Without Limits Blog
Here you will find exciting information and updates from our practitioners.
Buying a new pillow can be a daunting task with so many options on the market and horror stories of needing to spend hundreds and hundreds before finding the right pillow for you. But fear not, the best pillow you can buy is made easier with a few basic criteria.
- Do you sleep side, stomach or back?
- How broad are your shoulders?
- Do you have any current neck conditions?
- Am I prone to overheating in bed?
This can be answered simply as: I sleep on my side and back, I’m moderately broad and I have a small disc injury in my neck. So right away I know more about the shape and profile and because I have an injury, that I need a quality product that’s going to fit me properly.
So what is the best pillow you can buy? Let’s start with material…
There are four basic materials: polyester and down fill, memory foam, latex, and gel fusions.
Firstly, we are never ever going to sleep primarily on a down or polyester fill pillow. EVER. They offer no support and should be reserved for your display pillows exclusively.
Can be both natural and synthetic (altho you will never be able to buy pure latex, it is too crumbly and must be blended with synthetic. Legally, you only need 95% natural latex in a product to be labeled ‘100% natural latex’). It is naturally hypoallergenic and provides a firm feel with a moderate degree of pushback.
This is a synthetic material that provides an ultra-soft to firm feel. Memory foam does NOT remember your body, it remembers its original shape. It squishes and compresses (unlike latex which provides a rebound of sorts) and it “remembers” its original shape when not in use (unlike down pillows).
Latex and memory foam don’t generate heat per se, but they can retain your body warmth better. As such, gel fusion pillows can be used. A gel is inserted into the sleep surface of the pillow, retaining less warmth. However, they do firm up the feel of the pillow and make the pillow very heavy.
Side note on Bamboo. Bamboo is NOT blended into the pillow and is generally only ever in the covering of the pillow. It’s largely a clickbait term.
Shape & Profile
Three profiles; low, medium, and high. These are going to be based on your shoulder width.
Shapes are divided into traditional or contoured. Contoured pillows are very particular, but once you are used to that shape, it can be difficult to find anything better. Particularly good for those with wide shoulders and long necks. It fills the nook of the neck and cradles the head. Generally, I recommend that unless you’ve tried one or are willing to adjust to one, stick to a more traditional shape. But like I said, some people can’t sleep without them and if you’ve been struggling to find a fit, this could be for you!
For the tummy sleepers amongst us that use a pillow, you will ALWAYS be recommended to get the thinnest profile possible with a traditional shape - to avoid hyperextending your neck.
Generally speaking, for a good pillow, you want to spend anywhere between $110 to $200 dollars recommended retail price.
The $300 pillow may not be the better pillow for you, as price does not dictate suitability of shape, material, or profile.
So how to choose?
Go to a store and find a mattress that is the closest version of your current mattress - take a photo of the label and show the assistant so they can direct you to the closest match. This is really important as the pillow will compress differently on different surfaces.
- Once you have figured out what profile height you need based on your shoulder width, then narrow down the shape to either traditional or contour. Remember, if you’re a stomach sleeper that uses a pillow, low profile traditional shape is your recommended option.
- Grab a latex version, a gel, and a memory foam version of that particular shape and contour and try it on the specific mattress in your sleep position. Now don’t worry, as someone that has worked in that space, I’ve seen it all. So if you need to do the running man sleeping sideways at the bottom of the mattress, you do you! It’s your pillow after all. It’s more important to try the material and see what is immediately comfortable for you.
- Narrow that selection down to 2 pillows and spend some time.
- I would recommend laying on each pillow for a good 10 minutes. The materials will change slightly as your body warms the pillow up.
- As long as the pillow is addressing profile, shape and price then it’s just a personal preference of feel from here on out!
If you are buying online, like many of us are, ensure you can return or exchange the pillow. Many companies offer a 90 or 120 night no questions asked, return guarantee. This way, you can try the pillow without any worry of having selected the wrong material or shape.
Pillows can be difficult. The neck is deeply linked to our brain’s balance system. The neck is densely supplied with specialised cells that relay a monumentous amount of positional postural information to our brain. So it’s no wonder that what we choose to lay our head and neck on, makes a big difference to our sleep quality and recovery. But hopefully, with this guide, you can more easily select the best pillow for you.
Finally, it can take up to 5 weeks to adjust to your new pillow in my experience. So the longer the home trial period, the better.
International Breastfeeding Week 1st-7th August.
Just like the birthing process, each breastfeeding journey is unique! This post is for all the mums and mums to be.
