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If you’ve ever woken up with annoying pain in your neck or back, you may benefit from using an acupressure mat to get some much-needed relief. There’s one you can get right now on Amazon that reviewers can’t get enough of, with over 29,000 five-star ratings: the ProsourceFit acupressure mat.
This eye-catching cushioned mat uses a similar technique to acupuncture and may offer a variety of health benefits, including muscle recovery, increased blood circulation and back and neck pain relief.
This type of pain relief is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. To find out how these mats work, we spoke with Eileen Li, a second generation licensed acupuncturist at Anew Integrative Acupuncture in Greenwich, Connecticut, who is also a licensed physical therapist and Chinese herbalist.
“Chinese medicine practitioners used anatomy and physiology to create specific points and channels on the body. Each point in the channel is rich in blood supply and nerve endings and they help improve the body’s blood circulation and regulate our nervous system, which is rich in hormones and natural painkillers,” Li said.
Traditional Chinese medical theory holds that these channels (also called meridians) connect to specific organs in our body, and when an ailment is present, an imbalance is the culprit. Thus, acupuncture or acupressure can be done to help bring relief and restore balance.
But unlike traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, which has been used for thousands of years, acupressure mats aren’t designed to target specific pressure points and instead may provide more general body relief.
The ProsourceFit acupressure mat is designed with plastic spikes that have 27 built-in acupressure points each (a total of 6, 210 points) to stimulate blood circulation throughout your body while you lay on it, resulting in the release of endorphins, which can bring pain relief. The mat also comes with a matching pillow that has acupressure points designed for neck support and headache relief.
“The spikes are dull enough to stimulate the entire body, so it’s a more general approach that can have a decent impact,” Li said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a great introduction entirely to acupuncture, because in our medicine, the more specific you can get, the better. However, the acupressure mat is a nice introduction to learning about Chinese medicine.”
For beginners to acupressure or acupuncture, Li stressed the importance of taking your time getting acclimated to the mat and only using it for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
“Start slow, and know that it takes your body around two to five minutes to adapt to a new stimulus, so you don’t want to lay on it and then get off of it right away,” she said. “You want to slowly ease yourself into it. If you can’t tolerate the entire mat, put a couple of different props on the mat, like a towel on certain sections, so you’re separating your body into sections.”
The mat comes in multiple vibrant colors like pink, orange, purple, green and blue, so you don’t have to have to deal with it being an eyesore in your home. Plus, out of all the thousands of five-star reviews for the ProsourceFit acupressure mat, many mention it being particularly useful for back relief, including the ones below:
“If anyone around me even mentions having back/shoulder/neck pain or sleep problems – this is the first thing I tell them to try! I can’t believe how the tension and tightness in my shoulders has completely gone away with only using this about once a week. Works really great for meditation purposes and overall stress relief.” — Leanna House
“I have been suffering from tight muscles, back pain and Piriformis syndrome for over a year now. I’ve been to doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and even ended up having a couple of spinal injections which did finally get the pain to subside. I was still left with extremely tight muscles, sore hips and tight hamstrings. After just using this marvelous spiky met one time… One time! I am so much more comfortable I cannot believe it. I only wish I had known about it a year ago, or even before that for tight neck and shoulders. Don’t hesitate to buy one, you will not be sorry.” — L. H. Stever
“I don’t understand how it works, and trying to explain it to my 8 year old grandson was hilarious. Bed of nails, kid. Idk. He said it’s like stepping onto a thousand legos. But it works like nothing else to relieve pain. Every now and then my back turns into a clenched fist and this pad and pillow turn it into jello. Soup. Something that’s liquid, not rigid. Pick a metaphor. The relief is intense. 12/10 would recommend. The quality is just as good as the expensive ones, but it doesn’t come with a storage bag. I appreciate the loop for easy hanging, though.” — Melinda Smith