What is an Acupressure Mat?
The first time I saw the ProSource Acupressure Mat, my response was (like many): What is that?
A large foam mat covered in cotton material with buttons full of sharp plastic needles. It comes with a neck pillow, covered in the same pressure points. I was told that you lay on this “bed of needles” to replicate acupuncture, a system intended to work with your body’s meridian lines to promote healing, muscle recovery, relaxation, and pain relief.
I was given a mat to try that had previously been opened for an event, and after putting the unwrapped mat it into my car and scraping my hand on the pressure points, I took it home with great curiosity and a little bit of fear.
After carefully unfolding it on my floor, now knowing that one does not touch or swipe your hand across the mat, I laid down across it with a tank top on. Knowing how sharp it was, I thought the clothing between me and the mat would be safest for the first time. (A sheet is often recommended for first-time users if it’s too painful).
My First Acupressure Mat Experience
After a few minutes, I realized I didn’t need the top since I wasn’t feeling much. So I ditched the clothing and laid back down with my neck supported on the pillow. It was a bit shocking at first, and a little painful, but within a few moments as I breathed deeply, the shock subsided and it actually started to feel nice…really nice.
My back is ridden with knots from working out, so I generally “enjoy” pain when it comes to things like deep tissue massage, foam rolling, or this mat, because I know that the pain is associated with healing and I will feel better when it’s done. So I started to enjoy just laying there, thinking, and letting the mat do it’s thing. It wasn’t too long before I felt sleepy and super relaxed. They say it releases endorphins, which is probably true because this thing made me feel great.
I also realized that, in this crazy busy world where phones and computers are always distracting us, this was incredibly meditative and peaceful to just lay on the floor, doing nothing. You can’t move around on the mat, so I just listened to music and chilled.
I maybe spent 10 minutes on the mat the first time, but as I continued to try it out, I wanted to use it more. Now, I’m a believer in, and lover of, the ProSource Acupressure Mat.
Could it be a placebo effect? Perhaps. But I do tend to feel more relaxed and less tight in my back and neck after using it, which is big for me because I have a lot of tension in my back and neck.
Benefits of the Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow
ProSource says – and I have found to be true – that this bed of needles helps with insomnia. I don’t have insomnia, but I always use it before bed because I’ve realized it really helps to get me sleepy, making the transition to sleep much easier than just jumping from house keeping and emails into bed. I spend about 20 minutes on it, sometimes 10, depending on how much time I have and how close it is to bedtime.
I’ve also laid on my stomach on the mat when I have cramps, and it seems to help a bit. Although on my stomach, I have to have cloth between my skin and the mat – way more sensitive than my back.
BACK PAIN, MUSCLE SORENESS, HEADACHES
I’ve recommended these to clients, and would to anyone with back and neck pain or frequent headaches. The increase in blood flow and endorphins feels like a mini-massage which helps speed muscle recovery and stress in these commonly tight areas.
And if it doesn’t work? Well, it hasn’t done any harm, and you’re only out $20, which is nothing compared to most brands who make this same thing for upwards of $70. Plus, it’s a great source of conversation and entertainment. Almost every friend who has come to my apartment has been puzzled by it and asked to try it. Some can’t handle it, some love it.
How to Use the Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow:
These are some of the ways I use the Acupressure Mat, and recommend you try as well:
- LEGS – I sit on it at my desk while working when my legs are sore from working out in hopes of faster recovery, or sit on it on the floor when I’m reading.
- BACK – I put it behind me in my desk chair for my back so I don’t have to take the time to lie down. I also use the neck pillow vertically to help my posture while also giving that awesome massage feeling. And as stated above, simply lying on it.
- FEET – I enjoy using just the neck pillow as a foot rest while working. I stand on the mat when I’m getting ready in the morning or at the end of the day when my feet are sore and tired. Usually I can only handle one foot at a time, but it feels amazing when your feet are in pain from heels or walking.
A Spiritual Aspect to the Mat?
One last note about this mat, which may sound a little kooky, but as someone who believes and preaches the importance of the mind/body/spiritual connection, I have to add this in. As I mentioned before, one of the benefits of the mat is that when you lie on it, you can’t do anything else. I have spent many, many evenings listening to worship music and praying while lying on my mat, and it has been some really good meditation time.
Even if you don’t pray, but are into meditation and spirituality, lying on your mat can be a great time to disconnect, unwind, and let your thoughts go. Use it to reflect on your day, or prepare for the upcoming day, brainstorm creative ideas, or problem solve. Or just connect to your body and pay attention to how you’re feeling and consider what changes you may need to make for your health. Many times we won’t take time to just sit and think about these things, but when you’re multi-tasking and benefiting your body, it feels more productive.
Ok, it’s bedtime and I’m off to use my mat to send me off into dream land…
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