Core-flex® Technology

Since the 1990s, LIFEFORM® has been focused on delivering customized office chairs that are not only beautiful but also beneficial.

About 10 years ago, LIFEFORM® Chairs discovered the Core-flex® seat at a furniture trade show. The unique Core-flex® technology is the brainchild of Steve Pearse of Victoria, B.C., who wanted to understand why it is so difficult to maintain a healthy sitting posture and to design a chair that would solve this problem. He began working on the seat in 2005; spent several years developing it and in 2009 tested the technology successfully at the Backfit Clinic, one of Western Canada’s busiest spinal rehab clinics.

Continually searching for improved scientific technology to bring to our customers, we strive to be at the forefront of ergonomic developments. And with our range of modular options for seats, arms, and backs – it was a natural fit for us to include the Core-flex® seat for our clients.

Most of the discomfort and back pain experienced by the seated worker is caused by the inability of the body to move naturally and keep the postural muscles engaged. The ultimate solution is to re-engage postural support muscles while sitting by providing natural motion to the legs, pelvis, and core. When the core muscles are engaged through motion, they maintain the back in a healthier posture and stimulate the rest of the physiology as well.

Incorporating a small range of natural motion into a chair so core muscles are stimulated allows for improved comfort and increased circulation. In addition to this, research shows that movement is also important for thinking and creativity, spinal fitness, and the maintenance of a healthy metabolism.

With Core-flex’s unique split seat design, the motion of the alternating sides stimulates natural movement. This “dynamic sitting” increases circulation in the largest muscles of the body, especially in those we sit on. Your body naturally wants to shift its weight every 30 seconds or so to allow the support muscles in your torso to alternate support duties constantly. Sitting with one leg slightly lower than the other off-weights the opposite ischia, or tail bone. The slight motion of lowering the other leg changes weight distribution, with no distraction. Most people find themselves doing this automatically throughout the day.

For more information about healthy sitting, please see our Designed for Motion brochure.

Dr. Jeff Bartlett explains the effect gravity has on our bodies and gives viewers three tips on avoiding back pain: Watch

UNB (University of New Brunswick) Research Summary

In the Spring of 2018, three researchers at the University of New Brunswick conducted a federally-funded research project to assess and help better understand the human-factor outcomes of using an active office chair.  Two active designs were evaluated Core-flex® and a new experimental Core-flex® prototype, plus a standard Lifeform chair. Thirty subjects, ranging in age from 19 to 41 years. old were evaluated during a 60-minute session in each of the three test chairs.

The project used perceived comfort questionnaires administered every 30 minutes, and a variety of instrumentation to measure sitting pressure, muscle activation, and oxygenated blood flow.

The results showed a clear preference among the participants for active sitting versus sitting in a standard chair.

  • 23 out of 30 subjects preferred one of the active sitting chairs (and 3 of the 7 chose the standard chair because they were too petite to fit comfortably in the active chairs)
  • The active sitting chairs showed significantly more weight shift, and participants reported less seating pressure discomfort for the active chairs
  • Participants reported that they felt least stiff and sore after sitting in the Core-flex® chair, due to the peddling movement available
  • There was significantly more oxygenated blood flow measured during sitting in the active chairs, which is a direct indication of increased metabolic activity.

Dr. Michelle Cardoso, the lead researcher, will shortly be submitting an article for publication based on the study.  In the meantime, a second research project is underway now which compares active sitting in a Core-flex® chair to standard sitting and standing.  Dr. Cardoso reports (unofficially) that Core-flex® sitting seems to show much more metabolic activity even than standing in the results she has seen so far.  Data collection is ongoing, and official results will follow.

Clear takeaways:   1) People overwhelmingly prefer active sitting to passive sitting, and

2) There are measurable benefits of a more active metabolism