ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39
Financial Times  

Sleeping on water

Anyone who has gone through what we Sri Lankans call “aches and pains” and ‘konde amaruwa’ (nagging back problems) will be delighted to know that relief for the suffering is nigh.

Newly formed company Aquasnooze has introduced Water Beds to the local market. The concept of sleeping on a mattress filled with water is an ancient one, says Christopher de Alwis, Proprietor of Aquasnooze who spoke to The Sunday Times FT about his innovative venture.

The mattress is made of Vinyl, and is then filled with water. To prevent the water from spilling out in the unlikely case of a rip in the vinyl there is the “Safety liner” which collects any spilled water. This is an essential regulation in the US, for as De Alwis explains, many Americans live in apartments and leaking mattress on higher floors would be disastrous.

The average life-span of the bed is 12-15 years and Aquasnooze offers a warranty of 10 years.

The water is not changed in the duration but instead a chemical referred to as a “conditioner” is inserted into the water six-monthly or yearly, depending on the mattress. One conditioner comes free with the water bed.

Medical benefits
The medical benefits of the water bed are many. Not only is it an instant reliever of back aches but it’s also a cure for insomniacs. De Alwis emphasis on the fact that the water bed would not act as a cure for severe medical problems. “It would have absolutely no adverse effect but it won’t cure them,” he says. However for chronic problems like Osteoporosis, slipped discs, Arthritis and Rheumatism the bed would give ideal comfort. In the US, the bed is also used for burn victims, “it’s because the bed has no pressure points so there is no pressing on their wounds,” says he.

The water bed is also highly recommended for bed-ridden patients because while the heavy areas of the body sink into the mattress, the spine remains straight.

De Alwis has certified recommendations from a number of specialists in the US and UK, although he has no Sri Lankan certification.

Types of water beds
According to the proprietor, there are two main types of beds: The Free Flow mattress which has “quite a bit of motion,” in his words, and the Waveless mattress which limits water motion to only 30% of the whole, using neutral-buoyancy foam.

He is hoping to market the mattress to hospitals, hotels and households as a first and says that there is already an interest in the water bed, among locals as well as foreign firms to whom the idea is novel.

De Alwis imports the mattresses from American National Manufacturers, a firm based in California, US.

For obvious reason these mattresses can’t be supported by the average bed frame. The required bed frames he builds locally through a small-timer in Moratuwa mainly with Pine wood The Free Flow mattresses are being priced at Rs.25, 000 and with the custom-made frame, the prices start from Rs. 54,000. (TR)


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