There are several types of chairs available in the market to date. It gets confusing which one to pick since we spend most of our time at home. For most people, the number one factor they look for is comfort. With that said, zero gravity chairs are a great way to go in terms of comfort. However, is the level of comfort it provides worth the price tag? Let’s find out!
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What is a zero gravity chair?
There are tons of chairs available in the market. The Windsor, Club, Egg, Wassily, Armchair, Tulip, and Wingback are only some of the ones to mention. However, a new type is the zero gravity chair. You may or may not have heard of it before, but it exists!
Looking at a zero gravity options, it does look a bit familiar. It looks like a combination of the lawn, rocking, and massage chair. However, don’t be fooled because it is way more comfortable than all these three options combined.
So you may be wondering about the science behind them. Is it just another fancy marketing name to sell their products? Of course not! The zero gravity chair takes its concept from the body’s neutral position. In the 1970s, some astronauts spent time at the first United States space station – Skylab. It was around this time when they discovered the neutral position of the body. In the following paragraph, we will dig deeper into the development of this technology. After all, what better way to understand something than to know a bit of its history.
Back in the days when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly referred to as NASA, was developing the first versions of the space capsule, it prioritized functionality over comfort. Space capsules were tight since astronauts typically work while they are buckled up into their seats.
In the later years, NASA started to look into a different approach in creating these space capsules. They wanted to incorporate comfort with functionality, which was somehow a huge step at that time. As a reference, they went over the images from the first space station – Skylab. They found out that astronauts were feeling physically relaxed while under the gravity conditions in space.
When the human body is relaxed in space, it assumes a different posture, which is different from the normal posture on Earth. The human body follows an upright posture on Earth. In space, it automatically assumes a position created by the limbs’ natural positions and the joints’ natural angles. It was called the NBP, short for neutral body position, and was drawn from the measurements of twelve astronauts that joined Skylab.
NASA documented the observations of NBP in the Man-Systems Integration Standards (MSIS). Part of the MSIS states that changes in the neutral body positioning were observed under a microgravity condition. Additionally, there was also an increase in height due to fluid shifts and spinal decompression. Ever since then, the neutral body position was applied to the positioning of astronauts in the shuttle cockpit.
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What do they do?
In the previous section, we talked about the NBP, a position created by limbs and joints in microgravity. The next thing is finding out what zero gravity position means on Earth. Because of several established scientific factors, gravity can’t reach zero on Earth. There is the concept of anti-gravity, but to date, no technology exists that makes it possible. In space, the zero gravity position happens when the body reclines while the legs reach above the heart’s level. The zero gravity position reduces the impact of gravity on the body, which then initiates the health benefits of these chairs.
To give a clearer explanation of what a zero gravity chair is, let us touch a bit on regular reclining ones. They keep the legs down while the torso leans back. On the other hand, a zero gravity option elevates the leg a little above heart level. As a result, your body’s weight is evenly distributed across, which reduces the stress that gravity naturally brings. The point here is that the body gets relieved of the pressure most chairs bring.
One thing you can experience with them is to experience spinal decompression. It relieves pressure from the spine, which is not possible with other types. Relieving pressure and weight from the spine may alleviate sciatica symptoms or back pain. At the same time, blood circulation also increases, which is beneficial to the human body.
They have several other health benefits. We will not be going over every benefit. For more details, we will dive deeper into one of the sections below.
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Do they really work?
The short answer is yes. They work the way they should. What is great is that manufacturers have made ones for both indoor and outdoor use, so you will not have to worry.
If you are looking for a way to spend a relaxing afternoon at home, a zero gravity chair does the job pretty well. Although it does not break any of the laws of Physics as the name may imply. It lets you lie in the same position as astronauts when in a liftoff mission for space. The distribution of your weight happens across the chair, which relieves pressure and stress on the body. This feeling makes you feel practically weightless.
Although those that are for outdoor use and would go well at your patio or backyard, not all of these ‘are lounger-style. The following section talks about some of the health benefits that they offer.
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Fixed Zero Gravity vs. Reclining Chair
The first zero gravity chairs that made it into the market do not recline. Ones that work well outdoor and indoor use an elastic cording similar to bungee cables. This material keeps it lightweight and usable indoor or outdoor. The downside is needing to replace the cable after some time for optimal performance. Some of them are portable, making them ideal for outdoor activities like a trip to the beach or camping.
After some time, manufacturers started producing models that have a reclining feature. These typically have better quality and are larger than fixed ones. The downside is that it is almost exclusive for indoor use. From an upright position, a reclining option can transform into a zero-gravity posture position.
If you are having a hard time deciding between the two, you need to ask yourself, “Will I be using it indoor, outdoor, or both?” When you have that figured out, the next thing you need to know is if you want a reclining feature or not. If yes, you should most likely go for a reclining one.
