Your Back Pain Is Part Of A Billion Dollar Industry!
Pain – a simple four letter word that has immobilized and debilitated millions upon millions of people worldwide. When was the last time you experienced back pain? Here’s an interesting fact that’ll shock you:
Did you know that the back pain industry comes up at a $100 billion per year!? (Source: Quartz)
Surprised? Shocked? Well it’s true. An investigative journalist by the name of Cathryn Jakobson Ramin spent 6 years researching the back pain industry; what she found is startling to say the least. Spinal surgeries which are largely ineffective at treating back pain are still being performed, addictive drugs and painkillers are also a popular treatment option.
She details all of this in her book appropriately titled Crooked. You can check out Crooked on Amazon by clicking here! Why am I telling you all this? I feel it’s important for you to first understand conventional pain treatment, so that you can really start to appreciate some of the non conventional methods such as the acupressure mat!
What In The World Is An Acupressure Mat!?
Laying on a bed of nails was common practice for the yogis of ancient India.
You’re probably thinking “why would anyone in their right mind lay on a bed of nails!?” Can the nails not puncture your skin and cause bleeding? Simple physics would dictate otherwise. Because the weight is distributed evenly across the bed of nails, the pressure exerted by each nail is not enough to puncture the skin.
Now then an acupressure mat is not quite different than a bed of nails! For most of us a bed of nails might be a little too extreme, so we instead opt for an acupressure mat.
Simply said, an acupressure mat is a foam mattress evenly covered by plastic disks, each of which contain protruding spikes.
My 3 Best Acupressure Mats! (Including Pros & Cons)
After much research, I’ve come up with the following list of acupressure mats that are in my opinion the top 3 you can find in 2019. For now let’s take a closer look at each one. Later on we will do a side by side comparison to see how each of them stack up!
#1 Aasana Acupressure Mat Combo
- Built To Last!—A great level of detail and care has been given to the mat and it’s incredibly evident. Unlike cheaper knock-offs, the Aasana mat feels like a product that could last a lifetime!
- 6500+ Spikes—6500+ spikes on this bad boy means every single pressure point on your neck and back will be stimulated! Be prepared for an intense session!
- It Comes With A Pillow—Combo sets are what you should be looking for in your quest for an acupressure mat. A pillow not only makes things more comfortable, but it also helps massage the neck and head!
- Tried & Tested!—People all over the world seem to love this product, and the reviews are testament to that. 4.9/5 out of 88 reviews on thebodytherapy, and 4.8/5 out of 115 reviews on aasanamat. Not too shabby!
- None!—Everything about this mat is spot on. I can’t think of anything negative to bring to your attention. Even the price is bang on!
#2 Ajna Acupressure Massage Mat
- Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly!—I love it when brands are environmentally aware, and the folks over at Ajna are exactly that! The materials used to construct this mat are natural and organic, and for every mat sold, a tree is planted!
- Comes With A Cool Carry Bag—Included in your purchase of the mat is this cool, trendy carry bag. This is particularly useful when you’re traveling and need to pack your mat with you on the go.
- Easy To Wash & Maintain!—Washing and maintaining the mat is pretty easy. All you gotta do is remove the inner stuffing and then hand wash the exterior with a water detergent mix. Let it dry and boom you’re good to go!
- Ethical & Awesome Customer Service—It’s always that much more satisfying when you spend your money buying from a company that go the extra mile. Ajna are not only ethical in how they make their mats, but also in how they interact and treat their customers. 5/5 as far as customer service is concerned!
- No Pillow—Unfortunately they don’t include a pillow along with their mat. This is my only disappointment as far as product functionality is concerned.
#3 Spoonk Acupressure Mat
- 6200 Spikes—Which may not be as many as the previously discussed Aasana mat, but still pretty decent. Remember, the more spikes, the greater the stimulation of the pressure points on your body!
- A Packaged Deal!—The Ajna mat was lacking in that it didn’t come with a pillow. This set from Spoonk has the works! You get the mat, pillow, massage ball, and a carry bag. That makes this the best acupressure mat to carry while traveling!
- Decently Priced—For all that you get, the Spoonk combo set is pretty decently priced in my opinion.
- Quality Is Slightly Lacking—Relatively speaking, the plastic spikes on this mat are of a cheaper material in comparison to the other 2 previously discussed mats. I think Aasana & Ajna have gone the extra mile in terms of material and workmanship. Not that there’s anything wrong with this per say, it’s just something that’s noticeable. All things considered still a great mat with a lot of bang for your buck!
