TOP 10 HEALTH ISSUES SALLI IMPROVES – Sit Healthier

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  • SALLI : 10 HEALTH EFFECTS

    The following observations describe impacts that are achieved only by sitting on an active, two-part saddle chair. Sitting on the traditional one-part saddle chair contains so many serious problems in connection with posture, genital health and also with the health of the inner pelvic organs that it cannot be recommended as a working chair.

    Riding-like sitting is fundamentally different from the traditional sitting. The change affects positively the whole body, circulation and metabolism. Minimizing the disturbances in metabolism and eliminating health risks are the major goals of ergonomics.

    The most essential positive effects of riding-like sitting are focused on the spine, all the way from lower back to the cervical vertebrae. Riding-like sitting affects posture, circulation into the lower limbs, genitalia, external and internal pelvic organs, muscles and joints, bowel movement, breathing, circulation into the head, and the alertness of the brain and the eyes.

    Riding-like sitting makes it possible to improve vital functions by exercising, reaching from the chair and tilting the seat. These movements make sitting more active and improve work conditions.

    When people start improving their sitting radically, the effort alone brings about a change in them. New kind of sitting makes people more conscious of their circulation, muscle tensions, back health, posture, metabolism and sitting position, and makes them want to improve their sitting environment further.

    BACK HEALTH

    Traditional sitting on a chair with 90° degree angles in hips and knees inevitably makes people slouch. When sitting on a saddle chair the thighs are in a 90° degree angle in relation to each other and pointing downwards in an approximately 45° degree angle. The pelvis is tilting forward, not backward, like in traditional sitting. In other words, on a saddle chair the pelvis is in a "standing” posture and thus we achieve the healthy posture on the back almost automatically. The lumbar vertebrae are in their natural position and the lower back forms a correct curve, lordosis. This posture can only be maintained on a two-part saddle chair that does not press the genital area and thus allows tilting the pelvis forward comfortably.  

    This position of the lumbar vertebrae prevents deteriorative damage to the lower back and in most cases quickly decreases pain in the typical lower back/disk problems. In addition, the circulation in the lower back is improved, since the improved posture relieves muscle tension and especially improves the activeness in numerous back muscles. The increased circulation, in turn, increases the oxygen and nutrient contents in the muscles, the absence of which is probably the main cause for the common degeneration syndrome of the lower back.

    Since the disks and ligaments have no blood circulation of their own (circulation is also very weak in the vertebrae), it is essential for the lower back to have good circulation so that the tissues can get sufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen and remove wastes. In a physically active back, or in a good posture, this metabolism works well. The arteries of the lower back are surprisingly small and require good muscle activity and relaxation to bring enough blood to prevent degeneration of tissues.

    Sitting in a good posture on a saddle chair makes it possible to use the whole body in an effortless and natural way, giving the muscles of the lower back exercise-like movement. The upper body moves, when the chair is rolled from one place to another or reaching movements are made. We call this activity "Roll and Reach”, and it is very helpful in reducing dangerous inactivity during sitting.

    Moving with the chair or reaching for things is easy and risk-free, as the feet rest firmly on the floor and the back is able to maintain the good posture with the help of the support from the legs. Correct use of back muscles leads to a gradual improvement in posture and prevents ailments caused by scoliosis.

    When sitting upright on a saddle chair, also the sciatic nerve pains become less frequent as the deterioration of the lower back slows down. Typically the sciatic nerve is irritated (and causes pain) when the nerve canal becomes too contracted as a result of the flattening of the disk. The nerve canal can become congested also after changes in the bone structure resulting from lower back deterioration.

    Swing mechanism in the two-part saddle chair makes it considerably easier to reach for things, and it also increases circulation (also lymphatic circulation) and muscle activity mainly in the lower back and pelvic area. The users tend to create movement also unnoticed when the body "asks for” activation. Such unconscious movements are swinging the pelvis, smaller or bigger exercise movements and rolling and reaching too. 

    BRAIN CIRCULATION

    Up to 25 % of the total circulation goes into the head. The vessels are in a narrow space between the neck vertebrae, throat and outer neck muscles (mainly a muscle called Sternocleidomastoides). All static poor postures of the head or the neck make muscles tense and reduce circulation in the main vessels. The main vein (Jugularis Interna) is actually leaning to Sternocleidomastoides. If the muscle is tense, the circulation slows down, the blood pressure in the brain increases and headache easily follows. Good posture of the neck can be attained only when the whole back is in a good posture. Soft elbow pads close to the body help the shoulder area muscles to relax. The two-part saddle seat enables a good posture and prevents the aforementioned problems.

