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Teeter Hang Ups - Inversion Therapy

  1. May 4, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Anyone have opinions on teeter hang ups? Below is what they claim:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2018
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2009 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    No comments? Does that suggest that no one knows of any reason why any claim made above would not be true?

    I didn't even realize that the guy selling this is allegedly named Teeter. Is that for real or are these people now using product-oriented stage names?

    I had thought that "Teeter" referred to the motion of the device. Funny!
  4. May 15, 2009 #3
    I don't know if the benefits are real, but I'd like to put this forward:

    Two weeks ago, I went to a friend's house. He had an inversion table. You put your feet in some 'brackets' and lean backwards... It flipped me upside-down.

    That night, I stumbled in the dark, and dislocated my knee :(

    It wasn't a particularly nasty fall as falls go, but it was quite damaging. I'll be off my feet for some time.

    Probably coincidence, but I can't help but wonder if unnaturally 'stretching' out the tendons in my knee using the inversion table set the stage for my injury. It shouldn't have been so easy.
  5. May 16, 2009 #4


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    It might work for some of those claims simply by strengthening some back and abdominal muscles that you'd use to get yourself back upright after being turned upside-down. The video shows the guy doing some "sit ups" type things while upside down, and that would also contribute to strengthening those muscle groups.

    As for blood flow and nutrients improving to the disks, that would be total bunk. If anything, you're now putting the lower back higher than your heart, so making it harder to pump blood against gravity to those regions.
  6. Dec 18, 2009 #5
    I am one of the owners of Teeter Hang Ups. The table does work, it is hard to believe, but if you study the body and how pressure on the discs results in the many different back pain issues that are seen today, which are typically prescribed surgery or injections as the only main stream treatment…. You would be shocked that more people don’t try hanging upside down as the first step – it is cheap compared to all other options.

    If you go to www.TeeterTV.com, you can see all the video and text that we have to offer. If you can find anything that is not true on that site, let me know and I will have the offending section removed.

    The one problem that we have with the table is that the first time people use it they try to fully invert, which typically put the new inverter in an unknown position which can be a little overwhelming mentally. We suggest starting slow at angels of 20-40 degrees for the first few sessions. If you follow our recommendations you will be shocked at how great a concept it is.

    By the way, Rogers Teeter real name is Roger Teeter – it always has been. He started EP water skies in the 70’s and then Teeter Hang Ups in the 80’s. As far as I know everything we present is true.
  7. Dec 19, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Hello Teeter, and thank you for this opportunity to ask some questions.

    The only reference that I see at your website addressing Moonbear's objection to the claim of increased blood flow, is a book - Better Back, Better Body, by Joanne Broatch. I don't recognize the author and it almost appears to be connected with your company. At Amazon we find a copy


    I was curious about the "HangUps" trademark.

    Is the author a scientist or medical doctor? And more importantly, do we have any published [standard medical journals] medical papers to reference? In order to make a claim here as is made on your website, we need professional citations that support the claim.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  8. Dec 20, 2009 #7
    The problem with inversion therapy for back pain is that it also stretches your knees and ankles and neck, and most people cannot handle the extra blood pressure to the head for more than a few minutes.

    If easy and inexpensive spinal decompression is what you're looking for, there's a new product called 'Spinal Stretch', which even has top neurosurgeons endorsing it.

    It's a strange looking contraption that you use lying down while reading a book or watching TV. The thing only weighs 4 lbs and is fully portable.

    My wife was crippled by sciatica and a week later was 100% better.

    Something you won't hear from most MD's—you’ve also got to drink plenty of water to keep your discs properly hydrated.

    Best of luck!
  9. Dec 20, 2009 #8
    Really? Which "top" ones? What are their names? Where at the studies?

    Why does everything sound like an infomercial these days?

    And again.

  10. Dec 20, 2009 #9

    Very good question!

