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one person that has for many years been concerned with ergonomics in relation to furniture is designer peter opsvik. together with hans chr. mengshoel, he has developed the “balans variable” chair that in these days is being shown at the furniture fair in copenhagen. the chair is produced by stokke and has very little in common with the traditional chair.  on a balans chair, one sits with downward sloping thighs and support under the knees. this way, the hips are placed in an open angle and the lower back isn’t pressed backwards. when one works at a table, one shouldn’t need to use any back support. when using a balans chair, instead of supporting the back, the open hip position between the hips and thighs and minimal use of muscles encourages the upper body into a naturally balanced position, which is about the same position it is in while standing.

this position promotes flow of blood through the thighs and pelvic veins. it gives more space for the stomach, intestines, the liver, etc. it stops these organs from being pressed into the diaphragm and compressing the heart and lung functions.

now 35 years onwards, the variable balans chair has become a design classic, and its user benefits are just as valid today as they were when the chair was first introduced. In our opinion, that is what has made the variable balans chair iconic.

news – an old varier advertising campaign is still winning awards!

this morning it came to my attention that an old varier campaign named “varier brain design” just won “sølvtaggen” which is a norwegian advertising award. the advertising agency dist creative were given the task to revitalize one of variers design icons: the variable balans while also communicating what makes the chair so unique…it’s user benefits.


the variable balans chair is known by many as “the original kneeling chair”. it was designed to keep your back in its natural curvature. this improves breathing and keeps your back and abdominal muscles working. this active sitting position improves circulation and oxygen to the brain which aids concentration and creativity.

i cannot state it enough: sitting in one static position for several hours a day is in no way healthy. it puts pressure on the spine, decreases circulation and has been proven to detrimental to your long-term health.



is variable balans the best chair
for pregnant women?


By admin | Published: October 25, 2011

the benefits of using a kneeling chair during pregnancy

midwife, jean sutton, and pauline scott, an antenatal teacher, in a theory they developed called  ‘optimal foetal positioning’ (OFP) [1], found that the mother’s position and movement could influence the way her baby lay in the womb in the final weeks of pregnancy. many difficult labours result from ‘malpresentation’, where the baby’s position makes it hard for the head to move through the pelvis, so changing the way the baby lies could make birth easier for mother and child.

if your baby is persistently posterior, sutton recommends using a special kneeler-rocker chair for the last few weeks of pregnancy, specifically the variable balans, originally made by stokke, which is now varier.

the variable balans sits you in a helpful upright position with knees lower than your chest, but it has rockers underneath it. the combination of upright posture and rocking movement encourages the baby to rotate. much has been written about the benefits and comfort of using a kneeling chair during all stages of pregnancy.

understanding and teaching optimal foetal positioning’ by jean sutton and pauline scott, in new zealand: birth concepts, 1995.

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if one can afford it, the ultimate best chair for pregnant women is possibly the gravity balans.  this chair is one of the most unique and remarkable seating products ever developed. its unique 4 positions take you from the kneeling position (like the variable) all the way back to zero gravity reclining, all in one chair.

kneeling chairs like the variable balans and specialty chairs like the gravity balans can assist and ease discomfort for all types of sitters in general, but can be especially helpful for persons in special circumstances like people suffering from existing back pain and pregnancy as mentioned here. in an upcoming post, you will learn how a kneeling chair like the variable balans can assist with prostate pain.



For more information, visit  www.xtrafurniture.com