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Acupressure mats, sometimes called acupuncture mats, provide an in-home alternative to acupuncture.
Acupressure mats are not proven to reduce anxiety but they can help ease tense muscles, relieve stress, help you relax, and even improve sleep. Many acupressure mat users claim these mats are great for improving anxiety, sleep, and relaxation.
Acupressure mat may help relieve stress, help you relax, and improve sleep.
What are acupressure mats?
Acupressure mats are padded mats with thousands of plastic spikes. The spikes apply pressure to the skin and muscles to support relaxation, better sleep, mental clarity, and well-being.
Also known as bed of nails mats, acupressure mats have thousands of points designed to stimulate meridian points on your body. Rather than piercing the skin with a needle (as in acupuncture), these points apply pressure to your skin and muscles.
General Acupressure Mat Benefits
The biggest benefit of acupressure mats is that you can use in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to pay to see a professional acupuncturist and it doesn’t take any specialized knowledge to use an acupressure mat. Plus, no needles. Yay.
These mats can be used as an alternative to seeing a specialist (you’ll save time and money) or to supplement your practice between sessions. While laying on one of these mats isn’t quite the same as visiting a professional, this product is all about the convenience.
Lying on an acupressure mat provides stimulation that can increase blood flow and ease muscle tension. After using the mat for an extended period, you’ll notice your entire body start to relax. Many have turned to these mats for help with chronic neck and back pain, muscle tension, and to support relaxation.
The pressure may also help the release of hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins which can enhance mood and reduce stress. Here are some of the benefits you can experience using an acupressure mat:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase circulation
- Reduce muscle tension
- Improve mood
- Better sleep
- Mental clarity
Acupressure Mats for Anxiety
Do acupressure mats work for anxiety? While they aren’t a magic cure for anxiety, acupressure mats can help you relax, ease stress, and sleep better. It’s a safe option that won’t cost you too much ($20 – $110).
Acupressure may be a great option for you, especially if you have trouble sleeping or struggle with stiffness and tight muscles.
Here’s our favorite acupressure mat based on quality and price (it comes with a pillow too).
The acupressure mat science directly related to anxiety is slim, but there are some indications that these mats can help you relax. When you struggle with anxiety, anything to help you relax is generally a good thing.
How are Acupressure Mats Different Than Acupuncture?
If you go to an acupuncture session, they’ll focus on specific areas of the body, known to relieve tension, pressure, and pain. While these mats use the approach of stimulating thousands of points on the body making the odds are fairly good that you’ll stimulate the most important points.
The act of lying on an acupressure mat will help your entire body relax.
The act of lying on an acupressure mat will help your entire body relax. This is also a great product to amplify your meditation practice. If you’re already meditating daily, you can start meditating while you’re on your new acupressure mat.
Similar to getting a massage, lying on an acupressure mat can relieve muscle tension and pain, which is a common side effect from being anxious all the time. These mats can help you out there, with less cost than a monthly visit to the acupuncturist or massage therapist.
Resource: Set the mood for your next acupressure session with the best scented meditation candles here.
Acupressure Mat Science
Similar to many of the options in the alternative medicine space, scientific research for acupressure mats is limited.
One study that focused on the responses to lying on a Shakrti acupressure mat. The study found that pain immediately went up when first laying on the mat and reached its peak within 30 seconds. Participants reported feeling relaxed after the session and changes such as a slower heart rate and increased circulation. However, there were not any differences in the saliva cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone) measurement.
Another study measured the benefits of acupressure mats for chronic neck pain and lower back pain. This study had participants with chronic neck and back pain use an acupressure mat for 2 weeks. Those who used the mats had substantially less (self-reported) pain. The conclusion was that needle stimulation pads (acupressure mats) are a great potential option for alleviating neck pain and back pain.
How to Use An Acupressure Mat
Consider wearing a shirt or light clothing when first starting. Once you become comfortable with the pressure you can move to bare-skin to get the full experience.
If you are sensitive to pressure, brands such as Shakti offer a “lighter” mat that is designed to provide a less intense experience. These mats generally have a greater number of spikes so there is less pressure on each point.
Which Acupressure Mat is Best for Anxiety?
These mats are all designed to stimulate meridian points to help the body relax and reduce pain, so there aren’t specific mats that are better for anxiety than others. But we did find a few brands that stood out with high-quality, affordable options.
The Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Pillow is a great option to consider since it includes both the mat and the pillow. It has thousands of five-star reviews from happy customers.
The Spoonk Acupressure Mat is another great option to check out, also with stellar reviews. This product comes with a regular-sized mat, a travel-sized mat, and a Groove ball for reflexology and massaging your feet.
Find other ways to fight stress with our complete guide of natural ways to reduce anxiety here.