is it possible to make an "inversion table" at home, cheaply?

an "inversion table" is one that you can lay on and tip yourself upside down to let your spine stretch.

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uh, to answer the question... yes, it is possible, although not recommended (seriously, I don't like it when something falls apart because of poor design which my lead to (severe) injury)
Wow, you're a little hypocritical, aren't you? How much severe injury do you think a 400V stun gun could cause if made to YOUR specs, let alone if we missed a step or made it with some bad parts? Or, maybe, how much damage could an alcohol stove do if left unattended, or again, built incorrectly? Remember the saying about glass houses.
We, who build, know what the chances are when we build things, or at least we should know. It's part of our american heritage to buck against the system that says, "be careful, only let the experts do it." I'm pretty sure, being an author, you would agree. Ingenuity comes at a price. That's why it should come with a testing procedure that preferably doesn't include a human (even if you don't like him/her).
For Guardian fox, all I have to say is let the doctors say what is safe. You obviously don't know the human body that well.
As to whether this table actually heals, I'd say yes, if used in moderation. It's a form of excersize. And listing all sorts of false calamities that could befall someone using it is just as bad as the other quacks who make bogus healing claims.
Last, but certainly not least, ask your doctor if you should be doing this. A bad ticker could be all you need for this to be too much.
I hope this is nice enough. I really don't mean to offend, just clarify.
Dude, this comment was like... 2 years ago. My safety standards have changed since. Nowadays I research like there's no tomorrow and weigh my options and see if it's worth it at all.

You do good research when you comment, but you should take into account the uncertainties of time when commenting on rather old posts.
ataylor26 years ago

I am sure there has to be an way of doing it, but today there are so many different types available in the market and cheaper also.
shooshoo7 years ago
Wow your posts have got to be some of the most paranoid I have ever read! :) There's nothing wrong with inversion tables. Think about it logically for a second...they allow you to stretch your spine, and stretching last I heard was good for you. Of course any body with a pre-existing injury should think twice about whether a particular exercise or therapy is going to make their condition worse or not. If you don't think twice about it you'd be a fool. I wouldn't expect a person with one leg to go to they gym and do squats because he heard they provide a great way to build muscle, and a person with a back injury obviously shouldn't use an inversion table. Actually they should be careful when stretching PERIOD.

What I love most is how whenever something comes on to the market that promotes itself as "natural" there are so many people who are quick to point out that it's quackery or doesn't work, or there is no evidence to support it, etc. On the other hand let's discuss surgery - surgery isn't a cure for anything! It's used after someone has had a problem, as a means to provide temporary relief! Yet there's a lot of people out there who are quick to undergo surgery and not call it quackery. After reading these posts I would consider an inversion table to offer the same kind of relief as medication. Neither of them cures anything, but why is the inversion table classified as quackery whereas medication is thought to be hard science??

The bottom line...if it works for you then do it. If not then don't do it! But don't cal something quackery because it doesn't work for you (or you don't think it will). For every person that inversion tables don't work for I bet there are at least 1 or 2 others who receive great benefits from the exercise.
mongolike7 years ago
GuardianFox speaks w a forked tongue.
Inversion therapy definitely works and is a good thing.
Only reason to steer clear of it is if you have very severe back problems.
Just seconds inverted can greatly relieve any back pain due to pinched nerves.
Been using them for 20+ years and I swear by it.
You can build but it's better to buy, of course.
I'll give you a heads up, they're quackery and the exercise of building it will be better for you than the actual table.  It's not worth the expense or the space.

But more importantly I advise that this is NOT something you should do at home.  There's a big risk of injury if combined with any number of diseases you wouldn't expect to it to interact with and a number of those diseases you may not know you have.  Eye diseases like pink eye or a detached retina are examples of this.  A simple thing like an ear infection could leave you in pain for days or weeks after inversion therapy.  Stomachaches and gastric reflux are worsened.  Heart and blood diseases could kill a patient who tries inversion!

More importantly, traction (stretching the spine) doesn't relieve pain long-term.  It helps to temporarily relieve pain, but it hasn't effectively been shown to do anything more than that.  It might be OK to use traction as an addition to clinical therapy, but extended use is likely to make your problem worse. 

Note that any studies I've been able to find supporting inversion therapy have been done by, and often include written advertisements for, companies selling inversion equipment.  Reliable studies from the other viewpoint are lacking too, but it seems to be from a lack of interest in the research community.  It's panned pretty widely as quackery.

If you want to try it, there's no doubt it will temporarily relieve pain.  There's good evidence for that but considering the danger, go to a professional after consulting with your doctor first!
Very good post!  ++
Thanks Frollard.   It's a passionate subject for me, all those different quack medical gizmos and do-dads.  They always burn money and often do harm.

I try to keep personal anecdotes OUT of this subject.  I know you've seen some of my other answers; I ALWAYS have an anecdote.  This case is no different.  I have some family and friends who fall for quackery all the time, but out of respect for them I try to keep them out of it.

Inversion therapy is the current fad where I live, with the things going up in gyms, tanning salons, and even in the back rooms of convenience stores!  Naturally, it worries me when I think that the guy who can't count change at the local Kwik-E-Mart is performing inversion therapy at the same time he's selling beer and lottery tickets.  It sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.  It's just like they're trading all those tanning beds that were oh-so-healthy thirty years ago for inversion therapy.

The last fad that caught on like this around here was personal "ionizers."  They're little gizmos that you wore around your neck and blew air up towards your face.  They were supposed to kill bacteria and eliminate pollutants, with some even claiming that they imparted something beneficial to the air by improving the oxygen or something.  I had the opportunity to take a few apart.  Neither was anything more than an ordinary LED, a battery, and a small fan.
Yeah, ionizers are even known to be problematic in that they create ozone - great stuff for earth; toxic to us in high enough concentrations. :S

My parents jumped on board Atkins, among a few others - my mother takes everything written in those 'how to live better' tiny magazines at the supermarket lineup.  Yes, ginger and cayenne will help your heart (taken straight with water) but you will get acid reflux from the straight peppers...they don't mention these side effects.

Exercise equipment that is called 'easy' on an infomercial is a joke, relying on momentum to make 'lots of movement' when really its the 'doing hard work' part of working out that actually has any results.  ...Couple that with the concept that localized workouts will affect fat in that localized area <total bullshit> just makes me mad.  "work out your abs to get rid of those love handles".  It may build a little extra muscle there, but the fat can only be burned with heavy aerobic exercise to burn ALL fat.
You're a man after my own heart. 

At least all those exercise machines result in mindless youtube entertainment:  I laughed for a minute, then remembered I'd made the same mistake on a similar machine once and lost two baby teeth.

I'd have been happier with the portable "ionizers" if they actually were ionizers or ozone generators.  A blue LED does not an ionizer make.
What were you doing on exercise equipment when you still had baby teeth?!
... learning what a spotter was for!
orksecurity7 years ago
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lemonie7 years ago
Get a door - people sometimes sell these in cheap-ads (i.e. local newspapers), mount it on a wooden frame

frollard7 years ago
surely its possible- might take some experimentation to find your center of mass, and a little trigonometry to figure out the angles - but it's basically a table with an offset distance between the person and the fulcrum.  Googling for photographs of existing tables would lend insight to creating your own.