The advent of technology has made our lives abundantly easier. Human beings have discovered, invented and applied those inventions to maximize their own comfort in every aspect of life.
Memory foam is a material manufactured from Polyurethane that has the capability to “mold” itself into a shape according to the pressure applied on it by a warm body.
Why is it called a memory foam?
When a warm body is laid on top of it, a depression is created in the material fitting the shape and size of the subject. Once the body is removed, the imprint still remains for a short period of time as the material starts to spring back into its original shape.
How long it takes to return to its original shape depends upon the density of the foam.
While initially too expensive to manufacture, they were difficult to bring in to mainstream use. Instead, they were used as cushion for aircrafts to increase their safety.
It has plenty of medical uses. Patients who are paralyzed or in a comatose state often are made to lie in the same positions for extended periods of time. This can cause sores to develop on pressure points on their bodies leading to a wide variety of problem.
For elderly or disabled individuals who experience a lot of pain sitting or lying on normal surfaces, memory foam can be a great help. It can be fitted as wheelchair cushions, can be used as pillows and obviously as bedding material.
It has also been used to line the inside of shoes for individuals who have aching joints and therefore need a way to relieve the pressure while walking or jogging.
Other commercial applications include helmets. Road traffic accidents claim the lives of countless civilians every year and since the head is the most vulnerable part of the body, it makes to cushion helmets with a memory foam material.
The foam when first developed was known as “slow spring back foam”, obviously due to the way it retains its original shape after a while. Over the years, its recovery time has improved dramatically.
The foam’s open cell structure is what allows the molding process to happen. The greater the density, the greater the comfort level of the sleeper.
The foam also has heat retaining properties which makes it suitable for people who require lots of warmth.
Although memory foam mattresses are generally considered safe, there has been some concern regarding the fire retardants used in the material, since the material is combustible otherwise. PBDE has been linked to a few respiratory problems in certain individuals in the past.
It is also best not to leave babies or toddlers on the mattress unattended since the mold may make it difficult for them to toss, turn or move around and thus may be a little suffocating.