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Acupressure Mat Review

acupressure-mat-reviewProduct: Acupressure mat

Price: £13.57-£28.21

Place to purchase: Amazon

Rating: 10/10

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?

Acupressure-mat-review-meridiansAn 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!

Health-nervous-system-endorphinsWhen 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.

Benefits

  • 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!

Additional benefits:

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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?

Dancers-nervous-systemIt’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. HealingNot 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

3. Seated

4. Pillow

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

18 Comments

  • Satz

    Hi Natalie,

    Very informative post, I like the way you enunciated the details of acupressure mat. I have a acupressure mat and use it when my back is hurting and I find it does relax my muscles and make them less sore. When I first tried the mat it hurt bad and I wasn’t sure if I would keep it. I am stubborn and kept trying the mat and now I use it on a routine basis as my back has become accustomed to it and I don’t feel the pain like I did the first few times. I admit I don’t use the neck pillow as it digs into the base of my skull but instead use it to roll my feet on when they ache and it works well for that purpose. Sometimes I read a book while laying there for a bit and the mat makes my back feel better. I recommend this product.

    • Natalie

      Thank you. So glad to hear that you have one and that it helps 🙂 I think you’ve hit on a key, by reading a book and making it an enjoyable experience we are much more likely to make things a habit so I think that’s a really great idea.

      As you say it’s all about figuring out which bits work for you. Obviously if something is causing a bad pain we shouldn’t do it, but if it’s a good kind of pain then it is important to persevere. It sounds like you’ve done a great job of utilising the bits that work for you. Keep up the good habits 🙂

  • deb

    This sounds awesome and easily affordable. I run and frequently get aches and pains so this sounds perfect. Thank you for this great review I will definitely look into this. Look forward to visiting your site again!

    • Natalie

      Hi deb,

      Yes I think the more we exercise the more we are (unfortunately) likely to get these aches and pains, hence the need for body maintenance. I really hope this helps you so that you’re able to look after yourself and keep running as often as you would like 🙂

  • Daniel Ortiz

    My sister dances Ballet and was telling me about how her back was feeling achy so I kept trying to find solutions for her. Everything from medical marijuana to cryotherapy but like most people, she doesn’t do well in a giant freezer and although I find medical marijuana works wonders for my leg and back pain, she doesn’t like the feeling it produces. I kept looking for a solution for this and after analyzing her interests: Dancing, Meditation, yoga, and other middle eastern philosophy type stuff, I was led to this site. I think that this mat is right up her alley. And since its that time of the year, it’s going to make a great Christmas gift.

    Thanks so much for the information! can’t wait for it to come in the mail 🙂

    • Natalie

      Hi Daniel, so glad that this post was helpful to you. How has she got on with it? I think it’s especially great for dancers, as even if you don’t have any problems it’s so relaxing at the end of a long day of dancing.

      In terms of medical marijuana a great alternative for her might be cbd oil. It basically has the good parts of the cannabis plant (the parts that react with the cannabidinoid system in your brain) but without the thc (which is the part that gives you that high.) Seeing as that’s the bit she doesn’t like, this could be a great alternative for her and something that she could add to her regime along with the acupressure mat which could help her.

      She may also want to check out my post on meditation: https://practisedtoprodance.com/dance-and-health-using-meditation-for-wellness/

      For people struggling with any kind of chronic pain you can actually do meditation to reduce it. This is because by observing the pain and not reacting to it, it actually activates something called descending inhibition. This basically means that as pain is an electrical signal in the brain, the brain will actually amplify or lessen this signal over time according to the importance we give it. By practising not reacting emotionally this sends a very strong message that you are awarding it less importance and therefore the brain starts to tune down the pain. Whilst obviously pain from injury should never be ignored (traditionally it is there to alert us to something that is amiss) if we have been checked out and are still finding pain that is essentially useless and just causing us to suffer this can really really help. I plan to do a series of posts on dealing with these kinds of pains as a dancer so feel free to check back to my site. I will also give some other recommendations too. 🙂

  • Steve

    I own a Nayoya acupressure mat and I absolutely love it. I have to say, it took some getting used to that is for sure. I find it especially sensitive on my lower back against my bare skin. I love how the mat feels though and I use it frequently. Another thing I like to do is stand on my mat with bare feet. My son has been using mine a lot, so I may have to buy another one for him. Thanks for sharing your article!

