For Susanne Schmidt, inventor of the OneLeg, the story of its’ creation begins with a small, charming cottage in Denmark where she lived with her husband. Susanne fell in love with the little cottage, once owned by her in-laws, and when she and her husband separated she decided to buy it.
One day while sorting through the attic there, she came across a ‘collar button stool’ which had been used by her ex-husband, who had been a bricklayer, as a seating aid whilst laying brick paving. The stool was made of wood and consisted of a single leg and a flat top.
Susanne began to use the stool while doing jobs in her garden and around the house, as it was gentler on her knees and back than a traditional kneeling pad, and continued to do so for many years.
But there were some disadvantages with the one-legged stool: the wood made it heavy and the fully rounded wooden leg digs into the grass or soil. It was not suitable for indoor use due to sliding on or scratching the floors and as soon as you stood up or over reached it would fall over.
Susanne came up with the idea of putting her redesigned, indispensable stool into production. However, she knew this new stool had to have some key features:
- It had to withstand the elements, i.e. stand outside in all weathers
- Be light resistant, i.e. resistant to the colour fading in sunlight
- Be self-supporting with a solid base, so it did not fall over when you stand up from it or dig into the ground when being used outdoors
- To allow it to move with your own body movement, allowing a good working radius, without falling over underneath you
- Be stress free on muscles and joints
- Be easy to clean
- Be lightweight
- Be easy to use for anyone/everyone
The idea of a new multifunctional stool, the ‘OneLeg’ was born, and with the help of a good friend, design and drawings in place, the project was started. Different models were tested and then the OneLeg was put into production.
After a few changes to the original plans, like the addition of a nonslip base cap and seat cover, it soon became clear that this stool would be great for many tasks and objectives. It could be used both indoors and outdoors, by children and adults and in many different industries.
Today the ‘OneLeg’ has not only become popular in Denmark but is now sold in many countries, both inside and outside Europe.
From its’ first days as a multifunctional stool for use in both the home and garden, it has since been used in places such as schools, nurseries and paediatric hospitals by teachers, pupils, nursing staff and young individuals.
Oneleg is suitable for anyone including children from the age of 4 years old up to adults.
Made of weather resistant, recyclable Polyethylene plastic it has a UV8 rating which means that it has been tested to withstand 8000 hours of sunlight without fading.
When using the OneLeg with its ergonomic design, the muscles in the abdomen are constantly being used, which helps to improve the dynamic stability and co-ordination of the back. It allows a flexible and dynamic posture and this variation of back positions is extremely beneficial to the user.
The unique base allows the user to rock and turn around and the stool will follow the movement, whilst offering stability and therefore giving the user a wide radius to work within. With the ability to rock and turn on the stool, you can prevent twisting your back and thereby avoid possibly injury or soreness.
Certified Occupational Therapist Ingrid Hallas-Møller said this about the OneLeg:
I find the OneLeg stool suitable for children in day care and school class rooms for daily gatherings and other social activities. The stool gives the child a dynamic sitting posture, which stimulates the child’s nervous system producing a calming effect on the body. It is especially beneficial for children who are motoric hyperactive.
Part of an occupational therapist’s work is to change the child’s surroundings and with the stool, it is the sensory perception that the child receives which can help to correct the behaviour. I also use OneLeg in my therapeutic training of children with challenges such as motoric control, balance and planning. The dynamic sitting posture on the stool makes the child exercise their balance skills and corrects the body against gravity to maintain balance.
Adults can benefit from sitting on the OneLeg stool when working with children. The height of the stool makes it possible to communicate at eye level with the child and offers the adult the same opportunity to “balance exercise” at the same time.
Physiotherapist Gitte Skov Frandsen had this to say about the OneLeg:
OneLeg offers a flexibility that differs from ordinary stools and chairs. With the ability to rock and turn on the stool, you can avoid twisting your back and thereby avoiding possibly injury or soreness.
OneLeg also gives you the ability to strengthen your back- and abdominal muscles. The stool offers a dynamic sitting posture, which makes it possible to change the working and sitting position. This is very important to me as a physiotherapist. OneLeg has many uses. Outdoor it is primarily used for gardening and indoor there is a wide range of different possibilities for both children and adults. I could imagine using OneLeg for watching television and playing games. The sitting would be dynamic, which is healthier for the body, instead of static sitting. The cardiovascular system improves as the body constantly moves a little. OneLeg can easily be used by children as well as adults. I, myself, have children at home and they use it for playing, drawing, watching television etc. and they really enjoy it.
With the popularity of the OneLeg growing around the world, here at Spectrum Healthcare (UK) Ltd, we are sure that this ergonomic stool will be seen more, in and out of the home, in nurseries, schools, paediatric hospitals and outdoor spaces within the UK over the next few years.
Note: some of the quotes and references within this article have been taken from information within the OneLeg official site.