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What is a Balans Chair?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A balans chair or variable balans chair is a kneeling chair that was designed by Peter Opsvik in 1979. This kneeling chair makes use of two curved runners made of wood for supporting the spine’s normal curve. Its mild movement and rocking rhythm are believed to aid a person’s general awareness and circulation, resulting in increased productivity. The design of the variable balans chair was based on the alternative sitting ideas of Hans Chr. Mengschoel and Dr. A.C. Mandal, as opposed to the typical 90-degree angle offered by traditional office chairs.

Variable balans chairs are uniform in size and have an optional back piece. The chair is usually made from natural wood that can be finished in a variety of stains. The cushioned parts of this original ergonomic chair can be finished in a broad variety of upholstery materials, including leather and cotton. It tends to weigh around 13 pounds (5.9 kg), making it quite portable.

The balans chair created by the Scandinavian company HAG was in collaboration with Peter Opsvik. The HAG balans is an updated balans chair that includes a five-star wheeled base that swivels similar to traditional office chairs. Production of the HAG chair was discontinued in 2009, however. Peter Opsvik recommends the wing balans made by Varier&reg as a replacement for the discontinued HAG kneeling chair.

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Aside from the wheeled swivel base, another useful feature of the wing balans chair that is lacking in the variable balans is a fully adjustable knee pad or leg cushion. This feature aids users in customizing the chair to suit the most favorable length setting. The chair’s adjustable back rest and seat height also allow the abdominal and back muscles to function more naturally by offering support for the spine.

With the wing balans chair, users have five sitting options. They can kneel while also sitting upright or sit in the typical fashion with their feet positioned on the floor. Users can also sit with a foot placed on the floor with one knee resting on the knee pad or with a foot placed on the floor and with the other foot resting on the knee pad. They can likewise sit on the knee pad and then place their arms on the seat cushion.

Another type of kneeling chair is the multi balans by Varier&reg. This kneeling chair is designed based on the original variable balans but with an adjustment option for chair height. The multi balans chair is lightweight, and it can be folded or hung on a wall when not in use.

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