As a naturopathic doctor that focuses his practice on environmental medicine and healthy clean living,
I came across a very interesting phenomenon in practice. I have seen that there’s a very small number
of patients in my practice that seem to be extremely sensitive to the materials that their mattresses and
pillows are made of. Even though this is a small number of patients (perhaps less than 10% of my
patients), it’s still very significant as these patients have been experiencing a collection of “strange and
undiagnosed” symptoms that ended up being caused by their everyday exposure to their mattresses.
Over many years, they have seen multiple doctors, running lots of tests, and even done MRIs, in their
attempt to find out what is causing their symptoms that do not seem to be improving with attempted
treatment over the last few months or years.
The collection of symptoms that my patients report, which I believe to be related to their exposure to
VOCs from their mattresses or pillows are fatigue, balance issues/dizziness (especially in the
morning), brain fog or poor concentration, headache in the morning, and along with the more rare
symptom of numbness and tingling either in their hands, feet, or face. The reason that I feel these are
coming from their mattress and pillow is that 1) their symptoms started shortly after they purchased them. 2) Their symptoms match those of low chronic ongoing exposure to solvent/VOCs/off-gassing.
3) Their symptoms improved once they tried sleeping on a mattress that does not off-gas petroleum-based solvents VOCs. These symptoms and the improvements have been seen specifically with
regards to some memory foam-based mattresses and pillows and their subsequent removal.
One question I get asked often is “Why does my partner have no symptoms while sleeping on the
same mattress that I appear to be reactive to?”
Without going into a lot of detail here, the simplest answer is that we are individuals and have very
different genetics and different total body burdens of toxicants and toxins. Everyone responds
differently to chemicals – from chemical cleaners to pharmaceuticals, to alcohol. Depending on how
well we can clear a specific category of toxicants/toxins (due to your individual genetic profile – for
example our glutathione-s-transferase detoxification profile and our methylation profile), and how high
of a total body burden we’ve acquired based on our hobbies, diets, jobs, and lifestyle, we will all
respond very differently to chemicals. Thus, the same exact exposure to a chemical compound will
cause one person to experience no symptoms, while in another person it may manifest with very
significant and life-altering symptoms.
Seeing the improvement in my patients’ health has inspired me to purchase an organic, clean, and
non-off gassing mattress for myself, specifically one made from natural rubber, latex foam. I have been
sleeping on one for years now, enjoying a cleaner sleeping experience and sleeping better overall.
It wasn’t until recently that I have had a chance to upgrade my bed to a Samina mattress & bed frame.
I decided to invest in my health a bit more, especially considering all the research showing how
important good quality sleep is for prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and
When the crew from Samina came to my condo to install the bed, I was very pleasantly surprised by
the quality of the inclined bedframe and how It fits together so simply and without the use of any metal,
using a lock and key latch design. Also, with how easy it was to change from a 3 degrees incline to 5
or 7-degree incline if I ever decided to increase the incline (I started and stayed with 3 degrees for
now). It was obvious that a lot of care was taken in designing not only the bedframe but in every layer of the mattress, from the wooden panels for back support, organic latex foam, to the merino wool
To keep things short and simple, I was happy with the improvement that I experience in my sleep from
this upgrade to the Samina bed from my previous organic latex mattress. Both are great options for
improving the quality of my sleep and reducing my risk of developing any symptoms/future health
concerns and I can comfortably recommend anyone who is interested in optimizing their health to
look into upgrading to a Samina bed if they have the option to.
Dr. Aviad Elgez, ND
“Nothing is more powerful than nature.”
-Dr. Guenther Amann-Jennson
Creator and CEO, SAMINA
In the aftermath of recent storms here and abroad, while wildfires rage spontaneously here in southern California, it is impossible to ignore Nature’s immense capability to destroy. Its capacity to heal, however, is just as great—though easier to overlook.
The benefits and healing that Nature brings are of a gentler, more subtle quality. Modern lifestyles can make it easy to become disconnected while we have become largely separated from nature in its raw state. Many of us now live in urban forests of concrete and glass but our earth still has a greater effect on us than we might think.
