Are Kneeling Chairs Helpful For Correcting Posture?
When it comes to kneeling chairs there are a LOT of myths:
- Kneeling chairs don’t help your posture!
- I’m going to fall out of my kneeling chair!
- Kneeling chairs will make you sore!
- You can’t use a kneeling chair all day!
Today we are BUSTING those myths! The kneeling chair is not to be feared! It was created to solve a problem we all experience at some point- discomfort!
Even though kneeling chairs seem like a relatively new concept to a lot of us, the kneeling chair has actually been around for over 50 years and has been considered one of the most radical and effective chair designs over the last millennia since it’s initial design was first released.
The reason it is so radical is that like any good rebel, the kneeling chair directly challenges habits that have been in our culture for millennia. This style of sitting keeps us guessing because it places you somewhere between sitting and standing, and typically there is no back to lean against. It is not a stool, but it's also not quite a chair- and this freaks people out.
The only way to trust anything is to get to know it. Here’s how they work:
Balance kneeling chairs (like the Austin and Amsterdam) solve the problem of stress on the lower back (the flattening or even rounding of the natural lumbar curve) which is mainly caused by sitting in a conventional right-angle chair.
By dropping the legs, our thighs are placed at an oblique angle in relation to our spines (somewhere between 120-125 degrees), the muscular work makes sitting upright feel almost effortless. This opens up the possibility of getting rid of the chair back.
The observation that led to the kneeling chair is that muscular effort is evenly balanced front to back and top to bottom of the torso when the legs are at an oblique, not a right angle to the spine.
I can say with an immense amount of confidence that you won’t.
With a rocking kneeling chair, you can rock the seat forward and tuck your feet behind your knees while also giving you the option of placing your feet on the ground in a conventional right-angle way. The rockers also allow you to rock back and extend your feet as you might in a recliner. They offer the choice of sitting in the way you're accustomed to or in a modified perch.
No chair is perfect, partly because no posture is perfect 100% of the time. The best thing we can do is give ourselves the option to switch up as often as possible. The kneeling chair provides us with lots of opportunities to get creative with how we’re perched while we work.
The truth of the matter is: there is no right way to do it. The only rule is that you do it in whatever way makes you feel stable and secure. It may feel a bit awkward and clumsy the first couple of times, but after a few tries, it will feel as natural as sitting down into any other chair.
Mmmkay-- this is a big one...
Let’s try and think of the transition from a regular chair to a kneeling chair as if it were a good massage. It is something that feels so good immediately and with consistent treatments will heal you, but the day after you visit your RMT, you will probably be sore and need an Epsom salt bath. In the long run, you’re going to feel so much better.
The tenderness you’re feeling (likely in your shins and upper back) is your body realigning, reconfiguring, and adapting to the kneeling chair. You’re going to be using muscles that you have gone ignored for… well… ever. Your spine is in a fresh new position, the muscles are adapting to that change, and your legs aren’t accustomed to holding your weight in this way. It might make your shins feel a bit like they are bruised- just remember that this is to be expected, and it won’t last long.
Our best advice is to keep your old chair handy for at least the first week of adjusting to a full time kneeling chair, if possible. It's best to play it safe just in case you find yourself getting distracted by the changes your body is going through. The whole point of upgrading to a new chair is to increase your productivity and focus during the day- there's no need to ruin that by rushing into things.
After your body has adjusted to your new kneeling chair you can sit, and sit, and sit, and sit to your heart's content!
Are there any other myths about kneeling chairs you want busted?? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us in the comment section. We are confident there’s not an ergonomic myth out there that we can’t bust!