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Standing upside down may seem like a stunt limited to the seasoned yogi, but inversion therapy could do us all some good. Posing with your heart higher than your head strengthens the mind and body and relieves you from the compressive effects of gravity. So, don’t just stand there – do a headstand!

There are several ways you can practice inversions. You could do so unassisted, against a wall or on top of a mat, using various poses. Check out this instructional video for a more in depth run-through, or use the help of the increasingly popular inversion table. The inversion table allows for a more passive practice of getting your heart above your head by setting you on a slight downward angle.

1. Relieves Back Pain Issues

In a study conducted by the Newcastle University’s Regional Science Center in England, fewer than 25 percent of patients requiring surgery for back pain needed the surgery after inversion therapy was administered. This figure was significantly lower than the group of patients that underwent other forms physical therapy – 80 percent still required surgery.

2. Improves Mood

Inversion therapy helps to supply more oxygen to the brain by increasing blood flow. This is good news for those with overall weak blood circulation as well as those dealing with depression. Sluggish mental and physical reactions are linked to a lack of sufficient oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Inversions help to reverse these effects and improve your body and mind’s agility.

3. Promotes Healthy Digestion

Imagine the burden our organs bear on a day to day basis due to gravity. Inversion therapy gives them a break from the pull and allows them to work more properly. This applies to the digestive system as well. Make sure to do inversions on an empty stomach as to not disrupt digesting material or to cause you to feel sick.

4. Reduce Stress

In one study, researchers found that inversions reduced muscle tension by more than 35 percent within a mere 10 seconds! Make your work breaks shorter and more effective with inversions.

5. Maintain Height

As we get older, we inevitably get shorter. This is mostly due to a loss of moisture from the discs in our back. Inversions reverse this trend and stop downward pressure on your discs. This allows them to recover, ultimately regaining moisture and lost height.

Photo Credit: Sweet Carolina Photography