a couple of months ago

5 Reasons You Should Try An Acupressure Mat For Your Back Pain

acupressure mat for back pain

​Using an acupressure mat can bring you satisfying relief from back pain as well as many other health benefits. Not a bad result for simply laying down. 

It was always the best part of my day. 

After hours of gritting my teeth and struggling with back pain on site. 

Muscles getting stiffer and sorer ​by the minute. 

Followed by the long drive home in the van with my body feeling shot to pieces. 

That sheer ecstacy​ I felt when I finally got home and could lay down flat on the hard floor was total bliss. 

It was such a feeling of relief.

Yes my life really was that exciting! ​

Farm work in Australia made this a nightly occurrence!

And while thankfully days like those are behind me now, I still love to lay down and release tension from my back. 

But rather than using a hard floor, a far more effective way to do this is by laying down on an acupressure mat instead. ​

Now you may be thinking to yourself, "What is acupressure?", so let me first explain the concept a little. ​

​It's an ancient alternative therapy originating in Asia that believes that stimulating specific pressure points on your body unblocks the flow of life energy in the channels (called meridians) between them. 

And by unblocking these meridians you rebalance the body and allow it to function better. ​

This in turn is said to increase blood flow, release muscle tension, clear away toxins, and promote relaxation and healing.

Now these pressure points are usually stimulated by a therapist using either their fingers or needles. 

So if you've ever had acupuncture then you'll know exactly where I'm coming from here.​

And acupressure mats are designed to follow the same principles as acupuncture (but better for those of us that don't like needles or acupuncture bills!).

They come covered with tiny, sharp plastic points that work to stimulate your pressure points when you lay down on them.

In a way they are a bit like a modern day bed of nails!

But don't be put off.

As once you get used to the sensation of laying on them, you may just wish you'd discovered them years ago.

So read on and I'll show you 5 ways you will benefit from using an acupressure mat for your back pain.

And why I recommend the Nayoya Acupressure Mat.​

1. Acupressure Mats Relieve Muscle Tension And Pain

​Anyone with chronic back pain will know just how uncomfortable it can be when your back muscles get stiff and tight.

Every single movement can feel like a chore and it's painful and exhausting.

The reason for this pain and tightness is usually muscle knots that form ​and create a blockage which traps acidic and toxic tissue fluids.

And these trapped toxins only works to irritate and tighten your muscles further.

So a vicious circle is created that can lead to painful inflammation, aching and stiffness.

And these knots don't just affect one area.

They can radiate pain to other parts of the body that you wouldn't guess were related!

So to manage your chronic back pain you need to find a way to release them and get some relief.

And using an acupressure mat is a great way to do that.​

This is because laying on the plastic needles​ on the mat stimulate your pressure points as you rest your body weight on them.

And these needles get right into your muscle knots. 

Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief - Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set - Relieves Stress, Back, Neck, and Sciatic Pain - Comes with a Vinyl Carry Bag for Storage and Travel - As Seen in USA Today

​Which helps you by:

  • ​Increasing blood flow to the painful areas, delivering the oxygen and nutrients your muscles need to heal and repair.
  • Unblocking energy pathways which allows waste toxins to be flushed away.
  • Releasing tension in your muscles.
  • Reducing pain and inflammation.

Research from 2016 found that ​people with chronic back pain using an acupressure mat experienced immediate pain relief, although this effect wasn't long-lasting.

So you need to do it regularly to get the full benefits.​

However laying down on your acupressure mat each day and relieving these muscle knots can feel intensely satisfying. It's great!

And it'll leave​ you feeling relaxed, loose and free in your own body, rather than tight and miserable.

So that's not such a hardship.​

And it could potentially save you a fortune in massage and chiropractor bills as well!​

2. Acupressure Mats Relax Your Body And Mind

The tree trunk was no substitute for an acupressure mat.

​Relaxing can be one of the hardest things to do when you have back pain.

And an inability to relax can lead to many other problems.​

For instance, stress, anxiety and depression are all extremely common amongst people that live with chronic back pain.

And the bad news is that suffering from one of those is only going to make your back pain worse!

This is because people tend to hold a lot of tension in their bodies when they are stressed or anxious.

Which can cause your shoulders to become hunched, your muscles to get tense and your chest to tighten.

