Meet the kneeling stool.

The first time I saw a kneeling stool was in the classroom of my high school math teacher. It had ’70s orange cloth, and sat in the middle of the classroom like an unsolved equation. What the heck is that for? I thought all year. All I heard was that they were good for your back.

Then, when I had my first internship the summer after college, I heard a coworker say that the best thing for your back is to sit in a chair such that your knees are below your hips. It promotes good posture. Well when I heard this I immediately thought of this strange object I’d seen in high school, and as my back became more and more sensitive I got curious. Do they work? Are they the secret design that’s best for posture but too unconventional for the public to accept?

I found this chair at the Goodwill for $8. I had to try it. My girlfriend thought I’d lost my mind when I brought it home. Why invite so much ugliness into a home of otherwise beautiful chairs? And she won. I tried it out for a week and returned it. At least I can say I’ve sampled it.

Review: My back did indeed feel great when I [sat?] on this. Never had better posture. But, oh! how my knees hurt after fifteen minutes. Granted, you can find these stools with memory foam, which probably helps.

My real problem with this chair was accessibility. They’re hard to get into. It’s like mounting a horse. And once you’re in, there’s only one way to sit. You can’t turn towards your neighbor unless you want to push on the desk til the wheels point you there. Getting out was even more difficult, and I nearly fell over several times. Imagine breaking your back in the attempt to soothe it.

Conclusion: Don’t buy. Unless you have the knee strength of an altar boy and rarely leave your seat during the day. Instead, get an adjustable-height chair with support for the lower back. Raise its seat until your knees are below your hips. Your hips will roll forward and help your spine find good posture. And find a chair you can look at.


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Ergonomics, Novelty