Modern hectic lifestyles often heap lots of stress upon individuals. Coupled with bad posture sustained for a long period, it’s only a matter of time before people start struggling with body pains, stress, and deterioration of health in general.
Acupressure mats have been an increasingly popular home remedy, as people adopt this ‘self-help’ method to ease stress and the physical aches that are sapping their energy. These spiky mats are an alternative to expensive acupressure or acupuncture sessions, as you’re able to enjoy the benefit of acupressure in the comfort of your home. Let's check out more about acupressure mat benefits!
If you’re wondering how could acupressure mats work for you or troubled by the daunting spikes on the mat, this article is for you. Read on and learn the right way of using the mats for various parts or problems you’re trying to address.
How Do Acupressure Mats Work?
The science of acupressure mats is based on acupressure, which is a discipline in Traditional Chinese Medicine of activating the meridian points in your body, to promote the flow of internal energy or ‘chi’. In the eastern countries, acupressure techniques are known to promote relaxation, wellness and rejuvenate a person’s energy.
Usually, acupressure is applied via massage or through inserting thin needles into the meridian points in a technique called acupuncture. The acupressure mats function along with the same principle, except that there aren’t needles puncturing your flesh in the process.
An acupressure mat is usually fitted with thousands of plastic tips, which are meant to apply pressure to meridian points on your back. While you don’t get the targeted approach by a learned acupressure practitioner, the sheer number of plastic points are arranged to trigger most of the acupressure points on your body.
Using the acupressure mats will help to alleviate pain and simultaneously promote blood regulation. Acupressure mats allow people to experience the benefit of an ancient practice wherever they are. While there’s no substitute for the skills of an acupressure therapist, you’re able to experience relief to a certain degree.
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History of the Acupressure mat
The acupressure mat has a more recent history than the practice it is based on. While acupressure is popular in China, the concept of an acupressure mat is believed to hail from India. Ancient yogis and meditation practitioners are known to meditate on beds of nails to enhance their practice and promote healing.
The invention of acupressure mats is attributed to a Russian named Ivan Kuznetsov, who commercialized the first acupressure mat in the 1970s. He turned to build his own version of ‘bed of nails’ as the cost of acupressure session is exorbitant and it is the only way that offers relief.
The idea was having the pins to reach the acupressure points on his back, which couldn’t be reached on his own. Ivan Kuznetsov’s invention was patented in 1979 and it has been a massive success throughout Russia.
Modern acupressure mats, which replaced the pins with pointy-plastics material is invented by the yoga community in Sweden during the 2000s. Since then, various manufacturers have been producing their variations of acupressure mats.
Acupressure Mat Benefits
While the acupressure mat shares the same principle as acupressure and acupuncture, it lacks the accuracy delivered by a trained therapist. Recent studies have suggested that acupressure mat may offer similar benefits with the ancient practices.
One such study involves 40 patients with chronic neck pain and 42 patients with chronic back pain. These patients are separated into a treatment and control group, where the former is administered with a needle stimulation pad for 14 days. The study concludes that patients using the needle stimulation pad, which has a similar built with acupressure mats, display lower pain ratings at the end of the treatment period.
Besides the obvious pain-relief, the acupressure mat has been a favourite thanks to its convenience. You don’t have to make appointments and pay a costly fee for a therapist, just because there’s a numbing pain on your neck. Getting an acupressure mat is more economical and offers similar relief.
Another scientific publication released in 1999 also shows the immensely positive effect of pressure stimulation on relaxation, sleep, pain, and energy. Researchers believe that the prolonged pressure on the acupressure points leads to the release of endorphin, which results in positive experiences.
Regardless of the studies conducted, regular users have found acupressure mats to be helpful in dealing with pains, stress, and anxiety. Meditation practitioners have also been using acupressure mats to complement the practice, particularly to achieve better relaxation.
General Benefits of Using an Acupressure Mat
Here are all the reasons you’ll need to be using an acupressure mat.
- Alleviate chronic back and neck pain.
- Improves relaxation
- Rejuvenates energy.
- Eases stress and anxiety.
- Helps with sleep and insomnia.
- Promotes relief for headaches and migraines.
- Relaxes tight muscles.
- Improves blood circulation.
How to Use An Acupressure Mat
There are various ways to use an acupressure mat, but they share a similar principle. Some people may be discouraged by the sudden discomfort caused by thousands of pointy tips on the mat.
Follow these steps to get the most from an acupressure mat while remaining comfortable.
- Place the acupressure mat on a flat surface. It could be on the floor or on a mattress. A harder surface will result in sharper pressure and vice versa. If you’re new to acupressure mats, it’s advisable to start with soft surfaces.
- Avoid wearing thick clothes when using an acupressure mat. You’ll want to dress in thin clothes or go bare skin if you’re an advanced user, to have the mat stimulating your pressure points.
- You’ll then need to lie down onto the mat as gently as possible to avoid hurting yourself. Ensure that you’re in a comfortable posture and use a pillow to support your neck if needed.
