Like many world-class, radical and standard-setting inventions, this invention was done in a small garage in the backyard. Almost like a sort of Gyro Gearloose ,Engineer Hans Luijkx invented the HaLu Principle from the urge or drive to find a better alternative for laying down in the sauna.
Hans went to the sauna with his wife, at least once a month, and every time they laid down in the sauna, they faced the same problem. The traditional headrest in the sauna did not provide the comfort one is looking for when trying to relax and enjoy the sauna experience. Not only is the traditional wooden plate alternative uncomfortable, after a short period it starts to hurt at the back of your head, and the muscles in your neck get tensioned. Over several years, every time they went to the sauna, Hans said to his wife that there has to be some alternative that is comfortable. From that experience Hans went to look for alternatives, but noticed very soon that none of the alternatives provided sufficient support and comfort.
Being an Engineer at heart, Hans did not stop his search when a good alternative was unavailable, but thought long and hard about how he could fix this problem and create a better solution for laying down in the sauna. Every time Hans and his wife came back from the sauna, he lay mulling over what kind of pillow would provide the support and comfort he wanted. With his fundamental approach to this issue, he suddenly realized what the real problem was. The traditional sauna pillow hardly supports the head, or in other words all the weight of the head rests on one single pressure point. Since wood is a relatively hard material, it is no wonder your head and neck start to hurt after a while. The question is not: does your head hurt when you lie on the traditional pillow? But: How long does it take before your head start to hurt?
After long consideration and looking at the alternatives in place, he noticed that the pressure had to be divided in order to create the comfort and the support he was looking for. Having acknowledged this problem, he came up with a fundamental solution. Like when Archimedes  understood that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. Which meant that the volume of irregular objects could be measured with precision, a previously intractable problem, Hans had a “Eureka” moment. He suddenly realized the that the pressure had to divided over separate platforms in order to create more comfort. In this way the four platforms will shape to any head, no matter how big or how small, stabilize it and provide comfortable support for the person laying down in the sauna.
After this “Eureka” moment, Hans went experimenting with different types of wood, different shapes and sizes, different heights, and multiple test subjects. Before the actual HaLu sauna pillow was created there were several prototypes. It was a long struggle to find the right technical specifications, match the right design and provide the perfect comfort for every person.
The First prototype was handcrafted in a shack in the backyard. Hans aimed to find out how the pressure could be divided over multiple platforms in order to avoid a painful head for the user. This prototype was screwed and glued together and consisted of sample blocks and boards of waste wood. At this point Hans was only concerned with the way the platforms shaped to the head, or in other words the functionality, and did not yet think of design, material, or other requirements. He invited friends, neighbours and colleagues to try out the pillow and compare it to the traditional alternative, and he was surprised with the many euphoric responses. This drove him to continue the development and it also stimulated his ambition. At first Hans intended to use the sauna pillow for his own usage, but now realized this product had more potential than that.
The Second prototype was also handcrafted like the previous version. However in this stage Hans did not only concern with functionality, but looked further ahead. In order for the product to become a bigger success, the product needed to be producible against affordable costs. Moreover, he also started working on the design, in his mind it had to resemble a traditional pillow so that the potential user recognised the product. This prototype resembled a wooden box, with tilting squared surface pads, that would shape to ones head. However this prototype faced several problems, the surface pads did not tilt enough to provide comfortable support, the product contained a lot of material and the pads often got stuck. In other words, the joints-hinges that were used did not suffice.
The third prototype resembled the second version. It almost had the same design of a square box, but this time iron ball joints were used, for the squared surface pads to tilt in any direction. This was a definite breakthrough, but still the pads got stuck to often. The support and comfort came close to what he was looking for, but the product was still not functional enough. At this point Hans realised that he was focussing too much on the square shape and continued looking for other designs.
The fourth prototype was the first product that looked anything like the final pillow. After discussing the design and the problem of the squared surface with his wife, he decided to switch to the round design, with round pads on top. Again a large step in the right direction, the design, the hinges as well as the functionality all approached the desired level. However this pillow was made of very thin boards of wood, also the pads were very thin and therefore the product was to fragile. Again the product did not meet the high requirements that Hans set for himself.
The fifth prototype looked even more at the final pillow. The round shapes were used again, but this time more effort was put in the choice of material. This prototype was made of Abachi wood, somewhat thicker boards for the bottom plate and the pads, and moreover it contained a bigger ball-joint to increase the functionality, solidity and sustainability. This was the first pillow that was (partly) produced mechanically. At this point Hans filed a patent request since he was convinced this product had the potential for commercialization. However, this version was still not perfect.