    One such uncompensated endorser is Charles V. Burton, MD-- the former Chairman of the FDA Advisory Panel on Neurological Devices, who has risen in his 40+ years of practice to become one of America's most renowned neurosurgeons.

    Below is a link to Dr. Burton's resume on his website burtonreport.com.


    and here is the link to the page where Dr. Burton mentions 'Spinal Stretch' specifically:


    just in case the links don't show up here, Dr. Burton writes "the recently developed Spinal Stretch lumbar traction device appears to be a valuable and low cost means of implementing safe lumbar traction at home on a continuing basis. From the editor's personal experience the Spinal Stretch traction device has been considered to be user friendly by his patients."

    For much of his half-century of experience as a spine surgeon, Dr. Burton has been trying to impress upon the world the importance of regularly decompressing one's spine to maintain a healthy back.

    Legendary spine surgeon William Kirkaldy-Willis, MD estimated that over 80% of all back pain is the result of the spinal discs drying out--due to a combination of the aging process and gravity, which squeezes the moisture from the sponge-like discs.

    The reason that back pain epidemic grows worse each year across the US and the western world is that there has never been a spinal decompression device that is inexpensive, small, lightweight, highly portable and simple to use--aka, like a 'toothbrush for your spine'.

    Dr. Burton evidently feels the Spinal Stretch device fits the bill and has therefore lent his considerable reputation to the cause, despite no compensation and no affiliation with the product.

    I've hopefully attached to this reply a compilation of clinical studies from respected medical journals on the subject of spinal decompression and spinal disc rehydration. If the download link doesn't work I'd be happy to email the document to you.

    Take care, and happy holidays!


    Attached Files:

  11. Dec 21, 2009 #10
    You have done your homework to notice our copyright. That book was originally published by the author - a medical researcher who was interested in back pain and treatments. Roger Teeter’s main focus is to educate the user about the benefits of inversion so they will make the decision to incorporate inversion into the treatment program and use the Teeter long term. He purchased the rights for this book from the author and we publish it now on our own as a free bonus when you purchase the table during certain promotions. It is a good book, a little dry but worth reading.

    Regarding our claims you can go to - http://www.teeter-inversion.com/inversion-medical-studies.asp for a brief on what we are saying. Regarding the circulation claim here is the claim and the support.

    Stimulate the Circulatory System
    Did you know that you can trigger actual physiological responses within your circulatory system by simply changing your body position relative to gravity10-12? Your body has mechanisms that activate these responses – not only when you move from a sitting to standing position, but also when you invert! 10-12 The body compensates for the changing pressures by contracting and dilating blood vessels to regulate blood flow11 and by lowering the heart rate. 10-11 You can think of inversion as one way to stimulate and exercise these automated systems that control your circulation.

    Claim Support:
    1. The Circulation in Man in the Head-Down Position, and a Method for Measuring Venous Return to the Heart

    The character and importance of the compensatory reactions in the circulation in the normal man on changing from the horizontal to the erect position and vice versa are well established. The objective of this study was to determine whether an increase of the venous pressure and the venous supply to the heart can be produced by means of the inverted position, and if so, determine the impact to blood pressure and volume. The study demonstrated that in the inverted position, the heart rate slowed by an average of 9.5 beats per minute as compared to the horizontal position, and 17 beats per minute as compared to the erect position. The authors assume this is because the hydrostatic condition of the body in the inverted position results in greater blood pressure in the medulla, affecting the cardio-inhibitory centers. Venous pressure was notably increased.
    2. The Acute Circulatory Effects of the Head-Down Position in Normal Man, with a Note on Some Measures Designed to Relive Cranial Congestion in this Position

