Roadtesting A "Wooden" Herbal Pillow - Hard As A Rock and Unbelievably Comfortable!!

in Natural Medicine8 days ago

The first time I saw my then Thai Mother In Law settle for a nap on a solid concrete floor with only a block of wood to support her neck, I was incredulous. My Dutch Australian self was more familiar with ultra-soft European goose down pillows or the budget Australian version polyester Tontene.

For EONS much of the Asian & African world has supported heads and necks during sleep with blocks of wood.

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The more glamourous version, for wealthy people with valuables to protect during sleep, was something along the lines of this antique Chinese wooden pillow box.

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In Japan, the Takamakura was a sign of status: the Geisha used one to preserve her elaborate hairstyle, the Samurai warrior to preserve the sacred topknot.

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But in China, particularly, it evolved into a hard-as-a-rock herbal sleep pillow. And I was GIFTED one this week!

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TOSS AWAY those Western sweet lavender sweet dream soft ideas... 🤣

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My gifted Thai Chinese style bamboo herbal sleep pillow is quite small but weighs 3.8 kg 😲 and is as hard as a rock. Realy freakin HARD! It contains an inner pillow which is unbelievably tightly packed with TEA and various (as yet unknown) Chinese herbs. I am not exaggerating when I say you could seriously injure someone with this thing - pillow fighting may well have originated here!

After the pleasantries and gratitude were extended, I took this baby home for a SERIOUS ROAD TEST on our solid teak wood Thai bed. Please note there are NO namby-pamby niceties for softness. 🤣

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And Oh My Buddha!! I AM HOOKED.

This is somewhat like a yoga pose. You HAVE to lay aligned and the pillow forces a level of chest opening and shoulder realignment that is really amazing. My whole BREATH changed! The bamboo is incredibly smooth to lay on, and it felt grounding. It was a VERY HOT afternoon during this roadtest ^^ as you can see from the damp hair around my temples!! The pillow was COOL. Scented but definitely not in a sweet way.

It intrigued me so much that I've been reading about the history of sleep pillows, the herbs used and about the transition from wood to the more current solidly packed herbal styles.

It has become a new favourite things to do - to lay down on the solid teak floor upstairs, with my earbuds in, listening to my Solfeggio Frequencies. Sidebar: incoming post! 30 min with Solfeggio, my hard-as-a-rock Thai-Chinese herbal pillow and laying in Savassana, and one is utterly revived. There is something profound about the realignment of the bones in the upper back and neck that's hard to describe, but probably best illustrated:

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There is a DECOMPRESSION that happens between the vertebrae that is palpable, and the opening of the chest cavity for a far deeper breath is really noticable. To lay and savour 30 mins of conscious breathing like this, while listeing to Solfeggio, has been, and is, WONDERFUL. It's a perfect counterpoint to a head perpetually held forward due to too much screen time.

Neither of these thigns did I seek out - the pillow was a random gif from my business friend, Khun Wii, who does not know me well, and the free 9 week Solfeggio Frequency meditations came via my friend and customer here in Chiang Mai, Ali Young, who owns Chiang Mai Holistic.

And so the ancient ways are being rediscovered and live on in my little corner of the world. I am endlessly surprised and curious at the gifts, the learning, the joys and the experiences which weave their way into my everyday Thai herbal world.

BlissednBlessed. Grateful.


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The first time I came across this pillow was on Facebook. It was being advertised as the secret those Chinese fighters use to get their strength to train tirelessly through the day. I never knew they were this hard from the advertisement.

I could have ordered it but the price of the pillow minus shipping fee put me off. I just remembered it when I read through your blog.

 5 days ago 

I'm thinking that with a lump of good hardwood, a chisel and some sandpaper and come time, you can easily make your own. Yes, it is used in many of the Asian and African warrior traditions to optimise sleep and energy flow.

Nice to see oyu out & about commenting! 😍

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A pillow fight Spartan version, that would be deadly. It is common for people with back and neck problems to prefer to lie down in more solid places because the bones line up better. In my case I prefer more solid pillows or no pillows at all. Lying on a more solid mattress than usual makes me feel better. I had no idea about those pillow stories in Asia, good to know now, thanks.

 5 days ago 

I love sleeping without a pillow too, but this is next level, in that it opens up the upper chest by forcing the head slightly back. It's a wonderful counter-balance for the endless forward motion we have with reading & screens. Takes a little adjustig to for night time, but perfect for 30-60 mins meditation time.

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I've been searching local stores for a new pillow and disappointedly only been finding those super soft things you mentioned... There aren't any Asian markets that I know about near me (since I left NYC) A favorite pillow that I tried while visiting Asian relatives, was a bean pillow. It was small, firm and breathable… I probably will have to order one online.

 5 days ago 

Bean pillows are super easy to make yourself. Any home wares store will have a decorative pillow cover. Just be sure to heat the beans in a very low oven (about 120C) for an hour to kill molds and bugs.

Drip a few drops of essential oil on them when done and be amazed at your new sleep quality. We accept B grade sleep just far too easily. A grade sleep is a gamechanger for energy & productivity!!

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Thanks for the tip about making a bean pillow @artemislives … and encouragement to do so😎

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you could seriously injure someone with this thing - pillow fighting may well have originated here!

🤣 I wonder how many wars were started this way. 🤔

There is something appealing about a pillow stuffed with herbs. Now I'm getting envious...

 5 days ago 

Probably the first war started when someone tried to grab the pillow box stuffed with diamonds and gold ... 😆

I am thinking to produce these professionally but identifying the herbs and their function, and using only Thai herbs and a fair trade handwoven cover. Thinking They would not be able to ship to Australia. And not be cheap. But maybe can sell the covers and make some videos about local herbal options.

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Lol! That would do it!

Yes, probably a bit heavy duty to be shipped here. You might also get accused of supplying weapons for pillow wars. 😆

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 7 days ago 

**search for pillow boxes online

That DOES look unbelievably rejuvating!!!!

 5 days ago 

The weirdest thing is that part of the body - the upper chest around the clavicle - is SOOOO IGNORED. Just the shift in head position and the backwards tilt opens the lungs in a powerful way. I am using it for conscious breathing time with Solfeggio.

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From the first paragraph of reading I said to myself this is not for me, I will stick to mt soft pillow but reading on and from your experience it is amazing how one needs to try out something uncommon for personal experience before judging.

Looks like you are really enjoying you hard as rock pillow!

 8 days ago 

haha... yes... I totaly GET IT. I thought my Thai mother in law was insane when I firs saw it. Have never even wanted to try it once in all these years. tbh the block of wood IS hardcore, but the herbal pillow is also as hard as a rock - it has no give in it at all.

Remarkable how relaxed I feel after 30 mins laying down on it. Ad yes, you're right that it is the opening to new things and new ideas that brings awesomenes. We should try new things, we should suspend judgement.

Thanks for stopping by so quickly!

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You are most welcome 🙂

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