Release the Strain at Relax the Back

The DreamWave by Inada.

The DreamWave by Inada.

The average American has a 40-hour work week, and if that’s not agonizing enough, that week can be even longer for many. I don’t know about you, but what that means for me is that I’m spending more than a good portion of my time sitting at a desk. Western culture dictates that we sit a certain way, in complete opposition to the natural mechanics of our bodies. When you force that to happen for hours on end, the effect is cumulatively catastrophic. Subsequently, it  should come as no surprise to learn that, according to the North American Spine Foundation, spine impairment is now the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide. It’s not stupid things like forgetting to wear a hardhat or attempting to act macho and neglecting that back brace. This is happening from sitting, and that’s a staggering fact.

Relax the Back is a franchise whose mission is to inform the world of this epidemic and help prevent people from injuring themselves. I was astounded at just how many strikingly well-conceived items were available in such a relatively small store. Mark and Jen Marshall are the co-owners of the only location in Louisville, and it was Jen who guided me through all the various tools and possibilities at my disposal.

Contour L5 Inversion Table.

Contour L5 Inversion Table.

Hearing about the various faults in the average person’s posture sounded painful, but I quickly realized that Jen was non-judgmental, knowledgeable and witty. “My husband and I were in the field of orthopaedics, so we’re definitely an anomaly when it comes to the training and expertise we could already bring to the table,” informs Jen. “One of the missions of Relax the Back is education. All staff are highly trained to assess what the individual issues someone may be facing when they walk into a store are.” As Jen sat me in my first product – the aptly named Perfect Chair by Human Touch – I could not only see but also feel that she definitely knew what she was talking about.

The Perfect Chair is derived from a concept developed by NASA called zero-gravity seating. No, you won’t be launched into space, but the chair does employ scientific principles to adjust your position so that your center of gravity is such that there is no tension or pressure on your back. “The most obvious health benefits of the chair are that it minimizes gravity’s strain on your back and elevates your feet above the heart, improving your circulation. The chair also helps extend your lung capacity, allowing for deeper and more relaxed breathing,” she says.

Adjustable bases with Technogel technology.

Adjustable bases with Technogel technology.

The chair was already working wonders, relaxing me and making me eager to hear more, so Jen and I engaged in a curtailed version of a common customer assessment. Jen learned that, like most Americans, I spend a lot of time at a desk, so she made it her next priority to show me a model of their office cockpit concept. When at work, I notice that, despite hearing my mother’s voice in my head shouting, “Stand up straight,” I still succumb from time to time and lean forward, which, over time, is not so great for my neck, back and pelvis. One solution presented to me was the Breeza, a stylish office-type chair with ergonomic support. The Core-Flex™ seat option was recommended to me as it is split so that a variety of balanced, natural movement is possible for your legs, pelvis and core. I only sat in it for a moment or two, but I could definitely tell a difference. Similar to a medicine ball, you can even use this chair to work your core muscles while sitting. That’s a workout I can get behind!

Swopper multi-moiton mesh spring stool.

Swopper multi-moiton mesh spring stool.

Whether it’s at home, the office, your bed or even in your car, Relax the Back has something to improve the strain on your back while sitting or sleeping. They even sell inversion tables, apparatuses popularly used by athletes and the military to eliminate the tremendous strains on their bodies by inverting and using gravity to unwind the tension on the spinal column. I’m normally not a fan of being held upside-down, but I have to admit that I could literally feel my spine uncoiling like a spring that has been taut for too long. My favorite – and I’m sure the favorite of many – was the DreamWave by Inada. “Inada is a Japanese company, whose culture has a long tradition with massage,” says Jen. “The chair has sophisticated sensors that scan your body and customize each massage session to your individual back profile by locating Shiatsu points.” It took every ounce of willpower I possessed to not be lulled to sleep after just 15 minutes in the chair. “Masseurs and masseuses have said that this chair could replace them,” says Jen.

It’s not something we often think about, but those seconds, minutes and hours of improper sitting do add up, and the long-term, cumulative effect on our bodies is potent. People owe it to themselves to head on over to Relax the Back and at least educate themselves. Who knows? You may even unwind, enjoy yourself and purchase the tools necessary to living a spine-pain-free life. Whatever back issues you currently or will someday face, Relax the Back has the knowledge, expertise, tools and connections with professional chiropractors to assuage them. VT