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Waterbeds and Your Health

Nov 9, 2007
Waterbeds have been around for quite awhile now and are often marketed as a means of maintaining good back health and generally improve blood pressure, circulation and other medical conditions. From all accounts the jury is still out about whether sleeping on a waterbed helps or hurts your back.

There seems to be several significant benefits to sleeping on a waterbed depending on your individual health situation and the recommendations of your physician. Research has been conducted in an attempt to establish whether sleeping on a waterbed can reduce the instance of lower back pain.

In addition to peer reviewed research there are an endless number of anecdotal testimonies about the benefits and the drawbacks to sleeping on a waterbed. Just a cursory review of much of this information would lead one to conclude that universal claims that a waterbed is a way to reduce back pain may be somewhat exaggerated.

A claim that sounds more like a sales pitch should be weighed in the context of who is making the claim and whether reliable medical evidence is being offered to back it up. The truth probably lies somewhat in the middle. Simply claiming that a waterbed is recommended for those people with lower back problems is not sufficient.

Just as with a traditional innerspring flatbed, what helps one persons lower back could very well be damaging to another.

There has been ongoing disagreement among those in the medical profession about the benefits and drawbacks of waterbeds. The key point is the variability of several factors including the type of waterbed, the construction and how the bed is setup.

One study that compared treatments of low back pain concluded that no improvement in symptoms was noted among those patients using either a five hundred coil flat bed or a hybrid waterbed. The study did go on to recommend that a firm flatbed was a better first choice but that a trial period on a hybrid waterbed may be appropriate.

So it would seem to be somewhat of a coin flip in trying to decide what sleep system is better for treating low back pain and it may turn out to be strictly a subjective decision arrived at by trial and error.

Some studies claim to show that certain medical conditions are caused or exacerbated by sleeping on waterbeds or being exposed to waterbed heating systems. Among the claims of medical detriment are increased rates of infertility in men, higher rates of miscarriage among women and even increased incidence of certain childhood cancers.

To reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, the overwhelming advice from the medical community is to never let an infant baby sleep on a waterbed.

There does not seem to be any credible medical studies showing that one particular sleep system offers a cure or can remedy a medical condition. The choice of a waterbed, traditional innerspring mattress and box spring or other type of flatbed system seems to be strictly one of personal preference and comfort.

Newer soft sided and hybrid waterbeds offer a more consistent level of cushioning that could serve to support the spine much like a high quality conventional flatbed.

Since we spend more time in bed than we do at our jobs or in our cars, always choose good quality bedding. Just remember that if a sleep system feels good and provides you with a good nights sleep, those facts alone should be enough to drive a smart and informed purchase decision and a waterbed may be the right choice for you.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a short article writer for the popular waterbed sheet web site: http://www.waterbedsheetsale.com. He
provides informative advice on purchasing quality bedding for waterbeds.
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