Archive for the Product Reviews Category

Top “Mancave” Picks

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With March Madness right around the corner, it’s time to do some serious college basketball watching in the perfect Mancave. Instead of struggling to find the best seats in crowded sports bar, watch your favorite teams play in the comfort of your own home. Here are our top picks to help make viewing and cheering on your teams as comfortable as possible:

  1. The perfect chair – The sleek and elegant Human Touch® Power Silhouette Perfect Chair® has a smooth-gliding power recline motion eases the chair into a physician-recommended zero-gravity seating position that alleviates stress and improves performance. Silhouette comes with built in lumbar support and luxurious top-grain premium leather upholstery option.If you’re looking for something more classic with vintage styling to fit the rest of your mancave decor, we recommend the Marseilles Zero Gravity Recliner. With its mustache-back silhouette, rich leather and overstuffed roll arms, the look of this unique recliner recalls the vintage deco club chairs of the 1930s. You still get all the modern, health-conscious amenities you’d expect from a Relax The Back® exclusive: temperature sensitive memory foam to provide pressure-free support and a deep zero gravity recline for perfect natural posture are just a few of its benefits. The Marseilles also has an extended footrest to accommodate taller users and a pillow for cervical or lumbar support.
  2. Chair accessories – Complete the perfect chair with an accessory table, and you’ll never want to leave. It will allow you to hold most snacks and beverages, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the game. Got two Perfect Chairs for your mancave guests? Elevate the room into a home theatre and entertainment room with the Perfect Chair Spanner Wedge Table. In fact, you don’t have to limit yourself to only two chairs – you can connect a whole row of Perfect Chair® recliners in an arc for a great home theater setting.For the multitaskers, we recommend the Tablet Floor Stand – the ideal mobile freestanding table for any mancave chair. It provides plenty of foot and legroom so you can enjoy your tablet viewing in full comfort.
  3. Foot Massager – Turn your mancave into a calming place with the Therapeutic Foot Massager. It helps relieve the fatigue and stress of a long day by stimulating the essential reflex points on the soles of your feet.
  4. Air purifier – A much-needed solution for improving indoor air quality, ZŌN removes more than 99 percent of airborne particles of all sizes for the cleanest possible air. With patented technology, ZŌN surrounds the user in a bubble of air that’s free of pollutants, dust and biological contaminants while boasting silent, breeze-free and ozone-free operation.

What are your must-haves for the perfect mancave? Is it the best entertainment system, a poker table, or a well-stocked bar?

Tempur-Pedic Pillows for Your Sleep Personality

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Although known for their mattresses, Tempur-Pedic offers a quality line of pillows that can do wonders for your sleep. Whether you prefer ergonomically contoured shapes for more support or gentler, shapeable pillows for different sleep styles, there’s a match for you. To find your pillow match, start with your “sleep personality”:

  • Side Sleeper - Consider The TEMPUR-Side Pillow, which was designed by doctors for sleepers especially like you. It cradles your shoulder and neck when you sleep on your side for better alignment and support. You might also consider a body pillow, which is ideal for side sleepers as it provides extra stability and support for your entire body.
  • Back Sleeper – Ensure proper alignment of your head, neck, and shoulders for the perfect night’s sleep! The dual-lobe design of the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow will allow for just that.  It’s important, however, to choose the proper pillow thickness based on your shoulder dimensions so your head is neither too high nor too far back.
  • Stomach Sleeper - You may want something on the softer side like our TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow. It combines the traditional feather pillow feel with the support that only Tempur materials can provide. Aptly named, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.

Tempur-pedic pillows are designed to complement their mattresses, from more basic models to the luxurious ones. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if you snore or have an injury, or if you just want a better night’s rest, Tempur-Pedic has a pillow for you.  Stop by your local Relax The Back store to get properly fitted for a pillow by one of our trained associates. It’ll make all the difference.

 

 

Postural Sway: The Body’s Necessary Motion

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We are all aware that the lack of motion in the modern workplace is taking its toll on the health of the office worker. But did you know that the body has an underlying rhythm of motion that is crucial to the maintenance of healthy posture, and that the lack of this motion is the primary source of the discomfort and health challenges associated with prolonged sitting?

