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Rethinking Our Seating: What's Wrong with the Chair?

In "The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design", Galen Cranz provides a compelling critique of the traditional chair and its impact on our health and well-being. Through an ergonomic and body-mind perspective, Cranz dissects the shortcomings of conventional seating and invites us to reconsider our relationship with chairs. This blog post delves into the core arguments presented in her book, highlighting why the chair as we know it might be due for a redesign.

The Ergonomic Shortcomings of Traditional Chairs

The standard chair, with its rigid 90-degree angles, fails to accommodate the natural curvature of the spine. Cranz argues that this design promotes poor posture by encouraging sitters to slump, leading to a cascade of musculoskeletal issues. The static nature of typical chairs also restricts blood flow and can contribute to discomfort and long-term health problems, such as chronic back pain and the exacerbation of existing musculoskeletal disorders.

The Sedentary Lifestyle and Its Discontents

Cranz's critique extends beyond the chair itself to the sedentary lifestyle it embodies. Prolonged sitting has been linked to a range of health issues, from obesity to heart disease, and even early mortality. The chair, in many ways, symbolizes our modern tendency to spend extended periods in a seated position—whether working, commuting, or relaxing—exacerbating these health risks. Cranz suggests that the design of chairs contributes to this problem by making sitting the default and often only comfortable posture.

A Body-Mind Perspective on Sitting

Drawing on the body-mind connection, Cranz explores how traditional chairs do not just affect our physical health but also our mental and emotional well-being. Sitting in a chair that promotes poor posture can lead to decreased energy levels and a negative impact on mood and productivity. Furthermore, the passive posture encouraged by standard chairs can mirror and even influence a passive mindset, affecting our engagement with the world around us.

The Need for Dynamic Seating

Cranz advocates for dynamic seating solutions that encourage movement and allow for various sitting postures. Chairs that support a more active sitting experience—such as those that enable rocking, tilting, or shifting weight—can mitigate the adverse effects of prolonged sitting. These designs align more closely with the body's natural movements and can promote better posture, increased comfort, and enhanced circulation.

Embracing Alternative Seating Options

To address the issues presented by traditional chairs, Cranz encourages the exploration of alternative seating options. From kneeling chairs that distribute weight more evenly between the pelvis and knees, to standing desks that reduce the time spent sitting, these alternatives can offer a healthier and more dynamic approach to how we work and live. Additionally, incorporating practices like regular stretching, walking breaks, and the use of exercise balls as seats can further counteract the negative impacts of sedentary habits.


Galen Cranz's "The Chair" challenges us to reconsider the role of chairs in our lives from an ergonomic and body-mind perspective. By highlighting the health risks associated with traditional seating and advocating for innovative design solutions, Cranz opens the door to a future where chairs support our physical and mental well-being. As we move forward, rethinking our seating choices can be a crucial step in fostering healthier, more active lifestyles. The conversation sparked by Cranz's work is not just about furniture—it's about reimagining how our environment shapes our health, productivity, and engagement with the world.

Click the link here to an App from the Australian Chiropractors’ Association to keep your spine moving.


Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed.

Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children.

Yours in Health,

Dr's Mark & Julie


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