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GRAVITY BOOTSby Allan Mekkelson
February 8, 2005
Gravity boots were invented by a physician named Davis in Pasadena California in the late 60s. He also wrote a book extolling the benefits of gravity boots titled CUM GRAVITY. I purchased a pair of gravity boots and the book in 1976. The book was a bit over the top stating among other things that a person using gravity boots (i.e. hanging upside down) was 38% smarter because more blood flowed to the brain.
About a year later, Tom, a friend and coworker went to Dr. Davis for back problems. He said the treatment (using gravity boots saved him from back surgery.
In the 80s, gravity boots were a big fad. Richard Gere was shown training with gravity boots in AMERICAN GIGOLO and suddenly everybody had to have a pair. To meet the demand many poorly designed and hastily assembled gravity boots were foisted on the public. These cheap knockoffs resulted in many injuries when they were used as intended. And so this fad too came to an end.
Recently, having worn out my original gravity boots and lost the book, I bought a pair of gravity boots on eBay. I went to Venice Beach to try them out. After putting them on I went over to a horizontal bar. Then before I could say anything, a guy put on a pair of gravity boots backwards and hung on another nearby horizontal bar. It turned out that he had bought the gravity boots at a yard sale and had never ysed them before. Remember a buckle should always be on the outside.
After he left, I was hanging by my gravity boots and a guy asked if he could take a picture of me. I said O K. After he took the picture, I said “I’m one of the Venice Beach weirdos.” He said, “We all are”.
Today, gravity boots are marketed for two distinct purposes: 1) Fitness/martial arts training, and 2) Therapy for back problems. For therapeutic purposes, gravity boots are usually sold along with an inversion table. After laying down on an inversion or tilting table, the table is tilted 90 degrees so you can hang from your gravity boots without having to swing your feet/boots up to a horizontal bar. I thing these devices are a bit pricey. And unnecessary. But there are people whose back problems are so severe that they need them.
However you get there, hanging by gravity boots gives your back a good stretch with instant relief from any pain or soreness. In the beginning make sure your boots are right and snug so they do not hurt your ankles. Then just hang out. After you get accustomed to your boots, and can hang for a half hour or more, there are two exercises you can do. The first is a sit-up. Slowly without jerking or swinging, bring both arms up and touch the bar between your feet/boots. See if you can get up to 40 or 50 sit-ups over a month or so.
The second exercise is a reverse squat. Bend your knees and bring your butt up to the bar. This exercise is more difficult and will take time to accomplish, but will strengthen groin muscles. This is important for all types of competition because groin injuries are painful and take a long time to heal.
Whether for fitness or therapy, gravity boots are helpful and fun.
Allan Mekkelson is a good friend who is very active in sports and out door activities such as Surfing, jogging and skiing.
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