Elwood 5566

Bathhouse Basics 6: The Wooden Pillow (mok-ch'im – 목침)

Posted in bathhouse and jjimjilbang culture, bathhouse Basics by 노강호 on August 4, 2010

Rest your weary head on a wooden pillow (목침)

The wooden head rest (pillow) is a common site in bathhouses and jjimjilbang. Obviously, a cotton pillow in a sauna would be a little grotty as laying your head on the sweat of the previous user isn’t very appealing. Hence the mok-ch’im (목침). Though they look quite uncomfortable, it is surprising how quickly you can adapt to them and for a little snooze they are perfect.

Bathhouse and jjimjilbang head rests are usually standard blocks made out of a hardwood and very often made from hinoki cypress, however, they do come in a range of other designs and can cost over 40.000 Won. More expensive mok-ch’im can be made to measure.

Various wooden pillow (order link)


'Tailor made' mok ch'im.

The antithesis of my memory foam pillow

Okay, they may not be everyone’s idea of a comfortable, but many years ago I learnt to sleep on the floor – without a mattress. When you body has learnt to sleep in positions which distribute your weight evenly across your body, which takes a few months, and which can be transited between subconsciously, sleeping on the floor is amazingly comfortable, far more so than a bed! Maybe the wooden pillow just needs perseverance!



Creative Commons License
© Nick Elwood 2010. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.


4 Responses

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  1. Craig said, on August 9, 2010 at 3:58 am


    I have a magazine in Daegu, Daegu Pockets, and I wondering if you might allow for us to re-publish some of your great content in our mag. I’ve been looking for some insight bathhouse content that we can use each month.

    Please let me know if its possible.


  2. Marissa said, on November 6, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I would like to purchase 4 wood pillow supports.

    • 努江虎 said, on November 14, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I see them every Friday in a street near my house – 20.000 won.

  3. Kathy said, on March 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I would love to purchase two wooden pillows. Where can I order them in the states?

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