What are the benefits?
Whichever brand you choose, the health benefits that they offer have made them important to self-care. The zero-gravity posture allows for increased blood circulation, spinal decompression, and overall better sleep quality. All these benefits make up for a healthier body.
|Increased blood circulation||Improved sleep||Less back pain|
|Spinal decompression||Improved self-care|
Most of our daily activities put pressure on the spine. Since they pressure on the spine, it allows for better tissue healing and disc rehydration. The spine elongates when you are in the zero-gravity posture, aiding recovery from the daily effects of gravity. As a result, it may relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, which causes sciatica symptoms and lower back pain. These health issues affect almost 40% of all people in the world. For added support, you may want to consider one that has lumbar support. It helps relieve lower back pain.
As mentioned above, one of the health benefits they offer is improved heart health resulting from increased blood circulation. Blood flows more efficiently when the body is in the neutral position while the legs are elevated above the heart level. Efficient blood circulation provides oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, letting the heart work less and decreases blood pressure.
In the long run, the zero-gravity posture results in better overall sleep quality. The body learns the ability to relax, which contributes to improved sleep quality.
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Types of Back Pain
They have helped people with back pain. However, there are different types of back pain. Below is a summary of each type.
When the disc cushion located between the spine’s vertebrae area begins to shrink or erode as a result of constant pressure, it starts rubbing against each other, causing traumatizing pain and discomfort. The pain’s location depends on the area of disc erosion.
A great analogy would be rubbing your hands against concrete. If you are not wearing any protective gear, you will get wounds in your hands. However, if there is a significant protective layer between your hands and the concrete floor, you won’t get wounded.
Back Strain and Sprain
Back sprain and strain happen when the ligaments are inflamed. It may also happen when muscles and tendons at the back are damaged. Both cause immense pain in your back, which could render you immobile.
The spine has curvature by default. However, when it is too curved, then you may have scoliosis. With this condition, the spine curves in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape and typically develops during a person’s growth period. In most cases, the cause is unbalanced pressure applied to a part of the spine. There are several treatments available that remedy the pain scoliosis brings.
The disc cushioning located at the lower part of the spinal column has a soft portion inside of it. When the soft portion of the disc protrudes out, herniation happens. The mere fact it protrudes can cause discomfort or even pain. There are instances when the soft portion that has protruded starts pressing a vein, which causes severe pain and may require urgent surgery.
Non-Spinal Back Pain
Not all pain you feel in your back is related to the spine. Some may refer to non-spinal issues, such as gall bladder stones, kidney stones, heart attack, menstrual cycles, pancreatic infection, etc.
With that said, finding the cause of the back pain should be the first step. When the cause has been identified, you can proceed to treat it.
Back pain can also be associated with trauma to the spine. Injuries happen and come in different forms, such as an accident or a sudden movement from an event. Any of these injuries can also lead to disc herniation or even other back pain types.
Are they worth it?
We have discussed the several benefits of having one at home. So is it worth the money? It’s a big YES! Although it comes with a hefty price tag, you get several health benefits from it. A few of these benefits are improved sleeping quality, blood circulation, and alleviates back pain.
So the next question you may have is which brand to buy. Several brands are available in the market, so no brand is best for everyone since it would base on several factors, such as needs and budget. However, if we would recommend one brand, then it would be Timber Ridge.
Timber Ridge is known for its outdoor equipment, but they also manufacture and sell zero gravity chairs. These are durable and can recline. The best part is they come with a warranty. Should you need to look into the details, feel free to visit Timber Ridge’s official website.
If you think Timber Ridge is not the brand for you, don’t lose hope! There are several other brands available in the market. You got most of the facts about them in the above sections, so you can quickly determine if a particular model is good or not.
What’s the best zero gravity chair?
They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are compact, while others are oversized. It all comes down to your needs and preferences. Do you need a reclining or fixed zero gravity chair? Keep in mind that fixed ones work well indoor and outdoor while reclining ones are for indoor use.
Given the number of brands and models available in the market, it is hard to name a single one as the best one. As mentioned before, and we cannot stress this enough, the best one for you depends on your needs and budget.
Few Things to Consider
|What to look for|
Aside from budget and needs, here are a few things you may want to consider when looking for one. A good one will fold, recline and have a thick elastic vinyl or polyester cord in the seat’s fabric. Frames are metal 90% of the time and are often powder-coated steel and rust-resistant. Most support a maximum weight of 300 pounds, while some can support up to 250 pounds only. Some have extra gimmicky features, such as drink trays, removable headrests, sunshade canopies, and more.
What is the lightest weight zero gravity option?
Typically, a zero gravity chair weighs about 350 pounds or more. However, the lightest as of this writing is around 250 pounds. Several factors affect weight, such as the material for the frame and the fabric.
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