FAQ Friday: Will all the blood rush to my head?

One of our favorite things about what we get to do everyday at Teeter is talk to our customers! You all have lots of great questions and we try to address some of the most common ones on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Every Friday, we’ll focus on one FAQ in more detail. We encourage you to email us or post a comment with additional questions and we’ll send you an answer you may even see your question pop up on a future blog post!

Will all the blood rush to my head?

Well… not ALL, but you will definitely experience an increase in blood flow to the head and feel an increase in pressure. It’s not a bad thing – in fact, getting more blood to the noggin is good for you! Here’s some insight into what’s actually happening in our heads when we hang by our knees off the monkey bars as kids or on our Teeter inversion tables as adults.

Simply put, your body recognizes when it’s upside down and knows how to adjust itself. Accommodating to the shift in blood pressure, the vessels and capillaries within the skull dilate. In turn, the cerebral spinal fluid increases, which helps to support the vessels. It’s a system of compensating pressures, allowing your body to easily handle the change in position.

The feeling of pressure, caused by the reversal of the hydrostatic column, actually occurs outside the skull in the face and eyes. The increased blood flow and dilation of the capillaries actually brings more oxygen to the brain, eyes, skin and hair. This process is what causes you to turn red. Any discomfort caused by the superficial pressure changes lessen over time for most people as they become accustomed to inverting.

The increased circulation and resulting nutrients to the brain can actually be good for you! One preliminary study showed that the brain runs 7% faster and 14% more accurate while inverted!

Remember, just as starting any new exercise, it is best that you ease in to your inversion regimen. (Read our post on how to get started inverting to see how to ease in to effective and comfortable inversion.) You don’t have to hang upside down for extended periods of time to experience the benefits of inversion – if you become uncomfortable, it is OK to return upright and rest for a while. This is referred to as “intermittent” traction (alternating inversion with being upright) and is a good way to help get used to the inverted world. You can also try “oscillation” which is a rhythmic rocking back and forth.

Photo:

Istolethetv. (2009, April 25). Upside down [Digital image]. Retrieved May 31, 2011, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/istolethetv/3484452866/

2 comments

  1. Great article! I always recommend inverting in the afternoons and/or evenings. The reason is that as soon as you get out of bed gravity starts to compress your spine and discs. Inverting in the afternoons and evenings makes sense especially after you’ve been up out of bed, walking, standing, sitting for 6-10 hrs. Your body weight and gravity will compress the spine and discs most when you are sitting then a little less when you are standing and walking.

    I had a patient tell me he would hang in the mornings and it helped some but it wasn’t until he started hanging in the evenings after work that he really started to feel a big difference. Unless you work nights then you should hang in the evenings or as soon as you get home and again at night. And Scott is absolutely correct…you do not need to hang for long periods of time. The important thing is to do it consistently …everyday…for 1-3 minutes to start. Then you can gradually increase the time especially if you keep your Teeter table at a 45 degrees or you can gradually increase the angle as well.

    Keep Hanging!

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