Ergonomic chairs are useful for improving a multitude of various back problems. Many ergonomic seating options support an ailing posture with either a chest or backrest. Better yet, the best ergo chair options will help strengthen and improve your core muscles through active sitting, which will help support a better overall sitting posture.
Ergonomic Seating: The “Back Story”
The ergonomic kneeling chair resulted from Hans Christian Mengshoel‘s quest to discover a way we could sit in a more balanced and ergonomic way. Mengshoel found that a seat tilted slightly forward encouraged a posture that naturally provided greater mobility and relieved unwanted pressure on the low back, thus relieving back pain.
When ergonomic kneeling chairs first appeared in the 1980s, they were an immediate sensation. Promising to ease work-a-day aches and pains, they were embraced by office workers and home users worldwide. After years of further research and development, Varier offers new variations and iterations of the original Peter Opsvik kneeling chairs that started the ergonomic revolution.
For many of us, especially in recent years and even before COVID, our way of life requires sitting for long periods. In fact, studies show we spend about eight hours a day sitting—at work, at home, at meetings, during travel, and in the classroom. When we sit, we tend to sit still—to the detriment of our backs, legs, and ourselves! But our bodies are made to move with more than 360 joints and 640 muscles. Movement is central to all human activity, so when we move, we thrive.
Slouched in a conventional office chair for eight hours every day, five days a week, 12 months a year, we could find ourselves with debilitating musculoskeletal problems that could impact all areas of our lives. It’s important, therefore, that we choose our office equipment carefully.
Ergonomic kneeling chairs designed by Varier benefit your body—and your health—by allowing you to move while you sit, making life’s inevitable passive moments more active. “Active sitting” sounds contradictory, but it means healthier sitting and more time to engage your core and strengthen your back each day. That means less damage and less pain.
Here are the ergonomic chair stats to help your decision:
Varier now manufactures a whole line of kneeling chairs, each with uniquely appealing qualities. Check out Varier’s whole line of ergonomic kneeling chairs to help you decide which model(s) might be right for you or your house or office.
1. Variable™ Balans®: The Pioneer
Immediately recognizable, the classic original ergonomic kneeling chair sprang from Peter Opsvik’s 1979 design, based on Mengshoel’s balans concept. As its name suggests, the chair allows for variation in all kinds of different positions. Its curved runners allow a gentle rocking motion, while a tilted seat enables a comfortable hip angle. The two-piece knee cushions beneath the seat can be used to rest your shins, one foot, both, or neither by placing your feet on the ground. You can also turn completely around or sit sideways as you choose. Separate cushions allow your hips to open when you’re seated, engaging your abdominal and lower back muscles without any necessary body adjustments.
This ergonomic desk chair is designed with simple, open construction, free of mechanical adjustment parts. It is lightweight and can easily be moved around. Stylish and functional, it can also serve as a meditation stool or even an art piece to complement a fine coffee table in any decor. The durable ash and beech veneer rockers are attractive as well as sturdy.
Finally, to commemorate 40 years of history and innovation, the Variable Monochrome Series comes with five fresh, new colors hand-picked by designer Shane Schneck and an engraved signature of Peter Opsvik.
2. Thatsit™ Balans®: Elegance
Also designed by Peter Opsvik, the Thatsit™ Balans® kneeling chair makes a statement. It upgrades any space with modern elegance while blending into a work environment—an ergonomic kneeling chair with an artful design uncommon in the marketplace. Its bold, contrasting shapes support your body while encouraging movement.
Unlike the original Variable™ Balans®, this chair features a concave backrest which, while you may not use it all the time, can provide additional support when you want to lean back from work for a few minutes. With its gently rounded runners, the Thatsit™ offers an almost unconscious transition between all postures—dynamic positioning that makes constant motion basically undetectable.
3. Multi Balans™: Versatility
The Multi Balans™ ergonomic chair also pushes the boundaries of conventional furniture, whether for the home or the office. Along with its sleek design, beautiful structure, and supportive cushions, the Multi Balans™ offers several alternative sitting possibilities. Four paired wooden knobs position the seat at four different sitting angles. Additionally, the Multi Balans™ is versatile: a portable chair that embodies the ergonomic kneeling concept yet is compact and easy to carry. It can even fold up and can lie completely flat.
We were impressed that all wooden components on Multi are made from top-quality European beech wood coated with water-based, non-toxic lacquers.
The Multi Balans™ ships in various fabrics, too, and each of the choices are very attractive. You can choose “Revive” with 100% recycled polyester, responsibly manufactured for eco-friendly Active Sitting. “Fame” offers a blend of 88% New Zealand wool and polyamide. A third option is slightly pigmented semi-aniline leather with a light finish.
If you are looking for an ergonomic kneeling chair to accompany you to different work locations, the Multi Balans™ is it.
4. Wing™ Balans®: Take Flight!
An exception to the collection, The Wing™ Balans® is the only Varier ergonomic kneeling chair with wheels, giving you the option to glide about your office or living space as you sit on exceptionally comfortable cushions. Designed in the early ‘80s by Peter Opsvik, the Wing™ has the same ergonomic kneeling concept while its sensible design and functionality allow you to use it in any workspace and as a primary work chair. If your office space includes several workstations, the Wing™ could be a great choice.
Like the Multi Balans™, the Wing™ offers a variety of fabrics. Again, you can choose from “Revive” in 100% recycled polyester, “Fame” in New Zealand wool and polyamide, or finely pigmented leather.
5. Gravity™ Balans®: Recliner/Kneeling Chair
This last entry is actually a recliner. Our busy lifestyles today might suggest a versatile ergonomic design that meets our needs in work, pleasure, and relaxation. Fully reclined, the Gravity™ elevates your legs above your heart and rocks gently with the rhythm of your breathing. Its supporting backrest and adjustable neck rest cradle you in a zero-gravity resting position for relaxation and seeming weightlessness: a great way to relax totally.
When you lean forward, Gravity™ becomes an ergonomic kneeling chair— encouraging a neutral, upright spine and activating and strengthening abdominal and back muscles. The unique combination of recliner and kneeling chair makes Gravity™ a great choice for the contemporary home and work environment.
Warranty Support: Your Assurance
Varier stands firmly behind all of its products. Each Varier chair has a 7-year warranty against fabrication faults on the wooden parts and a 5-year warranty against fabrication faults on the mechanism.