The best acupressure mat
If you're plagued by chronic pain issues, an acupressure mat may be the solution. Whether it's headaches, backaches, or other pains, consider one of these therapeutic mats to help relieve your muscle aches without the need for expensive topical treatments or massages. There's also evidence that acupressure may help relieve sleep troubles and stress.
If you're struggling to find an available acupressure therapist nearby or you're skeptical about the advantages of this type of treatment, an at-home mat designed to deliver the benefits of this type of body therapy is worth a try. Our buying guide covers all the basics and includes our top choice from Spoonk, which easily rolls up and fits into a bag when you're on the go.
Considerations when choosing acupressure mats
What is an acupressure mat, and how does it work?
Acupressure is a practice that goes back thousands of years and involves pressure point therapy that targets the body's meridians. In Eastern medicine, applying pressure to these parts of the body is thought to restore bodily harmony and balance the body's chi, or energy flow. From the perspective of Western medicine, this treatment benefits the body by improving circulation and releasing endorphins in areas targeted by pressure.
An acupressure mat is designed to provide you with the benefits of acupressure in the comfort of your own home. The soft mat features a layer of evenly distributed spikes that deliver pressure when you lie down, sit, or stand on it. The large surface area is meant to stimulate acupressure points regardless of the user's ability or experience.
Most acupressure mats have a layer of foam to increase the user's comfort level. If you're concerned about the environment and wary of strong chemical smells, choose a mat made of eco-friendly materials.
A soft material covers the foam layer in an acupressure mat. Natural fibers like hemp, cotton, or linen are ideal options because they're breathable. The spikes on an acupressure mat are usually made of hard plastic. Opt for mats that are BPA-free. A full-body mat should have at least 6,000 spikes, while a mini mat designed for acupressure of the feet should have at least 1,000. Avoid mats with spikes that are adhered with glue, as they're not as durable as mats assembled using heat.
Pick a mat that's big enough to target the parts of the body you want to treat. Full-body mats designed to treat your entire body are rare, but you should be able to find plenty of mats long enough to treat the area from the head to the upper back. Miniature mats are also available and designed to treat the feet or provide targeted treatment to specific areas of the body.
Choose a mat that's easy to roll and includes a handy travel bag if you plan to use it on the go.
Acupressure mat prices
Expect to pay between $15 and $60 for an acupressure mat. Larger mats sit at the higher end of the price spectrum and are designed to accommodate the entire body. Miniature mats can be purchased for under $25 and are only big enough to treat one part of the body, such as the feet.
Q. Is using an acupressure mat painful?
A. Lying on an acupressure mat may be painful for some people. It depends, however, on an individual's pain-tolerance levels. Some people may find the sensation uncomfortable, while others may not be bothered at all by the pressure stimulation. Typically, feelings of discomfort are short-lived and fade away after a few seconds of lying on the mat.
Q. Should anyone avoid using an acupressure mat?
A. Avoid using an acupressure mat if you're pregnant or have any skin irritation, sensitivity, or infection. Anyone with a serious health condition should speak to their doctor before using this type of mat.
Acupressure mats we recommend
Best of the best: Spoonk Three-Item Acupressure Mat Set
Our take: A high-quality value set with everything a beginner needs to get started with acupressure.
What we like: Includes a mini mat for travel purposes and a massage ball that can be used to work out muscle knots. Eco-friendly construction.
What we dislike: Travel mat is advertised as a dual-use product -- pillow and mat -- but it's not particularly supportive.
Best bang for your buck: HemingWeigh Complete Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
Our take: Low-cost acupressure mat that doesn't sacrifice quality.
What we like: Features more than 8,000 pressure points, which is impressive for a mat at this price point.
What we dislike: Pillow is not particularly high-quality.
Choice 3: Bed of Nails Original Acupressure Mat
Our take: A top-of-the-line acupressure mat for the discerning shopper.
What we like: Well-made and durable design with plenty of pressure points that deliver effective acupressure therapy.
What we dislike: Pricey.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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