Acupressure mats are foam mats with thousands of short plastic needles that you can stand, sit, or lay down on for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to stimulate your body. While the best acupressure mats on the market today tout a number of benefits, from helping reduce minor aches and pains to supporting better rest and relaxation for those who use them, if you're someone who has never tried one out before, you may be wondering how effective they are, or how they compare to the actual experience of going to an acupuncturist.
According to Physio Logic NYC’s acupuncturist and chiropractor Dr. Allison Heffron, D.C., L.Ac., the differences between acupuncture and using mats are significant.
"When you go to an acupuncturist, you’re getting a very specific diagnosis," says Heffron. "You’re choosing very specific points for a very specific individual for their diagnosis. An acupressure mat is a little too much of a neurological input for your body to be able to translate that into something useful."
For people who are interested in using acupressure mats, thousands of people find them to be a great way to relax and unwind. Heffron says "There’s no harm in getting a mat, especially if someone is unsure about acupuncture."
If you're eager to experience what it's like to lay down on a modern-day bed of nails, this list of some of the more popular mats out there and what people are saying about them can be a good way to get started.
1. This Mat And Pillow Set That's Great For Beginners
This acupressure mat and pillow set from Nayoya features 6,210 stimulation points (aka plastic needles), which are designed to increase blood flow to knots and sore muscles in the back, helping to reduce inflammation and pain. "At first, I thought who in the world does this to themselves ... it felt like pure torture," wrote one Amazon reviewer. "But, after a few days, I am addicted because it does help me relax."
2. This Classic Mat That's Like Sleeping On A Bed Of Nails
"I like it...a lot, but it is not for everyone," wrote one Amazon reviewer of this acupressure mat from Bed of Nails, which features 8,820 nails and is made from 100 percent cotton. "You have to get used to the spiky sensation, but after couple minutes it truly helps to relax your muscles."
3. This Acupressure Mat That's Made Out Of Eco-Foam
Made from thick cotton and eco-based foam, this acupressure mat from Spoonk offers 6,200 stimulation points and is a popular pick for fans of acupressure therapy. "Most amazing acupressure mat," raved one Amazon reviewer. "Great quality. I have tried other mats and nothing compares to this one. Most mats have dull 'spikes' but not this one. The spikes are sharp like they should be. This mat really works!"
4. This Ultra-Affordable Mat And Pillow Set You Can Take Everywhere
"In a 20-minute time frame, this mat makes my back pain go away; brings a dense sense of relaxation and peace; and promotes a good night's sleep," claimed one Amazon reviewer of this mat and pillow set, which targets stiff muscles and also comes with a carrying bag that makes it easier to transport when you're on the go.
5. This Ergonomic Mat With More Than 14,000 Stimulation Points
This acupressure mat from Acuswede is a super heavy-duty option for achieving relaxation and minor pain relief. With more than 14,000 stimulation points, which is almost twice the size of most other mats available on the market, this intense mat also comes in an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to slip over chairs, or to conform to best fit your needs.
6. This Circular Mat That's Perfect If You Want To Focus On Your Feet
For targeted relief for minor foot aches, this acupressure foot mat is a great option. It offers more than 1,500 total stimulation points as well as magnet points which claim to increase stimulation. Lightweight and designed with toes, heels and foot arches in mind, this mat can be a good way to de-stress after a long day at work.
7. This High-Quality Hemp Mat For Eco-Conscious Users
Made from an organic hemp and cotton blend and plant-based eco foam, this acupressure mat from Spoonk features more than 6,000 stimulation points and could be ideal for eco-conscious buyers. "Most people know hemp is super durable, but many don't realize that hemp is naturally antibacterial," raved one Amazon reviewer. "That is a major plus in my book even though you can hand wash both mat covers."
8. This Three-In-One Set That Offers Revitalizing Stimulation
This three-piece set features more than 8,000 nails and is a terrific value, especially if you're looking for more targeted stimulation in hard to reach areas. In addition to featuring a mat and neck pillow, this set offers a strap that you can use throughout the day.
9. This Deep-Penetrating Mat That's Great For Experienced Users
This mat and pillow set from ZenGuru features more than 7,000 stimulation points and uses magnet therapy that promises to deliver additional support for pain relief. "Absolutely love it," raved one Amazon reviewer. The set also comes with a reflexology foot chart and carrying bag. "Once you get over the initial discomfort in the first few minutes after laying on it, a feeling of bliss comes over you!"
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