Author SPORT.LES / Published: Apr-6-2020
We Tried An Acupressure Mat And Here's What Happened
WE TRIED AN ACUPRESSURE MAT AND HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED
IF YOU ARE USING AN ACUPRESSURE MAT FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE IF YOU FIND THE CONCEPT SOMEWHAT INTIMIDATING. LYING ON SPIKES MAY NOT SOUND VERY COMFORTABLE, AND YOU MAY BE FACED WITH SOME INITIAL DISCOMFORT WHEN YOU FIRST USE YOUR ACUPRESSURE MAT. HOWEVER, THAT INITIAL UNEASE AND DISCOMFORT QUICKLY FADES FOR MOST PEOPLE AS THE INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF ACUPRESSURE THERAPY SET IT.
WHAT IS AN ACUPRESSURE MAT?
An acupressure mat is a foam mattress (about the size of a yoga mat) that has plastic “spikes” all over. These plastic mats work to “activate blood flow to the epidermis and dermis” and the “increased blood flow helps to relax the muscle tissue,” explains Dr. Teresa Wlasiuk, a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine at Golden Needle Acupuncture in Los Angeles.
"This skin-breaking technique results in releasing feel-good endorphins, as well as regulating hormones and neurotransmitters, and locally causes blood and fluids to pool to the area while triggering mast cells, which are part of your immune system. In short, this helps regulate immunity, autoimmunity, inflammation and allergic responses.”"
ACUPRESSURE VS. ACUPUNTURE
Acupressure mats themselves haven’t been studied extensively for their potential benefits. Since these mats work similarly to acupressure and acupuncture — by stimulating pressure points along the meridians of the body — they may provide the same or similar types of benefits.
Acupressure, which doesn’t break the skin, rather uses touch and pressure and “activates acupoints and meridians,” she explains. While acupuncture and acupressure are different in how they work, both can be effective in alleviating various symptoms.
ACUPRESSURE MAT: BENEFITS AND USES
Acupressure mat users have reported finding relief for the following conditions:
- Headache, which is thought to be alleviated by standing on the mat with both feet evenly placed
- Neck pain
- Sciatica pain in the back and leg
- Tight or stiff back muscles
- Stress and tension
- Fibromyalgia pain
USING YOUR ACUPRESSURE MAT
Acupressure mats can take some getting used to. The spikes are sharp and can cause discomfort or pain for several minutes, before they start to warm up the body and feel good.
To get maximum results, use the mat each day for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Remember to breathe and practice consciously relaxing your body.
- Choose the surface to put it on. Beginners often use the mat spread out on a bed or sofa. Intermediate and experienced users may move their mats onto the floor.
- Try sitting on it. You can also sit on or against the mat in a chair, so that your butt and lower back have direct contact.
- Start out with a layer between yourself and the mat. Wearing a light shirt or placing a thin fabric over the spikes may help you acclimate to the feeling of the mat. Users report that they get the best results when the mat is in contact with their bare skin, but don’t feel the need to go shirt-off right away.
- Lie down slowly. Lie down with your weight evenly distributed on the mat. This will help you avoid injury from the points.
- Reposition yourself carefully. Don’t fidget or move around on the mat, as you may more readily pierce or scratch your skin that way.
- Use consistently. Mats take getting used to, but really seem to work for many people. If this product appeals to you, stick with it and give it time to work.