Acupressure or acupuncture mats are a widely available alternative tool that gives all the benefits of acupressure just at home. Most of these mats are made from cotton, with plastic acupuncture points that stimulate specific areas of the body to bring pain relief or help with other issues.
These mats seem pretty straightforward, but if you are new to the practice and have some doubts this article will tell how to use them.
Many people may be concerned about puncturing their skin and wary of things like acupuncture. With an acupressure mat you receive all the benefits of acupuncture without actually piercing your skin. Acupressure mats can be used on nearly any part of your body and even used on your hands and feet for reflexology.
Acupressure Mat Benefits
The biggest benefit of acupressure mats is that anyone can use them. Unlike traditional acupressure therapy, there is no training or specialized knowledge needed to get beneficial results. Since many acupressure mats are affordably priced, they’re a cheaper option that allows people to get daily treatment without paying a professional for frequent appointments.
What an acupressure mat sellers claim they can do:
- Relieves stress & anxiety
- Increase blood circulation
- Improves oxygen level
- Reduces muscle tension
- Stimulates endorphin production to elevate mood and help with depression
- Encourages restful sleep and reduces insomnia
- Energized the body
As we can see, there are a lot of claims out there as to what acupressure mats help. These range from stress and pain relief to improved healing and weight loss! So we thought we would go through all these claims and try and figure out from the evidence and a little research, how and if acupressure mats do help.
Stress Management: True. One of the biggest effects acupressure has is to stimulate the release of serotonin. By applying pressure, this stimulates our body into releasing this in a way that is basically our body going “ow that hurts, I’m going to make myself feel better”. serotonin is our bodies feel-good hormone and plays a big part in regulating mood and decreasing stress and anxiety.
Blood Circulation: True. Local blood flow is stimulated to the area. Similar to if you get a massage and afterwards the skin is redder, the tissue warmer etc. This can help to boost healing and recovery, particularly after running or sports events.
Digestion: True. Serotonin comes in again here as serotonin play s a big part in your digestive system. It helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting.
Weight Loss: Maybe. Through improving digestion and gut movement as above, the release of serotonin stimulated by acupressure mats could help regulate body weight
Nausea: False. It depends which part of your body is stimulated but acupressure can actually cause nausea at times
Cold/Flu: Unsure – we could not find any solid research that shows that acupressure mats help recover from sickness but some acupressure points in the neck can help with sinus relief etc.
Constipation: True. Serotonin again, as per above helps regulate gut movement so could definitely help with this
Brain Functions: True. Through the release of serotonin and natural painkillers, brain function is improved in terms of mood at least. Acupressure has been shown to help with depression and mental state.
Pain Relief: True.The other big way that acupressure mats, acupressure and acupuncture help is in their pain relieving ability. After 15-20 minutes of lying on an acupressure or shakti mat, our spinal cord and brainstem release natural opioid painkillers
Relaxation: True. Give both mental and physical relaxation to your body
Examples of research:
This study shows how acupressure is more effective than muscle relaxant therapy from headaches, and this lasted for 6 months
This one shows that acupressure can give an immediate improvement in anxiety levels
How to Use An Acupressure Mat
If it’s your very first time using an acupressure mat, we highly recommend wearing a t-shirt or laying a towel or sheet over the mat to reduce the intensity of the pinpoints. As you gain more experience, you will be able to use the mat directly on your bare skin.
Generally, you need to lay on the mat down on any flat surface. To make yourself more comfortable, you may put a yoga mat or rug underneath the acupressure mat.
Place your target zone evenly on the nails, find a comfortable position. Most commonly acupressure mats are used for back. In fact, you can stimulate legs, buttock, legs or feet depending on the problem that you willing to solve.
The spikes can make you feel uncomfortable for the first few minutes, so give your body a little time to adjust. Finally you will feel good, believe us! Start with short intervals. After some time lay on the mat up to 20 minutes to feel energized and 20-40 minutes to feel calm and relaxed. Set a timer or listen to a guided meditation.
Tip: make sure to have the weight of your body evenly distributed across the mat. The pinpoints are quite sharp and you could hurt your skin if you concentrate the pressure on a small area.
Acupressure Mat With Pillow is a great solution if you want to work on several zones at a time.