If you’re beset by treatment-resistant back pain, you may want to check out an acupressure mat. Acupressure mats are foam pads with little spikes arranged in a specific pattern such that when you lay down on the mat, the spikes actuate your body’s pressure points.
By actuating pressure points, acupressure mats can reduce your pain and calm your nerves. Best of all, unlike pharmaceuticals or chiropractors, acupressure mats are perfectly safe. You can also use them from the comfort of your home.
If you’re only now entering the acupressure mat space, it can be very hard to find the right mat for your needs. Many mats appear to be similar, and the wide range of prices leaves you left to your own devices when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what to look for when you shop for an acupressure mat. We’ll also review five of the best acupressure mats on the market today so that you can be prepared for picking out the perfect mat.
You can soon kiss your chronic back pain goodbye.
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The Top 5 Acupressure Mats in 2018
Not all acupressure mats are the same size. Most mats tend to be roughly 15 inches in width and nearly 30 inches in height. Some are larger, and some are smaller. If you are a very tall person your back area is probably also very large, so you’ll need a larger mat than normal.
The quality of the acupressure spikes embedded in the mat is paramount. If the spikes are made of cheap plastic they can easily snap off when you wiggle around on the mat.
When they snap off, you’re deprived of their effect on your pressure points and the entire system becomes much less helpful.
Likewise, if the pads containing the spikes are poorly secured onto the mat itself, they’ll peel or tear off. The best acupressure mats don’t have these issues, but cheaper examples probably do.
The spikes on an acupressure mat are meant to be a specific length and a specific sharpness for the optimal acupressure effect. This means that spikes which are too long will be too painful for the user and not necessarily any more effective.
Likewise, spikes that are too spread out will cause a greater amount of pressure per spike which will hurt the user.
Acupressure mats aren’t necessarily comfortable places to rest, but they should not be painful. A good acupressure mat has spikes of the correct length and quantity such that the mat is usable.
You’ll be using your acupressure mat frequently. You’ll need to clean the mat eventually -- but not all mats are easy to clean.
The best acupressure mats can have their spikes detach, allowing you to throw them into the dishwasher. Likewise, the mat itself can be thrown into the washing machine. These are luxury features when it comes to acupressure mats, however.
Most mats won’t be easy to clean, so keep your eye out for the exceptions.
The ProSource Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set for Back/Neck Pain Relief and Muscle Relaxation is a cost-effective acupressure mat which brings the best features from luxury mats and ties them into a nice package.
To begin, the ProSource mat lets you pick the mat aesthetic which appeals to you the most. You can pick between black, blue, green, white, orange, pink, or purple colored mats. This is a substantially wider range of options than nearly all of the other mats on the market.
Critically, this mat is durable. The pucks with acupressure spikes are secured onto the heavy duty cotton mat such that they won’t come off. The pucks themselves provision for over 1750 acupressure points on the head pillow alone.
The mat itself has over 6000 acupressure points. Each of the spikes is perfectly calibrated such that they aren’t too long, too short, too painful, or too fragile. The interior of the mat is made of foam, which massively improves the mat’s comfort.
Because the interior is made of foam, you don’t need to use this mat on top of a rug or another surface which provides a little bit of give relative to the hard floor. The foam makes this mat an ideal option for someone’s first acupressure mat because it makes each spike less forceful.
For those who have used acupressure mats for a long time and are looking for an acupressure mat which applies more pressure than normal, this may not be the right mat for you.
This mat opts for comfort over pressure point actuation under the rationale that users will lay on the mat much longer if it is more tolerable.
The Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set is a portable and user-friendly acupressure mat which stands out for its ease of cleaning and excellent tutorial for its users.
Though the Nayoya mat’s aesthetics are mediocre and unchangeable, the mat’s primary strength is that you won’t be afraid to carry it around with you to yoga class or elsewhere. The mat has a convenient carrying bag, rolls up easily, and is very light.
Likewise, you won’t need to worry about getting this mat dirty with heavy use. The included instructions define exactly how to take apart the mat in a two-step process. Afterward, it’ll describe how to clean the mat and have it ready to go quickly.
As far as the mat’s pain reduction potential goes, this mat is great for people with sensitive backs who have chronic back pain. Because the spikes on this mat are slightly less sharp and slightly shorter than on other acupressure mats, you can ease into it with less effort.
This means that for people who have areas in their back which prompt extreme pain when provoked, this mat could be a viable option even if other mats are not. Furthermore, for people with skin problems, this mat won’t exacerbate them as others might.
The main drawback to this mat is that the stubby spikes may not be enough actuation of pressure points for some users. If you’re looking for an acupressure mat which is closer to acupuncture, you may need to look elsewhere.
The Sivan Health and Fitness Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set for Lower, Upper, Mid, Chronic Back Pain is a Swedish take on the acupressure mat concept. The mat has a pleasant black and white color scheme and weighs as much as an average acupressure mat.
The Sivan Health offering is larger than most standard acupressure mats, which means that if you’re a tall person it is going to have enough surface area to cover your entire back. If you are both tall and have very broad shoulders, the edges of your shoulders may hang off of the mat, however.