Here’s How The 3 Acupressure Mats Compare Against Each Other!
Aasana Acupressure Mat
- Price: $$
- # Of Spikes: 6500+
- Pillow Included?: Yes
- Mat Area: 26.77” x 16.53”
Ajna Acupressure Massage Mat
- Price: $$$
- # Of Spikes: 5000+
- Pillow Included?: No
- Mat Area: 28.7" x 17.7"
Spoonk Acupressure Mat
- Price: $$
- # Of Spikes: 6200+
- Pillow Included?: Yes
- Mat Area: 26" x 16"
What’s The Catch? Why Should I Use An Acupressure Mat?
There’s several reasons one would want to use an acupressure mat. I’ve summarized my top 6 benefits in the info-graphic below!
7 Things To Consider When Buying An Acupressure Mat!
#1 Price ($$$)
What’s your budget and how much are you looking to spend? Generally speaking, acupressure mats can range anywhere from about $16-$170. As you can see there’s quite a variation in price!
Does that mean the mat that costs $170 is better than the $16 one!? Nope, not necessarily.
However, it’s still super important that you set your mind on a budget. That way, you’re able to filter all the products that don’t satisfy your $$$.
#2 Workmanship & Overall Construction Quality
There’s tons of cheap mats made from cheap material you can find online. The problem with these mats is that they don’t feel very good to lie down on.
It’s well worth your while to spend extra $$$ to invest in something that is of decent quality!
For example, the Aasana & Ajna mats that were previously discussed are made from high quality materials. In the case of the Ajna mat, medical grade plastic for the spikes, and coconut fiber for the filling.
How can you tell workmanship and quality?
If you’re buying in store, it’s easy….try it out and actually lie down to see how it feels. If you’re buying online, pay close attention to the material descriptions and read the reviews to see what people are saying. If a mat is uncomfortable, you will definitely hear of it in the reviews!
#3 Number Of Spikes!
Now I know some people might disagree with me on this, but I’m gonna say it anyways!
The more the spikes, the more effective an acupressure mat!
Why do I say this? Simple. The goal of an acupressure mat is to stimulate your pressure points. In other words, we are trying to mimic a bed of nails.
Imagine laying on a bed of nails that has 4000 nails versus laying on a bed of nails that has 6000? The 6000 one will not only be more effective at stimulating the points around your body, but it will also be more comfortable because pressure is distributed much more evenly per nail.
Therefore, the greater the number of spikes, the better the mat!
#4 Cleaning & Maintenance: How Easy?
Cleaning and maintenance is an important factor that’s often missed by most people. If there’s one thing about mats in general, it’s that it doesn’t take much for them to get dirty! And even if they don’t necessarily appear dirty, it’s still worth your while to clean them.
If you use your mat frequently, or if your spouse or kids use them, then cleaning frequently is an absolute must!
It’s not even about appearance, at that point it’s about disinfecting and getting rid of harmful germs. This becomes even more important for those of you who plan on using your mats without any clothing. In this case, I can’t stress the importance of maintaining proper hygiene by cleaning frequently!
All that being said, it becomes incredibly important to only select an acupressure mat that’s easy to clean and maintain. What should you be looking for? I’m talking removable covers, so you can completely rinse and wash the exterior while not messing around with the filling. You’ll also want to clean the spikes!
To clean the spikes I recommend using a disinfectant spray such as Lysol. This way you kill any germs that might be present on the tip of the spikes or surrounding areas.
#5 Overall Size (Length & Width)
Another key point that often gets overlooked is the overall dimensions of the mat.
It goes without saying: the larger the mat, the better!
A large acupressure mat means you’re able to get much more body coverage. It’s not just about body coverage to be honest. I find that it’s more comfortable when an entire section of your body can lay on the mat. If I could, I’d find a full body acupressure mat! That way I can lay my entire body (legs included) proper yogi style!
In any case, when buying an acupressure mat it’s incredibly important that you compare overall dimensions of the different mats.
#6 Packaged Vs. Single Deals: Which One Should You Consider?
It’s all about combos! When I say “combos” I really mean to say that you should consider mats that come with pillows as part of the package. Why? An acupressure pillow is a lot more important than you think!
Acupressure pillows are particularly great at stimulating the pressure points on our heads and neck!
If you suffer from neck pain, acupressure pillows can definitely help. Even if it’s a little extra for the combo/packaged deal, it’s well worth getting a mat that comes with a pillow. It makes a world of difference in my opinion!
