increase, thus decreasing the pressure on the
discs between each vertebra. This encourages fluid movement back
into the disc, helping to keep your discs plump and happy and decreasing
the pain in your back.
Grapes and Raisins
are soft, rubbery pads between the hard bones (vertebrae) of the
spinal column. When they are young and healthy, discs are plump
with water, which keeps them hydrated and they have the perfect
consistency to work as shock absorbers for the vertebrae. They also
act to maintain the space between the vertebrae so the nerves are
not impinged upon. Over time the daily stress of gravity, sitting,
twisting and the process of aging may dry them out like grapes turned
into raisins. This is called desiccation. This disc desiccation
or drying out can be reversed and the disc can be rehydrated. As
discs deteriorate, their tough outer shell weakens. One swing on
the tennis court or lifting in the wrong way can burst the interior
gel through the caseing, like jelly squishing out of a doughnut.
The result is the infamous herniated disc (also referred to as
ruptured or slipped disc). When a disc bulges against one of the
two sciatic nerves, which run from the spinal cord down the legs,
the pain can be excruciating. This bulge can also take place in
the cervical area which affects the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
Inversion therapy addresses the duel function of the discs, their
ability to act as shock absorber and spacer. With mild inversion
the vertebrae are separated allowing the discs to regain their form
and function. After the pressure is taken off the nerve there can
be a rocking motion added to the inversion therapy. The rocking
motion creates an accordion like pumping action that helps to hydrate
and increase the fluid circulation to the discs. It creates a compression
and expansion. One of the reasons discs degenerate and don't regenerate
well is due to the passive nature of the fluid flow to the discs.
They are not vasuclarized like a kidney. The fluid flow to and from
the disc is based on body movement such as walking and breathing.
The rocking motion on the table facilitates this fluid flow as good
or better than perhaps any other activity.
Disc Desiccation and Diuretics for High Blood Pressure - Water
We have no way to verify this scientifically, however, we have
been working in the field of back problems and inversion therapy
since 1980 and in the medical field before that and it has been
our observation that there may be a correlation between diuretic
therapy and disc problems. Long term use of diuretics to help control
high blood pressure may contribute to disc desiccation which is
described above. Most people who have disc problems may have one
or two compressed, herniated or ruptured discs. We have found people
who have disc problems and who are on diuretics seem to be more
likely to have 3-4 or even more compressed discs than the person
who is not on diuretics. Also when we hear someone has sciatica
on both sides, this is often a sign to us they maybe on diuretics.
When people tell us they have 5 compressed discs and we ask if they
are on diuretics, we are not surprised to hear that they are. They
are surprised when we ask them the question because they had never
made the correlation before. We have even spoken with nephrologists
(kidney and blood pressure specialist) and they had never made the
correlation either but believe there maybe be a causal relationship.
To our knowledge we are the first people in the world to make this
Inversion Helps to Achieve Functional Fitness
A person can only achieve functional fitness (the ability to remain
flexible and active throughout a lifetime) by incorporating every
element of fitness into their lifestyle: cardiovascular, strength,
and flexibility. Inversion can be utilized as an simple, effective
method to achieve each essential element of fitness:
Cardiovascular: The simple act of inverting the body can actually
help to stimulate circulation, resulting in a mild, even relaxing,
cardiovascular workout. Strength: More active inversion allows people
to add strength training (crunches, sit-ups, extensions, etc) with
no loads to the spine. Flexibility: Passive inversion can help to
maintain flexibility of the joints and spine, encouraging good posture
and properly hydrating the discs between each vertebrae. This element
of fitness is rarely addressed with the equipment offered at most
gyms, and is often overlooked as an important part of a complete
Train Core Muscle Groups without Loading the Spine
Core muscles - the muscles providing support for the torso (abdominals,
internal and external obliques, and lower back muscles) - are responsible
for the maintenance of posture, efficiency in movement and transfer
of power in the body.
Weak abdominal muscles allow you to slump forward, making you more
vulnerable to misalignments and injury. Well-developed core muscles
improve performance in athletic activities as well as with day-to-day
activities, supporting the spine in proper alignment to avoid injury.
