If your back doesn’t stop hurting all of the time, you’ve probably considered acupressure mats as a potential solution. It might seem strange to lay down on a bed of spikes in the hopes of making your back feel better, but many people find relief using these acupressure technologies.
As a consumer, it’s difficult to tell what kind of acupressure mat is the best for your needs. Many of the mats have similar features, and you may not even know which features are the ones that you need to address your issue, and which are extraneous.
In this article, we’ll review and compare two of the best acupressure mats on the market today so that you can make an informed decision about the next step in your back’s healthcare. At the end, you’ll have a good idea of where to start looking and what to look for.
We’ll be looking at two acupressure mats today, the ProSource Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set for Back/Neck Pain Relief and Muscle Relaxation and the Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set. Both of these mats are a great value, and both are widely lauded by reviewers.
Nonetheless, there are some subtle differences between these two mats which might make all the difference to addressing your back pain. While both mats will effectively treat back pain, low blood flow, anxiety, sleep issues, and more, they each serve a special niche.
You’ll be using your acupressure mat very frequently which means that you’ll want to wash it and keep it fresh -- if you can. Not all acupressure mats are simple to clean, and many are downright uncleanable.
Keeping your acupressure mat clean makes it last a lot longer and also makes it more pleasant to use.
Spike sharpness is a major concern when picking an acupressure mat. The pressure with which each spike actuates your back’s pressure points determines how effective the treatment is.
Unfortunately, the pressure also determines how comfortable the acupressure mat feels to the user. More pressure per spike makes the mat feel closer to stabbing than actuating.
New users typically prefer a spike that is not as sharp. Likewise, more numerous spikes provide a more enjoyable experience, even if they don’t necessarily provide the most relief. More spikes do not make for a better mat.
Spike placement is also a factor.
Most acupressure mats use a standardized distribution of their spike pucks which makes for an easily comparable standard. Mats which deviate from this standard arrangement are more likely to have issues with adapting to the dimensions of the user.
In theory, non-standard spike arrangements also have the potential for more precise actuation of pressure points and thus have a higher potential for pain relief. Both of the mats which we’re reviewing today use the standard spike distribution.
Finally, the spike placement on the mat’s paired pillow is a relevant thought. Pillows don’t follow the same standard distribution of spikes like mats do which means that pillows vary widely in quality and efficacy.
Unfortunately, the dimensions of people’s heads are so different that it is difficult to say which spike pattern on the pillow will be the most effective for any given person.
Most acupressure mats come with a set of instructions which educate the user in how to use the product. The best of these guides will teach you how to use any kind of acupressure mat for any number of different purposes. The worst will leave you wondering which way to orient the mat.
Especially for acupressure mats with many features having a good set of instructions is an absolute must.
You may want to bring your acupressure mat with you on the road or to your fitness class. Some acupressure mats are very heavy. Others don’t roll up into an easily transportable package.
Portability is a general concern, but it is also a concern which you can choose to disregard if you plan to keep your acupressure mat in the same place most of the time. There isn’t much use to a highly portable mat that sacrifices other features for being easy to move if you are going to leave it sitting.
Let’s take a look at how the mats stack up.
The ProSource is very easy to clean. To clean the mat, the interior foam pad is removed and then the cover is washed gently. After drying the parts can be put back together. You can share your mat with anyone else without having to worry about laying in their dirt when they return it.
The Nayoya, in contrast, is not very easy to clean. The parts are hard to separate, and the exterior sleeve has a tendency to pick up the scents that surround it.
The problem with this is that when cleaning is laborious, it isn’t done as frequently. The Nayoya is the clear loser of this category.
The ProSource has a sharp set of spikes which are very numerous. The spikes on the ProSource are not the sharpest or the longest spikes that you can find in an acupressure mat but they do have the ability to project a lot of pressure.
Because there are so many spikes on the ProSource mat each spike is not overwhelmingly uncomfortable. There may be some issues for people who are very sensitive owing to the sharpness of the spikes.
The Nayoya has a fair number of less sharp spikes. This means that the Nayoya is not going to provide the maximum amount of pressure on each spike. From the standpoint of the user, this is a matter of preference.
Nor is the Nayoya going to cause a substantial amount of pain in the event that you accidentally try to balance yourself on it using your hand. For these reasons, the Nayoya’s spikes may be preferable for beginners who have not build up their tolerance for laying on an acupressure mat.
For people seeking the maximum actuation of their pressure points when they use their acupressure mat, the Nayoya’s spikes are probably a bit too easygoing.
The trade-off between comfort and actuation is real, which means that the Nayoya may not relieve pain as effectively despite providing an easier experience.
Honestly there’s no clear winner when it comes to this category, as both mats have effective spikes with different use cases.
The ProSource offers a typical usage guide which describes how to lay on the mat. If you have never read a set of instructions about an acupressure mat before, you will understand how to do so safely after reading the ProSource booklet.
The Nayoya, in contrast, offers an encyclopedic set of instructions which will let you get the very most out of both it and most other mats that you ever come across. The instructions are exhaustive and describe every minute detail of the Nayoya mat.
You will be able to link specific pain areas to using the mat in specific ways when you read the Nayoya’s instructions. Without a doubt, it’s the hands-down winner in this category.
The ProSource has average portability for an acupressure mat. The mat itself can be rolled up and carried, though the foam insert makes it somewhat heavy.
The Nayoya is very easy to transport. The unit has a carrying bag which fits the entire roll of the mat without a problem. This is a big deal because there’s nothing more annoying than having to constantly apply pressure to a rolled mat to prevent it from unfurling in your arms.
Importantly, the Nayoya doesn’t sacrifice any comfort for its increased portability. The pad is thinner than the ProSource mat’s, but it is still just as comfortable.
In our opinion the ProSource is the mat which most users will benefit from. The ProSource has a good set of spikes which can easily adapt to more pressure or less pressure depending on the desire of the user.
While the ProSource mat may be slightly sharp for beginners, most can adapt to its spikes rapidly and subsequently appreciate the mat’s power. The Nayoya is a better option for users who are especially sensitive to pressure.
Likewise, for users who have skin issues or have a hard time picturing themselves enjoying getting acupressure, the Nayoya is an easier introduction to the field of acupressure mats.
Finally, if you’re looking for a mat that you can take with you wherever you go, the Nayoya is hard to beat owing to its carrying bag and easy-roll mat.
No matter which acupressure mat you end up picking be sure to ease into your usage. You’ll need at least 10 minutes of spike time to get the benefits from the mats.
One thing is common to the users of both mats. Most people report that a few seconds after they get accustomed to the feeling of the spikes they are hit with an overwhelming sensation of relief and warmth in their backs.