Skip to main content

Why do office chairs have so many parts?

People searching for the “best ergonomic office chair” are nonplussed when they land on our website and see a chair that’s missing most of its “key” parts. But it turns out that in chairs as in so many other things, sometimes less is more – in this case less chair parts is more movement. Why chair backs, armrests, and lumbar support are not only unnecessary, but often causing people pain and discomfort? Well, here’s the scoop:

Why no backrest?

Our active chairs don’t have a backrest because you don’t need one.  For most of time, humans have sat comfortably without backrests, and you can, too.  Counterintuitively, backrests actually invite poor posture and weaken core muscles, problems that in concert often lead to back pain and in the longer term sitting disease.By contrast, our chair encourages your spine to express its naturally perfect posture without trying to match the expectations of a chair that likely doesn’t fit your unique body very well.  Although ergonomists have solemnly pronounced that it is impossible to sit all day without a backrest, we have thousands of customers around the world (some of them octogenarians!) who sit on our chairs all day, every day, and are delighted with the results.  We’re pretty sure you will be too.

Why no lumbar support?

Our chairs don’t have lumbar support because you don’t need it. Lumbar support is added to conventional office chairs to “correct” the rounded back that is anatomical unavoidable result of forcing people to sit with their hips at an apparent 90 degree angle.  Unfortunately, the human hip only flexes to around 60 degrees, so to accommodate the 90 degree requirement people must round their backs, a concession to their chair is unnatural and uncomfortable.  To correct the problem “ergonomic” office chairs add lumbar support, a solution that only compounds the fundamental problem of sitting with one’s hips at 90 degrees. By contrast, our chairs encourage people to sit higher, establishing an open hip angle.  This encourages the lumbar curve to reassert itself naturally, and allows you to sit with excellent posture; no lumbar support required.  The addition of lumbar support to standard office chairs would cause a lot of mischief, but fortunately almost on one actually uses the lumbar support which has become an expected, but irrelevant, part of every office chair.  Bottom line: because you don’t need lumbar support we don’t waste your money building one into your chair.

To correct the problem “ergonomic” office chairs add lumbar support, a solution that only compounds the fundamental problem of sitting with one’s hips at 90 degrees.

Dr. Turner Osler

Why no armrests?

Armrests are unnecessary, because with your arms hanging comfortably from your shoulders and your wrists resting comfortably on your desk no further support is required.  Moreover, armrests can actually cause mischief, by distorting posture and over time, even occasionally damaging the ulnar nerve.  So, armrests add problems rather than value.  The real question is why are armrests so common in the world of office furniture?

Why does it move?

Very simply, humans need to move to remain healthy and vital, and we believe their chairs should support this need.  Sitting still is profoundly unnatural, and causes a panoply of problems.  Sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.  Indeed, epidemiologists estimate office chairs shorten our lives by as much as 2 years..  And because sitting itself is the risk factor, exercising daily at the gym cannot undo the harm caused by prolonged passive sitting. Additionally, the various supports of traditional office chairs lock us into a single position resulting  in poor posture, and a weakened core, often leading to bouts of back pain which may eventually become a chronic condition.  By requiring subtle, continuous, rebalancing active sitting improves posture and strengthens one’s core musculature.So, if you must sit, sitting actively is quite simply the healthiest way to sit.

Turner Osler

Turner is the CEO and Founder of QOR360. Dr. Osler is an academic trauma surgeon turned research epidemiologist who has published over 300 peer-reviewed medical papers and book chapters. As a physician who’s suffered from a tyranny of conventional chairs for most of his life, Dr. Osler’s quest for a healthier way to sit led him to develop a healthier chair.

Leave a Reply