Ergonomics page

In 2013 Owl Furniture received a grant from the Maine Technology Institute to fund an analytical study by US Ergonomics. The image above comes out of that study and shows the difference in pressure distribution between a traditional flat seat and the Owl® Stool. The spacing of the holes in the Owl® Stool proved to be the perfect average for both male and female subjects.

Additionally, recent BIFMA test results demonstrate the strength and durability of the Owl® Stool and it’s suitability for use in public places.

The Ergonomic Benefits of Sitting and Standing

Alan Hedge of Cornell University states: “Based on research studies I recommend the 20 minutes sitting (in a good posture), 8 minutes standing (for sit-stand workstations) and 2 minutes of standing and moving (gentle stretching, walking etc.) as a ball park goal for organizing work. For a 7.5 hours workday (lunch is excluded) this means a daily regimen with a total of 5 hours of sitting, 16 sit-to-stand changes, 2 hours of standing and .5 hours of moving. These numbers aren’t hard and fast a company can design their work so employees can be more active. This sit-stand-stretch cycle is shown in the following simple diagram. Following this movement pattern throughout the day should keep employees comfortable, healthy and productive.”  Cornell University Ergonomics Web, 2014.

UCLA Environment, Health & Safety confirms: “To summarize the literature, neither static standing nor sitting is recommended. Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Research indicates that constrained sitting or constrained standing are risk factors and that alternating work postures may be preferable. Alternation between two postures allows for increased rest intervals of specific body parts, and reduced potential for risk factors commonly associated with MSD development.”  UCLA Ergonomics, 2012.

The Evolution of the Owl Stool

From it’s creation, the design of the Owl® Stool has been guided by our commitment to comfort and beauty. Geoff Warner was originally aiming to create a seat where he was not constantly aware of the pressure on his sit bones. He began to carve out depressions to accommodate them and soon he was looking at the floor! He jokes that in that “oops” moment he realized he had to make that hole into a design statement. As soon as the first stool was finished we brought it to our chiropractor, Michael Aker DC of Blue Hill, Maine for evaluation. He loved the design and advised that we make the front legs a bit shorter than the back to create a 4 degree forward angle that, he explained, would cradle the pelvis at the optimal angle for proper spinal alignment. We followed this advice and the result is that now, when someone sits on an Owl® Stool for the first time they often remark on how effortless it is to sit up straight and how relaxed their back feels.

It is key to note that when you sit, most of the weight of your upper body is balanced on your sit bones, or ischial tuberosities. Upward pressure in a traditional seat is conducted from the sit bones through the skeleton to the spine. Relaxation of the back is can be achieved by eliminating upward pressure on the skeleton at the point of the sit bones (ischial tuberosities).

After hearing from customers who had experienced this relief we really wanted to understand what was going on anatomically to see if we could improve the seat even more. We applied for and received a grant to fund an ergonomic study through US Ergonomics. The study showed that the spacing of the postural support holes was perfect for the majority of adults and they provided these pressure maps that clearly show that the weight is distributed much more evenly when someone sits on the anatomically contoured surface of the Owl® Stool compared to the high pressure areas that occur on a traditional seat.
Encouraged by the ergonomic study, we also applied for BIFMA certification, which is the industry standard testing to determine the strength and safety of a product for public use. Again the Owl® Stool passed with flying colors!

Testimonials continue to come in from grateful customers who use their Owls on a daily basis and report postural improvement and relief from discomfort they thought was with them for good.

Tom Meyers

Tom Meyers

“The Owl Stool is built on sound principles of body mechanics, while the seats in most of the rest of the world’s offices, cars, or schools are not. For the seated worker who wants to keep healthy tone and movement in the pelvis and spine, the Owl Stool supports a healthy ‘neutral’ for the pelvis in sitting.

’Sitting is the new smoking’ as the wags have it –  but many of us cannot avoid a lot of sitting time in our lives.  If you have to sit, try an Owl Stool. I use one in my office and I prefer it to physioballs, Norwegian stools, or other attempts to improve our sitting.”      Thomas Myers – Director – Anatomy Trains – Dynamic Education for Body-Minded Professionals

 Dr Michael Aker

Dr Michael Aker D.C., C.C.W.P.

“Don’t think stool .  This is an ergonomically designed, doctor evaluated postural support, which eases both spine tension and sitting pressures. An aesthetic balance has been struck between beautiful form and healthy spinal support.”   –  Dr Michael Aker, Wellness Chiropractic,  Blue Hill, ME

sittingSusie, a retired nurse, had her first back surgery 39 years ago, and 2 more since. “ I exercise faithfully, and I have been mostly pain free, with certain limitations like the kind of chair, couch or stool I am able to sit in. I avoid most of them, as they make my back feel uncomfortable and unstable, and instead often choose to sit on the floor. When I purchased my Owl I experienced INSTANT (caps hers) back relief. It was as if I was floating on air. For the first time in nearly 40 years I can sit without a worry in the world!  Thank you for giving me a big part of my life back!”  – Susie D.  Portland, ME.

“Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.”

– Paola Antonelli Senior Curator – Department of Architecture
& Design, Museum of Modern Art