A while back, the folks here at Smart Furniture were curious about Herman Miller’s Embody Chair and how well it would affect their everyday work environment — so what better way to figure it out than to just sit in one! I was happy to take the opportunity to sit on Embody for one week and write about my thoughts. Here’s day 1 of our Embody Chair review.

Day One

Today I exchanged my standard, run-of-the-mill office chair for an Embody, Herman Miller’s newest, snazziest office chair. I have a sore back and neck and can’t wait to see how the Embody deals with the issue. Actually, I’m not so much interested in how the Embody deals with it as much as I am interested to see how ANY OTHER CHAIR deals with it. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have to note that even though my back isn’t messed up because of my old chair, the old chair certainly wasn’t helping it.)

The Embody Chair by Herman Miller

Adjusting the Embody was easy, because I’ve been introduced to the chair previously to today. As I remember, though, I was grateful at that time for the instructions Herman Miller included with the Embody chair, because they use a toggle, rather than a lever, to raise and lower the seat, and the knobs—though aesthetically pleasing—don’t really give away what they’re supposed to do. One nice feature, depending on the user, is that the arms adjust inward/outward/up/down with a single button.

Impression Number One is that even though the padding looks suspiciously like there’s nothing there, the contour of the Embody is such that it distributes contact along the entire seat and back. I can’t immediately feel that there are significantly annoying pressure points. The cool-looking “spine” that supports the back seems to do the trick in keeping my back in its right place. One of the effects of the spine (which flexes as I lean back) is that the Embody chair does not need additional lumbar support.

embody 5.15.09 009

First Impression Number Two (would that be Second Impression Number One?) is that when I lean back, the Embody leans too. That is, the seat almost stays put and just the back leans. My old chair was one that cut off the circulation to my lower legs if I leaned back; the pressure behind my knees was only alleviated when I put my feet up on the casters, and then the pressure shifted completely to my rear end. That was uncomfortable. As I type, my feet are flat on the floor— the way ergonomics people say you’re supposed to sit, even though they never really give you a chair that works that way if you lean back—and I can still feel my legs. This is going well.

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