Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sobakawa Cloud Pillow: Miraculous or Misleading?

                Can the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow truly improve your health and sleep quality? Many items advertised on television often seem like wonderful inventions, but can end up being too good to be true. The question at hand for today’s post is whether or not the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow lives up to its claims.
                The advertisers of the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow share the point of view that the pillow uses a unique structure designed 300 years ago, never breaks down, has air beads for adjustable support, and keeps a person’s head cool while they sleep. The advertisers say the pillow adapts to various sleeping positions so that one does not need to flip or fluff the pillow. The Sobakawa commercial demonstrates how the air beads can prevent three eggs from getting squashed by a 10-pound weight, a unique quality that foam, feather, and fiber pillows cannot imitate. The commercial also mentions that one may have an unpleasant time waking up, as it claims that lack of proper support for the head and neck can lead someone to feel worse in the morning compared to the night before. One website,, even asserts the pillow can help with stiff, sore muscles and neck pains because of its “therapeutic nature.”

                I have found no empirical evidence on the pillow’s efficacy such as clinical studies, only reviews, so I set out to find out what it was like for myself. I tested out this pillow myself a few months ago, as I had been suffering from neck stiffness and cramps during this school semester. It was reasonable at about $20 from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and its size is small enough to avoid cluttering my bed. The pillow is somewhat shaped like a parathyroid gland, and is supposed to be super ergonomic.  While sleeping on my back, it seemed to contour to my neck and head fairly well, and it did seem a bit cooler than a normal fiber pillow. The texture felt a bit odd: very similar to microbead throw pillows. However, the pillow felt strange when I tried sleeping on my side; since the sides or the pillow are raised, it felt like one side of my face was getting squashed into the pillow, in an unpleasant way. The first few times I tried it, it seemed like my neck cramps were getting better. However, despite religious use of the pillow, I attribute that to the placebo effect, as my neck cramps came back due to stress and other factors. I have only had the pillow for a few months, so I cannot yet attest as to how durable it is.

                What kind of inferences and conclusions can we make about this product? My experience with the pillow showed that it is a decent pillow, but by no means a miracle, pain-relieving or pain-preventing device. I feel it is only good for sleeping on one’s back, and using it for side-sleeping is just awkward. Even the commercial can easily trigger skepticism, as it seems a much larger volume of the micro air beads were used to stop the eggs from getting crushed, compared to the scanty amounts used in the feather, foam, and fiber trials of the demonstration.  I believe that studies on the pillow need to be conducted to confirm whether or not the pillow can prevent head and neck pain.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post and great personal insight! I definitely agree with you, stress does play a big role in neck aches. I also think that sleeping position can also contribute to those aches! I know someone who bought a $40 pillow to help with her sleep apnea and now I wonder if that pillow actually helps or if it is just like this pillow!