"Pillows are like orthotics for our necks..."

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by DayRunner, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. DayRunner Super Moderator
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    Apologies, I have been AWOL for a while. I recently came across a great (IMO) website with some interesting articles on health and fitness, including a number of thought-provoking ones about barefoot and minimalism. Anyway one that caught my eye is linked below. I'd actually been asking the same question myself recently, ie do I really need a pillow and how does it affect my posture (in a similar vein to how barefooting has led me to question the need for foot cushioning). Well, I thought it was worth sharing:

    http://www.somastruct.com/pillows-like-orthotics-necks/

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  2. Sly Barefooters
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    its like shoes, if you spent your whole life using them, your body developed weaknesses and it's not easy to run/sleep without,

    if you grew up doing a lot of yoga or living like a Tarzan in the jungle, you got a good hips / back / neck/ head posture and you dont need pillow.
    the same idea with the matress.

    I use to sleep on a yoga matress + blanket. I still need a thin blanket under my head to feel comfortable. After 2 years of yoga my back is getting better and better, maybe one day I wont need pillow anymore ?

    the same for the chair and the sofa, not esay to sit down on the floor when you're not used to it,
    but using a chair, a lot of muscles never work and a lot of tendons never stretch, so you got a bad posture, so you develop pains, injuries, ...
    I hope one day I'll be able to keep the half-lotus position during one whole hour without thinking about my butt,
    as I hope one day I'll be able to run a barefoot marathon

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  3. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    [IMG] [IMG]
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  4. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    DR, pretty soon, you will be ditching the blankies...and then your clothes! Ha!

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  5. JosephTree Barefooters
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    [IMG]

    [/quote]



    I've seen these rigged for a mandibular workout, too, I think.

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  6. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Since our necks have atrophied from overly pillowed sleep, it's helpful to strengthen all parts of the head-neck apparatus while transitioning to bareneck sleeping. Some hardcore bareneck or barehead advocates recommend starting right out on the garage floor, or a gravel bed, reasoning that if you can learn to sleep gently on cold concrete or pointy stones, you will then be able to bareneck sleep almost anywhere, thus avoiding some of the more common overuse injuries--like NONP ("nape of the neck pain") and cranial stress fractures--involved in transitioning from sleeping on cushy 'head coffins' to a more natural, bareneck style. The secret is to start with short naps, and then work your way up from there to a full night of sleep.

    Some practitioners have taken the bareneck practice to extremes, and have organized a Winter Bareneck Challenge, in which participants log hours sleeping outside in the middle of winter in nothing more than their flannel pajamas. Others have made unsubstantiated claims that bareneck sleeping promotes fantastic 'flying' dreams, controls nocturnal incontinence, and often leads to an overwhelming sense of embryonic reunion with Mother Earth upon waking. To date, however, no study published on the internet has been able to exaggerate these claims successfully.

    Leading Somnologists have decried the bareneck or bareheaded sleeping 'movement' as merely a fad, arising largely in the wake of the bestseller "Born to Sleep," about a lost tribe of insomniacs who eventually learn how to sleep for whole days at a time, and organize internationally renowned ultra sleepovers. Instead, Somnologists, or 'restperts' (rest experts) as they're called in the new, hip sleep-lingo, recommend a good Posturepedic pillow to remedy any sleep-related injuries or nightmares.

    Nonetheless, Sealy has recently introduced the new "Sealy Free" minimalistic pillow, with just a two-inch stack height, in hopes of capturing the growing market of bare-curious slumberers. Apparently, many aren't quite ready to 'de-fluff' their pillows completely, yet are willing to pay lip service to the putative benefits of bareneck sleeping. Xero Pillows goes even further, offering a bareneck toalla, a traditional Mexican sleep towel, that promises to be 'better than bareneck,' with the same dream-feel of real bareneck sleeping but just enough protection from bugs and dust. The old canard of "bugs & dust," of course, is a common scare tactic used by opportunistic merchants hoping to cash in on the bareneck craze with products supposed mimicking the bareneck style.

    Meanwhile, a recent documentary on National Geographic featured a man named "Pillowless Pete" who hasn't slept on a pillow for 25 years! Admirers were later disappointed however, when it was found out that the savage snoozer sleeps on a 70s-era waterbed and listens to Kenny G to help get to sleep.

