Teeter Hang Ups are a line of inversion tables designed to make it easy to recline in an inverted position by one's ankles. The user controls the degree of inversion -- from reclining just a few degrees (recommended for new users) to completely upside down. The manufacturer doesn't claim any medical or health benefits beyond temporary relief of back pain and says it's not for everyone.
Reviews say it's important to seek medical advice before using an inversion table. Persons with certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma or bone weakness, should not use inversion tables, experts caution. Professional reviews of inversion tables at the University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter and at WebMD.com say pain relief is temporary. Experts consulted say they are not convinced of any long-term benefits to spine health.
However, most of the user-written reviews we found say the Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables work, with owners reporting consistent pain relief plus a pleasant sense of stretching. At Amazon.com, for example, about 90 percent of the users reviewing one of the least expensive Teeter Hang Ups models, the EP-550 (*Est. $300), say they're very satisfied with it. Users do urge reviewing the instructional DVD carefully, and some warn against using the device without someone nearby in case you need help. Please note that some reviews we found are for an older version of the EP-550, the F5000, but they still give a good sense of customers' satisfaction with the table.
Most users also say Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables are sturdy and well made. The main complaint we found from some users is that using an inversion table can be hard on the ankles. Gravity Boots (*Est. $100), made by the same company, are designed to minimize pressure and strain on the ankles. This is the solution recommended by the About.com reviewer, but it does add quite a bit to the cost.
We found the best professional medical information about Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables at the University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter; as well as MayoClinic.com and WebMD.com. We found the greatest number of user-written reviews at Amazon.com and at another big retail site, Inversion-Table-Direct.com. The About.com guide to holistic healing reviews a Teeter Hang Ups table based on personal experience, and several users of Teeter Hang Up tables demonstrate it on ExpoTV.com. The handful of owner-written reviews at Epinions.com confirm what is said in other reviews, and an article at EnergyCenter.com provides some more information on contraindications, with a link to a medical study. Another article at WebMD.com advises against doing exercises while inverted.
1. University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter
This medical newsletter from the University of California, Berkeley, doesn't review the Teeter Hang Ups specifically, but evaluates inversion tables in general, saying that any positive effects are quite temporary. Inversion tables are "a form of traction -- a method that's largely been discarded for treating back pain." The article quotes an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Los Angeles, who says the devices don't reverse the effects of gravity or increase the space between vertebrae, though they may temporarily extend the spine and briefly relieve muscle spasm. The article also urges readers to consult a doctor before using an inversion table.
Review: Ask the Experts, Editors of Berkeley Wellness Letter
2. Mayo Clinic
This short yet informative article explains how inversion therapy works and advises that it does not provide lasting relief from back pain and could be risky for people with certain health issues. It does say that some people find traction temporarily helpful in relieving pain. The Teeter Hang Ups table is not specifically mentioned.
Review: Inversion Therapy: Can it Relieve Back Pain?, Randy Shelerud , MD
Colette Bouchez recommends against inversion for anything more than very temporary relief of back pain, saying the effects don't last long. Like other sources, this article warns that inversion treatments are dangerous for quite a few people with medical conditions.
Review: Inversion Boots, Colette Bouchez
More than 100 customers give the Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 Inversion Table an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The EP-550 is one of the least expensive versions, but other Teeter Hang Ups models get similar reviews and ratings at Amazon.com. The vast majority of reviewers seem happy with the quality of the table and say they have found relief from back pain. One customer complains that it is heavy and not easy to fold or store.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 Inversion Table, Contributors to Amazon.com
This large retail site sells quite a few brands of inversion tables, including Teeter Hang Ups products, and publishes owner-written reviews and ratings from verified customers. The EP-950 and EP-550 each have a 4.5 out of 5 star rating and more than 300 reviews. Editors choose three as the best picks; all three are also top sellers. The main complaint is about sore ankles.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups, Editors of and contributors to Inversion-Table-Direct.com
This article attempts to answer whether inversion therapy actually heals back pain. Although medical experts say it only provides temporary relief, users say that temporary relief has been very important in their quality of life.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups Review – Does Inversion Therapy Heal Back Pain?, Viewpoints staff, April 26, 2010
This brief review by the About.com guide to holistic healing is based on her personal experience with the Teeter Hang Ups F5000 inversion table. She notes that it can be uncomfortable if used without boots, and that the "spring-loaded ankle bar is a bit tricky." She concludes that the device's advantages outweigh these concerns, but stops short of claiming real health or medical benefits for it. Her personal experience is that "ten minutes once or twice a day on the table helps me get the kinks out of compressed joints and relaxes any muscle fatigue. It gives a good stretch that really feels great!" She recommends getting medical advice before trying an inversion table, since they're inadvisable for some medical conditions. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table, Phylameana lila Desy
Two video reviewers have posted reviews for Teeter Hang Ups at this site, one for the F7000 and one for the F5000. For the F7000, an anonymous reviewer who's used a Teeter Hang Ups inversion table for about two years demonstrates how it works. He says he can relieve occasional back pain by using it several times a day for two or three days in a row as soon as the pain starts and rates it 5 out of 5 stars. The F5000 earns a perfect user rating.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups F7000 Inversion Table Review, Contributors to ExpoTV.com
More than two dozen users give the F5000 model of Teeter Hang Ups inversion table the same rating it earns at Amazon.com. However, one user reports that a defective foot release caused severe pain and would have been disastrous if she'd been using the equipment alone. The EP-550 and EP-950 models get 5 out of 5 stars in ratings by a handful of consumers, but no one has written an actual review of the products with more details.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table, Contributors to Epinions.com
This site lists medical conditions for which inversion tables are not advisable. Even this list isn't meant to be exhaustive, so it's still important to get medical advice. The article includes a link to a 1985 medical study.
Two exercise physiologists from the American Council on Exercise advise against using an inversion table for exercising. They say it often strains the lower back in men, and is dangerous for quite a few medical conditions. However, neither expert talks about using an inversion table simply for relaxing and stretching the spine.
Review: Workout Devices Get Rated, Jeanie Lerche Davis
Two dozen users report on whether inversion therapy helped them. Almost all the reviews say it has worked. Most reviewers have back pain, but several have chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis. The Teeter Hang Ups is not specifically mentioned.
Review: Inversion Therapy, Contributors to DailyStrength.org