Wool is often celebrated for its luxuriousness, versatility and ecologically-friendly credentials, however, the fibre also holds several unique propositions for health and well-being.
The medical community’s love and appreciation for the miracle medical fibre can be found in its own home. Hospitals today use wool in neonatal units because wool underlays reduce the incidence of sacral pressure ulcers.
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“The benefits of the medical miracle fibre are also available when pure wool is used in our homes as soft furnishing, including duvets, carpets and rugs, knitted soft toys, curtains and linen, for isolation in roofs, and in our wardrobes says Louis De Beer, CEO of Cape Wools, South Africa’s official representative body of the South African wool industry.
“The benefits of wool for individuals with sleeping difficulties, and respiratory sicknesses, are well known, and it is also a non-negotiable necessity for parents of new-borns. Wool is a medical miracle fibre because it is hypo-allergenic, anti-bacterial and the best option for natural thermoregulation.”
Wool temporarily traps dust and allergens that can exasperate asthma and respiratory conditions. Dust from our living environments is removed by the fibres of wool which temporarily ensnares pollutants and allergens, ensuring that particles are not re-circulated and re-released, unless vacuumed and cleaned by washing.”
Sleeping in or under wool can improve the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, because of the thermoregulation features, comfort and breathability of the fibre. Wool has a low thermal conductivity compared to other natural fibres and synthetics.
This means the fibre is excellent and it insulates us from the cold, but also keeps us cool during warmer seasons because the fibre’s breathability. Wool also acts as a cooling barrier by wicking perspiration away in hot conditions, and in cold it creates an insulating barrier to retain heat.
In addition to creating pocket of air close to the body, the coil-shaped fibres of wool naturally removes heat and moisture from the skin, creating an optimal and natural temperature setting for sleep.
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When thermal stress is reduced and when a comfortable sleeping temperature is easily reached and maintained, the length of REM sleep can improve.
For new-borns, this temperature regulating feature is crucial because infants, especially premature ones or low birth weight babies, have not yet fully developed the ability to regulate their body temperature.
OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
Wool is also antimicrobial and through its high level of lanoline, the fibre has antibacterial properties. Pure wool active wear and wool socks deters bad odours from bacteria which gets released during perspiration.
Infants and young children prone to nocturnal enuresis or bed wetting die quickly after once protective covers and mattress are cleaned after being dried.
Learn more about the health and lifestyle benefits of wool at Wool Week Cape Town 2015 which takes place between 7 – 11 April and the V&A Waterfront.