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  7. DayRunner Super Moderator
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    That's hilarious Lee! Parody does put some of the barefoot/minimalist rhetoric in perspective. To throw more fuel on the fire, I found the BMJ article below. You really won't believe the reason "Tribal people don't like lying on the ground in recovery position while wearing no clothes..."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/

    As for the fitness factory product, if I'm ever upgrading the dungeon I will give one of those serious consideration.

    And yes TJ my clothes are safe, however blankies are optional here in the subtropics.

    All pi$$takes aside, I slept the last two nights without a pillow without issue. As well as my back curvature (and hence running gait), I'm curious to see if it impacts on how I breathe when I sleep. I am prone to snoring and breathing through my mouth (dry mouth on waking despite being hydrated), so will wait to see if I notice any difference. And before you ask, no I'm not a fore-head striker, I tend to lay down on my side or back.

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  8. Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Ya, just having fun. I actually find these articles very interesting, and my older brother has already started sleeping pillowlessly after reading the first one. My own pillow is quite minimalist, and I sleep on my side as in your second posted article, mostly using my arm for support. I also have a pretty firm mattress, and have a thin rollup futon in my office for power naps. I never get backaches or anything. When I was traveling, including by bicycle for two years, I often slept on a thin thermorest mattress about one-inch thick and used my sweater as a pillow.

    So I'm not too far off from the naturalistic ideal . . . Kind of like my diet, I'm about 80% good.

    As for the neck harness, I have something similar in my garage dungeon, but I rarely use it. I like to keep my st workouts simple, and focus on heavy lifts. Neck exercises take too long to set up, but I should probably work them back in a bit. Besides, I found the harness only really works for neck extensions.
    [IMG]
    For neck flexions, it's easier to just use a plate.
    [IMG]

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  9. JosephTree Barefooters
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    I am considering a lawsuit against the Sealy Corp.

    Their Sealy Free product is wildly irresponsible and might lead to me seriously injuring myself. They don't have anything like real, solid research proving the value of their claims that "free" sleep is inherently healthier and more natural than conventional pillowage.

    This might just be my ticket to the gravy train!

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  10. Sid Barefooters

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  11. Ahcuah Barefooters

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    Another good line: "I think the neck should deviate towards the ground as gravity then shuts the mouth, preventing insects from entering . . ."
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  12. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Very clever, Lee. I have added your post to the home page, with a shout-out to DayRunner at the end. I just couldn't see this going to waste. Spread the love around.

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  13. Lomad Barefooters

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    Lee, should I transition with thinner and thinner pillows, or is it safe to jump directly to head to sheet sleeping?


    Oh no, is a sheet not purist enough? Should I remove that desensitizing layer from between my head and the mattress? What if I want to just be a minimalist sleeper?

    So many questions. This is why I adopted a 'just sleep' philosophy. I try not to think too much about all the variables and just sleep.
  14. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    It's easy to transition to head to sheet sleeping in private, my biggest annoyances have come when sleeping in public or a group setting like a sleep-over.
    So many absurd comments that I never get any sleep!
    "Doesn't that hurt?"
    "Whoa, no pillow, HARD CORE!"
    Have you seen those new new thin pillows? You'd really like them"
    "How long did it take you to strengthen up your neck"
    "Can I touch your neck?
    It's also crazy how every article written about pillowless life always has either a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon warning against it, they know nothing about us flat sleepers, their whole practice is oriented toward treating the problems people develop from sleeping with those mountain style pillows.

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  15. RandyY Barefooters
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    Shouldn't the argument extend to the sleeping surface as well? You've still got a cushioned surface your body is resting on, which would move your body out of alignment compared to the more traditional rock or trampled forest undergrowth bed! Start with the basics! ;)
  16. Ahcuah Barefooters

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    Yeah, and it gets cold sleeping out on my gravel driveway in the winter, so I made myself a special gravel box I can sleep in. You know, just to stay in shape during the winter.
  17. RandyY Barefooters
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    Good idea, you can also use it for spot foot conditioning, running in place!
  18. Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Who is this guy ^^^ talking about feet?!

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  19. Longboard Chapter Presidents
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    Most free-neckers wear robust shoes or boat anchors, just like the typical nudist.
    It's always surprising seeing a pillowless person in bare feet even while sleeping.

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  20. RandyY Barefooters
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    Oops, cross contamination of topics! Don't want to sidetrack the discussion! My bad!

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