Nonetheless, this mat has a great set of spikes. The spikes are intense enough for most, yet not too intense for beginners. You’ll find that the sensation is tingly, but you won’t find any marks on your skin a few minutes after you get up from the mat.
There is an issue or two with this mat however. First, the mat is not very easy to transport because it does not roll up as tightly as others.
More importantly, this mat is difficult to clean. The spike pucks do not detach from the mat itself, and so any attempt to clean the mat must be slow and careful so as not to damage them. The advantage of this difficulty is that the mat is very durable.
There’s no way to remove the spike pucks, and they’re nearly impossible to tear off with the aggressive usage of the mat.
The Eco Acupressure Massage Mat is an environmentally friendly acupressure mat which uses a bevy of high quality materials that you’re unlikely to find in any of its competitors.
The pad of the mat is made out of coconut fiber, which has a pliable yet pleasantly firm texture. This material is superior to foam because it doesn’t have as much give yet it still allows for greater comfort than laying on the spikes alone.
The mat has two covers. The first is the external cover which has the spikes. You can clean this cover very easily by inverting it and gently scrubbing with a detergent that is plastic safe. The second cover goes inside of the first cover and protects the mat.
You can throw the second cover directly into the wash because it is made out of cotton. So, this mat is very easy to clean, even if its materials make it slightly heavier than other mats of the same size.
The spikes on this mat are slightly sharper and also more numerous per square foot than other mats. This means that you’ll get to actuate more of your pressure points with a higher intensity.
Because of these spikes, this mat may be the best for people who understand what they are going to experience when they lay down on the acupressure mat.
Beginners might take a long time to get comfortable with the sharpness of the spikes, even though each spike is not exerting much pressure owing to their multitude.
The Spoonk Back Pain And Sleep Aid Relief In Cotton Regular Size Acupressure Mat With Bag is a super-portable mat which is designed to go with you wherever you go.
Thanks to this mat’s easy-roll design and convenient carrying bag, you’ll be able to take it to yoga class without any hassle. You’ll feel good about carrying this mat with you in public owing to its cute design.
This mat is the most effective for solving sleep issues. While the mat is effective for helping with your back pain, its spikes are optimized to trigger the inhibition of your parasympathetic nervous system responsible for fight-or-flight responses. It’s a way to reduce anxiety by triggering your nerves.
This mat’s spike concept is fewer spikes which are also more intense. Should you be an experienced acupressure mat user, you’ll find that this configuration provides you with superior results, even if it’s a bit more uncomfortable.
For newer acupressure mat users, this mat might be a bit more than you can handle. The scarcity and sharpness of the spikes make the mat very effective regarding both relief and minimizing the time spent on the mat, but it isn’t very comfortable.
Likewise, the padding on the bottom of the mat is relatively scarce. This makes the feeling of each spike exaggerated. You may need to use this mat on top of a rug if you want to ease the pressure off of your pressure points slightly.
Finally, this mat is not very easy to clean. Like other mats, the pucks don’t detach from the cover, and the cover can’t be removed from the padding. You might have to take your chances with washing it down wholesale.
The acupressure pillows that accompany the acupressure mats are typically used to provide support for your neck while using the mat. They aren’t mandatory to use, nor do all acupressure mats include a pillow.
You can also use an acupressure pillow for your feet, arms, hands, or any other areas where you have consistent pain. Using them on areas like arms and hands won’t be as effective as using the pillow on your neck, however.
No, the color of the acupressure mat is unrelated to its quality or range of capabilities. It is purely by coincidence that most acupressure mats are black, red, or blue.
Anyone with back pain can use an acupressure mat. Acupressure mats are safe and have no negative consequences on developing bodies or women who are pregnant.
Young children may take some time to become familiar with the way that the mat feels, but it poses no danger to them.
No, using an acupressure mat will not hurt. It will feel very strange when you first begin to use it though. If you can imagine walking on a gravel driveway without any shoes or socks on you can imagine what it feels like to lay on an acupressure mat.
You may feel uncomfortable at first, but it quickly becomes pleasant.
To an extent. The spike material has to be hard enough to actuate your pressure points. Historically, acupressure mats were very expensive because the spikes were made of wood.
Now, most spikes are made of plastic. The plastic spikes can be a concern for some people because of the chemicals used to manufacture them, but otherwise they’re superior to wood in every way.
While many people enjoy acupressure on their faces for the relief that it can bring, most acupressure mats are not optimized for actuating the pressure points on your face.
Nonetheless, if you apply the spikes to your face, you may still get some relief. Laying with your face on the mat for the length of time that you would lay on your back is ill advised, however.
Yes, acupressure mats can effectively address your shoulder pain. Some mats will be more effective at helping shoulder pain than others, however.
The shoulders have more pressure points than the lower back, which means that they need more precise actuation -- and often more forceful actuation.
The best acupressure mats will take this into account and provide an area with spikes that are optimized for use with your shoulders.