One of the very important activities to restore and maintain health promoted by Dr. Bernard Jensen are daily inversion exercises. Today we are more familiar with inversion chairs but Dr. Jensen preferred the slant board and said that in his opinion, “slant board exercises are absolutely necessary in regaining perfect health”.
Inverting one’s body with respect to gravity increases blood flow to all the organs, helps with blood circulation throughout the tissues, restores the function of prolapsed organs and revitalizes the function of the brain. Gravity inversion also lengthens and opens the spine and relieves pressure on the discs giving them increased space to aid in the reduction and healing of bulging discs which can put pressure on spinal nerves causing pain, numbness and reduced function of organs and extremities. It is also great for improving posture which benefits health all the way around, especially the health of the spine.
Dr. Jensen states that “Many people do not realize that all the quickening force for every organ of the body comes from the brain. If we deny the brain tissues good blood in the proper amount, in time, every organ in our body will suffer. “ He promoted an exercise program while on the slant board (see below) that would stretch and strengthen the abdominal muscles, rejuvenate the colon, improve circulation throughout the body and aid and strengthen the function of the heart. Relieving gravitational pressure on all of the organs helps to reduce organ prolapse and to promote fresh blood flow to all of the organs — stagnant blood out and fresh blood in.
Below are drawings of exercises recommended to be executed on the slant board. Slant board should not be used in pregnancy, uncontrolled high blood pressure, hemorrhages, stomach or intestinal ulcers.
Slant Board Exercises, pp 152 - 156. The Joy of Living and How To Attain It, Bernard Jensen, D.C. 10th edition, copyright, 1946.
The most important exercise is to hold on to the sides of the board bringing the knees up to the chest. This pushes all the abdominal organs up toward the shoulders bringing in fresh blood and increasing circulation to the brain.
Breath deeply intermittently holding your breath for 5 to 10 seconds at a time. The average person should maintain the foot end of the slant board at chair height for all exercises. You may need to build up to this height slowly over a period of weeks. Exercise only 5 minutes per day to begin with and gradually increase to a maximum of 15 minutes.
If possible slant board sessions should be done twice a day, morning and evening. It is important to build up your time slowly to allow your body tissues to acclimate to inversion.
HOW TO MAKE A SLANT BOARD: The board is 18 to 20 inches wide, six feet long, of five-ply wood three-fourths inches thick. Make side handles by cutting slots three-quarters of an inch in from the edge, 24 inches from head end of board. The slot is one inch wide and 18 inches long. Foot straps should be fastened near the foot end of the board to hold ankles so that the body will not slide down and can be brought to a sitting position. Padding should be applied to the surface. Modern inversion tables/chairs are just as useful as a slant board.
Personally, I use and recommend the Innova brand models of inversion tables.
The ITX9600 Heavy Duty Slant Board is the least expensive of the three models. It features an adjustable headrest pad with large and comfortable padded backrest The ITX9700 model features memory foam cushioning and the option to add heat or cold packs. The ITM4800 adds both heat and vibration therapeutic massage. All of the Innova models have an adjustable lumbar pad, fold flat for easy storage and will accommodate users 4ft-10in to 6ft-6in with a 300 pound (maximum) weight capacity.