What is a zero-gravity chair? Some of you might be reading out this term for the first time while some may have come across it earlier. In any case, you don’t need to consider any other guide as this article is all about zero-gravity chairs.
As obvious from the name, a zero-gravity chair places your body in a zero-gravity position, just like astronauts sit in rockets and spacecraft to cope with stresses during their space travel. The main purpose of zero-gravity chairs is to distribute a user’s weight evenly across the body and allow them to experience a feeling of weightlessness.
Because of their design, zero-gravity chairs offer plenty of benefits, especially for people with back pain, body swelling, and breathing issues. All of these benefits as well as the working of zero-gravity chairs are covered in this article, so keep reading!
Concept Behind Zero-gravity Chairs
In the late 1980s, Skylab, the first American space station, made investigations into human body posture in zero-gravity or space. The resulting measurements specified certain angles and positions that represent the behavior of human bodies when they relax in any weightless environment.
This laid the foundation of the “neutral body posture” that led to the manufacturing of zero-gravity chairs. Since then, zero-gravity chairs have evolved in their design and features. Today, you can find zero-gravity chairs in a variety of materials, sizes, and colors and can choose options with additional features such as side trays, footrests, or adjustable headrests.
What is a Zero-gravity Position?
When your body is positioned such that no force of gravity is working on it, that’s called a “zero-gravity position”. This is the same position astronauts take during their liftoff as it ensures that their bodies don’t face intense stress with the increasing gravity when they go up in space. A zero-gravity position raises your upper body at an angle of 120 degrees, so your head can be above your heart level.
What is a Zero-gravity Chair?
A zero-gravity or an anti-gravity chair places your body in a zero-gravity position. By keeping your knees and head a little above your heart level, a zero-gravity chair evenly distributes your body weight and pressure across all pressure points.
By doing so, it improves your blood flow between the heart and lower body. The zero-gravity position of these chairs keeps your spine in a neutral position promoting comfort and reducing back pain.
Although most zero-gravity chairs don’t come a tension control knob (as found in recliners), some of the modern designs have this option. So, you can adjust your chair’s resistance according to your preference.
Difference Between a Zero Gravity Chair and Recliner
Many people believe that recliners and zero-gravity chairs are the same thing. That’s not correct. Although both chairs offer a recline feature to the users, they are distinct in their design and functionality.
The first point of difference is the level of recline offered by both chairs. A zero-gravity chair allows the users to rest in a zero-gravity position with their legs above their heart level and body weight distributed evenly across the entire body. Recliners, on the other hand, don’t offer a zero-gravity position to the users, rather they allow them to adjust their backrest at certain angles that allow the body a recline position.
Then comes the purpose. Zero-gravity chairs are generally used for pain-healing and sleep-regulation purposes whereas recliners provide comfort and relaxation in leisure times.
Both, zero-gravity and recliner chairs, differ in their health benefits as well. A zero-gravity chair ensures improved blood circulation in the body, low pressure on joints and muscles, and healing of pains. Recliners, on the other hand, don’t come with any such pain-healing benefits, but some recliners have built-in massagers for targeting pain areas. What recliners are best at is helping users with mobility issues as you can get out of the chair by just pushing a button which sets the recliner in a regular chair position.
Benefits of a Zero-gravity Chair
Now you might be wondering, “What is the purpose of a zero gravity chair? As mentioned earlier, zero-gravity chairs are used for healing purposes. Some of the benefits of a zero-gravity chair include:
Promotes better blood circulation
Because of their design, zero-gravity chairs improve blood circulation in your body. As your legs are elevated above your heart level, blood can easily flow back to the heart from the lower extremities. This prevents circulatory issues, varicose veins, swelling, etc, as there is constant blood flow. Contrarily, these issues are common when you sit on normal office chairs because your blood remains pooled in your legs and feet due to your upright posture.
Relieves strain on joints and muscles
Another benefit of a zero-gravity chair is the relief of strain on muscles and joints. Zero-gravity position ensures that your body weight is evenly distributed across all pressure points. This takes the pressure off muscles and joints and relaxes them.
