Waterbeds And Your Health
Not only is a high quality waterbed the most comfortable
surface you can sleep on, it is also regarded as one of the healthiest. Be sure
to check out some of the articles below about the health benefits of sleeping
William F. Morgan, an Arizona physician who specializes in children's allergies
and asthma, recommends waterbeds to relieve symptoms caused by house dust and
estimates that 10 to 20 percent of his patients sleep on them. He also said that
most allergists now recommend waterbeds for certain patients.
Dr. Morgan stressed that avoidance of house dust is the
simplest therapy and patients must be instructed how to dustproof their
bedrooms and their houses. In the past, use of plastic, zippered covers around
the mattress, boxspring and pillow was recommended. Many patients disliked the
feeling of the plastic, zippered covers, however.
As waterbeds are becoming more popular they are the ideal
solution for those with house dust allergy, according to Dr. Morgan. Studies
conducted by allergists have shown that the standard mattress is probably the
largest source of house dust in any home. A waterbed mattress that does not
contain cotton and kapok, commonly used in stuffing conventional mattresses and
upholstered furniture, is an obvious solution to the problem.
Dr. Morgan pointed out that waterbeds are not the complete
solution for some allergy sufferers, but in a significant number of cases they
do alleviate or lessen the problem.
and statistics in past years indicate that the population is getting older.
Sociologists predict the over-65 age group will continue to increase in years
to come as modern medical advances result in early diagnosis and treatment of
high mortality diseases.
Many different conditions can affect the elderly, but
several problems are considered common among geriatric patients. A loss of
skeletal strength, often the result of mineral loss form bones, is one. Another
condition common among the elderly is emaciation due to poor nutrition and
inadequate diet. Circulatory disorders are also a major complaint. Some
geriatrics also suffer the consequences of stroke that affects awareness,
mental capacity, and contributes to immobility and incontinence.
Bedridden geriatric patients require constant nursing
attention when placed on conventional mattresses. Nurses must turn the patients
every two hours to free areas of pressure in order to promote circulation and
Flotation support is also helpful for orthopedic problems
such as hip surgery. Heated waterbeds offer adequate movement, protect good
circulation, maintain proper gastro-intestinal function, help control urinary
tract infections and provide for proper kidney drainage. For the wheelchair
patient, water cushions are available which have the same principles as the
Dr. Donald Laub of Stanford University Medical Center said.
" waterbeds represent an important advance in the care of patients with
paraplegia, stroke, spinal cord injury and geriatric problems. In addition, it
can be utilized to simplify nursing care and minimize patient discomfort."
Approximately 32 million people in the United States suffer some form of
arthritis requiring medical care. Many medical authorities classify arthritis
as the nation's number one crippling disease. It occurs in all ages from
infancy to late adulthood, but medical studies indicate that 97 percent of
people over 50 have some arthritic condition that will show up on X-rays.
Basically, arthritis is an inflammation of a joint that
causes pain and immobility. There are several types of arthritis, the most
common being rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and
Medical studies have shown that equal distribution of the
body weight in a controlled volume of water will benefit most arthritics. The
even distribution of the patient's weight will reduce pressure on the major
joints that are inflamed or affected by different forms of arthritis. Physical
therapists have used heated water for years to soothe sore muscles and relive
tension. Heated waterbeds have been used successfully to alleviate the sore
muscles and joints that accompany arthritis, thereby reducing morning stiffness
and decreasing the need for medications to relieve pain. Heat form waterbeds
aids in proper blood circulation enhancing the healing process and reducing
pain. The conventional mattress further reduces body heat. Affected joints must
be protected from additional stresses and strains. Incorrect posture either
standing up or lying down places additional stress on arthritic joints.
Dr. Daniel Silver, an orthopedic specialist in Santa Monica,
California, recommended a waterbed to a patient he was treating for
osteoarthritis and disc disease. "I put that man on an exercise program
including stretching and some medication," Silver explained. "But I
also had him get a waterbed. Within a week, his back pain had diminished to the
point that he no longer needed the medication except infrequently."
Dr. Silver has slept on a waterbed himself and says: "
Waterbeds are almost the perfect surface to sleep on. The heat, the subtle
movement of the water, the fact that the body is totally and evenly supported,
are very important beneficial qualities."
Patients who are immobilized due to spinal cord injuries, coma, hip fractures,
diseases of the circulatory system, cancer, or any medical problem that
requires prolonged bed rest, are susceptible to bedsores, also known as
The most common sites for bedsores are the sacrum, the bony
process of the buttocks, the spine, kneecaps, skins, elbows, heels, ribcage,
both sides of the ankle joints and shoulder blades.
The incidence of bedsores in chronic illness varies from 10
to 30 percent. In the older population, people in their late sixties to early
seventies, it is as high as 60 percent.
When a person is confined to a bed or wheelchair for long
periods of time, extra pressure is exerted on certain parts of the body. The
tissue is pressed between the hard underlying bone and the surface of the bed
at these pressure points. The blood vessels in the tissue became constricted,
reducing the flow of blood to the tissue cells. If the pressure is prolonged,
the cells being to die causing a decubitus ulcer.
Treatment and prevention of ulcers depends upon reducing the
pressure on the critical parts of the body. By using a flotation system, a
person can prevent the formation of decubitus ulcers. Patients who already have
formed ulcers experience more rapid healing when switched to a water mattress.
The healing has been shown to be up to three times faster than without the use
of a flotation system. The patient also enjoys the benefits of improved sleep
and better overall circulation.
The journal of the American Medical Association
published a study done at the Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center of Eastern
Fairfax County in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Five hundred patients slept on water
mattresses over a three-year period. None developed ulcers and those with
previously formed ulcers experienced healing more rapidly than expected.
Flotation mattresses aid in preventing and treating bedsores
because there is two thirds less pressure exerted on the critical points of the
body than with a conventional bed. On a conventional bed, the body weight is
concentrated on the pressure points only.