One of the latest crazes to take the wellness industry by storm is the use of acupressure mats. However, they are certainly not new! Acupressure has been around for hundreds of years, used to treat insomnia, anxiety, stress, circulation, migraines, cranial tension, muscle relief, sports recovery and back pain. Lying on an acupressure mat will not only aid with pain relief, but the tiny needles will have a huge positive impact on your mental health and well-being too. By applying pressure to particular points in the body, your body’s meridians will be manipulated, balancing out your body’s energy flow (qi) and opening up pathways for vital energy to flow.
What is an Acupressure Mat?
An Acupressure Mat is the modern take on a ‘bed of nails’ also known as ‘needle stimulation pad (NSP)’. This much-loved mat, especially by all of us here at Yogi Bare, is a rollable foam mat covered in a layer of soft cotton and hundreds of plastic nubs or ‘needles’. But don’t be put off by the name, the spikes have rounded tips so can’t hurt you!
One of the beautiful things about Acupressure Mats that makes them so versatile is they can not only be used underneath your back, but they can be used to stand on, and can even come in the form of an ‘Acupressure Pillow’.
How do acupressure mats work for pain relief?
As it suggests in the name, an acupressure pad works in a similar way to the ancient Chinese therapy of Acupressure, just in the comfort of your own home. The hundreds of needles evenly scattered across the mat connect with the skin and apply pressure to points on your back (or feet, or neck!). As your muscles melt around the needles, the gentle and painless pressure stimulates your muscles, releasing endorphins, releasing tension and flooding with circulation. As your blood is drawn to the area, your back will begin to feel warm and tingly. The additional blood flow draws oxygen to the targeted area, aiding healing that may be the cause of your pain and releasing tensed muscles. Along with pain relief, your stint on your acupressure mat will leave you feeling elated with happiness, a sense of calmness and an energy from within. The perfect antidote after long hours working at a desk, an anxiety filled day or a sore body after an energetic workout.
How to use an Acupressure Mat for pain relief
Start by rolling out your Yogi Bare Acupressure Mat and Acupressure Pillow somewhere peaceful, whether this is the floor of your lounge, on the sofa or even on your bed, and gently lie yourself on your mat for between 20 to 40 minutes. When you first lie down, take a few moments to find the perfect position until it feels ‘just right’, with your acupressure pillow positioned in the crevice of your neck. Your acupressure mat should feel comfortable. As you settle in, allow your sore muscles to melt into the mat, letting your shoulder blades drop and your tailbone relax.
If you are an acupressure mat newbie, you may find the sensation over stimulating. If you want to ease yourself into the wonderful world of acupressure a little slower you can experiment with wearing a t-shirt or laying a towel down between you and your ‘bed of nails’ to find the right level of sensation for you. Once you are feeling brave enough you can work up to lying on your mat and pillow with bare skin!
After you have emerged from your mat after 20 to 40 minutes (that’s if you haven’t fallen asleep), your body will be flushed with blood and oxygen, your anxiety dissipated and your painful muscles stimulated and released. Acupressure mats really do work - you'll be a puddle of relaxation and endorphins.