As much as it seems unusual, it’s a fact that zero-gravity chairs help improve breathing. The reclined body position in a zero-gravity chair keeps blood circulation smooth throughout the body, ensuring sufficient oxygen for all body parts.
Among the benefits of zero-gravity chairs is swelling control. Unlike traditional office chairs, zero-gravity chairs don’t allow fluid accumulation in tissues, especially in the legs and feet. Legs are elevated to maintain blood flood and keep a person’s legs in a normal healthy shape.
Lessens pressure on the spine
Last but not least, zero-gravity chairs are perfect for spinal health. The shape of a zero-gravity chair supports the natural s shape of the human spine and keeps it well-supported. Also, as the weight is evenly distributed across all pressure points, there is no extra pressure on the spinal area, which means it can heal from pains (if any) and stay healthy.
Drawbacks of a Zero-gravity Chair
Although zero-gravity chairs have plenty of benefits, certain disadvantages should be kept in mind before getting one. These include:
- A zero-gravity chair is heavier compared to simple task chairs or mesh office chairs. This is why they are not portable and you cannot move them around easily.
- Non-foldable zero-gravity chairs occupy more space because of their shape, so you cannot fit them in any space you want.
- Zero-gravity chairs are generally very costly because of their unique features and design.
- Zero-gravity chairs may not be a good option for people with mobility issues. As the chair require the person to rest in a reclined position, it hampers a person’s ability to get up easily when required.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Zero-gravity Chair!
Now that you have a fair idea of zero-gravity chairs, you might be thinking “Is a zero-gravity chair worth it?” and “Should I invest money in a zero-gravity chair?”.
Given the benefits zero-gravity chairs offer, it is natural for these chairs to be pricier. But once you start to reap the benefits, you will most likely stop complaining about the price. So, you need to keep certain things in mind before buying a zero-gravity chair.
- Recline Mechanism
The first and foremost is the recline mechanism used in the chair. If you want a zero-gravity chair with an adjustable reclining mechanism, then you must pay attention to how smooth it is and how easily you can recline and adjust the chair.
- Level of Comfort
Then comes the level of comfort. As the primary purpose of a zero-gravity chair is to provide comfort and support, it should have proper padding and breathable fabric. Also, the chair should be wide enough to accommodate your body.
Also, you need to consider its durability. Choose a zero-gravity chair with a strong and durable frame material, so it can stay longer. Generally, wood, steel, and aluminum are considered good options. Go for rust and weather-resistant materials if you’re planning to use the chair outdoors.
Lastly, portability is essential if you have a constant need to move your zero-gravity chair. In such cases, you will have difficulty moving a heavy-weight chair, so consider options that are foldable and lightweight.
To conclude, zero-gravity chairs are scientifically proven to be the best sitting options. They are particularly useful for people with pain, especially in the spinal and lower back areas, feet and leg swelling, and sleeping issues.
If you’re suffering from any of these health conditions, you may consider buying a zero-gravity chair after consulting with your physician.
But before that, it’s better to seek a proper medical checkup, so you can get professional treatment before things get out of your hand. Zero-gravity chairs or any other chairs can only help when you have professional medical help at hand.
How long can one sit in a zero-gravity chair?
Sitting on a zero-gravity chair for 20 minutes daily helps you repair your spine effectively. Experts say it’s the same as that sleeping for 8 to 10 hours.
Do doctors recommend zero-gravity chairs?
Yes, doctors and occupational therapists recommend using zero-gravity chairs for health purposes. Zero-gravity chairs evenly distribute a person’s body weight, thus improving blood circulation, relieving pressure points, and healing spinal pains and injuries.
Can you sleep all night in a zero-gravity chair?
Yes, just like beds, one can easily sleep in a zero-gravity chair for the entire night.
Are zero-gravity chairs better than recliners?
Overall, zero-gravity chairs are considered a better alternative to simple recliners. Using recliner chairs for short breaks work well, but sleeping in them may lead to back pain in the longer run.