Strong abdominal muscles support the spine by increasing internal
pressure (similar to using a back support when lifting heavy objects)
to help relieve the load on the discs in the spinal column.
Unfortunately, most exercises designed to build core muscles must
be performed with great technical accuracy or they can cause injury
to the lumbar spine. Inverting on TeeterTM equipment actually helps
users to focus on building core strength without loading the spine.
When performed from full inversion, exercises such as crunches,
sit-ups and back extensions can build strength in the core with
minimal risk of hyperextension or loading the spine improperly.
Recover from High Impact Workouts
Nearly every activity involves some form of compression of the
spine. The compressive effect of gravity is compounded by activities
such as running, weightlifting, aerobics, skiing, biking, and golf,
which can exact an incredible toll on the spine, discs, and back
If we perform our daily activities in the wrong way we can create
skeletal misalignments. Most often these misalignments are nominal
and will readily correct themselves given the opportunity. Inversion
with movement (such as side-to-side bends, back arches, and a partial
sit-up or two) provides that opportunity.
One-sided activities can be particularly troublesome for the athlete
for two reasons: The body will tend to over compensate for the strong-side
muscle groups, pulling the spine out of alignment, and one-sided
activities usually involve rotation of the spine, often under incredible
loads. Examples of these activities are golf, water skiing, tennis,
bowling, racquetball, and baseball. Inversion after physical activity
may help to realign the spine and keep athletes performing at higher
levels for longer periods of time.
Still other physical activities tend to create tension in the muscles
due to a contraction of the major muscle groups for long periods
of time. In-line skating, swimming, bicycling, windsurfing and rowing
are examples of activities which tend to create a great deal of
lower back strain. Athletes in these sports can receive a tremendous
boost from the relaxing stretch of inversion therapy.
Inversion Reduces Pain in Overworked Muscles
Athletes prone to stiffness or muscle spasms after a workout can
benefit from the lymphatic wash provided by inversion. Intense muscle
activities cause muscles to become sore. This is due to the build
up of large amounts of lactic acid and cellular debris in the muscles.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system has no pump.
Only the alternate contraction and relaxation of muscles move lymphatic
fluid "uphill" through capillaries and one-way valves
to the upper chest for cleansing. Inverting the body so that gravity
works with, not against, these one-way valves helps to push the
lactic fluid up to the chest. The faster the lymphatic system is
cleared, the faster the ache and pain of stiff muscles disappears.
Inversion Helps to Strengthen Ligaments
Ligaments are the fibrous strips that hold your bones together.
Ligaments are flexible but not very elastic, and can tear when they
are stretched too much. The gentle reverse loading and movement
that occurs while you invert strengthens ligaments and connective
tissue, and helps to protect the athlete from serious injury. Ligaments
that are not moved regularly in the right way become stiff, inelastic
and more easily torn.
Inversion Helps to Relieve Stress
Your body will let you know when you are stressed out - back and
neck pain, headaches and muscle tension is your body's way of protesting
against stress and forcing you to slow down.
If nothing else, Inversion is a great way to take a break and relax.
The full body stretch can be rejuvenating and can also help to reduce
muscle tension. A study conducted by physiotherapist LJ Nose found
that EMG activity (a measure of muscle tension) declined over 35%
within ten seconds of inverting. Inversion, therefore, is helpful
in relieving tension and pain in your muscles that may have been
caused by stress.
In fact, for centuries yoga practitioners have recognized the concept
of turning the body upside down to find relaxation. The head stand
position is a form of "postural exchange" (reversing the
direction of gravity). Not everyone wants to do headstands, so inversion
on Teeter TM equipment creates an easier alternative with the added
benefit of joint decompression.
Inversion Helps to Stimulate Circulation
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, veins, arteries,
and capillaries. It is your body's transportation system, carrying
food and oxygen to your body's cells. Your heart pumps blood through
the system: oxygen-rich blood from the lungs goes out through the
arteries and waste-filled blood comes back through the veins to
be cleansed and recharged with oxygen. The cardiovascular system
also retrieves blood from your legs and lower torso, carrying it
upwards against the force of gravity. Inversion allows your body
to work with gravity to ease the circulation process.