    Using a high-quality saddle chair will increase the oxygen intake considerably. Stiffness and joint locks in the chest, ribs and the upper back decrease. This, combined with reduced muscle tensions and better posture, will make the whole breathing mechanism work better and allow the chest to expand fluently and the breathing to become deeper. Improved oxygen intake will increase the oxygen levels in the whole body and slow down the process of getting tired.

    CIRCULATION

    Up to 25 % of the total circulation goes into the head. The vessels are in a narrow space between the neck vertebrae, throat and outer neck muscles (mainly a muscle called Sternocleidomastoides). All static poor postures of the head or the neck make muscles tense and reduce circulation in the main vessels. The main vein (Jugularis Interna) is actually leaning to Sternocleidomastoides. If the muscle is tense, the circulation slows down, the blood pressure in the brain increases and headache easily follows. Good posture of the neck can be attained only when the whole back is in a good posture. Soft elbow pads close to the body help the shoulder area muscles to relax. The two-part saddle seat enables a good posture and prevents the aforementioned problems.

    Using a high-quality saddle chair will increase the oxygen intake considerably. Stiffness and joint locks in the chest, ribs and the upper back decrease. This, combined with reduced muscle tensions and better posture, will make the whole breathing mechanism work better and allow the chest to expand fluently and the breathing to become deeper. Improved oxygen intake will increase the oxygen levels in the whole body and slow down the process of getting tired.

    GENITAL AREA

    Roughly 50 % of the adult population in Europe suffers from some kind of physical sexual disorder at least periodically, and the numbers are rapidly rising. We sit on top of our private parts, and that is why it’s logical that sitting has a major impact on the circulation, nerve functions and metabolism of our genitalia.

    Men have a tendency to sit with their pelvis tilted backwards. This is an unconscious way of relieving the pressure on the root of penis on the pubic bone, where the nerves and the vessels leading to the genitals are located. When using a two-part saddle chair the lower part of the penis (of which about 9 cm is on top of the pubic bone, below the pelvis, behind the testicles) is not subjected to the same kind of pressure as when using one-part saddle chairs. The harmful compression of the pudendal nerve and vessels can be eliminated almost fully. When the sitting pressure in on the sitting bones (Ischial Tuberosities) the important lymphatic circulation works better.

    Men also keep their thighs spread in order to eliminate the feeling of pressure on their testicles; trousers and their middle seam tighten up when men are sitting. In addition, tight clothes keep the testicles too close to the warm body. Sperm production is very sensitive to the rising of the testicular temperature. The two-part saddle chair cools down the testicles to their optimum temperature of 33°C (approx. 91°F). In conventional sitting the temperature of the testicles can often rise to 37°C (approx. 99°F). This is one reason behind the reduced quality of sperm.

    For male cyclist the violent pressure on the tissues next to the pubic bone has been proved to cause impotence and testicular cancer. The same phenomenon has also started to occur among men using one-part saddle chairs.

    Cycling has also been discovered to cause damage to the female outer genitalia, leading to decrease of sensitivity. Riders and users of one-part saddle chair can experience the same phenomenon.

    Tight clothing and long-term sitting with reduced circulation, combined with the use of panty liners and sanitary pads, increase the risk of infections in women's genitalia. Sitting on a two-part saddle chair decreases this risk. Most women find an inadequate gap, or a saddle chair without a gap, uncomfortable around the pubic bone area because nerves and blood vessels get pressed between the seat and the pubic bone. This kind of pressure leads to reduced circulation, which is a health risk in itself.

    A gap in the chair encourages both men and women to tilt their pelvis forward without the uncomfortable pressure against the pubic bone and the genitals. This helps to keep the lumbar posture in the natural lordosis, which is the ideal form of the spine. The two-part saddle chair eases the pressure on the genitals and preserves a safe angle between the thighs and the upper body.

    INCREASED MOBILITY

    Traditionally, many jobs involve standing for the whole day. Working on a saddle chair is a great ergonomic alternative to standing. When sitting on a saddle chair, the employee is approximately at the same height as the standing customer. Less strain on the lower back and the increased circulation in the lower extremities help the employee to stay in a good mood and maintain the high quality of customer service.

    By using a saddle chair equipped with wheels, the employee is able to move around effortlessly with just a small push from the legs that are freely positioned on both sides. If the task requires standing up repeatedly, it is also much easier to sit down and stand up from a saddle chair than a conventional office chair.

