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Introduction to Memory Foam

Pretty much everyone has heard of memory foam mattresses and they’re an increasingly popular option for those looking for a new mattress. But have you ever wondered where memory foam came from and just how it ended up in our beds? This unique material certainly has an interesting past, which involves astronauts, race horses and hospital patients.

Bed room
Photo: caribb

Memory foam was initially developed by NASA, at the request of astronauts who really struggled with the high G-forces that hit them when they re-entered the atmosphere. The material that was produced was visco-elastic memory foam, so-called because of its mouldable nature and the fact that is returns to its original shape.

However, it’s actually unclear whether or not memory foam was ever actually used in spacecraft, which might be to do with the chemical odour that it gives off when first unpacked. Although this disappears in time, in the close confines of a space shuttle, it would not be ideal.

To begin with, the production of memory foam was very expensive and so could not be used in the same way it is today, in our mattresses and pillows. However, for the owners of billion pound racehorses, this was a cost they were willing to pay, and memory foam was developed to help these well bred horses to recover from injuries. Horse injuries are notoriously hard to treat, because the horses need to stay upright to maintain their circulation, which can be hard with leg and muscle injuries. However, by laying the horse on a giant, horse-sized, platform of memory foam, this problem was solved and aided the equine elite in their recovery.

The benefits of memory foam in the healing process didn’t go unnoticed and it wasn’t long before a new type of hospital mattress was developed to aid those who suffered from painful bed sores, which occur when circulation is restricted.

From here, new methods were applied to help make manufacturing memory foam cheaper. Mattress manufacturers soon cottoned onto the possibilities of introducing these memory foam mattresses to the general public, where they could help a number of people who suffer from joint pain get a good night’s sleep.

Today, memory foam mattresses are widely available all over the world and they certainly have a great number of fans who say that the memory foam really aids their sleep. It’s not just mattresses however, and there is now a range of memory foam products, including pillows and mattress toppers, helping people to sleep soundly.

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