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, the best 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 and Club Egg are popular ones. So are the Wassily and 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 zero-gravity options, it does look a bit familiar. It looks like a combination of the 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. Around this time, they discovered the neutral position of the body. We will dig deeper into the development of this technology. After all, what better way to understand something than know a bit of its history.
Back in the days when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was developing the first versions of the space capsule, it prioritized functionality over comfort. Since then, it’s more common to refer to them as NASA.
In the later years, NASA started to look into a different approach to 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. It is different from the normal posture on Earth. The human body follows an upright posture on Earth. It automatically assumes a position created by the limbs’ natural positions and the joints’ natural angles in space. It was called the NBP, short for neutral body position. It 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. Since then, the neutral body position has been applied to the positioning of astronauts in the shuttle cockpit.
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What do they do?
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 no technology exists that makes it possible to date. The zero gravity position happens when the body reclines while the legs reach above the heart’s level in space. The zero gravity position reduces the impact of gravity on the body, which then initiates the health benefits of these chairs.
Let us touch a bit on regular reclining ones to explain what a zero gravity chair is. 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. It reduces the stress that gravity naturally brings. The point here is that the body gets relieved of most chairs’ pressure.
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. It is beneficial to the human body.
They have several other health benefits. We will not be going over every benefit. We will dive deeper into one of the sections below for more details.
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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 on a liftoff mission for space. The distribution of your weight happens across the chair, relieving pressure and stress on the body. This feeling makes you feel practically weightless.
Although those for outdoor use would go well on 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 outdoors and indoors 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 are portable, making them ideal for outdoor activities like a trip to the beach or camping.
After some time, manufacturers started producing models that had 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. A reclining option can transform into a zero-gravity posture position from an upright position.
Suppose you are having difficulty deciding between the two. You need to ask yourself, “will I use it indoors or outdoors?” 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 have made them important to self-care. The zero-gravity posture allows for increased blood circulation and spinal decompression. As a consequence, you’ll get 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 the pressure on the spine 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. 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 is improved heart health resulting from increased blood circulation. Blood flows more efficiently when the body is neutral while the legs are elevated above the heart level. Efficient blood circulation provides oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. It lets the heart work less and decreases blood pressure.
The zero-gravity posture results in better overall sleep quality in the long run. The body learns 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 between the spine’s vertebrae area begins to shrink or erode due to constant pressure, it starts rubbing against each other. It causes 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. 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. 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 and kidney stones. Heart attacks and menstrual cycles are other common reasons.
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. These injuries can also lead to disc herniation or 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. These benefits are improved sleeping quality and blood circulation. Alleviating back pain is also a huge bonus.
So the next question you may have is which brand to buy. There are several brands available in the market. No brand is best for everyone since your decision would be based on several factors, such as needs and budget. If we recommended one brand, it would be Timber Ridge.
Timber Ridge is known for its outdoor equipment, and it’s so for a reason. They manufacture and sell some of the best zero gravity chairs. These are durable and can recline, providing you with all the comfort you may want. The best part is that they come with a warranty, a great feature. Should you need to look into the details, please visit Timber Ridge’s official website.
Don’t lose hope if you think Timber Ridge is not the brand for you! 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 indoors and outdoors while reclining ones are for indoor use.
Given the number of brands and models available, it is hard to name one as the best one. As mentioned before, the best one for you depends on your needs and budget. We cannot stress this enough.
A 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 and recline. It will 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 only support up to 250 pounds. Some have extra gimmicky features, such as drink trays and removable headrests. Sunshade canopies may also be a thing to look for.
What is the lightest weight zero gravity option?
Typically, the best zero gravity chairs weigh 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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A zero gravity chair slings your body in a neutral position, typically assumed by astronauts reaching zero gravity. Your feet are raised to be aligned with your heart. During this alignment, a sensation of weightlessness overcomes you. Essentially, it lessens the effect of gravity on your body.
Zero gravity chairs have multiple, proven health benefits. It improves your blood circulation, but it also reduces any swelling or pressure against the blood vessels. The neutral posture also helps in spinal decompression, which improves tissue healing and back support. Your sleep quality is enhanced with reduced back pain and improved blood flow.
With many options available in the market, there are multiple good fits per your preferences. The Caravan Sports zero-gravity chair is an overall masterpiece, offering durability and a smooth reclining function. If you’re looking for a more economical option, the Amazon Basics Outdoor zero-gravity folding chair works best.
There are numerous options to extend the zero gravity chairs to lay flat. In addition, brands are making foldable models with increased reclining more accessible.