Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I bought this chair (Stokke Balans made in Norway. Designed by Peter Opsvik.) about twenty years ago (!), when I first had back problems. (Actually I think my back problems started when I was 15, but they were diagnosed as a lung collapse, if you can credit that.)
I'm proud that it looks almost as new. But less proud that the main reason for this is the little use it has had over the years.
I think I would be in better shape now, and would have avoided a ton of back troubles if only I had used it daily, instead of sitting slumped at the computer.
The problem is it almost forces you to sit up straight, and if you're lazy and your back muscles are already weak, that feels like work. But it's work you need.
It seems like kneeling chairs are disappearing from the landscape. I can't even find Stokke's once big selection on their site anymore! They seem to be living on selling baby chairs now. What a pity.
I think one problem is that most "kneeling chairs" are static. They can't move when you're sitting on them. This chair can. You can rock a little and you can vary your position as you're working. You can give yourself mini-workouts every couple minutes (or any time you're just reading on screen), rocking and twisting, perhaps to music. You don't even need to get up, just take your hands off the keyboard. Kewl.
I find it works even better with the inflatable seat I bought recently. It flexes under me as I rock and roll on the chair, and makes it more comfortable.
Update: it seems these simple, compact, and effective chairs are still produced, now under the brand name Variér. Sadly, now as then, their range are not cheap chairs. Frankly I suspect they may be a bit overpriced, but what do I know about making furniture. I do think though that nobody else makes anything quite like them. I'm considering upgrading to their Thatsit model, but it's like $1200, and I want to make sure there's a real difference from what I have.