The Concept of Kneeling Chairs and How They Work
The principle of the Kneeling Chair was first developed in Northern Europe during the 1970s from ideas on an alternative seating position from Danish surgeon Dr A C Mandal as well as the Norwegian Hans Christian Mengschoel who invited a number of chair designers to take the kneeling concept further and develop a Kneeling Seat based on these principles.
Various kneeling chair designs came from this work and probably the best known of these is the Peter Opsvik designed Balans Kneeling Seat.
The name Balans is synonymous with one of the key principles of the seat's design in that it encourages you to find your natural balance line which runs in a line from your ear, to shoulder, to hips and ankle when you are seated in a Kneeling Chair. This balance line creates what Balans call dynamic movement.
Quite simply it encourages the body to form an open posture and where in a conventional office chair you are typically sitting in a closed angle of 90° or less, an ergonomic Kneeling Chair encourages you to sit in an open angled position of about 110°.
The benefit of sitting in an open angled position encourages a healthier body posture. Such a position allows your back to readily form its natural curvature and relieve compression of your spine and its discs as well as tension in your lower back and leg muscles.
Another benefit is that by adopting the kneeling seating position it allows your diaphragm to move efficiently and promote better breathing and blood circulation.
By promoting these healthy postural benefits you will also find you gain increased energy and concentration and just feel healthier in this dynamic seating position.
The term kneeling seat can be a little misleading as some models of Kneeling Chair encourage the user to carry the majority of their weight on their knees or upper shins. In reality, you should still be supporting the bulk of your body's weight on your bottom as with a normal chair. The lower seat pad or shin cushion acts as a support for your knees or shins and this helps your body to maintain a healthy seating angle.
Once you get used to the seating position of a kneeling chair and the many benefits it offers to you it will become effortless and seem completely natural.
Nonetheless some users struggle to find comfort in a kneeling chair to begin with. This article about kneeling chair comfort will explain how to best to use one.