Air cushions come in many styles and designs, and there are several manufacturers that make them.
They are basically “balloons” of various sizes filled with air and the whole system is closed, so air floatation cushions typically will not bottom out the way gel cushions can, if they are adjusted properly.
The primary reason people choose air cushions is to help prevent or manage pressure sores, to relieve pressure or pain in the sitting area and for general overall comfort while in a seated position.
Some air cushions use interconnected air cells, some are all individually filled and sealed. They may have many rows of cells, some are one single air cell. Most are adjustable with a pump, or use a valve to release air to get to optimum setting.
Pressure is balanced by air shifting in or out to the surrounding balloons, spreading pressure evenly against your skin – constantly adjusting to your body movement. The air cells conform to help skin integrity the entire time you are sitting on the cushion.
The air cells allow you to be immersed into the cushion for maximum pressure relief, while decreasing friction and shear.
Air cushions are relatively lightweight, and are waterproof, so you can use them anywhere. Air cushions are primarily used in wheelchairs, but they are quite often used while driving. Lots of truck drivers who spend long periods sitting find the air cushion invaluable! They can be used in a boat, bathtub or on an office chair, since lightweight air cushions are easily transferred.
Air flotation absorbs the every day impact caused by riding over bumps.
Air cushions come in many forms. There are hybrid air/foam cushions that are foam in the front and air in the critical sitting area in the rear of the cushion for maximum pressure redistribution around the pelvis. The idea of a hybrid is the foam in the front provides stability for the legs and a firm stable place to use for doing transfers or re-positioning. Similar to the hybrid, some cushions use a foam base, with an air insert; this is great for those seeking more pelvic stability and positioning support, while still using the air cells in the critical pelvic area for maximum skin protection, pressure relief and comfort.