    INTESTINE AND PELVIC AREA

    As the upper body posture improves, the pressure on the stomach, small intestine and colon decreases and the stomach is no longer pressed between the pelvis and the chest. The increased muscle activity in the stomach area also increases intestine activity. All this has a positive effect on the bowel movements (peristalsis and its efficiency) and intestine health. In our modern lifestyle the intestine health is weakened also by too little of muscle activity. One-part chairs (traditional or saddle) also press the anus and rectum, slowing down or postponing the evacuation reflex. Slow intestine activity or long stay of food in the body is involved in common intestine illnesses from which a large part of the population suffers. Sitting with good posture would be a strong preventive measure.

    KNEE AND HIP JOINTS

    When using a conventional chair, there is a 90 degree angle between the thighs and the upper body, as well as in the knees. The sharp angle tightens the main tendons and ligaments and creates more pressure on the cartilages. This has a harmful effect to the metabolism of the hip and knee joints. In traditional sitting, the weight of the upper body increases the pressure on the hip joint upper cartilage. On a saddle chair the hips and the knees are in a 135 degree angle, which decreases the pressure on the cartilages. This improves the metabolism and reduces the risk of joint ailments. Being higher than the average office chair, the saddle chair is also healthier for the knees when standing up.

    LYMPH FLOW

    There is lymph liquid and 4–6 litres of blood in the human body, the lymph being filtered in 600 –700 lymph nodes. All liquid is moving through 400.000–500.000 km of vessels, 7.000 km in each kg of soft tissues. Only one litre of the blood is moving because of the pumping pressure of the heart. The rest of the liquids move because of the motions and activity of the muscles and other soft tissues.

    Our conventional and modern habits of slouched sitting, tight clothing, poor nutrition and physical inactivity greatly disturb these sensitive systems. This results in various health problems and discomfort. The sensitivity of the circulation can be demonstrated by closing a vein on the back of the hand by pressing it ever so slightly with a finger. This illustrates in a small scale how dramatically the circulation must be disturbed because of our circulation-hostile lifestyle.

    Using a two-part saddle chair will significantly reduce the pressure on the soft tissues in the pelvic area, keep the clothes looser, widen the angles of the limbs and activate muscle function, thus activating circulation and the lymphatic system. The effect is most powerful in the typical pressure areas (caused by conventional office chairs), such as thighs, buttocks, genital area, back and lower limbs. Blood circulation speeds up also in the typical tension areas, such as the upper back.

    Lower limbs benefit from the riding-like sitting too, since the hip and knee angles become wider, making it easier to use the legs and enabling the so called “muscle pump” to work properly. Sitting bones carry most of the body weight, which in turn eases the pressure on the thighs and buttocks. For example, the Gluteus Maximus muscle remains safely outside the pressure area.

    A smart sitter also uses loose trousers or skirt, and underwear that are not too tight. The most beneficial alternative for the circulation would be to use loose-fitting clothes that do not press the waist.

    PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES

    Pelvic floor muscles (PFM) do not like the pumping movement of horseback riding, but they are activated by sitting on a saddle chair. According to EMG tests, reaching down (to a low shelf, printer etc.) from a two-part saddle chair, over the supporting leg, is good exercise for the pelvic floor muscles. It is beneficial to make use of this phenomenon. Big risk factor for weak pelvic floor muscles and "gynecology descend” is the pressure in the stomach area. Sitting with poor posture increases this pressure and sitting with good posture eliminates it.

    SHOULDER JOINTS AND MOUSE-HAND SYNDROME

    Shoulder joint problems are common in professions where the angle between the upper body and the upper arm is more than 30 degrees, for example, in dentistry. When using a saddle chair, the angle usually stays smaller than 30 degrees and helps to prevent shoulder joint problems.

    The detrimental, sharp angle of the wrist, repetitious movements and muscle tensions, together with pinched nerves in the shoulder area, cause most mouse-hand problems. Relieving pressure from the neck and shoulder area, and finding the correct place for the shoulder while sitting in a good posture, also helps in getting rid of the mouse-hand problems. Good posture and good hand support with almost straight wrists prevents the problem.


    The statements on these pages are based on the following sources: 
    Michael Adams, Nikolai Bogduk, Kim Burton, Patricia Dolan: The Biomechanics of Back Pain
    David A. Rubenstein, Wei Yin, Mary D. Frame: Biofluid Mechanics, an Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, Macrocirculation, and Microcirculation
    Marcus J. Seibel, Simon P. Robins, John P. Bilezikian: Dynamics of Bone and Cartilage Metabolism, Principles and Clinical Applications