Does sitting all day at work leave you with pain in your lower back? Did you realize that the main cause of your back pain may actually be your office chair? The best solution to your problem may simply be to swap your ergonomic office chair for a kneeling chair. Kneeling chair benefits far outweigh the benefits of regular office chairs.
What Is The Problem With Office Chairs?
The human body was not designed to sit for long periods of time in a fixed position. By nature, we are nomadic people who gather or hunt food as we go, always on the move, always stretching for the next berry or nut.
Modern western civilization has enforced ideas on society. As children, it is drilled into us that we should sit up straight in high-backed chairs at the table to eat. As adults, we enter a work environment where we’re told to use a swivel chair at our desk at work. However, in the past people often adopted different means of sitting while working or eating. In India, people traditionally ate sitting cross-legged. In Japan, people knelt while eating. In Ancient Rome, they even reclined at banquets.
By forcing our bodies to adopt unnatural postures for extended periods of time, we may actually be causing ourselves serious harm. The stresses caused by this uncomfortable posture may lead to neck and back pain. The fact that we are sedentary rather than moving means that we don’t utilize our limbs and muscles in the way we should. In the long-term, this can damage your posture.
Although ergonomic elements have been built into many modern office chairs, they still essentially work in the same way as their wooden ancestors. Often the level of support they supply to your body is inadequate.
What Are The Kneeling Chair Benefits?
Many people are under the false impression that the only posture you can adopt in a kneeling chair is to kneel. Kneeling chairs are designed to be much more flexible in use than any traditional office chair, allowing you to adopt many different kinds of posture and vary your leg position as your day progresses. Varying position on a regular basis helps to prevent the kind of strain injuries that frequently cause back pain and neck pain as well as encouraging bad posture.
One of the huge kneeling chair benefits is the frequent natural movements encouraged by a kneeling chair is that this builds up seldom used muscles. Many kneeling chairs, like the Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair, incorporate a rocking base, which means that you will frequently move while sitting and so have to shift position to compensate and remain balanced. A rocking base also means that each pose adopted will likely be slightly different to the one before. Frequent movements awaken dormant muscles in your abdomen and lower back. Training these muscles in this way helps to strengthen your core and spine, thus improving posture and spinal health.
However, when you swap your old traditional chair for a more ergonomic chair design, you may find that your body aches. This is because those dormant muscles are not accustomed to being used so much. Of course, this is a temporary problem because those muscles will soon grow stronger from more frequent use.
To gain maximum benefit and minimum pain, it’s sometimes a good idea when you first buy a kneeling chair to only use it for short periods of time and continue using your old chair. Over a period of time, say a month, increase the proportion of time you spend sitting on your kneeling chair so that eventually you only use the kneeling chair.
Why Is A Kneeling Chair Better Than An Ergonomic Office Chair?
In recent decades designers have become increasingly focused on creating more ergonomic designs. Many office chairs manufactured today incorporate some element of ergonomic design, making them superior to the chairs frequently used in offices, say, fifty years ago.
In Norway during the late seventies, Hans Christian Mengshoei became very interested in the idea of a chair designed especially to be used in a kneeling posture. Inspired by his ideas, respected designers like Peter Opsvik (world-renowned, award-winning designer of the Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair) created the very first kneeling chairs. Opsvik and his colleagues were also convinced that frequent movements and shifts in posture were important for improving posture and spinal health.
When kneeling chairs appeared on the furniture scene in 1979, they were completely revolutionary. Instead of simply making small improvements on an old design, these chairs broke the mold. Where other chairs encourage a static position, these chairs encourage movement. Where other chairs only offer one basic seated position, these offer multiple poses. Where the primary seating mode of other chairs is the traditional seat, these chairs emphasize kneeling modes alongside more traditional seated postures.
When you buy a chair like the Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair, you are not simply buying another chair. You are buying a whole new mode of sitting. By allowing your body a broader range of natural movements, a kneeling chair helps you to alleviate lower back pain and also improve posture.
A Kneeling Chair Benefits Everybody
Everybody is different, and some people might not be able to grow accustomed to the very different sitting posture adopted on a kneeling chair, or they may not be able to get used to the frequent movements. However, perhaps everybody should take the time to try this mode of sitting, since it does offer significant health benefits, especially by reducing the causes of back pain and helping to improve posture.
A kneeling chair benefits those who suffer from back pain, neck pain or wish to improve your posture. If you are in good health, this kind of chair can still provide health benefits by helping to prevent future spinal health issues or bad posture.
Some people with severe back pain or perhaps disabilities related to the spine may not benefit from a kneeling chair. If you fall into this group, it may be advisable for you to consult with your physician before attempting to sit in such a chair. Better safe than sorry.
Although the original Varier Variable Balans Kneeling Chair did not come with a back rest, many kneeling chair designs today do incorporate a padded back rest. People with spinal problems may find such chairs better to use. Many of the kneeling chair designs that do not incorporate a supportive back do have one as an optional extra purchased separately. There is also a soft tape for the rocker-type chairs. This tape will protect your floor from scratches and marks made from the rocking motion.
A Few Last Thoughts
If you have only ever used a traditional office chair, and you are in reasonable health, you really should try a kneeling chair. Making this change is simple, and if you don’t like it then you can always swap back again. By making this change, you may significantly improve your posture and alleviate back pain. Why not see if a kneeling chair benefits you?