The human body’s natural mode for movement is the alternation of weight from one foot to the other. Recent research reveals that even when standing still, the body maintains this constant weight transfer at an average rate of twice per minute. Usually we are not aware of this underlying motion (called postural sway) unless we are forced to stand in line, or when holding a child in our arms; then the side to side motion becomes noticeable.

Why does our body need this motion? The answer lies in our core, the area between the pelvis and the neck. The spine is a flexible support system, unlike the bones of the legs which are solid and of fixed length. This means that maintaining healthy posture requires the constant exertion of spinal support muscles. Postural sway allows these muscles to alternate their exertion from one side of the core to the other, thereby avoiding exhaustion.

Even when sitting our body needs this motion, or else the back muscles give out and we end up in a slumped, damaging position. A standard fixed-seat office chair forces the body to stop its natural postural sway. The Core-flex seat, by encouraging the tilting of the pelvis and activation of leg and core muscles, allows the body to maintain this natural, necessary motion.

Steve Pearse, Core-flex Seating Technologies 2012

 

Review: Tempur-Pedic RhapsodyBed

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We recently bought a Tempur-Pedic mattress for our master bedroom. We replaced our traditional, coil mattress, which we had for 10 years. Before purchasing one, we tried Tempur-Pedic’s entire line at our local Relax The Back. We went up and down the row of mattresses, comparing each one’s characteristics. At the end of day, we chose The RhapsodyBed by Tempur-Pedic, known as one of the firmer mattresses by the Swedish company.After a month, we can say that it was an excellent decision.

The difference between sleeping on a traditional coil mattress and sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic mattress is dramatic. The Tempu-Pedic RhapsodyBed cradles every contour of my frame. Instead of tossing and turning to get comfortable, the bed conforms to me. My lumbar, shoulders, and back are fully supported, but without the pressure points. After a while you wonder how you slept on anything else.

The most surprising thing we’ve noticed is that we wake up in the same position we went to sleep. Because of the Rhapsody’s contouring qualities, there’s a lot less fumbling around, trying to find a comfortable position.

The Rhapsody, like all Tempur-Pedic mattresses, is temperature sensitive, so you reach full comfort after it’s absorbed some of your body heat.  It takes a little getting used to. When you’ve slept on a traditional coil mattress your entire life, making the switch to a high-quality, ergonomically friendly mattress can be a little jarring. But in a good way, like switching from bologna to filet mignon. When we lie down on the Rhapsody, we can feel the difference, as the mattress conforms to our bodies.

To complete the experience, we also purchased a pair of Tempur-Pedic’s ClassicPillows. As someone who usually needs 2-3 pillows to get comfortable, it was a bit of adjustment sleeping on it. Over the last few weeks however, I have gradually stopped using the other pillows. It comes as a surprise to me, but the ClassicPillow provides so much support for my neck and head that I no longer feel it is necessary to sleep on more than one pillow.

Taken together, these features create a sleep experience that leaves us fully refreshed, reassuring us every morning that we made the right purchase.

Travel Products and Tips Your Back Will Love

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During this season of heavy travel, many of us worry about the potential for back pain flair-ups and injuries.  Extended periods sitting in airplanes, cars, trains, sleeping in strange beds, or hauling around luggage are a few of the hazards that can ruin a vacation. Add to these risk factors the distance between where you are going and a trusted health care provider, and it can seem daunting.

Relax The Back travel products add a level of comfort and support that is virtually absent in cars, planes and other forms of public transportation. They are also a great addition wherever your journey takes you, from hotels to the homes of friends or relatives (who are sure to want to give them a try).

If you are wondering where to start, you may want to take a look at some of our most popular products :

  • The Self Inflating Backrest, the flagship of our travel line, is affordable, magnificently portable and works great in the car, on a plane or in any restaurant or home seating.
  • The Sacro-Ease is a durable seat support that can be customized the unique curve of your spine for maximum support.
  • Our U-shaped and other Travel pillows decrease the likelihood of cervical problems and travel insomnia.
  • The Theracane is a portable pressure point massager and one of our most popular products overall.

These and other travel products can be found on our website’s Travel section. In addition to any items you may bring along for comfort, remember these key travel tips:

  • Take frequent breaks from any sustained position. Stop the car or get up from the airplane seat every hour or two to walk around.
  • Stand up for at least one minute before attempting any lift after prolonged sitting, even if it is just to bend over for a bag under the seat.  This will actually cut the probability of injury to 1/10 of what it would be when lifting just after sitting.
  • Have porters or others do the heavy work if you have a history of back problems.

