While NASA is credited with inventing what we now know as memory foam, the application it has been most utilized in is in the medical community. Memory foam, with its heat-activated body contouring, was implemented in a medical setting as bedding, due to its pressure reduction and weight-spreading capabilities. People who are recovering from surgeries or are confined to bed are prone to bed sores where the pressure of the body greatly reduces or cuts off circulation to an area. Moving patients periodically was one of the few ways of coping with this issue at the time. The introduction of memory foam as a medical foam product has made a difference in that capacity and others.
Cervical bed wedge pillows are one of memory foam’s current applications, for people who have neck pain or injuries. The visco-elastic material contours to the head and neck for pressure-free comfort and keeps the neck and spine aligned at a more comfortable angle. Even for people without serious structural issues, an improvement in alignment can offer them a much more restful night’s sleep.
Mattresses made of memory foam offer the same pressure reduction as their hospital use, even though we don’t have to worry about pressure sores from a single night’s sleep. We will, however, toss and turn if we’ve gotten into a position where we’ve cut off circulation or landed on a pressure point. The body will identify this and wake you up to re-situate, snapping you out of a sleep. Better circulation means better comfort and sounder sleep. Memory foam also makes great mattresses for back pain sufferers, as it forms to support contours and helps the body’s natural alignment. Things often work out well in ways they weren’t originally intended to, and memory foam as an important material in the medical and health world is a prime example.