Better Golf Through Sleep and Massage?
28 Jan 2008

When I registered for a media badge for the Las Vegas Market furniture show, I got an incredulous call from the show’s media coordinator.

“Mr. Wlodkowski, I visited your website today and I’m not sure how it relates to furniture.”

Indeed, even with 50,000 people attending this industry showcase, the crossover between golf and furniture isn’t exactly an obvious one. I explained that I was going to find out more about furniture that might appeal to golfers, specifically in the area of ergonomics, better health, and quality sleep.

After walking through various floors of the brand new high rise buildings called the Las Vegas World Market Center, I discovered the usual buzzwords. “Sustainable Growth” for wood products and of course “Green” for anything that conserves energy. And if there was any question about banks, sub-prime mortgages, or dare I say the “R” word, there wasn’t any of it here. Upscale and elegant were definitely the themes.

So off I went seeking something for golfers. If there is one thing that many of us wrestle with it's back and neck problems. Much of that is beyond just swinging the golf club. It’s related to the way we get around – a cell phone in the ear has craned more than a few golfers’ necks – and I believe a great deal of it is sleep and mattress related.

So I was one of the first to stop into the Better Sleep Council’s “recharge center” to pick a bed, and take a mid-day nap.

I’ve tried Sleep Number beds, several high-quality traditional mattresses, and even Tempurpedic space-age technology, but the best sleep I usually get is in a Westin Heavenly Bed or something similar. It might just be psychological, but I think the quality of what these upscale hotels use for mattresses and bedding is pretty high (they even sell them on the Starwood website).

I picked a gel bed from a company called Kaymed. I had never heard of them. It didn’t matter. In a not exactly noiseless, cubicle setting with only slightly dimmed lights, I started to doze off in 5 minutes and realized I better set my cell phone alarm. Once I did, I relaxed into the matching gel therapy pillow and fell asleep for ½ hour. Later I found out that Kaymed is a leading European bedding company (located in Ireland) that is building their brand in the U.S. starting in 2008. The particular bed I slept on was an 11.5” visco model with 1.5” of waffled flex gel on the top layer that is said to provide a cool surface feel. I only know I fell asleep and woke rested in 30 minutes. Just think what a good 8 hours on this thing would provide.

To take my relaxation to the next level, I rode the elevator to Human Touch’s location on floor number 9 in search of the perfect massage. The company, which designs and manufactures a wide-variety of chairs from the “iJoy” through the award-winning “Zero Gravity”, offered me a 15 minute massage in the chair of my choice.

“No sense looking any further than zero gravity,” was my response, when asked which one.

I have tried many massage chairs, but like the 15-year old guitar player that can play the licks to many rock and roll tunes, but can’t play a single song all the way through, I had never gone through an entire program cycle. Usually, it’s just sitting in one on a whim in a store, sometimes cramped next to washers and dryers, (Human Touch, by the way, sells through fine furniture stores and back care specialty stores) and pushing all the buttons on the sometimes-broken chairs to see what happens. Not this time.

With the assistance of Director of Product Management Andrew Corkill, I was taken through the program the right way. Most impressive is the way the chair actually “learns” your exact spine location and body with its Acupoint technology. Being in zero gravity, is, as my son Lawson said, “like having a massage in space.” The footrest compresses on your calves, and the chair lowers you into a zero gravity position that feels relaxing even when the chair’s functions are idle. When Andrew put the chair into a sports massage mode, and told me I had 9 minutes left on my program, I closed my eyes and really got into it. He walked away and left me alone.

Every time I wanted more pressure in a spot, the chair seemed to be thinking for me. When the heat kicked in on my lower back, I was in heaven. Andrew later explained to me that one of the unique things about the chair is the way the foot and calf massager gets the blood flowing. I only know that it works!

The Zero-Gravity from Human Touch is all leather, looks classy, and at $3999 retail costs much less than I would have thought.

Back to the golf benefits.

As I left the show with a computer bag over my shoulder, drooping to one side, I thought of the pressure we put on ourselves before we even swing a golf club. With quality sleep and massages before and after the game, maybe I can shave a stroke or two off that handicap that isn’t as low as it once was.

- To find out more about Human Touch, vist the company's website at www.humantouch.com
- To find out more about Kaymed, visit: www.kaymedworld.com

reported by Pete Wlodkowski, amateurgolf.com

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