- Stay still on the mat and try to relax your body and mind. It’s also a good idea to meditate as meditation is proven to help with stress.
- Ensure your weight is distributed evenly across the mat to prevent the pressure from concentrating on a small area.
- After 10-20 minutes, gently bring yourself up from the acupressure mat.
While you’ll find relief after a single session, it is recommended that you use the acupressure mat daily for sustained wellness and pain relief.
Acupressure for Back Pain
Back pain, whether on the upper or lower back, is a common complaint by most adults. Using an acupressure mat helps to provide relief on the stiff muscles and ease the pain on your back.
To start using the acupressure mat for back pain, you’ll need to lay the mat on a flat surface, such as the sofa. Gently lay down on your back until you feel the spikes are exerting pressure. Raise your knees to prefer to provide support for your body. You ought to be feeling warm tingly sensation on your back as the blood flow increases.
If it’s your lower back that’s bothering you, you’ll want to slip a rolled tower below the mat, so that the spikes are making contact. Relax and let your lower-back rest on the mat for the acupressure effects to kick in.
After about 20 minutes, you’ll feel the pain dissolves once you remove yourself from the mat.
Acupressure for Neck Pain
There is numerous factor that causes neck pain and seeking relief by merely stretching your neck is almost impossible.
The acupressure mat can be put into good use for neck pain. Some acupressure mats are designed in the form of a pillow, where you can lay your neck on it to ease the pain. Alternatively, you can fit a rolled towel beneath an acupressure mat to achieve the same result.
As your neck is massaged by the tiny spikes, the muscles start loosening and blood starts flowing better around your neck. It’s important to remain comfortable and not overdo the session for your neck pain.
Usually, a 20 minutes self-treatment is sufficient to reduce the pain.
Acupressure for Anxiety and Stress
Stress and anxiety are inevitable if you’re living a hectic life. With that said, it’s important to seek healthy relief to prevent mental health from worsening.
One of the best practices in stress and anxiety relief is making use of the acupressure mat. Spread out the mat on a flat surface and lie down comfortably on your back. Use a pillow to prop up your head if needed. As acupressure is linked to the release of endorphins, you’ll soon find that your thoughts are calmer and your mood improves.
Finish your day with lying on an acupressure mat and watch your worries melt. You can also use the mat along with meditation or relaxing to a piece of gentle music.
Acupressure for Energy
If you have an acupressure mat, you can shelve off caffeine-laden drinks and still spike up your energy.
The trick in using an acupressure mat for boosting energy is to keep the session short. Lie down on the mat for about 10 minutes and you will end up feeling rejuvenated. This can be handy when you’re going through the familiar afternoon slump in the office or just starting off the day feeling drained.
Avoid spending more than 20 minutes on the mat as you may end up feeling more relaxed than you wished.
Acupressure for Cellulite
It can be disheartening when you notice cellulite forming on your hips, thighs or buttocks. There are suggestions amongst users that acupressure is effective in reducing cellulite on your body.
It is known that cellulite is formed due to poor blood regulation. The theory revolves around applying acupressure mat on areas that are blemished with cellulite, and allow the stimulated points to enhance blood flow.
For better effect, you’re recommended to remove clothing in order to have direct contact with the plastic spikes on the mat.
Of course, the acupressure mat isn’t a magical solution for cellulite. This means you’ll need to be consistent in using the mat on a daily basis. Up to 30 minutes of sitting or lying down on the mat are needed for any positive effects.
Acupressure for Sleep and Insomnia
Your struggle with sleep and insomnia can be aided with an acupressure mat. The same principle of acupressure that induces relaxation also works for sleep.
To put an end of the bedtime struggle, you can use an acupressure mat as part of your bedtime routine. Lie down on the mat and turn on some relaxation music to gently soothe your mind. Listen to guided meditation to further calm your mind. You’ll soon find yourself getting drowsy as the mat starts working wonder on your tired mind.
You’ll want to forget about the duration when using the acupressure mat for sleep. It’s ok to use the mat for as long as you wish, but remember to remove it when you feel slumber kicking in.
There’s a great difference in easing your body with an acupressure mat. Not only sleep becomes easier, but you’ll wake up the next morning feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Acupressure for Feet and Reflexology
The acupressure mat also saves you from spending hard-earned money for reflexology sessions. Whether you have tired feet or intend to boost your health, the acupressure mat is an ideal companion.
Just place the mat on a hard surface and step onto it. You’ll want to be cautious as your feet are highly sensitive to the pressure. Often, the sensation is unbearable on the first few attempts. As such, you may start with one of your feet before alternating with the other.
Thankfully, spending a couple of minutes on the acupressure mat is all it takes to kick off the healing process. The healing effect isn’t limited to the feet, as most of the meridian points are connected to various parts of your body.
The acupressure mat is an innovative take of an ancient therapeutic practise that spans thousands of years. Its health benefits are experienced by many, and science is catching up with studies.
Whether you’re bugged by back pain, or overwhelmed by stress, using an acupressure mat will soon put those struggles to an end.
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