S$2b in valuation! What is so special about Secretlab chairs?

secretlab ian ang penthouseIf you haven’t already heard Secretlab co-founder Ian Ang just dropped $51 billion on a good class bungalow and a triplex penthouse. His company is valued at a whopping $2 billion dollars!

Why does that concern us? Well, he sells chairs!

Gaming chairs first, ergonomic chairs second

ergonomic chair secretlab

To be super clear, Secretlab is famous for their gaming chairs. They are not an ergonomic chair company.

They do have an ergonomic chair offering called the Neuechair. According to their website, the chair is:

  • Fully ergonomic.
  • Your spinal muscles have to work extra hard to keep you upright if you don’t have good chair support.
  • Failure to maintain proper posture leads to pain.

Besides this and their FAQ, there don’t seem to be many pages of their website promoting themselves as being healthier option. This is great!

Are ergonomic chairs good for your back?

low back pain clinical guideline, lancet low back pain

It is great that Secretlab is not on ergonomic chairs because ergonomic chair is considered an ineffective treatment for back pain. This is the recommendation by The Lancet in their low back pain series.

I am not saying that the $1,680 Steelcase Gesture isn’t going to alleviate some of your symptoms. I am saying that it’s unlikely to help with your back aches and soreness in a meaningful way.

If you an extra thousand dollars to splurge on chair, why not?

If you don’t, the money can be better spent on a gym membership or an evidence-based chiropractor.

Exercise PLUS education is still the best line of treatment against your lower back problem.

What are the side effects of bad posture?

different types of postureHonestly?


This is the sort of truth that most people struggle to accept. I have written about how posture is largely a social-aesthetic construct that doesn’t give you neck pain. Separately, I discussed how anterior pelvic tilt has no bearing on your back pain.

Other research has also shown that lifting with the “right form” versus lifting with “bad posture” actually doesn’t change your risk of injury.

People talk a lot about what’s good for us based on what makes sense. However, this is often based more on assumptions rather than science.

I get that it makes sense for bad posture to give you back pain. We’ve been told that since we were children! What makes sense doesn’t always make it true.

My personal chair recommendation?

A lot of chiropractors would actually make money off endorsing chairs or selling them as part of a affiliate programme.

Some have even resorted to making their own chairs!

The ergonomic industry is so attractive that I have decided I would like to make my own recommendation.

swivel ergonomic chair

If you are one of my clients, you would know this is the chair that I work out of.

I absolutely love it! So much so that I would still opt to use this swivel stool outside of client interaction.

I love that it has no back support. I love that it has no arm rest. I love that it has wheels that allow me to move as much as I want to.

Your body is robust and resilient.

long bench party middle ages
Bruegels Peasant Wedding If backrest is so important to spinal health how did people survive through the Middle Ages

The entire idea that you need a backrest to support your spine is laughable. Let’s not forget that it’s normal in some cultures to sit on the floor!

There’s no reason to believe that our spine need any support. It is, in fact, robust and adaptable.

Sure, I am willing to accept that some of you experience back aches and stiffness with prolonged sitting. I can appreciate that your lumbar spine may not have enough capacity to allow you to sit through a workday.

The solution for this is NOT to rely on a fancy chair but instead to train your body to support yourself. Trust me, your spine is designed to support your own weight!

Is sitting actually the new smoking?

who physical activity guideline
150 minutes of aerobic exercise alone may not be good enough for you The World Health Organisation WHO clearly recommends at least 2 days of muscle strengthening activity

Also, to be absolutely clear, sitting is NOT the new smoking. You are at 10x more risk of dying from smoking than you are to die from excessive sitting.

Yes, sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity is bad for you and is associated with a wide variety of diseases. Sitting, on the other hand, is not.

All things said, I cannot tell you what is so special about Secretlab chairs. What I can say is that I am very proud of Ian and Alaric for putting Singapore on the world map.

I am also super stoked that they did not make their fortunes off ergonomic lies.


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.