A memory foam pad is a visco-elastic pad that eliminates pressure and provides maximum support and comfort. The foam mattress memory material responds to body weight to disperse pressure evenly. Read our Buyers Guide for help finding the right memory foam product.
A memory foam pad is a type of mattress pad or a mattress overlay that molds to the user’s body in response to body temperature and weight. The memory foam pad uses a special heat-sensitive material known as visco-elastic polyurethane foam that adds viscosity and density to the material. Visco-elastic polyurethane foam mattress memory pads come with either an adhesive or non-adhesive backing. Having been originally designed for NASA’s space program, memory foam pad has great shock-absorbing properties and is moldable and conformable to body contours. It is available in soft, medium, or firm density. The open-cell memory foam pad recovers its original shape slowly, which helps disperse surface pressure and body weight evenly around prominent bony points at shoulders and hips. It is especially useful for those confined to bed for long periods, as the dispersal of pressure away from bony prominences inhibits the formation of skin ulcers and pressure sores. A good indicator of quality is foam density. The higher its density, the more slowly it will return to its original shape — that is, the longer it will stay conforming to body contours. Another measure of quality is the thickness of the foam layer. The memory foam pad should be at least 2 inches thick to provide efficient dispersal of forces, but too much thickness will make it too dense for comfort. The outer cover should be washable and have a comfortable surface feel. The memory foam pad will also react to humidity, making it feel “buttery” in high humidity or coarse in lower humidity. The standard memory foam pad is resistant to dust mites, bacteria and fungi.