Person hanging upside down

Vestibular Seeking Behaviours

How can you tell if your child is seeking vestibular input? Here are some behavioral clues to look out for:

  • Can’t sit still
  • In constant motion
  • Acts impulsively
  • Always moving quickly, for example never walks, only runs
  • Plays rambunctiously or rough
  • Sits in unusual positions, for example, feet up in the air over the sofa, sideways, upside down in their chair, etc.
  • Bumps into things and other people, seemingly unaware
  • May seem to “not know their own strength” and accidentally hurt others
  • When trying to sit still, constantly fidgets or rocks in their seat

Kids who excessively seek vestibular input (my own child included) can have it seriously interfere with their functioning on a daily basis.

It’s nearly impossible for a child to sit still and concentrate at school when their vestibular system is under-responsive.

2. Optimizing Spinal Health

By creating more space between the spinal discs and vertebrae, inverted traction kind of facilitates the delivery of protective fluid around spinal discs that rehydrates them. These discs act as shock absorbers, protecting your spine from any unanticipated damage.

The Nachemson medical study revealed how inversion could cause spinal pressure to fall to zero and potentially prevent disability from back problems. The authors also concluded that regular use of an inversion table may largely curtail the need for back surgery.

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How Long Can You Safely Hang Upside Down? 

Now you know that there’s a safe way to hang upside down. You have to do it properly and within short periods only. First-timers have to learn the proper position and then do it for only 30 seconds to one minute. 

If you feel uncomfortable or sick within that time, you can stop it without waiting for the time to expire. The clue is to do it only when you don’t feel sick. You will defeat the benefits of body inversion if you get sick in the process.

Expert yogis can hold their inverted positions for 5 to 12 minutes; however, they have had enough practice to last that long. Don’t attempt to do body inversions without consulting your doctor and without proper instructions.

As I previously said, people with underlying illnesses can die when doing body inversions. So, if you’re not sure if you have a hidden disease, consult your doctor first and ask permission to do it.

5. Improving Focus and Brain Function

Your brain slurps up the largest amounts of oxygen and energy in your body to function well. When you invert upside down, oxygen-rich blood rushes to your head. More oxygen means better brain performance and improved focus.

But keep in mind, the evidence supporting these benefits is not sufficient. More research is needed to back up the efficacy of these theoretical benefits. Moreover, inversion therapy may not be safe for everyone, especially if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease, or osteoporosis. Hence, caution needs to be practiced before trying out this technique.

Activities That Involve Hanging Upside Down

There are a lot of different ways you can fit inverting the head into regular play with your kids.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Hanging upside down from the couch
  • Children’s yoga
  • Hanging from the monkey bars
  • For younger children, you can set them on your lap facing you and hold their hands while you let them drop back upside down over your knees, and then pull them back up.
  • Lean backward over a large exercise ball.
  • Gymnastics and tumbling
  • Get an indoor trapeze bar – so your kiddo can hang upside down in the house (mounts onto door frame) as much as they like! (Seriously, this thing is AWESOME and will help save your sanity if you feel as crazy as I do when you watch your child leap and roll all over the sofa.)

Conclusion – How Long Can You Hang Upside Down?

The average person can hang upside down for a few seconds to a few minutes before they feel overly dizzy and nauseous. Through gradual practice, you could hang upside for longer without feeling too nauseous.

How long can you hang upside down before you die? It would likely take 1 or 2 days of hanging upside down before dying. The buildup of blood and liquid in the upper half of your body would cause asphyxiation (loss of breath). Organs that have been inverted for too long will also stop functioning.

There are no reports of someone dying because of a few minutes of hanging upside down. There are rare cases in which a person in Utah died because he was stuck upside down in a cave for 28 hours. But this is rare. 

So you can hang upside down safely for a few seconds or minutes. When you feel dizzy and uncomfortable, stop and resume your normal upright position.

There are benefits to hanging upside down, but you should consult your doctor first before attempting to do this unnatural position. Your health should always be your priority.

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