    This study of the circulatory effects of the head-down position revealed venous, and to a lesser extent arterial hypertension in the head to be among the more important changes. Initial response to inversion revealed a decreased and often irregular pulse rate, and an increased cardiac output. After the initial passive (hydrostatic) change in arterial pressure, there was a further moderate decrease, indicating vasodilation. Because of moderating physiological mechanisms, the increase in cerebral venous pressure is less than might otherwise be expected.
    1. Henderson, Y, Haggard, HW. The Circulation in Man in the Head-Down Position, and a Method for Measuring Venous Return to the Heart. Jour of Pharm and Exper Therap 1918, XI: 3, 189-201.
    2. Wilkins, R, Bradley, S, Friedland, C. The Acute Circulatory Effects of the Head-Down Position in Normal Man, with a Note on Some Measures Designed to Relive Cranial Congestion in this Position. Journal Clin. Invest. 29: 940-949, 1950.

    Regarding the spinal stretch device, I am sure that it has some benefit, but (and I know this could sound like a sales pitch or an infomercial as one of the previous points has pointed out) – I don’t think that you would get anywhere near the same amount of decompression from this devices as you would from a Teeter. The reason being on a Teeter you hang from your ankles with no requirement from any of your muscle groups to do anything…..– a study that we point to called the Nachemson Study that found to fully decompress the discs you need to pull 60% of your body weight in traction over a period of time. I would be shocked if the Spinal Stretch device could do that. You can watch a video on this study at http://teetertv.com/reduce-muscle-tension/ [Broken]

    One last point regarding heykerry’s statement – “The reason that back pain epidemic grows worse each year across the US and the western world is that there has never been a spinal decompression device that is inexpensive, small, lightweight, highly portable and simple to use--aka, like a 'toothbrush for your spine'.

    Dr. Burton evidently feels the Spinal Stretch device fits the bill and has therefore lent his considerable reputation to the cause, despite no compensation and no affiliation with the product.”

    We make a device called the lynx, it is a portable back stretcher with a similar application to the Spinal Stretch, but it really doesn’t work that well because of the user needs to do something to make the decompression happen. For people who can’t use a table it is an OK device and we sell thousands a year, but it is no match to a Teeter Table. I would challenge you to use the Spinal Stretch for a month and then a Teeter for a month and decide for yourself which you prefer.

    Another point that was brought up in this forum was the strain on knees and ankles. Yes there is increased pressure on these joints, but they need to be decompressed as well. There are actually studies that show the more you work the joint in the directions the stronger the joint becomes. One study that I heard of used frog legs to show that loading in multiple directions increased the ligament strength significantly. We do make a waist up traction device that does not put strain on the knees and ankles if that is still a concern.

    One other challenge with decompression is making a system that is safe and easy to use. The nice thing about a table is that the user can step into, clip in the ankles, and invert to any angle. It is fast and easy and really relaxing – which only helps to decompress the user better. One of the major issues that we deal with is the tensing up of the users body, as this reduces the ability to decompress (going upside down is scary). We recommend that the user take it slow and get use the process….after that is sorted, it is a really enjoyable quick experience. If you think of inverting(decompression) as necessary as flossing, then allocating a little room in your house for the Teeter is easy and using it every day is easier.

    Last point – I concur about drinking lots of water. Dr Pettibon is a world famous Doctor, he created the Pettibon System. I met him last year and the first thing he said to me, - to beat back pain drink lots of water.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Dec 22, 2009 #11
    I own a Teeter and you would have to pry it from my cold, dead, hands. My most anticipated minute of the day is when I just lay horizontal on my table before I start to invert. After a few minutes of relaxing I just move my hands from my center to my chest and that is far enough for me. I'll take a guess that it puts me between 30 and 45 degrees. When I am inverted I feel the strange sensation (real or not) of my calves relaxing first and then my body lengthening followed by a small rush, then my thighs relaxing, etc...