    • Natalie

      Yes, they’re so good aren’t they? I have to say I haven’t tried standing on mine yet, it’s something I’m quite keen to try so will probably give that a go soon. I agree that it can take a bit of getting used to, if my skin is feeling particularly sensitive one day then I tend to just wear a very thin top which generally works just as well. So glad you are experiencing good things from it. I agree that they make an excellent gift 🙂

  • Bob

    I like the idea of using an Acupressure mat at home to help with injuries.

    I fell 3 days ago in a racquetball game and injured my keen ad hip. I’ve been looking on the internet for products that might help me with the pain and came across your site. Seeing as how I can use it at home and in 4 different positions I think this might be the perfect product In helping with the pain. I’ll check it out and see how well it works.

    Thanks for the post.

    Bob

    • Natalie

      So glad you found this post helpful Bob. How have you got on? Yes, it can be really good for dealing with pain. It is something that as you say you can do at home with no adverse affects and as it boosts circulation to the area should definitely help in accelerating the healing process. As always with injuries, it is good to make sure you get it checked out by a professional. From there it is much easier to know what products can further aid recovery. But this as I say, is great for helping heal so a great place to start 🙂 hope you’re healing up well. Let me know if you need any further advice or have questions 🙂

  • David Hurley

    Hi Natalie,

    I also bought an acupressure mat and pillow. I have used it a few times but have not yet got into the habit of doing so. I don’t find lying on the mat too difficult, and have tried doing so with a bare torso for maximum effect during an afternoon nap. I like the effect of the mat. I have also used the neck pillow a few times, but as Satz says, it’s much more intense than the mat itself!

    Treading on the mat is a challenge, but I do recommend that you give it a try.

    Good luck!

    • Natalie

      Hi David,

      Glad you find your acupressure mat useful. I think the fact that you’re able to take a nap on it is definitely testament to how relaxing it is, it’s also a great way of building it into your routine. I wouldn’t worry that it hasn’t become habit yet. Whilst this is helpful, the main thing is you have it there when you find you need it 🙂

  • Tenyiko

    I’m not quite the dancer but the idea of this acupressure mat is an interesting one. I don’t think I’d personally get it but it is something to keep in mind for my dancer friends and someone who could just use a few pointy pressures on their back. 🙂

    • Natalie

      Hey, yes it does sound a little strange at first, doesn’t it? No worries, it’s not for everyone- I’m glad that you have the info to keep in mind for other people you think it’s could help though, that’s really great 🙂

  • Jeff

    I must admit I learned so much from your article on acupressure mats, and even though I have heard of these it never dawned on me this product could benefit me in so many ways. I do have more aches and pains since I am older in age and I live in a climate with cold winters, so this product just might be a possible purchase for me in the future.

    I have an older dog with aches and pains as well, so I know this might sound funny to you but would this be a good investment for him as well?

    My dog always comes before myself,
    Jeff

    • Natalie

      Hi Jeff,

      I completely understand, I’m the same with my dog as well. Whilst I cannot say if an acupressure mat made for humans would be the right thing for your dog, there is some information online which suggests that there are acupressure mats for pets in existence. Check out this post for example:

      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acupressure-Mat-for-Cats-and-Dogs-Great-for-relief-from-Arthritis-pain-/123754587869

      Based off of this I would assume that it can be of help to them, but wouldn’t like to say if you need one specially tailor made for pets or not. My advice would be order one for yourself and try it out. This will give you a good idea of the kind of sensation and then maybe ask your vet if this could be a good safe option for your pet too and see what they say. Hope that helps 🙂

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