Inclined Bed Therapy: Tilt your bed for healthful sleep
Inclined Bed Therapy or IBT is the brain child of Andrew Fletcher, who discovered in the 1990's that gravity actually helps to drive circulation of the sap in trees. From there, it was a short step to ask whether this was also true for animals and humans. This posed the question "why on Earth do people sleep flat?"
So Andrew suggested that people slightly raise the head end of their bed and see if any changes in their health are noticeable.
This is one of the numerous anecdotes ... stories of personal success people have reported after raising the head end of their bed by just five or six inches."Over two years ago I sat in the armchair reading a small advert which asked people to raise their bed by six inches at the head and to reply and tell what benefits had been noted. (No explanation was given)
At the time I could not move my neck to my left or right side and it ached continuously. I was unable to sleep at night as i could not get comfortable. I was only able to turn by gently easing myself. It took about three to four turns. Getting out of bed was a major obstacle. I needed help to dress and undress.
I spent most of my nights in the chair with the result that I was always tired and had no energy.
My problem is osteoporosis of the upper and lower spine. I had tried hormone replacement therapy and wasted a small fortune with bone specialists and osteopaths.
I was resigned to living my days out as best I could, having been told that there was nothing more that could be done for me.
I expected nothing but had nothing to lose, so Harry raised the bed by six inches. We did not take it very seriously but were happy to try anything.
On the fourth night I had the first full nights sleep since I don't remember when. By the end of the week I was sleeping naturally and turning over with ease. My dressing was a problem no longer, each day it became easier. I was able to turn my head without pain, right or left, to see the clock without getting up from my chair.
There have been many other benefits too. I have worn glasses from the age of seven years and I am now sixty eight years. Last year was the first time I was told that there was a small improvement.
My hair appears thicker, my hair brush needs cleaning less often.
Harry had a large suppurating scar since he was six years old. He has had to continually dress it all of his life. But now it has healed up. His ear which constantly gave him trouble with a discharge has now cleared up completely.
We both feel that the clock has been put back for us!"
Ruby, 2nd April 1998
Other such stories can be found on the Inclined Bed Therapy website
and on the facebook page with the same name
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From the facebook page:
Sleeping on a slightly inclined surface has been found to have positive effects on health and circulation, helping with many medical conditions including: Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Spinal cord injury, Ruptured vertebra, Varicose veins, CCSVI (chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency), Psoriasis, Arthritis, Insomnia, Sleep related problems, Osteoporosis, Sleep apnea, Nocturia, Circulatory problems, Cerebral palsy, Age related problems, Bed wetting, Poor immune system, Leg ulcer, Edema, Muscular atrophy, Respiratory problems, Hiatus hernia, Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, Deep vein thrombosis, Blood clots, Digestive problems and more.
"IBT is FREE for everyone", writes Fletcher, "but we do ask for feedback so that we can discover more about this exciting therapy."
Clinical trials needed
For a therapy or rather a health-related procedure to get out of "experimental" status and enter into wider application, clinical trials have to be conducted and published. If you are in a position where it is possible for you to suggest or to conduct such a trial, go ahead and do it!
A first, small scale trial has been conducted to ascertain whether Inclined Bet Therapy has any influence on diabetes parameters.
The report about the trial is here:
More anecdotal evidence
I wouldn't want to end off without another one of those "anecdotal" real life stories of people who have actually tried it out, so here in one from Andrew Fletcher's site...
23rd June 2008
I am Aluns wife (I must have sinned in a previous life!)
I have recently started on IBT and just wanted to post a few of the observations I have made over the past three weeks.
Firstly I have to say that if anyone was a cynic to this process it would have been me, like a lot of people we are all programmed like robots to believe that whatever a medical professional tells us must be right, so the idea that you should sleep inclined in the opposite direction to that which is conventional was a mystery to me.
Alun began this process about 3 months ago and I have closely watched his progress. I have to say that the bed looked very uncomfortable but he stuck with it and has gained so much from this process. I have seen him gain confidence, a definite improvement in his varicose veins but above all he no longer has constant pains in his legs and this is something that has bothered him for some 30 years.
It was this that persuaded me to give it a go.
I am fortunate to have few medical problems but a brief description would be;
Lower back pain
Pain in left hip on walking distance
Disturbed sleep patterns
Some spider veins
Now out of these the lower back pain has got to be the worst. In 2005 we purchased a very good quality bed, our excuse was 'look after your back you spend a lot of time in bed'. Well the back pain began and has continued every night since.