So this stress and tension not only creates muscle knots, it can also lead to unhealthy changes in your posture.

And walking around with a hunched posture all day puts more strain on your lower back and leaves you in more pain.

Nightmare!​

So a vital part of learning to live with and manage your chronic pain is to learn how to relax and de-stress both your mind and body.

By doing this your body can ​repair and heal itself while your posture remains in a relaxed and healthy state.

​And using an acupressure mat is one way to help you achieve this.

This is because:​

  • Stimulating acupressure points helps to release any tension you are holding in your body.
  • Relaxing your sore muscles will help the rest of your body to relax.
  • The increased blood flow that comes from using an acupressure mat creates a warm and relaxing sensation.
  • Laying down still for an period of time on your mat is very meditative and therapeutic.
  • The release of endorphins creates a happy feeling that helps your mind to relax.

So if you want to feel more relaxed in both your body and mind, using an acupressure mat regularly is a great addition to your routine.

And this can make a real difference to your pain levels.​

3. Acupressure Mats Help You To Sleep Better

better sleep from using acupressure mat

"This feels more comfortable than my acupressure mat" zzz

Another benefit of having a relaxed body and mind from using an acupressure mat is that you are also more likely to get a better night's sleep.

​And this is a big deal for us.

Because sleep disorders are extremely common amongst people who suffer from back pain.

For instance, one study ​found that when asked 78% of people with chronic lower back pain admitted to having trouble sleeping.

Which is a massive percentage and highlights just how much of a problem sleeping can be for us.​

​But why is it such an issue?

​Well there are two reasons:

  • Firstly sore and stiff muscles can throb during the night, waking you up and making it impossible to get into a deep and restful sleep.
  • And worrying about how your pain will affect your ability to sleep can make you anxious, angry and frustrated, leaving your mind too alert to drift off.

So with a tense mind and body it's hardly surprising we find it difficult to sleep.

Now there are many techniques you can employ to relax your body, improve your sleep hygiene and tackle these negative thoughts.​

But using an acupressure mat can also be a big help.

Because by relaxing your body and mind before bedtime​, you are creating the perfect conditions to fall into a deep and restful sleep.

And learning to sleep well will work wonders for your back pain too, as this is when the body repairs, restores and regenerates itself.​

So if you are currently having trouble sleeping, it's another good reason to give an acupressure mat a try.​

4. Acupressure Mats Provide Natural Pain Relief

The pretty colours mask a ton of potential side effects.

For many people using pain medication goes hand in hand with living with chronic back pain.

And unfortunately for some, ​pills are a necessary and unavoidable evil to be able to make it through the day.

However for the luckier ones amongst us we may be able to lower our need for medication, maybe even to the point where we don't need them at all.

This was a big thing for me after my back surgeries.

My painkillers were making me feel dozy and drowsy all the time, and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life relying on them​.

So through a mixture of staying active, swimming, stretching, strengthening my core muscles and resting at the right times I found a way I could manage my pain without them.

​And this is a great thing to do if you can manage it.

Because pain medication (especially opiate-based ones) can come with nasty side effects and problems such as:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Constipation.
  • Nausea.
  • Raised blood pressure.
  • A growing tolerance to them making them less and less effective.
  • Addiction.

So anything you find that can reduce your need for pain medication should be embraced.

And using an acupressure mat could be ​one such thing.

For example, in one recent study it was found that people with with chronic back pain significantly reduced their use of pain medication after regular use of an acupressure mat.​

So how did that work?​

Well the mats promote natural healing by triggering the release of endorphins ​as your acupressure points are stimulated by laying on them.

Endorphins are the happy chemicals that are released in your brain after things like exercise and sex.

And they are also the body's natural painkillers​.

​Because they interact with the opiate receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain.

So they block the pain signals from being received and as a result lower the amount of pain you feel like you are in.

It's like taking an opiate pill but without the side effects!

Plus the release of endorphins will give you a positive and happy feeling throughout your body, making it more likely you'll stay active.

Which will generate more endorphins.

A happy circle for once!​

So it's ​good news all round.

And this natural pain relief provided by using acupressure mats is a big selling point for me. 

5. Acupressure Mats Bring You Multiple Health Benefits

health benefits of acupressure mat

We all want to feel as good as this guy!

