I first became aware of the acupressure mats or what are called ‘bed of nails’ from periodic posts referring to them on Instagram, with testimonials from numerous yogis and fitness fanatics, often making references to them with such phrases as pain-relieving, relaxing, energizing, and even blissful.
Noticing more and more rave reviews, I decided I had to research them to see what all the hype was all about.
SEE ALSO: Finding Your Soul Navigation
What is an acupressure mat?
An acupressure mat, or shakti mat, or a bed of nails, is a self-applied device commonly made of a foam mattress covered in cotton sacking, embedded with hard plastic disks containing protruding spikes. Many contain strong magnets that create magnetostatic fields providing beneficial health effects, helping to ease body pain.
The pressure of these spikes against the skin helps the body release endorphins, the body’s own “happiness drug”, which provide a sense of joy, energy and pain relief and oxytocin which induces a sense of calm. The mat is said to be an excellent treatment for stimulating energy while triggering the body’s innate way of healing itself. It may also be used to assist the body to rid itself of toxins.
Both India and China have been using acupuncture in some form for over 5,000 years. In India, yogis have and continued to use a ‘bed of nails’ to help improve meditation and promote healing. In the 1970s, a Russian school teacher, Ivan Kuznetsov, developed the first acupressure mat in the former USSR and called it Kuznetsov Ipplicator (Applicator).
He created it after becoming severely poisoned from toxic insecticides he used treating the school buildings without using adequate protective clothing like gloves. The effects of the toxins were chronic pain, peripheral circulation and muscle spasms so severe, that he couldn’t move his limbs for weeks at a time.
His only relief for his ailments was acupuncture, but the treatments were too costly. In desperation, he invented this applicator by inserting thousands of office pins into a sheet of tire rubber which he proceeded to lie down on. With his body weight evenly distributed, none of the needles punctured his skin and it worked.
He patented his invention in 1979 and by the 1980s, after numerous clinical trials on the effectiveness of the applicator by various institutions, validating his claims, it went on to sell over 70 million units in Russia. Ivan Kuznetsov regained his health and went on to live well into his eighties.
Used regularly for a long period of time, the acupressure mat may improve circulation, increase energy levels, reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate headaches, reduce pain in the back, neck, shoulders, hips and joints, improve sleep and relieve insomnia, improve digestion, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, benefit weight loss by reducing cortisol levels, increase levels of endorphins, improve heart rate variability, improve skin complexion, provide a positive mental outlook.
During my research, I discovered hundreds of satisfied customers who had purchased these mats and had nothing but praise for them. I decided to take the plunge and purchase one for myself to see how well these mats worked or if they did at all.
They do warn you that when you first lie down on the mat you may experience much discomfort during the first several minutes, and boy, they were right. It was actually painful to the point that I thought to myself that perhaps mine was defective or maybe I made a mistake in purchasing this. But I figured I’d give it a chance and just block out the pain by focusing on my breathing.
After about four or five minutes, the discomfort disappeared and it almost felt like I was floating. A calmness came over me and I did actually feel as another had described the feeling as “bliss”. I now use this mat on a daily basis as part of my meditation practice and after I work out. If anyone is experiencing constant pain or lack of energy, I highly recommend giving this a try.Of course, you should always check with your doctor before using the mat. If you do obtain an acupressure mat, remember that you will experience discomfort at first, but after several minutes, you will start to feel a relief of tension and muscle stiffness and you may even feel “bliss.”