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The Benefits of the Sobakawa Pillow
by Fred Marmorstein
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Fred Marmorstein was a teacher for 17 years and is now freelancing full-time with numerous writing credits on websites, such as Both non-fiction and ficiton pieces published ranging from topics as diverse as autism to oral cancer.

Americans spent $86 billion dollars between 1997 and 2005 on back and neck pain according to the February 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. What may be even more frightening? The use of prescription narcotics such as Vicodin and OxyContin to treat that pain rose by 423%.

A healthy, inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative may not be what you put into your body but what you put on your body – the sobakawa pillow. The Japanese buckwheat hull pillow – Soba Gara Makura as it is called in Japan – increases circulation and conforms to the natural alignment of your spine.

Buckwheat is not a grain at all but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. People with grain allergies are generally not bothered by buckwheat. This quality makes it ideal for people allergic to feathers or synthetic materials. And the pillow does not attract bugs or grow mold.

Many people have neck problems because most fiberfill pillows lift the head too far from the surface of the bed. These types of pillows become more compressed over time, placing pressure on the muscles and nerves surrounding the neck. This flattening of conventional pillows creates distortions in the material causing low and high points to form which inhibits the body’s natural configurations.

Much of what the sobakawa pillow does reflects the body’s natural healing process. By stimulating acupressure points in the neck and shoulders, the pillow directly affects the circulation of Qi, or life force, releasing negative energy in the neck and shoulders where most of us feel the stress and tension of the day.

Increasing circulation to the head and neck not only alleviates neck pain but headaches as well. Because the buckwheat hulls move freely and do not remain fixed, the pillow forms a unique and comfortable sleeve. This allows your head to stay cool. Air circulates freely between the spaces of the hulls absorbing sweat and dissipating heat.

The relaxation of the muscles is an important process for a deep, energy rich sleep. Nerves need a chance to heal from the daily irritation of head and neck movements. This naturally increases your body’s ability to fall asleep faster. Proper sleep affects how we perform throughout the day. The better we sleep, the better we perform. The design of most pillows does not properly support the body to ensure a restful sleep.

One other lasting benefit of the sobakawa pillow involves the reduction or, in some cases, the elimination of snoring. Arranging your body into an anatomically correct position allows airways to open naturally and avoid obstruction between the nose and the trachea. Disruptive sleep patterns can be corrected, and the consequences of sleep deprivation can be prevented.

Published: Jul 16,2008 08:43
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