7 months ago

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

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

Acupressure mat for back pain

It was always the best part of my day. 

As after hours of gritting my teeth and struggling through the pain at work. 

With muscles getting stiffer and sorer by the minute. 

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

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

Farm work in Australia made this a nightly occurrence!

It was such a feeling of relief.

Yes, my life really was that exciting! 

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

But rather than doing it on a hard floor, a far more effective way is by laying down on an acupressure mat instead. 

What Is An Acupressure Mat?

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

Acupressure is an ancient alternative therapy originating in Asia that believes that stimulating specific pressure points on your body unblocks the flow of energy between them. 

And by unblocking this energy you can re-balance your body and allow it to function better. 

While also increasing blood flow, releasing muscle tension, clearing away waste and toxins, and promoting relaxation and healing.

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

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

As acupressure mats are designed to follow the same principles (but without the needles or acupuncture bills!).

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

So 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 go through the benefits of using an acupressure mat for your back pain.

But first let's look at a great option if you are curious to try one out for yourself.

The Best Acupressure Mat For Back Pain Relief

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

And I obviously haven't tried them all.

But if you're looking for a good one to try out, I would personally recommend the Nayoya Acupressure Mat.

As these mats are really effective and well made.

They have 6,210 plastic acupressure points so you'll get pain relief all over your back and shoulders.

And with that many points it's bound to hit the right spot.

There is also an acupressure pillow that comes with the mat, so you can get pain relief in your neck and shoulders too

Plus the mat is lightweight and portable, 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.

How To Use An Acupressure Mat

Using an acupressure mat is pretty easy as you simply lay down on it and try to relax.

But there are a few pointers to follow to maximise the benefits.

The ultimate aim with an acupressure mat is to place it on the floor and lay down on it with your shirt off so your skin is in direct contact with the plastic points.

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

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

Which will give you a nice warm sensation as tight muscles start to release and 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 start by using the mat on your couch or bed rather than the floor, as this will give you extra cushioning and place less pressure on your acupressure points.

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

But 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.

And try to get into the habit of using your acupressure mat regularly.

As 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.

This could be daily or a few times per week, but it will keep you feeling relaxed and free of muscle knots and pain.

And 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.

Why You Should Use An Acupressure Mat For Back Pain

If you need some further convincing take a look at the top 5 reasons why using an acupressure mat is great for people with back pain.

They Help To Relieve Muscle Tension & Pain

acupressure mats help relieve pain and tension

Release those knots!

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

As every single movement can feel like a chore which is painful and exhausting.

And the reason for this pain and tightness is usually muscle knots that form and create a blockage.

Which is bad news because:

  • When a muscle knot forms it cuts off the blood supply to that area, which means that your tight and damaged muscles can't get the blood, oxygen, and nutrients they need to heal and repair.
  • This blockage also means that waste and toxins become trapped within your damaged muscles, which irritates them 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.

As they radiate pain to other parts of the body that you wouldn't guess were related.

So to get rid of your 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 your body weight on the plastic needles of the mat stimulate your pressure points.

And this encourages your muscle knots to release, 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 and toxins to be flushed away.
  • Releasing tension in your muscles.
  • Reducing pain and inflammation.

Which is all great news for your back, and will leave you feeling much looser, happier, and free.

They Relax Your Mind & Body

acupressure mats help you relax

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 this is a big problem, as an inability to relax 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 tense, and your chest to tighten.

And having all this stress and tension in your body not only causes muscle knots, it can give you a hunched posture.

Which puts even more strain on your lower back and leaves you in more pain.

Nightmare!​

So a vital part of learning to get rid of persistent back pain is learning how to relax and de-stress both your mind and body.

As 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 within 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 caused by laying on an acupressure mat 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.

They Help You 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 more likely to get a better night's sleep.

And this is a big deal.

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

For instance, one study found that 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 yourself for sleep including improving your sleep hygiene and tackling those negative thoughts.

And using an acupressure mat can also 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.

They 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 persistent back pain.

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

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

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

As 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 activeswimmingstretchingstrengthening 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.
  • High blood pressure.
  • A growing tolerance which makes them less effective.
  • And in some cases, 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.

As 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 trigger the release of endorphins as your acupressure points are stimulated by laying on them.

And endorphins are the body's natural painkillers.

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

And they block the pain signals from being received and as a result lower the amount of pain you feel.

So 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 even more endorphins, a happy circle for once!

So it's ​good news all round.

And this natural pain relief you get from using acupressure mats is a big selling point for me. 

They Bring You Plenty Of Extra Health Benefits

health benefits of acupressure mats

We all want to feel as good as this guy!

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

However, using one can also bring you many extra health benefits such as:

  • Lowering your blood pressure.
  • Improving your circulation.
  • Strengthening your immune system by releasing and eliminating toxins and re-balancing 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 will benefit from using an acupressure mat.

The Dangers Of Using An Acupressure Mat

Acupressure mats are great, but they are not going to be good for everyone.

So like with any new activity it's always best to consult with your doctor or physician beforehand to make sure it's safe for you to do.

And there are some people who should avoid using one.

So an acupressure mat 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.

But for the vast majority of people, using an acupressure mat is a safe and valuable addition to their back care routine.

Rounding Up

I hope you can now see the benefits of using an acupressure mat.

Because simply laying down on one can help you to:

  • Block pain signals from reaching your brain, giving you a temporary respite from your pain.
  • 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 acupuncture bills.

So if you've ever been curious to try one out, now you have 5 more reasons 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/

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Daniel

I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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