I love the idea of acupuncture.
As someone that carries a lot of tension in my shoulders and upper back, the idea of being able to release that tension while also experiencing other physical and emotional benefits sounds incredible in theory.
But there’s a big problem… I don’t like needles.
Like I can handle one (maybe two), but the idea of a whole bunch at one time really freaks me out.
That’s why I’ve been intrigued by the idea of acupressure mats for some time as the mats feature plastic massage nodes instead of needles. So, a few weeks ago, I finally made the plunge and bought one.
My acupressure mat & pillow
I’ll admit before buying my mat, I didn’t research a bunch of different brands. I just picked up this Athletic Works Acupressure Set from my local Walmart for $19.97 on a whim. I like that it comes with a pillow (not all of them do) and is easy to fold up and store.
According to the company, regular use of the mat can ‘promote relaxation and a boost in mood’ and that the mat helps to ‘manage stress and tension.’
The mat itself features 4,500 individual massage nodes, while the pillow features 1,350 nodes.
So, if you’ve never seen one of these mats in person, I will say the nodes feel VERY sharp to the touch. However, when you finally lay on them, it actually feels kind of good!
If you find the mat to be uncomfortable, you can always start with laying a towel down first and then gradually working your way to bare skin. Also- you can focus on increasing your time by starting with 5 minutes at a time and then 10 minutes, etc.
My experience using an acupressure mat & pillow
The first time I used the acupressure mat, I felt an incredible sense of calm!
I had been having a rough day, but just closing my eyes and laying on the mat made me feel better. I’m not sure if it was just allowing myself to finally relax OR the mat itself; either way, I felt better after.
I’ve personally been aiming to use the mat for about 20 minutes each day. Sometimes, I listen to a podcast while on the mat. Other times, I’ll watch something on Netflix. Afterwards, I do usually feel less tense in my back, but I don’t always get that magical relaxation effect.
I will say there’s not a lot of scientific research into acupressure mats at this point, so getting the real thing (acupuncture or even a massage) is still your best bet.
But for $20, I’ve been enjoying my mat!
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