Acupressure Mat Benefits: Best Mats Reviewed

What if your pain, insomnia, or anxiety could be relieved just by laying down?

Acupressure mats promise to do just that – but do they really work?

Read below to discover how acupressure mats work, the different ways they can be used, and a buyers guide to the top 8 mats available today.

What Are Acupressure Mats And How Do They Work?

Acupressure mats are usually made of a soft foam mat covered in thousands of tiny spikes. This may sound like a torture device, but the little spikes are not sharp enough to break the skin. The spikes on acupressure mats are meant to work in a similar way as traditional acupuncture and acupressure.

In acupuncture and acupressure, specific spots on the body (called pressure points) are stimulated to improve the flow of energy. Certain pressure points correspond with different parts of the body and can alleviate some conditions.

Acupressure mats are different because they put pressure on large areas of the body at once such as the back, neck and shoulders, or feet.

Results For Back, Neck, And Foot Pain?

Yes! Acupressure mats are great for relieving pain.

The tiny spikes on acupressure mats cause your body to release opiates. These are natural painkillers that are produced in response to the moderate pain or discomfort caused by the acupressure mat.

The mat also improves blood flow to the skin much like a massage would. This improved blood flow can speed up healing of any wounded areas that may be contributing to your pain.

Effects On Headaches And Sinus Pressure?

Acupressure mats can be great for headaches. They can be used to stimulate pressure points on the face that can relieve throbbing and stabbing pain. For people whose headaches are caused by neck and shoulder tension, acupressure mats can be rolled up and placed under the neck.

One study done in 2010 looked at the effects of traditional acupressure methods for headaches. Specific pressure points where shown to be effective for relieving headaches. Effects even lasted up to 6 months after acupressure treatments were done!

Sinus pressure may be alleviated by using an acupressure mat on the face, but many people find that applying pressure with their fingers is a better technique for sinus pressure pain.

Can Acupressure Mats Relieve Chronic Pain And Fibromyalgia?

Some people experience relief from Fibromyalgia and chronic pain when using acupressure mats. It is possible that the increased circulation and natural pain killers released by the body can ease pain caused by these conditions.

Chronic pain and Fibromyalgia can prevent some people from experiencing a good night’s sleep. There are a few people with Chronic Pain who sleep on acupressure mats and report better sleep than they’ve experienced in years!

Do Acupressure Mats Help With Sciatica?

Many people report that acupressure mats have provided great relief from their sciatic pain. In fact, there are special acupressure lumbar mats that can be especially helpful for sciatica.

These special lumbar mats can also be used for lower back pain that is not caused by sciatica.

Useful For Depression And Anxiety?

Acupuncture mats can be good for stress and anxiety because they cause your body to release serotonin. This “feel good” hormone is the same one stimulated by many depression and anxiety medications.

Your body releases serotonin in response to the mild pain caused by the acupressure mat. This can reduce stress and anxiety and lead to a more relaxed state.

One 2015 review showed that acupressure had a medium effect on overall anxiety levels in most people studied.

Can Acupressure Mats Help You Sleep?

Many people find the sensations of acupressure mats so soothing that it allows them to fall asleep more easily.  Although not recommended by most manufacturers, some people prefer to sleep on their acupuncture mats all night.

The reductions in stress and anxiety caused by the acupressure may be one reason why people find these mats so effective for insomnia.

There is no need to sleep on your mat (unless you want to!) – try using your acupressure mat for about 20 minutes before you crawl into bed for a better night’s sleep.

Do Acupressure Mats Help With Weight Loss?

Some mats claim to help you lose weight, but the odds of this being true are unlikely.

It is possible that the reduction in stress can cause you to eat less. However, not everyone is overweight because of over-eating while stressed.

Stress and anxiety are only one part of the puzzle for people trying to lose weight, and acupressure mats are probably not the miracle weight-loss cure you’ve been looking for.

How To Use An Acupressure Mat?

Acupressure mats are most commonly used for the back, neck and/or feet. There are many positions you can use your mat in that include these and other parts of your body. Some of these are:

  • Feet – Stand on your acupressure mat in bare feet. If you need less pressure, try laying a sheet or towel over your mat. If you need more pressure, try lifting one foot off of the mat at a time.
  • Back – Lay flat on your back with the mat under you and your legs out straight. To put more pressure on your lower back, raise you calves parallel to the floor and scoop your tailbone up.
  • Neck and Shoulders – You can roll your mat up or place a pillow beneath it to target your neck and shoulder area. There are also special acupressure pillows made specifically for the neck area.
  • Face – Try laying with your face on the mat, looking to one side. This will apply pressure to your jaw and temples, which can be good for headaches and TMJ pain. Alternate sides after a few minutes.
  • Hips – You can lay on top of your mat on your side to apply pressure to points on your hips and thighs. Alternate sides after about ten minutes.

7 Best Acupressure Mats Reviewed

1. Bed Of Nails

Positives:

  •  Made of 100% cotton
  • Has over 8000 acupressure points
  • Considered the “original acupressure mat”

Negatives:  

  • Is an expensive option compared to other brands

2. ZenGuru

Positives:    

  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • Mat includes magnetic therapy as well as acupressure
  • Comes with a foot chart for reflexology

Negatives:  

  • Some people report that the padding in this mat does not hold up over time

3. Prosource

Positives:    

  • Comes with a mat and pillow
  • Available in 7 different colors
  • Has almost 8000 acupressure points
  • Is made of cotton and environmentally-friendly foam
  • Is a less expensive option

Negatives:  

  • This mat is not wide enough for some people

4. Spinal Labs

Positives:    

  • Offers a “lower lumbar back stretcher” for sciatic and lower back pain
  • Increases flexibility while applying acupressure
  • Is good for people who sit at a desk all day

Negatives:  

  • Is more expensive than regular mats
  • Lumbar Stretcher is not as versatile as other mats

5. Zensufu

Positives:    

  • Comes with a mat and pillow
  • Is a more affordable option
  • Disks are less sharp than other brands
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Negatives:  

  • This mat is not wide enough for some people
  • Many people prefer disks that are sharper than the ones on this mat

6. Nayoya

Positives:    

  • Comes with a well-designed acupressure pillow for the neck and shoulders
  • Has over 6000 acupressure points
  • Backed by research – 90% of people had pain relief, relaxation, and better sleep
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Negatives:  

  • Acupressure points are firmer than other brands and can cause discomfort
  • Does not come with instructions for inexperienced users

7. Spoonk

Positives:    

  • Comes with a full-sized and travel-sized mat
  • Made of thicker foam padding that other brands with a cotton cover
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Has a 1-year warranty

Negatives:  

  • Travel mat is supposed to double as a pillow but many people find it uncomfortable
  • Some people find the disks on this mat to be too spiky and painful

Takeaway Notes

  • Acupressure mats work by stimulating the release of natural pain killers and “feel good” hormones
  • There are many positions acupressure mats can be used in, such as for the feet, face, neck, back, and hips
  • These mats can relieve pain, stress and anxiety, and help with sleep
  • Acupressure mats are not likely to help with weight loss
  • The best brands of acupressure mats are Bed of a Nails, Hemingweigh, Spoonk, Nayoya, Sensufu,Spinal Labs, and ProSource
Kelli Yates
Kelli Yates
Kelli Yates is a health and nutrition writer, dietetics student, and co-host and creator of The Nutrition Nerds Podcast. In her spare time she teaches the free class Well-Fed Survival: Eating Healthy After A Disaster, which helps people build nutritious emergency food supplies and prepare for natural disasters.
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