If you always think prevention, you can worry less and just relax (your back).

Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager

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If you have tired muscles, back pain, or pain from injuries, then the Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager may be right for you. It provides a wealth of benefits, with a body-hugging design that allows for a comfortable massage.

After a hard day at work, or an intense workout, the flexible design of the Epulse can relieve aches in your neck, shoulders, thighs or almost anywhere you need relief with up to 20 pre-programmed rhythmic massages. This kind of massage can help improve blood circulation and provide a deep, penetrating muscle massage. Part of what makes the Epulse so unique is its drum-massage technology, which can provide a deeper, more-targeted massage than traditional handheld massagers.

The Epulse also offers tapping massage and shoulder massage with a heating function to increase its effectiveness. And, for those of you who come away from massages sometimes a little too sore, don’t worry. The Epulse comes with a built-in eight-minute timer, so you can get a healthy massage without overdoing it.

One of its chief benefits, though, is its convenience. Unlike many massagers, the Epulse is a breeze to use. It features a one-touch control panel so you can program the exact kind of massage you need. Whether you need to unwind, rejuvenate, or recover from an injury, the Epulse can be programmed to meet your needs.

Some of the many other benefits of massage include:

  • Reduce neck & lower back pain
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduce spasms and cramping
  • Stimulation of the immune system
  • Relieve migraine pain

The Epulse provides benefits like these that can have you feeling your best in no time. In fact, many proponents of the Epulse have reported a greater sense of calm, stress-reduction, and overall well being. If you need a good neck and shoulder massage, then be sure to give the Epulse Neck & Shoulder Massager a try.

REVIEW: Human Touch Perfect Chair – PC6

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The Human Touch Perfect Chair is boldly named. A chair that’s “perfect”? It sounds as trite as “100% satisfaction guaranteed” or “new and improved.” But, after a week of actually sitting in one, I can honestly say there’s something to it.

The Perfect Chair is in a category we refer to as zero gravity chairs.  They got that name because they operate on ergonomic principles developed by NASA. The aerospace scientists were looking for ways to prevent their astronauts from being crushed by gravity during shuttle launch. In the traditional upright sitting position, the forces of gravity are concentrated on the spine, creating enormous pressure.

To counteract this, the scientists developed the “zero gravity position,” in which the feet are raised above the spine, allowing gravity to be dispersed more evenly throughout the body. This reduces pressure points and is why zero gravity chairs offer a deeper, more relaxing kind of comfort.

When you sit in one, you can feel the difference. The old, familiar feeling of sitting in a regular chair, with hips and spine at an uncomfortable 90 degree angle, is completely absent. Instead, in the zero gravity position, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout the body. Your circulation flows with gravity instead of against it. You will also notice that the chair’s back is slanted slightly away from the seat, which encourages an open thigh-torso angle.  Positioning the pelvis as well as aligning and stabilizing the lumbar spine is important to establish “neutral posture,” which is the body’s most natural position. The perfect chair achieves this effortlessly, insuring maximum comfort and pain relief.

The benefit of “neutral posture” is that it creates a relaxed, dreamy feeling that, for me at least, induces sleep in a matter of minutes. The reduced pressure on your back, shoulders, neck, and spine means your muscles don’t have to work as hard supporting your body. Again, this “neutral posture” position makes it easier for your body to relax, reducing strain and fatigue.

Perfect chairs have a nontraditional design. They don’t look like regular chairs, with sleek angles, curving along the chair and leg rest. Another difference is that they are made of 100% renewable, plantation grown wood from the Para Rubber tree. Although they have a nontraditional design, zero gravity chairs are designed for superior comfort.

You may also notice that, in comparison to other chairs, they have less padding. The reason for this is that they don’t need it. Padding does not always equal comfort. Zero gravity chairs do not need a foot of cushioned material because they put the body in its most natural, “neutral” posture.

They are built to conform to the body, rather than the other way around.

How to Choose a Tempur-Pedic Pillow: What’s Your Sleep "Personality"?

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Tempur-Pedic Symphony Pillow

If you want more sleep, try a pillow from Tempur-Pedic

Known for their mattresses, Tempur-Pedic offers a line of quality pillows for every sleep position. If you sleep mainly on your side, then you’ll want to try Tempur-Pedic’s SidePillow. This pillow’s unique shape was developed by doctors to encourage proper head and neck alignment. Because of its ergonomic friendliness, it promotes deep relaxation, for long-lasting pain relief. The SidePillow also helps prevent snoring by providing improved alignment for your neck, head, and shoulders, which opens up your airway. For best results, rest your head in the center of the pillow. This keeps your chin away from your chest, further opening up your airways.

For particularly loud snorers, your sleep partner will be so thankful.

Tempur-Pedic Body Pillow

The Body Pillow

The BodyPillow is another great one for side sleepers. This pillow is 48”, so it’s a little longer than most models. Its long design, however, provides support for the entire body, making it an ideal pillow for expectant mothers. The TEMPUR material also makes it easy to shape it to your unique body contours.

For Back Sleepers

Tempur-Pedic Rhapsody Pillow

The Rhapsody Pillow.

If you’re a back sleeper, you may want something a little more traditional. The Rhapsody Pillow comes in a conventional shape, with the same pressure-relieving material as the SidePillow. The Rhapsody cushions every contour of your neck, shoulders, and head with a super-conforming inner sleeve. If you have allergies, you can relax with this pillow under your head. It is allergen and dust mite resistant, with a washable cover.

 

If you have a stiff neck….

The NeckPillow, in particular, is recommended for those who need a more therapeutic sleep posture. The dual lobe design supports the curve of you head, neck

Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow

Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow

and shoulders for optimal spinal alignment. However, make sure you choose the proper pillow thickness based on your shoulder dimensions and sleeping position. Proper alignment and posture are absolutely essential for a good night’s rest, so if you’re interested in the NeckPillow, choose the proper pillow thickness according to height and width of your shoulders in your natural sleeping position.

Another pillow that can help relieve neck pain is the TEMPUR-Cloud. The Cloud is built for people who often wake up with a stiff neck or knotty shoulders. It’s an extra soft pillow that provides proper support for the head and neck. It’s designed to increase your relaxation and it got its name for a reason – after a few nights you’ll feel as if you’re sleeping on a cloud.

Designed to Fit Your Body

Part of what makes Tempur-Pedic pillows different is that they are designed for the human body. Their ergonomic friendliness can be especially beneficial if you have suffered an injury or have a chronic condition. In fact, their pillows are designed to complement their mattresses, from basic models such as the ClassicBed to the luxurious CelebrityBed. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if you snore or have an injury, or if you just want to get a better night’s rest, Tempur-Pedic has a pillow for you.

If you would like to get fitted for a proper pillow, please visit your local Relax The Back store to receive a personal fitting by our staff who are trained in ergonomics, posture, and spinal disorders.

Relax The Back Employee Picks

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Employees of Relax The Back pick their favorite ergonomic products.

Employees of Relax The Back pick their favorite ergonomic products.

Part of what makes Relax The Back a different kind of company is that we actually use the products ourselves. We pride ourselves on our customer service because WE are customers, too. Below are the favorite products of a few Relax The Back employees.

Ernest Benion, Jr., Sales and Training Manager
Foam Roller
-I love the Foam Roller.  The added intensity is perfect for me in the office.  After sitting for long periods, I like using the foam roller on my back to help me feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  I also love its versatility, as I can gently or aggressively massage any area of my body.  I recommend using this $30 item at the office a few times per day.  You’ll be amazed how much better you feel, and how much better your mental clarity will be!

 

SANYO Foot Massager

SANYO Foot Massager

Betsy Rodriguez, Marketing Project Manager
Sanyo Foot Massager – As a participant in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, I often think of the Sanyo Foot Massager during my training walks. I’ve tried many foot massagers over the years that were too hard on my feet, but I LOVE the Sanyo Foot Massager.  I jokingly call it my boyfriend.

Robert McMillan, Chief Financial Officer
Human Touch 1650 Massage Chair
– I have a Human Touch 1650 massage chair which I try to use every day. I am an avid tennis player but I broke my ankle twice when I was young and it can cause me some mobility problems. If I can get at least ½ hour on the massage chair after playing I am good to go for my next match.