Breastfeeding is hard! It can be such a rewarding and positive experience for lots of women and it can also be difficult, challenging, emotional and even traumatic. For me it was all of the above! 💕😫🤦♀️🤱
Are you sitting properly 🚽 ? Have you heard of MOO to POO?
I was definitely one of those people who laughed at the diagrams on the back of the toilet door, telling people not to stand or squat on the toilets.
But maybe these practises (typically found in Asia, Africa and Southern Europe) have a place.
Experiments by Israeli doctor Dov Sikirov asked 28 subjects to do their ‘daily business’ in three different positions. He then recorded the time taken in each position and asked the participants to assess their degree of strain. Giulia Enders highlighted this research in her book “Gut” and the results were very interesting:
-In a SQUATTING position, subjects took an average of 50 seconds, and reported a full and satisfying bowel emptying
-In a SEATED position, the average time taken was 130 seconds, with the resultant feeling being not as satisfactory
The mechanism of our gut is not designed to open completely when we are seated. In this position, the muscle that circles our gut like a lasso creates a kink in the tube. Think garden hose ‘kink’ here. As our faeces pass down our rectum it hits a corner, just like a bend in the garden hose. Once we position ourselves better the muscle creating a lasso relaxes, the kink straightens and the ‘road ahead is straight’.
WHAT TO DO?
1- Bend forward at your hips
2- Place your feet on a low footrest (or even go up on your tiptoes)
This technique helps you avoid straining with constipation by relaxing the pelvic muscles and generating pressure within the abdomen, rather than pushing down through the pelvic floor
—> Keep Breathing
—> Expand your belly like a balloon
—> And MOO! (repeat each time)
Don’t be a cow share this technique with your friends
Interested in learning more?
-Have a listen to Giulia’s TED talk on the charming science of your guy
-Or have a read of the book yourself
The period after giving birth is called the postpartum or postnatal period. The reality is women receive check-ups, testing, attention, and care throughout the pregnancy, but once the baby is born this contact traditionally can recede until the six-week check.
Hands-on treatment is a part of what we do, but it isn't all that we do. Yes, we are indeed having to adapt how we do things in response to COVID-19 but just because we can't see you face to face does not mean we can't help those in pain.
Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries for kids and adults alike! They are annoying because they are persistent. This stems from the fact that they are often quite easy for people to ignore and push to the side. This creates an unstable and weak ankle. This weak ankle is continually rolled sprained to the point that it is almost beyond repair. This is extremely popular in netball and football players.
I injured my neck In the last two weeks of my holiday in Europe this year. Although it would be great to say it was done jumping off a boat into the waters off the Amalfi Coast- it wasn’t. It gradually came on, and I think some pretty dodgy pillows didn’t help either. Chances are I may of had some changes in my neck for a while, but it was this aggravation that caused my pain.
Self-care is so important for our health yet self-care always takes a dive to the bottom of priorities in so many people's lives just when it should be at the top of the list!
How often do you get so busy that you forget to look after yourself and later forced to take a step back? (most of the people that walk into our treatment rooms).
As apart of my Nourish me pledge from my last blog post, practising gratitude has become part of my nourish me journey. We live in a world bombarded with information on how we should think, we are constantly being reminded of societal pressures whether we are consciously aware of the messages that our subconscious mind are subjected to on a daily basis or not. I came across an amazing book written by Merideth Gatson called the art of gratitude whilst I was exploring nourishing myself and what that meant, I highly recommend this book as some light reading to inspire you to change the way you think.
My body and mind have been screaming these words to me for the past 9 months. "Nourish me. Please..... nourish me........"
As a new mum who is back at work and still breastfeeding and getting up multiple times a night to my beautiful daughter, I was starting to become a zombie and forget the shell of my former self. If you are a mum I already see you nodding your knowing head. Motherhood changes you in a way that you can't quite explain, for me I have never felt more vulnerable in my life and motherhood is both the greatest and most challenging thing I will ever do, sleep deprivation was certainly getting the best of me as I found myself in a cycle of overwhelm and desperately needing to listen to my body screaming at me to nourish myself!!
"I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to buy this mattress. I think I'll sleep on it"
Buying a bed can be a daunting experience. Going into shops; lying on one bed, been shown another, and then forgetting what the first one actually felt like? It is not only a mental drain but can be quite a financial strain. Renovating last year made me more thrifty with my money, and lead me to explore this ‘mattress in a box phenomenon’. Another reason was simply laziness. We were just too busy to spend three weekends going around to mattress shops and be shown the exact same mattresses, with different names and under different brands (which made it impossible to price match).