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Whether at home, on the road or at work: every day we use products that make our lives easier or more beautiful. But do these products also make your back easier? Discover all back friendly products with the "AGR- seal of approval" of the Healthy Back Campaign. Just click through - you will be surprised!

Saddle seatsPrint

A saddle seat maintains back health 

Mobile sitting while maintaining a good posture is a major challenge in many sitting occupations with higher and flexible working positions. Numerous types of seating make it virtually impossible to maintain the natural S-shaped curvature of the spine over an extended period of time. Not so with an ergonomic saddle seat. It differs from its fellows in numerous details and, with a corresponding design, ensures a more upright, healthier posture.

Saddle seats – a solution with many possible applications.

When dentistry students are asked about their greatest challenge, the answer is likely to surprise many of us. Rather than the extensive medical subject matter being the biggest problem for most, it is the posture during treatment that puts extensive strain on the back. In a US study(2), 70 per cent of dentistry students at the University of San Francisco said they suffer from shoulder and back pain. This is caused by the monotonous posture that is typical for dentists, combined with often unsuitable seating. With an ergonomically designed saddle seat on the other hand, the strain on the back and its structures can be considerably reduced.

This phenomenon exists not only in the profession of dentistry but also in many other occupations where sitting in higher and flexible working positions is required for long periods of time. Good pelvic balance through rhythmic loading and unloading cycles of the spine is important. Here the saddle seat provides excellent relief, promoting good health.

The saddle seat is not only found in dental practices but also in various therapy practices and clinics as well as industrial applications (for flexible working positions, e.g. in assembly tasks) and in architectural offices. It is suitable wherever flexible, mobile, healthy sitting over the long term is required.

The shape creates the effect

Among other things, we owe the evolution of back-friendly saddle seats to the Australian’s occupational therapist Mary Gale’s powers of observation 30 years ago. She investigated the phenomenon of a child with a disability being unable to maintain their posture sitting on a normal chair, while managing this sitting in saddle on a horse. The result of her investigations: The special shape of the saddle permits a natural, back-friendly posture that does not disrupt blood circulation, unlike most conventional types of seating.

Modern saddle seats and their continuous further development are based on these findings. Sitting on them slightly tilts the pelvis and puts the hip joints in a 45 degree tilted resting position. This is ideal to maintain the spine’s natural shape and reduce pressure on the intervertebral discs. A balanced, comfortable posture is the result, simultaneously enabling rhythmic loading and unloading of the spine.

What else is important?

To ensure this ideal posture for the back, a saddle-shaped seat also has to be available in various sizes. This is the only way to ensure optimal sitting for anyone from younger school children to larger people. Whether the seat is small, medium or large, continuously variable height adjustment by means of an easy to operate pneumatic lift should be provided. Variable adjustment of the seat bottom inclination angle is also important. This allows users to continuously adjust their working position to their needs.

All adjustment possibilities should also be easy accessible, functional, ergonomically designed and easy to operate. For hygienic reasons, height adjustment without using the hands is an added requirement for saddle seats used in an operating room or laboratory. Therefore, it should be possible to make this adjustment, for example, with the feet.

(2) Rising DW, Bennett BC, Hursh K, Plesh O. Reports of body pain in a dental student population. J Am Dent Assoc. 2005 Jan; 136(1):81-6.


  • Saddle seats are mostly used in a half standing or half sitting position. A way to adjust the seat height for people of different heights is therefore vital. At the very least, models of different sizes have to be offered. The seat angle opening is ideally about 135°/45° using the neutral zero method, but should be adapted to the task at hand.
  • It may be necessary to adjust the seat bottom’s angle of inclination depending on the task. A corresponding adjustment possibility has to be provided.
  • For easy adjustment, all adjusting levers have to be readily accessible and straightforward to operate.
  • Sitting comfort is crucial. Since this is highly dependent on personal perception and the respective task, a corresponding solution has to be offered – through different saddle profiles, for example.
  • Sitting comfort improves when the pelvis position is balanced. This is promoted by a slight curvature in the rear area of the seat.
  • Frequent cleaning of the seat may be necessary depending on the occupational application. Easy cleaning and/or disinfection then has to be considered in the selection of materials.
  • Good stability is essential as well.
  • Additional adjustment options can further improve comfort for special applications. These include adjustable armrests to temporarily relieve the shoulder and neck musculature, or an adaptable backrest.
  • A foot ring for greater flexibility or hands-free seat height adjustment are also advantageous – in the laboratory or operating room, for example.

Minimum requirements

  • Height adjustment
  • Seat angle adjustment
  • Easy handling
  • Comfortable sitting posture
  • Compliance with hygiene regulations
  • Stability

Also appropriate

  • Height-adjustable armrests
  • Height-adjustable backrest
  • Foot ring
  • Hands-free seat height adjustment
  • Multidimensional movement function

Products in this sector with the AGR seal of approval


Hager & Werken GmbH & Co. KG
Ackerstraße 1
47269 Duisburg
Phone 0203/992690
Fax 0203/299283
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