An acupressure mat is similar to a yoga mat since it is made from cotton or something similar. However, these mats have additional small circular areas with plastic pyramid-shaped spikes not present in yoga mats. These spikes press on acupressure points that are described in the theories of traditional Chinese medicine, resulting in pain relief, better sleep, improved circulation, and enhanced energy.
An acupressure mat looks like a yoga mat, but it has little pyramid-shaped spikes in some areas.
The spikes press on certain points that come from ideas of traditional Chinese medicine.
It can help manage pain, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve sleep.
The time spent on the mat varies with each individual and their comfort zone. We recommend you start with a 10-15 minute session and increase gradually.
How does acupressure work?
Acupressure is based on the theories that originated from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), including chi, the vital energy force, and meridians, which are pathways for chi. In addition, two other universal forces are present called yin and yang, which are actually opposite but in some way connected.
The acupressure points are on pathways in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, they believe that pressing these points helps energy flow smoothly through these pathways, balancing the body's yin and yang. When energy gets stuck, it causes muscle tension.
Acupressure treatment involves a trained practitioner massaging these points using their fingers, palms, elbows, feet, or special tools. A full session can last about 60 minutes.
In addition, a certain apparatus called an acupressure clip can be applied to the fleshy area of the hand to reduce headaches and pain.
What is an acupressure mat?
An acupressure mat is shown in the figure above. The one in this image has spikes made of plastic, but other mats can have spikes made from conductive metals, including silver, copper, zinc, nickel, or iron. It all depends on the user's preference for spike material. However, most are made using plastic spikes since they are less likely to pierce the skin.
The mat in the image above has a built in acupressure pillow to assist with neck pain and headache. There are also acupressure pillows that can be purchased.
Benefits of acupressure mats
Using the mat can have some major health benefits.
1. Pain management
The fact that acupressure mats can ease low back pain was demonstrated in a study published in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of Applied Sciences. In addition, the mat improves other conditions, including:
- Neck pain
- Muscles soreness after exercising
Since many people with low back pain have poor sleep, relieving the pain can help with sleep.
2. Stress relief
People report stress relief and feeling relaxed after using the acupressure mat, due to the release of endorphins, known as the feel-good hormones.
Decreased stress, anxiety, and pain from acupressure was demonstrated in a study published in the May 2019 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
3. Improved circulation
The mat can improve circulation in the areas where the spikes make contact with the skin. This was confirmed in a study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that improved circulation in the back was present in areas of spike contact. In the study, the Shakti-mat was used, which is a specific brand and modern version of the Indian bed of nails.
How much time should you spend on the acupressure mat?
The amount of time spent on the mat is determined by the user's comfort level and preferences. To get used to it, it is best to begin with a session of 10 to 15 minutes at first. From there, you can progressively extend the time, up to a maximum of 30 to 40 minutes at a time. Many users do this several times a week, but some people would rather lie on the mat for 20 minutes every day.
We advise paying attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel excessively sore, reduce the time on the mat. You can extend the time if there is no soreness and no improvement. When is the ideal time? Your body will tell you.
Who is an acupressure mat for?
An acupressure mat is for anyone who needs pain management, stress relief, better sleep, lower anxiety, or improved energy.
Who should not use an acupressure mat?
Those with open sores, skin rashes, diabetes, bleeding disorders, or poor circulation should not use one.
All in all, acupressure mats can help with pain relief, stress reduction, and better sleep if used properly. Although there are many varieties of matting, the majority are composed of cotton and feature plastic spikes in the shape of pyramids. Using the mats has numerous health advantages that may improve general health.
- Journal of Applied Sciences. Efficacy of an Acupressure Mat in Association with Therapeutic Exercise in the Management of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Study.
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Beyond Pills: Acupressure Impact on Self-Rated Pain and Anxiety Scores.
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Relaxing on a bed of nails: an exploratory study of the effects on the autonomic, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, and saliva cortisol.