Acupressure Mats: Everything You Need To Know
Acupressure Mats: Everything You Need To Know

Acupressure Mats: Everything You Need To Know

Foam mats filled with hundreds of plastic spikes might sound painful, but actually, they're not, and more people are getting on board thanks to their myriad benefits. Some even claim acupressure mats can make you feel calm and energetic at the same time. We asked two experts why they’re taking off – and whether they actually work…
By Tobias Gourlay
Photography: SHAKTIMAT

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Okay, What Are They Exactly?

“An acupressure mat has a similar effect to an acupressure massage, if you’ve ever had one of those. The needles are positioned across the mat to connect with the skin and stimulate pressure points that enable energy to release and flow more freely in the body, which in turn brings the body into a more balanced state.” – Nichola Henderson, life coach & wellness expert

“Acupressure is similar to acupuncture. It’s a holistic, 2,000-year-old method of healing used in traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, it’s the third most popular method of pain and illness relief around the world. It’s been used to treat almost 3,000 conditions, including stress, muscle pain and lack of energy. By stimulating the body, an acupressure mat can trigger the body’s innate way of healing itself. The more nails there are on a mat, the greater the stimulation. The pressure of the rounded nails against the skin encourages the body to release endorphins – our built-in happiness drug that can help to calm and energise us at the same time.” – Carina Tannenberg, founder of Bed of Nails

By stimulating the body, an acupressure mat can trigger the body’s innate way of HEALING itself. The more nails there are on a mat, the GREATER the stimulation.

Tell Us About The Benefits…

“Acupressure mats could help anyone suffering from body pain, back pain, stress, anxiety, tension headaches or similar. But everyone is different, so individual results vary widely – and experts agree that more extensive research is needed. Mats can also promote a feeling of relaxation with regular use, and may improve blood flow to an area and release tension, which could help with recovery in the case of injury.” – Nichola

“Athletes, yogis, people with chronic pain conditions, those who have to stand a lot in their profession – we have all types of users at Bed of Nails. Acupressure mats can also be good for older people. If they don’t move around as much, they can lose endorphins, circulation and energy in their bodes. Lying on a mat can stimulate energy and increase circulation, giving you something like a ‘runner’s high’.” – Carina

And Are They Actually Painful To use?

“It can be an intense sensation the first time you use one, but not painful. It can just take a little time for the body to adjust to the feeling, so make sure to take deep breaths and just remind yourself you can get up at any time if it becomes too uncomfortable. Don’t push yourself too far.” – Nichola

“We recommend using our mats on bare skin for maximum effect, but you can start with a light cloth or t-shirt as you get used to the nails. Or, instead of putting all your body weight on top of the mat, use it against the back of a sofa or stacked up on pillows in bed to lessen body weight and decrease the intensity. The initial sensation will melt away in a couple of minutes – most users adjust in their first session and begin to feel amazing!” – Carina

How Long Should A Session Last?

“We suggest 10 to 20 minutes – or as long as you like – but preferably every day. The more often you use a mat, the more benefits you’ll feel.” – Carina

“Start with just a few minutes, whatever you can manage, then build up slowly every day.” – Nichola

Will You Know It’s Working?

“You should start to feel more comfortable when on the mat, and you may even start to feel relaxed. If you are using it for a specific purpose, you might get a sense of relief from pain or headaches for example. Take notes of the progress as you use it over the course of the first 10-14 days and track if there is any improvement in the symptoms.” – Nichola

Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Use An Acupressure Mat?

“Check with your doctor first if you are pregnant, have haemophilia or take anticoagulant medications. Though we have had many pregnant women share that they get a lot of relief from many of the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy gives while using Bed of Nails – like backaches and insomnia. But the potential of increased blood flow and general sensitivity of pregnancies, especially during the first trimester, need to be evaluated just in case.” – Carina 

“Don’t use an acupressure mat if you have diabetes, poor circulation or thin skin. If you have low or high blood pressure, you should get advice from your GP before trying one. But the mats are safe if used correctly – just treat them with caution when starting out.” – Nichola

You could even step on the mat for a FOOT MASSAGE – this is a great way to get ENERGY FLOWING or of doing some reflexology.

Any Best-Practice Tips For Beginners Then?

“Try to keep the weight of your body evenly spread on the mat so the coverage of the pressure is even and not concentrated on one area. Move slowly and carefully on the mat – don’t move too quickly as this intensifies the pressure. Try to use it consistently for around 10 to 14 days for 5-10 minutes and see how your body reacts to the pressure. You can then build up from here if you feel like you are making progress. Just allow it time to become part of your natural routine and give it a chance over a few weeks before deciding if it’s right for you.” – Nichola

“The most common way to use a mat is on the floor or a bed, with weight distributed evenly. But you can also put one of our mats or pillows on your desk chair to reap the benefits while you work. You could even step on the mat for a foot massage – this is a great way to get energy flowing or of doing some reflexology.” – Carina

Ready To Give Acupressure A Go? Here’s Our Pick Of The Products You Need…

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