As modern as our surroundings might be far away from trees and forests, nature’s healing touch remains in our homes, sometimes in the most unexpected forms. Take, for instance, your heirloom hardwood armoire. Surprised to learn your furniture has healing properties? According to scientific research, having wooden furniture or accents in our home, if not pressure-treated or laden with chemicals, can affect us for the better. It may not look much like the forest it came from, but your wood furniture can have some surprising health effects. Wood is a naturally antibacterial surface, partially due to the volatile compounds it contains.
Dr. Tiina Vainio-Kaila, a biotechnology researcher at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has extensively studied the properties of wood. She was involved in a study concerning the bacterial survival rate on raw wood versus glass and came to some interesting results:
“When the amounts of bacterial growth on different surfaces were cultured and compared in a laboratory, both e. coli and listeria bacteria gradually died on the wood surface but survived on the glass plate serving as a control.”
Even more surprisingly,
“Wood extracts have also been found to be reasonably effective against hospital bacteria… Many of the dozens of different wood extracts have been found to have antibacterial properties as the lignin that binds the fibers together has an antibacterial effect. In addition, wood surfaces dry quickly; this dryness puts bacteria at a disadvantage.”[i]
According to a similar study, harmful bacteria levels decreased significantly faster on pine and oak wood than plastic, because of their natural properties and potent essences:
“The survival of two hygienically relevant bacteria, Esche-richia coli pIE639 and Enterococcus faecium, was followed on wooden sawdust of seven different European woods (pine, spruce, larch, beech, maple, poplar, and oak) versus polyethylene chips…The survival of the bacteria on wood was dependent on various factors such as the wood species, the type of the inoculated bacterium, the ambient temperature, and humidity. The bacteria…decreased fastest on pine followed by oak compared to the other woods and plastic… The presented study shows that pine and oak exhibit substantially better hygienic performance than plastic and indicates an antibacterial effect caused by a combination of the hygroscopic properties of wood and the effect of wood extractives.”[ii]
Not only is wood naturally antibacterial, but it may help to reduce stress. In a 2010 study, people subjected to a stressful task in an office setting showed less sympathetic nervous activity (lowered fight-or-flight response) when wood was added to the environment—although, at first glance, they could not be further away from nature’s calming influence:
“This study provides evidence that wood provides stress-reducing effects similar to the well-studied effect of exposure to nature in the field of environmental psychology. The practical implication of this effect is that wood may be able to be applied indoors to provide stress reduction.”[iii]
What better place to have a naturally antibacterial, stress-reducing material than where you sleep? That is why the top recommendation for the SAMINA healthy sleep system is a bed frame made from solid, sustainably sourced, natural hardwood. SAMINA brings the best of the outdoors indoors for your healthy sleep.
We invite you to bring a bit of the forest into your home and explore the Pummer line of organic, master-crafted bed frames today. All are made with 100% FSC-certified hardwoods and designed to sleep inclined or not and are made exclusively for the SAMINA healthy sleep system. In case you didn’t already know, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) makes sure that forests are responsibly managed with more than 380 million acres of certified forests under their system including more than 150 million acres in the United States and Canada.
You may not be able to sleep under the trees tonight, but you can be resting on vibrant, naturally-finished wood with the Pummer bed frames for SAMINA—we bring the forest to you!
[i] “The antibacterial properties of wood should be leveraged in construction.” Woodproducts.fi, Published Friday, September 21, 2018, www.woodproducts.fi/articles/antibacterial-properties-wood-should-be-leveraged-construction
[ii] Milling, Annette. Wulf, Alfred. Kehr, Rolf Dieter. Smalla, Kornelia. Abstract of “Survival of bacteria on wood and plastic particles: Dependence on wood species and environmental conditions.” ResearchGate, www.researchgate.net/publication/228343502_Survival_of_bacteria_on_wood_and_plastic_particles_Dependence_on_wood_species_and_environmental_conditions
[iii] Fell, David Robert. Abstract of “Wood in the human environment: restorative properties of wood in the built indoor environment.” UBC, https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0071305