    Close to two years ago I was going to have to get a hernia operation because of the pain/discomfort I felt in my groin. I was nervous about it and decided to get a massage to help me relax. When she did the thing where she pushed a hip one way and pulled a shoulder the opposite it cracked my back way down low. When I left the parlor I was walking upright so I called and left a message for my PCP. His Nurse called me back later and wanted me to come in again for another check up so I went and he was still adamant that it was a hernia even though I told him what happened. I explained this to my second opinion MD and this was the first time I heard that Doctors rarely change their prognosis (kind of like DA's I guess). I just let the matter drop and my PCP never said anything else about it. I told my friend and she said she saw Teeters on HSN and bought one for her husband who used to race dirt bikes and is now a welder. Later he called me excited about being able to tell me all about it which made me somewhat skeptical (Amway, Qwikstar, SMC, et al) but any way... I've had mine for little more than a year and use it in the evenings regularly. I now know that when I get the groin pain as I mentioned before I hang for a little while longer to try and fully relax and then push away from my ankles and I hear a pop way down low in my body but I don't know if its my spine or maybe a hip. Either way/one I feel LOTS better when I get up than I did before.

    PS: I do not fully invert nor do I perform sit ups. I've tried both and don't care for either. Relaxing at an incline is more than enough for me. Inclined neck stretching is also awesome.

    PPS: I would say that the only thing about the Teeter that I don't like is having to bend over to unlock my ankles after being all stretchy and relaxed.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  13. Dec 22, 2009 #12
    What a great testimonial, we get many of this type of testimonial sent to us every day. We catalogue them all in alphabetical order and file. I hope you don't mind Echo by I am going to copy the text over to our system to keep it.

    What I love about the table is that it is very vestal, you can use it in so many different ways, not just to help with discs, but......

    Regarding the bending over, you can get a longer handled shaft for your table - so you don't have to bend over so far. Just call the number on the owner’s manual.

    I am not trying for this to be a sales forum, really that is not my goal. I was just trying to come to the defense of a very simple low cost system for dealing with disc issues - and for Rogers good name - who some find hard to believe could actually be Teeter.

    If you have any more questions or comments let me know.
  14. Dec 23, 2009 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    No problem. I appreciate your willingness to engage the PF community and you are fully entitled to defend your product in good faith. We may or may not have additional objections or questions, but at the least you seem to have some pretty serious fans.

    Fair enough. Names can be funny that way. I once knew a financial manager named Joe Economy.

  15. Dec 23, 2009 #14


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    Sure, tipping over alters blood flow and blood pressure. That doesn't mean it's GOOD for you! Note the part I bolded!

    There are other issues with this. If your circulatory system is working properly, you don't need to do anything to "exercise" these control mechanisms. They are already functioning. If your circulatory system is NOT working properly, such as high blood pressure, orthostatic intolerance, aneurysms, etc., this could be very harmful leading to someone passing out at the least and having a stroke at the more serious end.

    How about trying some sources more current than 1918 and 1950! That's the hallmark of quackery to ignore modern science and revert back to old studies when weaker methods were available.

    Try this:

    And if someone is normal, it shouldn't do much at all:

    That one seems the most relevant to your product, since they didn't just invert someone upside-down, but tested multiple angles, as you're trying to hawk here.

    Here is the fundamental question. What evidence do you have that this device actually addresses the issue of a "compressed" disc. What are you defining as "compressed" and what is your evidence this does anything to treat it? More likely, you're just stretching out some sore muscles. When a disc is actually compressed and causing pain, it's not just that it's flattening a bit, it's generally because there is a weakness in the wall of the disc and it herniates in the direction of the spinal nerve roots (because that is the direction the spine has the weakest ligaments). And, once the person tips back upright again, doesn't their disc just compress again, even if they get temporary relief while tipped? In other words, it's just alleviating a symptom temporarily, like taking an aspirin, not actually treating the source of the problem.

    There is a difference between modest loading leading to increases in strength, and claiming there is "compression" or a "need" for decompression. Too much stretching of those joints can lead to TEARING of those ligaments, and those ligaments don't readily repair themselves. Also, in the ankle, you would not want to strengthen the deltoid ligament too much. It's already an incredibly strong ligament, which is why it tends not to tear but instead leads to fractures.

