Chiropractor wannabes need to reconsider their future career goals in recognition of the contemporary Swedish variation of the traditional Hindu bed of nails. Before long, the Stockholm Christmas fad will spread to the States, further validating the “Diffusion of Innovations” theory.
Swedish nail mats; a foam rubber pad embedded with hard plastic disks with sharp little spikes were first used by the yoga community in Sweden before it was accepted by the general population. Back in August, one of the largest manufacturers of the nail mats organized an event in a Stockholm park. Approximately 3,000 people showed-up, sitting or lying down on the mats. A majority of the people chanted or sang mantras while the rest slept. The event publicized the benefits of the mats, specifically as a cure for back ailments, relief from migraines and sleep problems. Boom, the bed of nails fad was born.
The origins of the “Diffusion of Innovations” theory vary, but were popularized by sociologist Everett Rogers back in the 60’s. In English, the diffusion model is an academic approach of statistically charting how innovative ideas or products spread through society. Diffusion researchers have charted five groups:
Innovators, the adventurous ones are the first individuals to adopt – in this case Sweden’s yoga community.
Early Adopters are the second group, larger in numbers, habitually informed opinion leaders. In Sweden, it was Susanna Lindelőw, a 46 year old woman who cured her lower back problems when she bought a mail order mat made in Russia. Consequently, in 2005 she started a company called Cura Comp and began manufacturing mats.
Early Majority, the third grouping according to the diffusion model, is slower in the adoption process. These individuals are now responsible for driving sales of approximately a dozen different brands being sold this Christmas in Sweden’s fitness stores and over the Internet.
Ikea has yet to jump on the bandwagon. When they do, they will most probably capitalize on the tail end of the Early Majority, as well as the fourth and fifth groups, those individuals that are slower and more adverse to change, the Late Majority and the Laggards.
So why should chiropractor wannabes reconsider their future career goals in the United States? Two reasons:
1.) Real simple – I guarantee that some well informed innovators, who are probably into yoga, read the same New York Times article I read back in November. Soon they will buy the mats over the Internet and begin spreading the word.
2.) The Swedish mats were first manufactured in Sweden and India. No surprise, China is now capitalizing on the fad and manufacturing low cost mats.
Personally, I am an Innovator, but I will be a Laggard when it comes to a bed of nails. My back is just fine. Besides, I prefer Advil.