Available online at www.chillow.com, and at Bed Bath & Beyond and other stores that sell “As Seen on TV” products; $12.99 (plus $6.95 processing and handling if ordered online, or two for $12.99 and $13.90 processing and handling)
The pitch: “Say good-bye to hot flashes and night sweats! The innovative cooling technology keeps your head cool and dry all night long!”
The skinny: Let’s start with the bottom line: The Chillow works. After a more-complicated-than-you’d-expect set up, it gets cool and stays cool. I can see that it would be useful for those who suffer from migraines, or for quick relief from a sunburn or after a hot workout.
But would I use it overnight in bed for hot flashes? No, I would not.
Here’s why. The instructions advise putting 7 to 8 cups of water into the Chillow, then letting it sit for several hours so the “patented foam core” can absorb all that liquid. That is A LOT of water, and I found it to be way too much. The foam didn’t absorb it all, and it was messy. Also, the plug, which is supposed to form a vacuum seal, did not. I tried two Chillows, and both came unplugged very easily.
Again … messy.
On the second try, I ended up emptying much of that excess water into the sink, and the Chillow worked much better. The plug also held better. But it still seemed too iffy to try it overnight on my bed (and on top of my new pillow).
Instead, I used it during the day while relaxing on the couch. And it is fabulous for that. It isn’t really cold, but it stays at room temperature, which is lower than body temperature. It’s great if you want to put something better than a damp wash cloth on the back of your neck or on your face. (Take off your earrings, though, or risk a puncture that could cause a leak.)
You can put the Chillow in the refrigerator (not the freezer) to make it even cooler. But it won’t hold that chill for long.
The pad has two sides. The smooth, shiny side feels rubbery, and a bit like a hot water bottle. The cloth side is soft and velvety. I preferred the cloth side (of course), but even that feels a little damp and sloshy when you lie down and put your face on it.
Sadly, I’m not sure the Chillow is the answer for hot flashes. Even if I felt more secure about using it overnight, it is small (21-by-12 inches), so it’s only going to work for your head or your feet. Hot flashes – at least my hot flashes – are a top-of-the-head-to-the-tips- of-the-toes experience that would require a water bed for sweet relief.