Inversion Provides Balance and Orientation Training
The performance of inverted activities can be enhanced through
inversion training. Inversion helps to develop balance awareness,
which occurs when the upper regions of the inner ear are stimulated.
Skydivers, gymnasts, springboard divers, and scuba divers find that
inversion therapy fine-tunes the body and inner ear to the inverted
world. Inversion therapy has also been used to normalize the ear
canal as a treatment for motion sickness.
Inversion Helps to Age Gracefully
Height Maintenance: Most people will lose from 1/2" - 2"
(1-5 cm) in height during their lifetime due to thinning discs.
As a baby, your discs are 90% water. However, the water content
in the discs decreases to 70% by age 70. An active inversion program
can help maintain more of your original height. See
Care and Feeding for Discs.
"Decongests" Internal Organs: As the body ages, internal
organs (kidneys, stomach, intestines) begin to prolapse as a result
of the constant downward force of gravity. "Middle-age spread"
(that spare tire around the waste), apart from weight gain, is due
to the relocation of internal organs. Digestion and waste elimination
problems are also common symptoms of organs going south. Inversion
helps prolapsed organs resume their normal shape and place in the
Increases Oxygen to the Brain: Peter Russell notes in The Brain
Book that the deterioration of the brain is not directly linked
to age alone. Rather, this deterioration is caused by hardening
arteries and high blood pressure, both of which decrease the supply
of oxygen to the brain. Thus a major step in reducing mental deterioration
(or senility) over time may simply be increasing the oxygen supply
to the brain. Keeping the brain active and well supplied with oxygen
may help maintain your brain function and mental sharpness throughout
your entire life. (NOTE: If you have high blood pressure, consult
your physician before starting an inversion program.)
Relieves Varicose Veins: When inverting, you are helping your heart
to clear the blood from your feet, legs, and lower body. This allows
the blood in your limbs to circulate more easily, which may help
to drain blood from varicose veins.
Inversion Therapy and Depression
One of the surprising results of inversion therapy is an overall
sense of well being many people feel. Usually this is in conjunction
with the reduction of pain, disability and an improvement in the
quality of life. However, just as exercise will produce endorphins
(opium like compounds in the brain) inversion therapy may have a
similar effect. Since most people report feeling better as it directly
relates to the reduction of the pain they purchased the inversion
table for initially we are dealing with back pain sufferers primarily.
Once this primary pain issue is ameliorated many people report continued
use of the table for other reasons. We have found after being on
their feet and feeling fatigued people will hang at a 45 degree
angle for 15-20 minutes for a "recharge" when they come
home from work. This increased sense of energy and relaxation many
people feel may be part of the reason inversion therapy is being
used more and more as part of a program to reduce depression and
improve the general quality of a person's life.
Considering the circulatory and lymphatic stimulation, oxygenation
of the brain, stretching of the muscles, ligaments and tendons and
the multitude of other benefits it is easy to see how inversion
therapy may have a positive effect on one's outlook on life. If
you would like to read a one page explaination of why inversion
therapy is so good for the body and mind please click here:
A Final Thought
The constant pull of gravity is the most powerful force your body
will see during your lifetime. Inversion offers a system of stretching
and light exercise that helps to slow or reverse the harmful, compression
of the body by gravity. Used sensibly, inversion is extremely beneficial,
and no more dangerous than many other popular and widely practiced
fitness activities. Sometimes there's an explanation for why inversion
works and sometimes there isn't.
The experience of thousands of people who invert regularly is that
it gives them the relief from back and neck pain they've been looking
for. Just as important, they gain the rejuvenating effects of inversion
on the entire body, providing health benefits far beyond the relief
of back pain.
1 The Johns Hopkins White Papers, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions,
Baltimore, MD, 2000.
2 Nosse, L: Inverted Spinal Traction. Arch Phys Med Rehab 59: 367-370,
3 Nachemson, A and Elfstrom, G; Intravital Dynamic Pressure Measurements
in Lumbar Discs. Scandinavian Journal of Rehab Medicine, supplement,
all the Medical Studies go here: