Back and neck pain, especially from long hours sitting at work, have become an occupational hazard for a society that is literally plugged in. No matter what your age, staring at a computer, mobile phone, or tablet commonly occupies many hours a day for most of the world's population. This sedentary posture is very hard on the neck, back and even the brain. The term "text neck" has been coined to refer to the strained position of the neck while staring at a mobile phone!
One creative solution for back, neck and posture maladies is the innovative Waff. We've spent the past year and a half (since July, 2016) using and experimenting with a Waff mini and can tell you a few cool things about it.
What’s a Waff Mini?
A Waff mini is an inflatable device designed by Fench sports guru Dominic Soares to be used while sitting in a chair, airplane or car to improve posture, increase circulation and decrease pain. But it's not just for sitting on! The Waff mini is also used by professional athletes to fire up their core muscles for rigorous activity.
Using the Waff to Improve Posture, Engage the Core and Reduce Pain
The center of the Waff was designed to stabilize the spine. It's flat. The surrounding area of the Waff, when inflated by at least 1/3 allows and, indeed, demands mobility. When sitting on the Waff, the body must make constant minor corrections to maintain balance. These minute corrections keep the spine aligned and the brain active as it communicates these minor adjustments to the muscles.
The continuous mobility keeps the sacrum (base of spine) from getting “stuck.” The countless adjustments that are made while sitting not only keep the body from stiffening up, they improve posture, which is notoriously poor during computer work. Additionally, these continuous movements activate core muscles. The body also burns calories because of these constant micro-movements.
Sitting on the Waff sets the hips higher than the knees. This creates a pelvic tilt that leads to a physiological or 'normal' lordosis curvature of the spine, which reduces pain.
How to Use the Waff Mini for Low Back Pain
To alleviate low back pain, inflate the Waff by 1/3 (or less) and place it in the center of your chair. You can experiment to find most comfortable position while sitting on the Waff. It is not uncommon to inflate or deflate the Waff every few days, so pay attention to your internal sensations and adjust accordingly. If the Waff doesn't feel comfortable, try deflating it a bit. Or you might prefer having it behind your mid back one day instead of sitting on it.
How to Use the Waff Mini for Neck and Shoulder Tension
To reduce neck and shoulder tension, inflate the Waff by 1/3 or more and place it between the upper and middle back (thoracic spine) and the back of your chair. This will allow the body to keep moving, little bits at a time, to keep stiffness from setting in. It also encourages correct posture.
Watch this video to see how Earth Clinic's founder, Deirdre Layne, uses the mini Waff.
How Does A Waff Compare With Other Back Support Devices like a Lumbar Pillow?
The Waff has a unique, standalone design in that the circular center of the Waff, which is about the size of your palm, remains flat while the surrounding material is inflated. Think of a donut with the center filled in. It is for this reason that the Waff Mini is frequently used by professional athletes for core and mobility training.
Where Do I Get a Waff?
The Waff comes in three sizes – mini, pro, and max. Each Waff has multiple applications. The Waff mini can be used not only for chair sitting, but also in the car (lumbar support), or on a plane. Professional athletes also use the Waff mini for balance, rehab and core training.
USA readers can visit the Waff website for more information. Earth Clinic readers will receive a 10% discount with coupon code EARTHCLINIC10.