    There are all sorts of quacks about who promote drinking insane amounts of water as a cure to everything. Unless someone is dehydrated (in which case, they have more serious problems than back pain and belong in the hospital), drinking more water is not going to fix anything.

    At best, your device provides a very temporary relief and maybe allows for stretching and relaxing some muscles if the real source of the problem is muscle pain, at worst, it's dangerous, prolonging someone from getting proper medical intervention for a chronic problem, and putting them at risk for stroke.
  16. Dec 24, 2009 #15
    With Moonbears comments this is turning into a pretty interesting discussion. I am preparing to leave town for Christmas so I will have to address his comments when I get back next week.

    I will say that we are suggesting that people "hang" for a limited amount of time, perhaps 3-5 minutes? maybe 15 at most...

    Have a good christmas.
  17. Feb 23, 2010 #16
    Moonbear, you drifted a bit. We're talking about the efficacy of inversion in back pain and discs, and you're talking about heart disease. While I'll agree that this is something which should be disclosed, you shouldn't misrepresent your sources as supporting your conclusion:
    While I think your reasoning is reasonable, you should note that there is a difference from reasoning (even from a theoretically sound background) and an empirical conclusion. Your reasoning:
    is reasonable, but it doesn't by itself support your above conclusion, and there's also the reasonable conclusion that even a temporary loosening could give the disc time to recover and strengthen.

    I have no hang-up although I do have back pain and I just did a quick internet search after seeing an infomercial to find the evidence. Looking through Google Scholar, there are contemporary articles you guys didn't discuss.

    Quote from abstract of Hyperextension and Spine Height Changes (http://journals.lww.com/spinejourna...perextension_and_Spine_Height_Changes.17.aspx):
    Quote from abstract of Spinal shrinkage and recovery in women with and without low back pain (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2004.07.352 [Broken]):
    The above study showed that people with low back pain don't have the natural "bounce back" of the spine, suggesting that they could benefit from an artificial stimulus.
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  18. Feb 24, 2010 #17


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    I'm not misrepresenting my sources at all. The person who claims to have invented this thing (or is selling it, or something) was making a claim that it is an alteration of blood flow in this inversion therapy contraption that is beneficial. I was pointing out that it is NOT necessarily beneficial, and can actually be harmful.

    Your own cited evidence does not support this. Instead, it supports my prior statement that one can temporarily relieve symptoms, but it is not treating the underlying condition.

    That article has nothing to do with inversion. It is talking about hyperextension, and itself indicates that this is a temporary relief. In reading the full article, what the patients were doing was lying prone (face down) on a table that then places them into hyperextension. They also refer to this being similar to the position one is in when stretching with the arms up over their head (no hanging upside down required).

    There is no suggestion in the article that they would benefit from an artificial stimulus. In fact, what the article suggested is that in a position that allowed subjects without lower back pain to decompress their discs (lying on their side with knees and hips flexed) after a loading activity (running while carrying weights), those with lower back pain did not benefit as much. The authors attribute this partially to the insufficient proteoglycan and collagen content of the intervertebral disc (not hydration), and partially to increased tension of the muscles surrounding the spine (citing another study that indicated that patients with lower back pain have less ability to relax those muscles).

    However, following the references in that article led to this one (unfortunately, the full text is not available online, so chasing down the full article will need to wait for another day).

    M.G. Boocock, G. Garbutt, K. Linge, T. Reilly and J.D. Troup, Changes in stature following drop jumping and post-exercise gravity inversion, Med Sci Sports Exerc 22 (1990), pp. 385–390.

    Based on the abstract, even in healthy subjects, it seems that indeed, gravity inversion is a very temporary effect on intervertebral disc height.

    (I would post a link to the abstract, but I'm accessing it through my library proxy, so it won't work if I did post it; the reference is cited above for you to find it in your own library if you choose.)
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