Ergonomics – for life
Sitting is not as simple as you might think. Try sitting for a long time on a hard stick back chair and you'll see what we mean. The longer time goes, the more you have to change your posture. This is your body's way of telling you that it is not aligned properly which is not a good situation.
The human body has adapted to a physically active life over thousands of years. This has been a prerequisite for our survival. We have hunted, fished and farmed the land. The human body and its functions have also been adapted to suit the earth's gravity. Today our lives have been changed. Many people sit all through the work day. Problems arise because of it. A sore back, neck and shoulders trouble many people. These complaints also result in enormous costs to society, for companies and for the individual.
Read more in depth in our PDF compendium Sitting ergonomics
Ergonomics means that you adapt your work environment to suit human conditions and constraints. But in order to adapt the working environment with the help of work tools, aids and with consideration taken to the psychosocial environment, you must know what those conditions and constraints are.
All living organisms are affected by the earth's gravitational pull.
At Malmstolen AB, we have focussed on sitting. It is only one part of the ergonomical problem, but as your chair is the work tool that is closest to your body, the design is a key factor. Malmstolen wants to prevent musculoskeletal disorders to areas like the back, shoulders, neck and various consequential effects such as numbness in the arms and hands. Our activities and product development are based on current, international research in load ergonomics. This applies in particular to biomechanics, physiology and neurophysiology, but also to psychology.
The cornerstones of the Malmstolen solution is called SAAR which is a Swedish acronym for Support, Relief, Relaxation and Movement.
All living organisms are affected by the earth's gravitational pull. When we talk about load ergonomics, we mean the gravitational impact on the body.
The nervous system contains a component called the "muscle spindle system" that senses the body's balance in any space. This system senses if we are about to lose our balance and if our muscles and ligaments are under stress. When you have been sitting for a long time, the body is subjected to static load and muscular activity. This system is then activated.
The Malmstolen solution is based on physiology. The chair must give your body the option of being able to conduct naturally relaxing activity-related movements as far as possible.
All muscular activity burns nutrients and oxygen. In such instances, waste products, "exhaust" is created. These products include substances that irritate chemically sensitive nerve cells. These send feedback signals to the muscle spindle system to activate the loaded muscular system to an even greater extent. Even more waste products are generated which further irritate the chemically sensitive nerve cells, and so on. These waste products also include substances that are highly prone to produce pain.
The Malmstolen solution is based purely on physics. The greater the surface weight is distributed over, the less the resulting load. For this reason our chairs have been developed to offer you the largest possible contact surface. The unique backrest shapes itself in line with your natural back profile and therefore provides maximum support and relief. By default, the backrest is set to suit 70-80 % of all users.
Even the DUX seat, which has been produced in cooperation with DUX, has been developed to distribute the weight of the body over the largest possible area as a way of reducing the load.
Motion and movement variation
Motion and movement variation
Our survival over the millennia has called for a lot of physical activity. Our bodily functions are adapted to suit an active life. We call, these movements activity-related movements.
In load ergonomics there is an additional type of movement. Take the example of the stick back chair at the beginning of the text. When we change our posture because we are sitting in a poor position, this is certainly a type of movement variation, but these movements are stress related.
An uncomfortable sitting position generates tensions in your muscular system and ligaments and also causes an uneven weight distribution on your backbone and its discs. We get tired and start to ache. We start to change our sitting position in order to find a new and less awkward posture. This helps but not for long.
What happens following load-related movements is quite simply that the body activates a warning system to counter the negative effects of gravity on our body. The muscle spindle system in particular is active with its consequential and warning signals; fatigue, discomfort, pain and suchlike. Defying our body's signals increases the risk that we will have long-term musculoskeletal disorders.
The Malmstolen solution is based on physiology. The chair must give your body the option of being able to conduct naturally relaxing activity-related movements as far as possible. The movement of your body in your chair must come about naturally based on the type of work you are doing and not be caused by diverse body tensions and discomfort that an uncomfortable chair with inadequate relief capacity gives rise to. Movement and a relaxed muscular system facilitates good blood circulation and thereby good nutrient replacement.