#7 Cool Trendy Bags Don’t Hurt Either!
I travel lots, so for me it’s incredibly important to have a carry bag (or strap) for any of my mats (yoga mats included!). That being said, if you can find an acupressure mat that comes with a carry bag, you might wanna give it an additional brownie point when deciding on what to buy!
Sure it’s a no-brainer that your overall decision for a mat won’t be because it comes with a trendy carry bag!
No doubt functionality, performance, and price always come first. All I’m suggesting is to give some thought for carry bags and other add-ons. This becomes especially important when 2 products are the same and you’re hard pressed on what to pick. Pick the one that has the free carry bag!
If you’ve decided on a mat but it doesn’t come with a carry bag, consider either buying a bag online (Amazon has some awesome options!), or roll the bag up and properly secure it with a removable band during travel or when not in use.
5 Frequently Asked Questions On Acupressure Mats!
Question #1: Can pets lay on an acupressure mat?
If you’ve already started looking into and researching acupressure mats, you’ll have noticed images (mostly in customer testimonials) of pets laying on them, typically dogs and cats. Is it advisable to have your pet lay on an acupressure mat?
My 2 cents is no. Even while lots of people seem to be doing it, I don’t think I would allow my dog to lay on my mat!
There’s 2 reasons why:
Question #2: Should I lay with clothing or without clothing?
This is another popular question that first time acupressure mat users typically ask.
The most benefit will be derived only when you lay on the mat without clothing.
Why is this? Think of it like this. Have you ever gotten a massage while being fully clothed? Can you remember the experience? Now compare that to when you had a massage without most of your clothing. What was the difference and which of the 2 was more effective? The same thing applies here.
The mat has been designed to stimulate various pressure points on your back, and it can only do this effectively if there is sufficient contact between the spikes and your body!
That’s why I always recommend to remove clothing before laying on your mat. The only exception is if you find the experience unbearably intense or uncomfortable. In this case you can remain clothed (t-shirt or pants as required).
Question #3: How long should I lay on an acupressure mat?
There is no right answer to this one. Some people lay for 10 minutes, others go up to 20 minutes, and some even do 40 minutes! It really comes down to you.
I find if you’re comfortable and enjoying the sensation, you’ll likely lay for longer. The flipside is true if you’re uncomfortable.
If you’re a first timer, don’t worry about this too much. It takes some time for your body to adapt to the new sensations. It’s like getting a massage. If you’ve never had a deep tissue massage before, the feeling both during and after can be weird and sometimes uncomfortable. Similarly, laying on an acupressure mat and feeling 1000’s of spikes stimulate the heck outta your body can also be weird if you’re not use to it!
To conclude, lay as long as you feel comfortable! Don’t follow what some person told you!
Question #4: How do I use an acupressure mat?
Boys and girls, using an acupressure mat is about as simple (maybe simpler!) than peeling a banana! Follow these steps and you’ll be golden:
Optional Step: If you really want to, you can set a timer of about 20-30 minutes (based on your preference). I recommend going with the flow, and letting your body tell you when it’s time to stop.
Question #5: Can I lay down chest first on an acupressure mat?
Most of the images and videos you’ve seen all show people laying down on their backs, but is there anything wrong about laying chest and stomach first on an acupressure mat?
Just because it’s not common, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it!
There’s nothing stopping you from trying out new ways/techniques to get maximum relief from your acupressure mat. If you’re interested in laying on your chest, try it out and see how it feels! If it feels unpleasant, then don’t do it. If it feels good, then keep going.
I want you to understand that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting creative. In fact, you’re likely to see the most benefit from your acupressure mat when you start to get creative. As long as you do things in a safe and controlled manner, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.
Here’s a cool article I recently stumbled on from buzzfeed that talks about the various ways one can use an acupressure mat. Read it, get inspired and start reaping the benefits!
I Think I’ve Covered Everything, But….
I’ve covered mostly everything you need to know about Acupressure mats. If you feel there’s something I have forgotten to discuss, please leave me a comment and I will definitely considering updating my post. On that note, if you have any questions at all about anything whatsoever concerning acupressure mats, please feel free to drop a comment or get in touch with me by email (email@example.com).
Lastly if you got some value from this post, a share on the social platforms would be hugely appreciated. It really does help support the growth of this site. Alright folks, that’s all from me. Have a splendid week ahead and I’ll see you in the next one!