Since beginning the IBT I have to say, and this is an honest evaluation, I have slept like a baby, it is complete bliss and definitely not uncomfortable. I wake up pain free almost every morning and this is a huge improvement. I used to hold back from drinking before bed because I knew I would definitely be up during the night, now this is not the case. I can drink as much as I like and not wake up. I am drinking a lot more, sometimes 2 litres of liquid (not tea or coffee) in a day.
I still get the pain in hips on walking a distance but I genuinely don't suffer for 2-3 days
afterwards as I used to.
I definitely feel more energetic.
I have not noticed a significant difference in my asthma yet but this is difficult as it is worse during summer months or when I have a cold.
In the first few days I had really bad heads and spots and I can only assume that these
symptoms were caused by the amount of toxins that were being flushed from my body at that time. The odd morning I will wake up with a headache that is similar to that you would have after a real good night out. On these mornings I know that I must drink more and this clears.
I have felt tingles/nerve flutters in my legs and sometimes hands, more in the first week, but still occasionally.
My period normally follows the same pattern, though not always regular. As well as the usual mood swings etc, I will have back ache for a couple of days beforehand and restless sleep, stomach ache for the first day, then I will have a headache for a day or so after the end of my period. This last one though came without any warning, and this is something that has only ever happened on one other occasion. Don't know at the minute whether this is good or not.
I have not noticed any significant change with the spider veins but I know it is early days and to me this is not that important.
Overall, I can honestly say I feel a lot healthier, I have more energy, I sleep so much better and don't regret it at all. I would definitely recommend it and urge people to try it.
I am amazed that simply adjusting the angle of your bed can make such a difference.
05 September 2012
I just thought I would write an update being as it has been almost 4 years on IBT!!!! I cannot believe that time has passed since we began this therapy. I have included the above write up as this is one that I wrote not too long after we started IBT and maybe it is good to compare.
Alun (hubby) has been on IBT longer than myself and we also have two children who are also sleeping on an incline.
For Alun, the main reason for beginning IBT was the problems he had with his varicose veins and also constant pains in his legs, which have gone on since being a small child and he is now 38, although he was 34 when he began this treatment.
Although Aluns veins have not disappeared they have definitely changed, they are, I would say as an observer, 'tighter/firmer' so appearing stronger and there are definite areas where the veins are completely into his skin and barely visible. I don't think that the chances of them completely disappearing would have been possible simply because he has had them for such a long time and they were quite severe, however, he is very pleased with the results he has had particularly on the short vein to the calf area of his right leg which has almost gone.
The pains in his legs have been without a doubt the most amazing though as it is now very rare that he will have these, and for him this has been life changing! The only times that they seem to occur now and this is very mild compared to how they used to be, will be just before it is going to rain and he does find that when this happens if he goes and lies on the bed for a short while he can combat this pain without the need for painkillers. We rarely even have paracetamol in the house now and we used to buy 2 packs of these a week because he had these pains so regular.
I would also say from my perspective that Aluns muscle mass has increased considerably.
My eldest son has always suffered from Asthma and eczema and so we would always worry continuously about him when he got a cold as this would go straight to his chest. This has almost completely disappeared!
This maybe coincidence because he is growing up and is now 15 but I know that his asthma has never before let up. He sleeps so well too, and he was always a poor sleeper. He is going through the usually puberty problems and mood swings and well sadly I don't think the bed is going to be a miracle cure for this, but overall we are very happy with this.
My youngest son is now 13 so also beginning the puberty stage. It is a little more difficult to assess progress with him as he has other health problems which do hinder his progress at the moment. I wouldn't take him off the bed though and continue to monitor his progress.
For myself, I would say that the bed has changed my life. I mean my back is so much better. I don't think it will ever go completely and it does come back to haunt me at times but the difference is that on these occasions I can go to bed, I feel my back pulling and it will be back to normal in a couple of days. Before the bed this could have gone on for a couple of weeks! I know just how much the bed is doing because when I visit family and sleep on a flat bed for a night or two, I will be in agony with back and hip pain, I will have headaches similar to that of a hangover and I can not sleep! Also on a flat bed I am always absolutely freezing and my feet are so cold, this never happens on the incline.
Another thing I have noticed about the incline is that (touch wood) we don't seem to get coughs/colds as often. There are times when I will feel like I am coming down with a cold and on these occasions when I go to bed I will get a bit overheated in bed and then in the morning I will feel fine again. My husband and children report the same thing.
I have also noticed that I am completely unable to sleep on my stomach and this is the position I would most often go to sleep in on a flat bed and I can fall to sleep immediately on my back which is something I couldn't have done before.
All in all I would say as a family we have a lot for to thank Mr Andrew K Fletcher for and we will not be changing our sleeping arrangements any time soon.
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday June 2 2014
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