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Newly announced FreedMan Chair claimed to replicate standing spine posture

By

October 4, 2013

Simon Freedman and his FreedMan Chair

Simon Freedman and his FreedMan Chair

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"It became readily apparent that many of the problems my patients were experiencing had been created by the lack of a suitable chair," says Simon Freedman, an osteopath of 20 years. "But as hard as I looked, I just couldn't find a chair to recommend to them. I decided to see if I could make one myself." After a claimed 15 years of development, Simon has announced his FreedMan Chair, which he says is the only chair that allows the spine and pelvis posture that we experience standing up.

According to the press release announcing its unveiling, the chair allows its user to maintain the natural curvature of the spine in both forwards and sideways directions.

The key to maintaing the spine's natural curvature, Freedman claims, is a thigh angle of 27 degrees from the horizontal. The chair has been designed around maintaining this angle comfortably, in a relaxed posture, without slipping from the chair.

Freedman claims that nine out 10 people have unequal leg lengths, which he says has been "totally overlooked" by designers of other chairs. The seat pads of the FreedMan chair can tilt from side to side, allowing users to find their natural sideways posture.

I gave the chair a little a little test during its unveiling at 100% Design at the end of September, and though my short sit was far from sufficient to draw any firm conclusions, it did leave me intrigued. I tried a backless version of the chair, and because of the angle of my legs, I didn't feel I was missing anything by not being able to lean back. And because of the side-to-side tilting of the seat, I found the chair was able to accommodate my natural inclination to fidget a bit without my having to shift my bottom on the seat. For the brief time I used it, it struck me as being much more comfortable than it looked. Though the FreedMan Chair does have a back rest, the intention as I understood it is that you should not lean back on it with an great force.

Talking to Freedman at the event he recounted the story of an elderly lady who tried the chair. "Watch this," she said, before standing up without using her arms for leverage, as, apparently, she'd usually need to do.

But will this help to remedy back trouble? I have no idea, but the press release quotes University of Huddersfield osteopath Professor Kim Burton, who gives what sounds like a reasonable, measured soundbite. "The philosophy of trying to help people sit as they stand is interesting," he says. "This chair will certainly alter the usual mechanics of sitting, which people may find offers a useful alternative."

When it launches at retail, the FreedMan Chair is expected to be sold for £800 (about US$1,300), but Freedman intends to launch a Kickstarter campaign very soon, selling 500 chairs at a cost price of £350 ($560). Trying before buying is obviously not a bad idea.

Source: FreedMan Chair

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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13 Comments

Why are there no picture of someone actually sitting in the chair?

benfelts70
4th October, 2013 @ 01:24 pm PDT

Nothing new here. Check out the binaria stool from be Barcelona...

Carlos Letelier
4th October, 2013 @ 09:58 pm PDT

We provide this seating geometry at Manta Design - it is the correct way to sit - but we do it for bicycles, in motion. Jon

Jon Catling
7th October, 2013 @ 02:42 am PDT

It looks more to me that it would be the easiest thing in the world to slide off and land on the floor with a jolt, especially seeing as it has castors. If you didn't need an osteopath before sitting on the FreedMan Chair, there is the high likelihood that you would afterwards. Perhaps it should be called the CrippledCoxis Chair instead.

Mel Tisdale
7th October, 2013 @ 06:33 am PDT

benfelts70:

You are correct! On the site's animated video the only thing sitting is a skeleton. In their "Evolution of Man" picture before the Freedman chair is a guy facing a computer using incorrect seat hight and posture. Is the buyer to assume the chair will force the user into correct sitting or just standing posture? I've seen too many people with incorrect walking and standing alignment to consider this the next big thing.

Phileaux
7th October, 2013 @ 12:36 pm PDT

Hello,

Simon Freedman here. Many thanks for your comments.

Pictures of people sitting on the Mark III FreedMan Chair will be up on the website tomorrow...Good idea that...

Hey Mel, no-one has slipped off our chairs yet. They're very comfortable and funnily enough people with Coccygeal problems love them.

Hey Carlos, the Binaria stool has a very different functionality to The FreedMan Chair. The Binaria is based on a split, traditional saddle design. Lot's of problems with that approach...In my opinion.

Hey Jon, I couldn't find the chair you're talking about. If you could send me a link, I'd love to take a look.

Simon Freedman
7th October, 2013 @ 12:39 pm PDT

IT is probably correct to assume that the normal desk height of 29-30 inches would have to increase to allow for being a little taller in the saddle.

Bruce H. Anderson
7th October, 2013 @ 01:03 pm PDT

Hey Again,

Jon, my apologies, I found your 'Manta' bicycle seat and it is really brilliant. I totally love it. I dug out your patent and it confirmed that what you are trying to achieve is very different from what The FreedMan Bicycle Seat will. The Manta does look great though, I wish you every success.

Phileaux, I study sitting as a career and most research agrees that the man in the Evolution of Man is in the correct sitting position. I could point to the papers I am referring to, and I'm sure you've read A.C. Mandal.

Simon Freedman
7th October, 2013 @ 01:07 pm PDT

There is a Finnish invention called Humantool. It looks a bit like a miniature horse riding saddle with half a sphere on the bottom to balance on. Not sure if I managed to explain clearly in English?

http://www.humantool.fi/english/

Henry Van Campa
7th October, 2013 @ 01:29 pm PDT

I thought the bicycle idea sounded interesting too, this looks sound enough to me, when my back gets out of shape I would love to try this out.

Roger Dutton
7th October, 2013 @ 02:08 pm PDT

The FreedMan Chair is meant for the 29-30 inch 75 cm mark. It should be fine with most people and desks.

I'm really liking the Humantool too, but I have my reservations about the whole idea of miniaturised-saddle types of seating. It does look good for movement and activity.

Simon Freedman
7th October, 2013 @ 02:09 pm PDT

Dr. Freedman,

Yes, the figure using your chair facing a lap top is in the perfect keyboarding position. I'm referring to the silhouette of the man facing a CRT monitor, elbows on knees and feet on their balls. When I returned to college after a 20yr hiatus I unfortunately witnessed students adjusting their chairs to this sitting position. My old style "typewriting" posture stuck out.

Would you state your chair is more a preventative measure? I understand legally if this question is non-answerable.

Thank you for your time responding back to one of the many boards this story must be on.

Phileaux

Phileaux
7th October, 2013 @ 06:54 pm PDT

Hey Phileaux,

Thanks for your comments. A great paper on ergonomics (dozens of researchers/experts) that came a few years ago concluded that there was no robust evidence to recommend any ergonomic intervention. Recent research (check Marc Hamilton, et al-Louisiana Uni), concludes that sitting in a slumped position for prolonged periods can significantly raise mortality rates. The research papers of many of the big chair manufacturers agree with many of my theories, but they often ignore their own research...

I don't think we are meant to sit. I'm trying to make task seats that replicate the standing posture. The big chair comp.s spend $10mill+ on each new chair, whilst I do a lot of work in my kitchen.

Fingers crossed I'll be able to embark on a quadruple-blinded research project soon...

I'm always happy to talk - simon@freedmanchair.com

Simon Freedman
7th October, 2013 @ 11:18 pm PDT
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