Product: Acupressure mat
Place to purchase: Amazon
Acupressure has been around for over 3000 years, and now with the help of a not quite magic carpet, we can utilise it in our own homes. For those of us new to the concept of acupressure (the less invasive cousin of acupuncture) it’s an ancient Chinese practise based in alternative medicine. It works on the principle of sending signals to the body through meridians (also known as acu-points) to activate it’s own rejuvenating and self-healing abilities.
Now if alternative medicine feels a little too out there or woo woo, that’s ok! I’m not here to convince you, simply to tell you about something wonderful which could really benefit you, so in this acupressure mat review I’ll try and leave out the yin and yang of it all and give you some good old science to help you decide. Conventional medicine we all know is fantastic, but there are definitely things in life it doesn’t always know how to treat, (chronic pain for example) and this is where alternative means can be really useful. There’s no reason we shouldn’t use the two in partnership to achieve the best sense of well-being possible.
From a dancing and athletic perspective too, an acupressure mat can be hugely helpful. As dancers we undergo rigorous training, huge energy demand and of course the daily aches and pains. So being able to utilise something like this at the end of a long day can be bliss. So let’s get down to it.
What Is An Acupressure Mat?
An acupressure mat is quite simply a mat that fascilitates the ancient art of acupressure. The mat itself is made from 100% cotton and has around 210 spiked flowers which equates to approximately 8820 acupressure points. Chinese medicine works on the principle of qui (meaning our life flow or vitality) and meridians (also called acu-points.) This energy is defined as coming from the nutrients we get and our blood flow. Meridians act almost as portals into this energy channel and different meridians affect different things within the body.
Additionally, the nature of an acupressure mat causes certain responses In the body from a scientific perspective so let’s take a look at those now.
How Does It Work?
An acupressure mat, works along the same principles as acupuncture however it is non-invasive and can be done from the safety of your own home. Also known as the ‘bed of nails’, it isn’t exactly the most welcoming concept to mention in an acupressure mat review, right? I mean, it sounds more than a little ouchy. However, I can reassure you that the discomfort is mild and it’s actually wonderfully relaxing. So down to business. If you’re not sold on the alternative medicine idea, let’s take a look at the sciency bit!
When you lie on the mat, the mild pain/discomfort you experience causes endorphins and oxytocin to be released in the body to fight it. Endorphins are also termed the body’s ‘natural painkillers.’ Not only do they promote feelings of wellbeing and euphoria which can counteract depression, but they also intercept the way pain signals are processed in the brain. This may be particularly useful for people battling chronic back pain, or any chronic pain for that matter.
The mat also stimulates the skin which leads to increased blood flow therefore improving circulation. Because acupressure points are also located on parts of the body close to large networks of nerve fibre pathways, this means they have a direct route to and are capable of influencing the nervous system and indeed turning on the parasympathetic response. This can take the body from a place of fight or flight, to one of relaxation which is what is needed for the body to heal.
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Stimulates pain cancelling chemical in your body (to combat chronic pain.)
- Improves mood
- Combats insomnia, due to activating the parasympathetic nervous system response.
- Potentially helps weight loss (when we’re stressed the body releases cortisol which can be responsible for weight gain.)
- Fights fatigue (when the body is fatigued it’s often because it’s functioning too much in fight or flight (the sympathetic response.)
- For only 10-15 minutes of mat use, the effects can last all day! Woohoo!
- Theyre completely natual and unlike acupuncture they’re non-invasive
- You can self treat, no more waiting to afford another session!
- Time- you can use it as often as you want, and use it as soon as an issue flares up.
- Very portable and easy to store. It comes in a handy bag for carrying and is very easy to roll up and put away.
- It’s a very reasonable investment. Hooray for a happy price tag!
- Great place to meditate, you can supercharge your mind and body at the same time.
- They seem to be particularly effective for certain medical conditions- most notably chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- It may require a small leap of faith. Until you try it, you won’t know what it can do for you!
- It stimulates a lot of acupressure points at once, as opposed to one at a time depending on what’s needed.
- It may feel a little intense at first. To address this, I suggest starting with just 5 minutes and building up to 10-15 which is ideal. You can also wear a thin top to allay this.
What can this do for me as a dancer?
It’s important as dancers that we’re counteracting the physical demand on our bodies with good self care. So having a relaxing routine at some point either during our day (between shows) or at the end of the day to wind down is paramount. Especially if we care about longevity. So having something which can calm down our nervous system, aid sleep, help with aches and pains and help our bodies heal faster, is pretty awesome.
As we’re in the business of general muscle aches and pains on a daily basis, it makes sense to do everything we can to bounce back faster and this little not quite magic carpet can definitely help as part of your dancers toolkit.
The Hidden Benefit
Oh yes, my acupressure mat review would not be complete without mentioning this nifty little benefit. As dancers or athletes, we can be a little prone to sports injuries once in a while. And whilst there is no magic bullet (I wish,) this little acupressure mat could well quicken your recovery rate. Not only has it been used to help with sports injury pain, it also fascilitates the healing process. This is because the mat boosts circulation which in turn means that more nutrients and oxygen are able to be delivered to the affected area, thus accelerating the healing process. Wowzahs!
The 4 Recommended Positions
This little mat is pretty versatile and you can use it in several different positions:
1. Lying on your back
2. Lying on your front
So there you have it. Lots of the benefits of acupressure, no appointment or cheque needed. (This isn’t to say working with a great acupressure practitioner can’t help you go deeper with particular challenges, they have separate benefits.) But for at home use, this little mat will get you relaxing, recharging and healing in no time! If you fancy checking this out for yourself, you can click on the link here. Either way I hope this acupressure mat review has helped you make an informed choice. Let’s add some relaxation to your dancing day!
Acupressure mat £13.57
Acupressure mat and pillow set with bag £28.21