Though so many of us suffer chronic back pain, muscle spasms, and overall aches and pains, very few of us have tried inversion therapy (or even heard of it!).
This is strange, since it’s been practiced since 3000 BC. How do we know? Early drawings of inverted yoga positions have been discovered, and from these we can assume that the first yogis were turning upside down to increase blood circulation, flexibility and relieve spinal pain.
The short answer is that inversion therapy involves hanging upside down by your ankles in an effort to decompress your spine.
The thinking behind inversion therapy is actually pretty simple. By hanging securely with your head below your feet, gravity gently pulls and stretches the muscles and joints, giving you temporary relief from pain.
An inversion table provides the utmost safety, control and comfort (as opposed to intense gravity boots). With a table, it’s possible to choose the angle of inversion and the whole experience is more comfortable because your ankles and feet are secure yet supported. Different tables offer different features, which we’ll examine below as we choose the best inversion table for the money.
As with many physical therapies, inversion therapy is something that may not work for everyone. For example, a common complaint is that it places too much stress on ankles and/or feet. That said, numerous doctors and therapists claim that, with regular practice, inversion therapy can temporarily relieve symptoms related to herniated discs, muscles sprains, sore joints, spinal degeneration and more.
Until you get the knack of your inversion table, you may want to have someone nearby who can act as a spotter. Most tables are designed so you can easily move to an upright position, but it may take a few times before you feel secure doing it on your own. In addition, folks with high blood pressure, heart disease, eye disease, acid reflux or who are pregnant, should consult their doctor to see if this is an appropriate treatment.
Next we’re going to take a closer look at five of the most popular models of inversion tables. We’ll be considering the following:
Before we dig into the nitty gritty, let's take a quick look at some of our top picks.
Features we love
Buy it now
Innova ITX9600 Deluxe Inversion
Invertio Premium Folding
100% (240 degrees
No-skid feet on
Memory foam backrest
LED display (but no
Customizable with Teeter
Innova Health and Fitness supplies quality exercise machines to hotels, public and private gyms.
The Innova ITX9600 is called “Heavy Duty” for a reason. It’s made of durable steel and can handle up to 300 lbs. of weight. There’s an oversized backrest and a large, cushioned (and adjustable) headrest. The backrest is cushioned for extra comfort as well. Full-length foam handles provide extra support and a sense of security.
This inversion table uses an updated design that includes a side inversion pin to determine the degrees of inversion instead of an old-fashioned strap style. The advantage to the pin is that it promises an accurate and safe position. There are 5 different degrees of inversion to choose from.
Finally, this model is foldable (although it does not fold completely flat) so it can be stashed away when it’s not in use.
The Innova ITX9600 doesn’t have ant extra bells or whistles. If you’re main concern is comfort and durability, this may be the best fit for you. The oversize, padded backrest and headrest combined with the heavy-duty steel frame make this a solid choice.
While researching the Invertio Premium table, we had difficulty finding any information on the company or any explanations of a warranty plan. We urge you to consider this while you read about this model.
The Invertio Premium table offers great bang for your buck, especially considering the low price point. It has a sturdy design with a heavy-duty steel frame and no-skid feet, lots of padding on the table and the headrest, adjustable foam ankle rollers and long safety handrails. All of these features make for a durable yet comfortable piece of equipment.
The Invertio table is also versatile in that it offers 26 height adjustments and 8 ankle adjustments. It can tolerate up to 300 lbs. and anyone from 4’10” to 6’6”. What’s more, it folds almost completely flat for easy storage.
Many customers remark on the sleek, modern look of this inversion table (think shiny silver steel and black upholstery). Not only does the Invertio table promise a reliable and enjoyable inversion experience, it looks darn good in the process! Considering all of this – good performance and good looks – it just may be the best inversion table for the money!
Ironman Fitness has become synonymous with challenging yourself and setting goals. The company is dedicated to helping athletes at all levels push themselves to the limit to accomplish their athletic goals. They pride themselves on top-notch customer service and are proud to be linked with the successful Paradigm Health and Fitness.
Indeed, of all the tables we researched, the Gravity 4000 can handle the most amount of weight, up to 350 lbs. In order to do that, it has a wide steel frame with solid, skid-proof stabilizers. For comfort, the table and headrest have extra thick padding (2 ½” memory foam) and the ankle supports are lined front and back with foam. For safety, there are long armrests on either side, a safety tether strap (which controls how far the table can swing when it’s in use), and easily activated releases on the ankle supports.
You’ll notice that the Ironman Gravity 4000 is at a higher price point than many of the others listed here, and we imagine that has to do with overall “toughness” of the machine: the tubular steel frame combined with the durable (yet comfortable!) padding and molded supports. Clearly, this model is for someone who does not plan to move the heavy table around or fold it up very often, if at all. It is for an athlete with a serious training schedule who plans to use the table often and for a long time.
The Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared table has very similar specs to the Ironman Gravity 4000, but with one major difference. In this model, a sophisticated heating system, Far Infrared Therapy (FIR), is incorporated.
Nestled in the 2.5” backrest are super thin heating elements made of carbon fiber. They gently warm up to a maximum of 140 degrees, allowing your muscles to temporarily loosen and relax. In turn, on this table you benefit from two different types of therapy at the same time: inversion and heat. An LED display screen shows the temperature setting that you can control with a handy remote (which also controls a timer and can turn the heat on and off). The added bonus of the infrared therapy does have a downside, in that it makes for a significantly more expensive product.
This model can invert to 180 degrees and it has 3 starting positions. Like all Ironman designs, there are excellent safety features like no skid stabilizers, long arm rails to help return to an upright position, and quick release ankle supports.
A word of caution: before embarking on any type of inversion therapy combined with heat, check with your physician. While it is a proven method to relieve chronic back pain and sprains, it may not be the best choice for those with high blood pressure or other health issues.
Teeter Inversion Tables are based on 35 years of engineering technology and are in keeping with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) strict safety standards. Designed by innovator Roger Teeter, who suffered from chronic back pain for many years, Teeter is among the top names when it comes to inversion therapy. Teeter is proud to service over 2 million customers worldwide.
What sets the Teeter EP-560 Ltd. Apart from the competition is the versatility of the design. The bed is fitted with several slots where you can attach acupressure nodes (muscle stimulators) as you see fit. In addition, you can adjust the angle of the lumbar bridge and a neck arch to your own particular level of comfort. These customizable options allow you to target the areas of discomfort as they change from day to day.
Teeter claims that it won’t take you more than 30 minutes to assemble the table, as it has fewer parts than most competitive models. To get you started, it comes with a tool kit and a starter DVD.
The Teeter name does come with a hefty price tag. However, if you want the ultimate control of your inversion therapy and benefit from customizable features, the investment may be worth it.
How do you know which is the best inversion table for the money? The answer lies in your specific needs and expectations. In other words, consider the health issues you want to address, where you want to put the table (and if you want to fold it up sometimes) and your budget. Once you’ve prioritized your needs, the choice is much easier.
Here's an example: if you’re on a budget but you’re fortunate to have space to set up a decent sized table, we’d suggest taking another look at the Invertio Premium Folding Inversion Table with Padded Backrest. This model is durable and adjustable so it’s a comfortable choice for all family members. What’s more, customers agree that its sleek design is actually quite attractive, so you won’t mind looking at it when it’s not in use.
We know that back and joint pain is no joke – it can impact all aspects of your life. With inversion therapy, you may be on your way to a more pain-free existence, just like countless yogis before you!