Futon is considered to be one of the oldest sleeping places in history - if it wasn't good, it wouldn't have made it this far. For around 2000 years - some sources go as far as 2500 years - has been made as a sleeping place in Japan. Thin, slightly combed, raw cotton is formed to a fleece and drawn into a fabric cover and stitched some in order to prevent it from moving or deforming. Such a futon mat (Shiki) is only about 5 cm thick and is put on the floor on top of a tatami mat (old Japanese floor covering). Another - even thinner - futon mat (Kake) is put on top as a blanket. The sleeper lies inbetween, like a sandwich filling.
For our understanding of a sleeping place as well as our body structure, that's not a pleasant idea. We as Middle Europeans are taller, heavier and tend to sleep on our sides a lot more often, partly due to the difference in the form of our spine. But also, of course, because our roots in terms of sleeping places are less fine; on a heap of straw, you simply sleep better in side position, similar to nowaday's oftentimes miserable but thick foam mattresses.
The futon of modern times, i.e. the local Euro Futon, doesn't share a lot of resemblance with its historic predecessor. The main similarity is that it also contains several layers of natural materials (unfortunately not always) which are kept in place only by stitching points and not by glue like industrial mattresses.
Even in Europe this manufacturing concept has been standard for hundreds of years, but not for the common, oftentimes cheap everyday goods. High-quality mattresses from companies like, among others, Schramm, Treca, Vispring, Hästens have been crafted for generations and sewn by hand by upholsterers. But back to futons. High-quality, modern futons such as those offered by Futonwerk are also crafted by hand. Raw materials like wool, horsehair, coconut fiber, hemp or natural latex are processed along with cotton, which nowadays only has a low significance.
For this, the natural materials are put on top of each other in layers, put into the covering fabric and finally stitched together at around 18 stitching points (13-23) to become one piece. This principle allows the materials to unfold their effect unhindered, i.e. soft, firm, elastic, air circulating, provide stability - everything a good mattress should offer. The most outstanding feature of the futon is its firmness / stability on the one hand, and on the other hand its air circulating property. The latter is particularly good because the natural materials are able to diffuse unhindered, meaning they allow humidity to pass through. A good futon quickly reaches a decent, not too warm but comfortable temperature.
But futon is more than just good, physical-technical functions. Futon is also the expression of one's attitude towards life. The rise of the futon began in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it became the symbol for clarity and awareness of the living area. At the latest since the beginning of modern times, the average person has a critical look at the things that surround them. The drift of attention towards the bedroom - which was considered a taboo zone for a long time - didn't occur until futons became popular along with the wild designs of futon beds which looked so different than what people were used to. And so, the futon together with futon beds became the opener of the bedroom, creating a new cultural level that most people understand as little as the meaning of sleep for the human organism.
And even today, 30 years later, futon still stands for ‘being different‘, for openness, freedom, clarity ... and indeed futon offers even more technical aspects, such as the ecological correctness as compared to many synthetic mattresses. A good futon that only consists of high-quality, natural materials like the products from Futonwerk are ecological and due to their longevity considered sustainable to a decent extent. Sustainability is given when a good, economical product lasts for a long time.
Just like with all successful products, there are many imitators who worsen the product most of the time. Unfortunately, that's no different for futons. A big part of the futons on the market are cheap, imported products with dubious contents. A simple rule of thumb is that those who know what they're doing are also able to talk about it properly.
Quality vendors like Futonwerk clearly show you which materials are processed in what amount,
where they are from and whether they are tested or not.
There is no formula for which mattress suits which person the best. The much vaunted trial by lying doesn't really help, because ten minutes of lying on a new futon doesn't say much about how it will feel after three years of sleeping on it. Therefore, it is important that the vendor of your choosing offers a fair and competent consultation.
One thing is clear: Those who have found their futon are ready to start a new stage in life.
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