It's a well-known fact that the Americans love to provoke. They are well trained in handling the media and know exactly how to attract attention. Two years ago, the medical director of a famous clinic in Arizona caused an uproar by stating: "Sitting is as bad as smoking". He claimed that sitting is more dangerous than cigarettes, more deadly than HIV, more dangerous than parachuting. In fact, many scientific studies say he's right. But what about people whose limited mobility keeps them sitting for hours on end? Are they then left completely and utterly at the mercy of fate? Fortunately not. Individually customised modern riser-recliner chairs not only make you comfortable when sitting in them but also motivate users to be more mobile.
In contrast to many other chairs, a riser-recliner is usually used by one and the same person. They can therefore be adjusted individually in terms of the backrest, seat height, seat depth and seat width. The chair is then literally tailor-made. As an alternative, other chairs are available with fully variable seat heights and seat depths that are very easy to adjust. Both solutions optimise the distribution of sitting pressure which is so important. This is perfect when the feet are in contact with the floor, thighs and calves are at an angle of about 90 degrees and the thighs rest on the chair along their whole length, with space to fit 2 to 3 fingers between the seat and the back of the knee.
The backrest is particularly important. It must be possible to adjust it easily to the full range of different positions from sitting upright to lying down flat. Synchronous backrest adjustment and seat tilt is another important detail which helps to prevent the user from sliding out of the chair while adjusting the backrest.
Lumbar support (at about belt height) should be a standard feature that can be taken for granted in an ergonomic, back-friendly riser-recliner chair. It should be individually adjustable and as large as possible to offer genuine relief in all positions. It thus ensures that the spinal column is an anatomically correct position without any compression of the intervertebral discs and even allows them to regenerate and become replenished with fluid when lying flat. They can thus fulfil their intended buffer function while preventing almost any signs of wear and tear.
Many people with restricted mobility have problems with their heart or circulation in the legs, so that it is also important to pay attention to the so-called heart-balance position when purchasing a riser-recliner chair. What does that mean? It's quite simple: The heart-balance position has the feet higher than the heart for a relaxed flow of blood from the leg through the veins back to the heart. Particularly for a well-deserved nap. No matter whether the chair is being used to sleep, read, watch TV or do the crossword, the arms should be given optimum support whatever the sitting or lying position. The width of the armrest is just as important as the height. Tip: When the arms are lying on the armrest, the shoulders should not sag or be hunched.
Furthermore, the rising function is especially important particularly for people with restricted mobility. The chair must be designed not to press the body forwards, as this would increase the risk of falling. It is better for the body to be well supported and for the armrests to give secure support. Other features such as headrests, integrated seat/back heating and a massage function can turn a riser-recliner chair into a wellness oasis. Some even have a micro-movement function. They trigger scarcely noticeable movement of the back, while at the same time also permitting regeneration of the intervertebral discs.
Riser-recliner chairs in particular are frequently used not just by one and the same person but usually also for many hours a day. Please therefore make sure that the chair offers scope for optimum adjustment to the individual requirements when it comes to seat height, depth and width. Either the chair should have corresponding adjustment possibilities, or it should be made to measure.
The backrest should reach at least to shoulder height to provide good support for the back; preferably, it should support the head as well. Here a corresponding neck support is also advisable. This is important particularly when at rest or when supine.
Regular changes in position are very important, given the great length of time spent in the chair. It should therefore be easy to change position. Pay attention to fully variable position changes and easy, intuitive operation of the controls. Some models include functions that proceed automatically with slight, almost imperceptible changes in position at certain intervals.
On account of the changing sitting/supine positions, the chair must have an individually adjustable lordosis support. When sitting for example, it is sometimes necessary to have another option in addition to the supine position. This is the only way to offer optimum support for the sensitive part of the lumbar spine.
As far as the rising function is concerned, it is important to ensure that the user is not pressed forwards and does not slide out of the chair while standing up. The chair must also provide good support for the user during every position in the rising movement. This helps the user to stand up safely. The armrests should offer secure support at all times.
himolla Polstermöbel GmbH*
Landshuter Str. 38
Phone +49 8084/25-0
Fax +49 8084/25-558
Wellco International BV**
5683 CL Best
Phone +31 88/33 88 10 0
Fax +31 88/33 88 19 9
Anatomically correct sitting and mobility
Poor sitting posture places an added burden on the back