 

Lifeform Mid Back Executive Chair

Lifeform Mid Back Executive Chair

Matt Geer, Chief Creative Design Coordinator
Lifeform® Ultimate Mid Back Executive Office Chair – I sit in a Lifeform® Ultimate Mid Back Executive Office Chair at work and I must say, it’s done wonders for my back! Before coming to work here I had major back problems from sitting incorrectly in poorly-designed chairs all day. By switching to an ergonomic office chair all those back problems have cleared up. Not only that, but it’s the most comfortable office chair I’ve ever sat in.

Donnikah Y. Castillo, Customer Service Representative
Portable FIR Heat Back Wrap
The Portable Far Infrared Heat Back Wrap is one of my favorite products to use in the office. I get cold easily and this wrap is a great “warm up” for the day. The belt can be hidden under your clothing so no one can tell you’re wearing it! I love how it has a rechargeable battery so I can leave my desk as I please and I don’t have to worry about getting yanked by any cords. I just turn it on and I’m set for the next 2-3 hours.

Brendan Gill, E-Commerce Manager
Theracane – I love the Theracane, a lightweight, handheld massager. It’s hard to believe how many knots I had in my back before I started using it. I use the Theracane twice a day and it has made my neck and shoulders a lot less stiff. My range of motion is better, too. If you don’t have time for a massage, I recommend this $35 device. It provides a similar level of comfort, in as little as two minutes.

Contourside Travel Pillow

Contourside Travel Pillow

Mandy Stevens, Customer Service Supervisor
ContourSide Travel Pillow –
A few years ago I received the ContourSide Travel Pillow for a Christmas gift, and I don’t think I have slept without it since.  Before I started using the ContourSide Pillow I would wake up with all this tension in my neck from the lack of support I was getting from my traditional pillow.  Now I wake up well rested and tension free.  I have found that the support I get from this pillow is far above any other pillow I have ever slept on.  So much so, that I take my pillow everywhere I go.

Jeff Dewane, Real Estate Manager
Back-A-Traction Inversion Table—I love the feeling when I finish a session on my inversion table. You can exercise, stretch, or just relax in an inverted position. The ability to lock in position at -30, -15 and 0 degrees gives you the extra sense of control. Every time I use it I few refreshed and renewed. I recommend you use just prior to going to bed to maximize the benefits of inversion therapy.

Mastercare Inversion Table

Mastercare Inversion Table

Bad Ergonomics – the iPad

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Cricket iPad and Laptop Stand

Cricket iPad and Laptop Stand

Ah, the joys of iPad ownership. Quick, convenient access to the web, email, work files, e-books, and more – all while drinking a latte at your local coffee shop. Still, there’s one thing to keep in mind before you have the iPad surgically attached to your body – although it is extremely useful, the iPad isn’t necessarily ergonomically friendly.

The iPad makes it difficult to view the screen without straining your eyes. If you’re typing while it’s in your lap, your eyes have to look down at an unnatural angle. You ever wonder why you see so many photos of people using the iPad while sitting down or with their legs crossed?  It’s because, without any elevation, the device causes a 90-degree downward gaze, which causes neck and eye strain. In fact, if you hold it with your hands at any angle, eventually it will strain your arm and shoulders.

However, with a Cricket iPad and Laptop Stand, you can reduce the chance of repetitive stress injuries that comes with an iPad. The Cricket elevates the viewing screen and keyboard of your laptop or iPad to a customizable viewing angle

The Cricket makes it easy for you to view the screen, without straining your eyes or your muscles. The Cricket elevates up to 9 inches in height, so you can look comfortably at the computer screen. Remember, the correct viewing position should be at a slight downward angle of 15-20 degrees, with your screen directly in front of you.

A display screen that is too high or low – one in which you have to look up or down to view – can cause neck and shoulder strain over time. With the Cricket you can set it at an angle that won’t strain your eyes or muscles. The Cricket also improves air circulation, so your iPad can run cooler while you play the latest computer games or surf the web.

The iPad has taken the consumer-computing world by storm, but it doesn’t mean it’s ergonomically friendly. While new smaller computers and multi-media phones make our lives easier, they are increasing the possibility of awkward postures and increased eye strain. So, before you spend hours and hours with Apple’s latest technological wonder, make sure your workstation is set up for comfortable computing. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a stiff neck, tired eyes, or both.