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Osteopath wins British Invention of the Year Award for revolutionary chair

26 October 2011


SMILE (Selected Mentors & Interims for London Enterprises), is proud to announce that Simon Freedman is the winner of the British Invention of the Year Award 2011.

He created the best new invention, innovation and technology. SMILE worked with Simon Freedman, who had already made considerable progress in getting his idea off the ground, by finding him a mentor who helped him develop his vision and make it a reality.

Simon Freedman is an osteopath by trade, but his entrepreneurial nature led him to address and solve a problem which he is confronted with every day: sitting related back pain. In order to tackle the widespread condition, Simon Freedman began by dealing with the main cause and rethinking it.

The result of his endeavor is the ‘FreedMan Chair’, which was also named British Invention of the Year for design at the awards organized by the British Invention Society.

Commenting on the award Simon Freedman said: ‘I’m completely blown away by the win. This is the culmination of a 15 year search to create a chair that could change the way people sit and I’m delighted that my work should receive such official recognition

Sit long enough and nearly every chair becomes uncomfortable, no matter how much lumbar support and adjustment it provides. Put simply, too much focus has been placed on the look of the chair rather than on using the body’s inherent anatomical structure to help us sit correctly.

Simon Freedman – osteopath and inventor – has been a man with a mission for the past 15 years.  He’s been driven by a quest to create a chair that allows people to sit correctly and comfortably, thus having a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Rather than attempting to refine the chair, Simon has started with the needs of the human body and has created a unique way for people to sit. By taking a truly fresh approach, he has effectively reinvented the chair.

The essence of his theory was very simple. Simon found a way to replicate the spine’s natural standing curves whilst one is sitting. When a person stands upright, their lower back naturally adopts a forward-facing curve (lumbar lordosis). The lordosis is held by the combination of the shape of the vertebrae and discs and the spinal ligaments, tendons and muscles. It’s a structural curve that can be maintained with minimal muscular activity.

To recreate this natural phenomenon while sitting, Simon’s research showed that there was a ‘Golden Angle’ for the seat, in a range between 15 and 35 degrees downwards, the optimum being 27 degrees. But how to create a chair that could be angled forwards and still be functional?

Simon’s 15-year quest has led to a patented solution through the creation of a contoured seat pad, angled at 27 degrees, that actually holds each ischial tuberosity like a gentle hand. The pads also have a series of holes drilled into them to increase natural grip.

The concavity of the FreedMan seat pads provides support around the ischial tuberosities in a way that that allows the body to create its own cushion and so reduces and can even eliminate the need for cushioning. This, along with some carefully considered aerospace engineering – and obsessive attention to detail – allows the chair to weigh just 5kg rather than the normal 20kg for a chair with its cushion, foam, plastics, metal and springs.

The reduced weight is also due to the FreedMan chair being made from very close to 100% aluminum; it is easily flat packed and assembled without tools. The result is probably the only chair that can claim to have negligible impact on the environment and the only one that can claim to be very close to 100% recyclable.

The six back balls of the FreedMan chair have evolved over dozens of prototypes. They are not meant to provide lumbar support. The balls are attached to the backrest, which has inbuilt flexibility, and as the sitter leans back against them they offer some pressure into the back muscles (the lumbar erector spinae) via a degree of sprung resistance. 

The sitter can vary the level of pressure of the balls into the back as they wish. This mimics the osteopathic treatment called inhibition, where a steady pressure into the muscles causes them to relax.  Hence the chair can actually treat the back of its occupant.

An initial, limited edition, run of one thousand FreedMan ‘Thumbprint’ Chairs will be produced, with many already pre-ordered by Simon’s patients.

In a quite amazing and unique act of bespoke personalization, each purchaser’s thumbprint will be incorporated into the pattern of holes in the seat pads of these special chairs.

For more information please contact:

Simon Freedman

E: simon@freedmanchair.com

T: 07711 760 557

W: www.FreedManChair.com