Buying an Ergonomic Sofa?
How do you choose an ergonomic Sofa? Where does one buy ergonomic couches, recliner chairs and sofas?
First of all, let's review these ergonomic principles to consider when buying an ergonomic sofa.
The Ergonomic Principles of Sitting
The ideal seating position
- 90 degree angle of your knees
- Feet touching the ground or on a foot stool
- preferably on a chair with good back support
Good Sitting Habits
We also know that
- Our bodies are not designed to sit for prolonged hours.
- Sitting, even correctly, produces a lot of pressure (and weight) on our backs.
- We should get up and move or change 'position' every twenty minutes or so.
How To Know If Your Sofa Is Ergonomic
Firstly, Check against above mentioned ergonomic principles.
I checked around for vendors of ergonomic sofas, and found not much. Or rather, I wasn't quite sure if they were truly ergonomic (I have listed some examples below for you below to see for yourself). Therefore, I think it is best to arm yourself with knowledge of ergonomics and use your own discretion.
Just a note though. Beware of soft sofas or couches, as I wrote in my previous article Home ergonomics. This is especially if you are or have family members who are elderly. They may be TOO SOFT and could cause injury.
Sofas that seems to 'swallow' you or allow you to 'sink in' strains your hips. Sitting in them and getting up from them is stressful for the injury-prone hips.
My grandmother was one example. She was prone to hip fractures and fractured her hip twice. Sitting in our regular sofas could be extremely detrimental to her.
So therefore, when our family gathers to watch television on the sofa, she sits upright beside us in a hard plastic chair with a thin cushion for added comfort. Her feet rests on the ground in a 90 degree angle.
The plastic chair looked like this:
It wasn't the best looking, but it was firm and stable. It was important that the chair was unmovable - unlike those flimsy fold-able chairs or cheaply made plastic chairs that could fold under a certain weight.
Back then, we didn't have such products to supplement our house with, more specifically the plastic chair that grandmother used to sit on, such as the Ergonomic Orthopedic High-Density Foam Seat Cushion, where I would replace the thin seat cushion with - so that grandma would had better comfort in a healthier way.
Of course we don't encourage her to sit for prolonged hours too.
Beware of the Sofa that is Too Low
It is important for the sofa not to be too low, causing your knees to bend less than 90 degrees when you sit on it.
Our bodies will naturally adjust to the ill-designed sofa causing us to slouch in it. We will instinctively adjust our knee angle to greater than 90 degrees.
"Sitting slouched like this may give temporary relief from back pain, as it causes the joint spaces to open up at the back and thus reduce pressure on spinal nerves for a short time. However, this posture builds up pressure on the discs and in time the back walls of the discs may weaken and develop a bulge. This would result in pressure being exerted on a spinal nerve." - Body Stress Release.
Modern Ergonomic Sofa
There are many companies that claim to make ergonomic sofas and couches, but don't believe all the hype. Have a sit in it yourself and run through the aforementioned principles of a good chair.
The only few I've found remotely interesting is this sofa designed by Ramon Esteve for JOQUER, a spanish furniture company I think.
Sofa by Ramon Esteve for JOQUER
It is covered with stress-resistant foam and has a high density foam core seat base. Its back and lumbar cushion is covered with Dacron fiber and graphite glazed metal legs. There are also headrests (awesome!) which join to the sofa with magnets. Interesting! I guess headrests are optional.
I don't have any more info on this, so you might want to do a more intensive research and search on this ergonomic sofa.
Shop Ergonomic Sofas
I had a browse around for this online and only found these. Check it out for yourself.
I like the "heated" and "massage" part. In South-east Asia, where I'm based, these chairs cost over $3000!
Similar to the one above...though this ergonomic sofa chair reminds me of the TV Sitcom FRIENDS, where Joey and Chandler sits on.
Now this is not exactly a sofa, but it has gained popularity with computer gamers who play for long hours. To be honest I'm not sure how comfortable they are, but they are extremely popular.
The Zuo Axiom Sofa, Ash Gray seems to fulfill all the principles of the ergonomic sofa. Firm cushions, supported back, the right 'knee angles' - not too low...
This sofa may look a little tradition, but it made me think...maybe in those old aristocratic days, they knew more about ergonomics subconsciously than we realized. They all had better posture, stood and walked upright and had less reported back and neck pains.
Read more about them here.