Lowering your back pain and need for pain medication is a good reason enough to make using an acupressure mat a regular part of your routine.

However using one can also bring you many other health benefits such as:​

  • Lowering your blood pressure.
  • Improving your circulation.
  • Strengthening your immune system by releasing and eliminating toxins and rebalancing your body.
  • Giving you more energy by unblocking energy pathways connecting your pressure points and internal organs.
  • Releasing muscle tension.
  • Relaxing you which is good for your overall well-being. 
  • Alleviating headaches and migraines.

So it's not just your back that'll potentially benefit from using an acupressure mat.

Why I Recommend The Nayoya Acupressure Mat

Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief - Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set - Relieves Stress, Back, Neck, and Sciatic Pain - Comes with a Vinyl Carry Bag for Storage and Travel - As Seen in USA Today

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to acupressure mats and they all look pretty similar at a glance.

And obviously I haven't tried them all.

But if you are looking for a good acupressure mat to try out, I would personally recommend the Nayoya acupressure mat.

These mats are well made and the good quality manufacturing means they will last you well.

The mat itself comes with 6,210 plastic acupressure​ points so you'll get pain relief all over your back and shoulders.

With that many points it's bound to hit the right spot.​

And the pillow that comes with it has 1,782 plastic acupressure points and is great for relieving a stiff neck and getting rid of headaches.​

Plus it's lightweight and transportable, so you can take it with you on holidays and trips.​

All of which makes the Nayoya acupressure mat a solid choice​ for treating your back pain.

To find out more you can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.​

How To Use An Acupressure Mat

The ultimate aim with an acupressure mat is to place it on the floor, take off your shirt and lay down flat on it for a certain length of time with your skin in direct contact with the plastic points.

This is how you'll get the most intense stimulation.​

And as you relax your bodyweight onto the mat it will begin to work it's magic on your pressure points.​

Which will give you a nice warm sensation as the blood flow increases.

However this can be a very strange and uncomfortable feeling at first and may take some getting used to.

So you may need to work up to laying down on it and experiencing the sensation at its most intense.​

One idea when you are just starting to use the mat is to place it on your couch or bed.

This will give you extra cushioning and mean less pressure from the acupressure points.

Also try keeping your shirt on for the first few times so it's not too harsh on your skin.​

And once you are used to this you can progress to the floor and take your shirt off!​

​As for how long to lay down on your mat for, the following is a quick guide:

  • Beginner - When you first start out build up slowly by using the mat for between 10-15 minutes at a time.
  • Intermediate - Once you are getting used to the sensation and want to go further, up your time to 20-45 minutes per session.
  • Advanced - As you become an old hand at using your mat you may want to work up to spending a whole hour on it.

You could do this daily, a few times per week, or just when you feel stiff and sore and in need of help. It's entirely up to you.

But to keep yourself feeling relaxed and free of muscle knots and pain I'd advise trying to use it regularly.

Once you get used to the warm sensation ​from laying on the mat it can become a relaxing and satisfying experience rather than a chore.

Who Shouldn't Be Using An Acupressure Mat

As with anything new you try for your back pain, it is always best to consult your doctor or physician beforehand to make sure it is safe for you to do.

And while using an acupressure ​mat should be fine for most people, there are some people who should avoid it.

So it may not be for you if you have:​

  • Any pre-existing heart conditions.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Blood coagulation problems.
  • Sensitive skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
  • Open wounds.

So always be safe and check with the doc first.

Rounding Up

​Can you see the benefits of using an acupressure mat now?

For something as easy as laying down in your own home you could:​

  • Relieve muscle pain and tension.
  • Relax your mind and body.
  • Sleep better.
  • Get natural pain relief.
  • Gain many other health benefits.

​Plus they could save you a packet on massage and acupunture bills.

So if you've ever been curious to try one out, now you have every reason to go ahead!​

Resources used in researching this article:​

​https://www.painscience.com/articles/toxic-trigger-points.php

http://www.acupressure.com/articles/how_acupressure_works.htm​

http://bestmeditationchairs.com/how-to-use-acupressure-mat/​

https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupressure/​

Daniel

A 30-something painter and decorator, psychology graduate, and veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. Looking to explore the physical, psychological and emotional effects of living with chronic low back pain.

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