The sixth prototype was again made of Abachi wood, the bottom plate was completely made of one single piece, and new ball joints were used. These were specially made for our product of a carefully selected high quality material, it had less breakdowns and was better suited for the high temperatures in the sauna. A new sauna pillow was born. This version of the sauna pillow was commercialized since it met al of the requirements set by Hans. It was functional, it provided support and comfort, it looked futuristic, was suitable for sauna use, and it could be mechanically produced.
In the first year of being on the market, there were some minor improvements made on the HaLu sauna pillow. The final version had hollow pads instead of the flat pads that were used up to that point. Moreover, all edges were rounded in a different way than before. This increased the comfort even more, since this allowed the pads to better shape to the head of the user. This final version is the only wooden sauna pillow that is comfortable to put your head on, and lay down to enjoy the sauna experience. No longer will you have to turn your head every minute, no longer will you have to use an extra towel in order to lay comfortable. This is the best wooden sauna pillow in the world, guaranteed.
After the invention of the sauna pillow, and the successful commercialization in Holland, Hans went on developing the HaLu principle trying different material and different designs to suit the needs of other segments. In consultation with experts in the other areas of wellness, as well as beauty and massage therapist, it came to light that the HaLu principle was not only suited for usage in sauna, but the same principle could be translated in to different products that could be used in other parts of the wellness market. For all versions of the sauna pillow and other applications of the HaLu Pillow, please look at the products on our website.
As is told above, the product was still undergoing changes and renewal between the 5th prototype and the final version. In that period Hans also extended the range of sauna pillows by a Red Cedar version, a different type of wood. This darker type of wood looks somewhat more luxurious and spreads a nice odor when it warms up. The consumers were now able to chose the wood that fits their sauna at home.
Besides the sauna versions, the first addition to the product line was a pillow which could be used in hammam and steam baths. This pillow again has the same principle of the four swiveling pads that shape comfortably and stably to any head. However this pillow was made of a hard-plastic material. This has the advantage, that is fully water resistant, and can stand temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius. Like with the sauna version, the Hammam pillow provides the user with a convenient product that enables him or her to comfortably lie down in the hammam, without getting a headache or stiff neck muscles.
A year later, also an Anti-theft version of the sauna pillow was added to the product range. This product was developed after feedback from several sauna centers, that the small pillows get easily stolen by visitors of a center. This only shows how comfortable the pillows are, but is bad for business from a adopter side of view. Therefore a sauna pillow with a large bottom plate was developed, which is very hard to put in a bathrobe or towel.
The Hammam pillow is essentially designed for the obvious purpose. However, after consideration and consultation with some beauty centre owners, and other experts in the wellness world, other advantages of this pillow came to light. This pillow could also be used in the beauty business since it relaxes the muscles in the neck, stabilizes the head and allows the head to be placed in any position. When undergoing a beauty treatment one normally rests her/his head or neck on a towel, or the beauty specialist holds the head of the client in some cases. This pillow increases the comfort for the client, since it provides a comfortable body posture and stable head-support. This reduces the clients inclination to ‘cooperate’, which would cause tension on the muscles in the neck and back. Besides the advantages for the client, this pillow also facilitates several treatments  for the beauty specialist. It eases the massage of the head, stretching of neck muscles and treatments like epilating. The Beauty pillow was born.
These same advantages can be extended to the massage business. Not only makes this pillow the massage of the head more practical, but because the ballast of the head always remains on the pillow, the masseur does not have to lift the head anymore. After feedback from several users, Hans decided to make this same pillow with silicone pads on top. The Massage/Beauty pillow is even softer to the head than the Hammam/Beauty pillow and therefore allows a longer treatment and extra comfort. However, the stiff character of the silicone layers requires the use of a towel or a cotton cover of the pillow.
The most recent addition to the range of pillows is the Solarium pillow. Again it is designed from a specific customer need. The problem of white stripes and unequal tanning became apparent to Hans and he immediately linked this to the stabilizing features of the HaLu principle. In order to translate the HaLu principle to a pillow for sun tanning purposes different materials were tested for UV resistance and light transparency. When the material was finally chosen, Hans went on experimenting with the design. Unlike the other pillows this version stands on four legs to ensure stability on any sun bed. After some prototypes a new pillow was born that again ensures stability and comfort, and by doing so also provides equal tanning even when one falls asleep.
Also in 2011 the Aspen version of the sauna pillow was added to the inventory. This was also a light colored type of wood, but somewhat cheaper in production, with less waste and breakdowns. This version resembles the Abachi version, however the differences can be seen by the naked eye. People are still able to choose the Abachi version if they prefer that look, or when they are already using this version and do not want any inconsistency between the pillows they use.