Turning the body upside down to encourage a healing effect is not new. Yogis have been doing headstands, handstands, and other upside-down postures for a long time now. Looking at it as a physicist, inversions counteract the effects that gravity has on our bodies. All day long, gravity is pushing down on your body, including the spine and intervertebral discs. When we turn upside down, the spine is decompressed and muscles which surround it are lengthened. You’re not required to stand on your head. In fact, you don’t even have to be completely upside down to experience the benefits. Just having your torso below your waist will provide some of the effects, even at -5 or -10 degrees. We advise using this gentler approach of inclining a few degrees back as a pose to hanging completely upside down. For those with back problems, hanging fully upside down can put too much stress on the discs and facet joints and generate too much slack within joints. You could hang upside down in many different, but the most common (and easiest) method is to use an inversion table. These tables permit control of far over you will go. You lie down, firmly fasten your legs, and tilt the machine backward. You can move upside down in small increments from as little as a few degrees to fully upside down.
The intervertebral disc is the largest organ in the body which doesn’t have a direct blood supply. Most lumbar discs are roughly the size of a watch face and have no arteries going to them. Discs depend on the surrounding bone for nutrients. These nutrients percolate into the disc in a similar fashion to coffee going through a filter. Studies have shown that that pulling the bones apart through inversion therapy may increase the rate of this process. This allows greater nutrient flow and increases disc hydration and height.
Inversion tables are often for home use. However, some physio therapists or other health care professionals may also have them. Try before you buy. And speak with your doctor prior to starting inversion therapy. Inversion therapy is not advised if you have particular medical conditions, including high blood pressure, detached retina, or glaucoma. Inversion therapy can also aggravate laxity of the joints, or spondylolisthesis.