If you’re like most, it’s likely that you experience some sort of stress on a regular or semi-regular basis — this could be anything from mental or emotional stress that causes you to experience anxiety, lack of focus, or insomnia for example. Or, you may experience physical stress such as the neck, back, and joint pain. Typically, we turn to medication to mask the pain, but we never really reverse the problem.
A few weeks back Resveralife sent over an Acupuncture Mat in exchange for my honest review. I was skeptical… and a little scared! According to Resveralife’s website, this acupressure mat “combines ancient Chinese and Indian techniques of Acupressure massage and Yoga stretching to stimulate your body at precise points, providing you with immediate relief from soreness associated sciatica, fatigue and insomnia.”
The website goes on to suggest that when the mat is used on a daily basis you will relieve pain and tension in your neck, back, shoulders and hips, and even get a get a better night’s sleep.
Why Acupuncture + Mat?
Before giving the mat a try I figured I’d look a bit further into what others had to say about acupuncture mats. I was truly amazed with what I found. Similar to what the Resveralife website had suggested, when used regularly acupuncture mats can relieve the body of physical stress and pain, and relax the body and mind. I’ve put together a list of the benefits that came up most frequently in my short period of research — these are also benefits that sold me on giving this mat a go!
- Relieves the body of physical stress (e.g., aches, cramps)
- Helps with back pain and Sciatica
- Reduces neck and leg pain
- Relieves muscle tension, much like a deep tissue massage
- Calms and relaxes the body and mind
- Reduces anxiety
- Stimulates endorphins (i.e., increases production of the feel-good chemicals in the brain)
- Increases blood circulation; perfect for those who travel often or who spend the majority of their day sitting down, this is also great for those with Diabetes
- Oxygenates the cells in body (i.e., through regular use oxygen levels are improved)
- Eases heartburn and issues with inflammation
- Can aid in the relief of constipation and indigestion
- Provides relief of tension headaches
- Can be helpful for those with sleep disorders (e.g., insomnia)
Not too bad, huh? I was sold! Now, I work full time, model part time, and go to the gym six days per week — my body is almost always sore. So, one night I decided that after I got back from the gym I was going to go all in and give this mat try. I took the mat out of the nifty draw-string bag and unrolled it to lay flat on the floor (well, over my yoga mat). I took off my shirt and laid down. Oh-em-gee… let this be your warning not to go about it the way I did because this mat hurt like heck.
Granted, it is called an acupuncture mat. Not to mention the mat is sharp to the touch. The mat itself is a rectangular foam pad covered in a blue pillowcase-like fabric. The fabric is pretty sturdy and durable. On the top of the mat are small white discs—probably about 1.5-2 inches in diameter — with 27 spikes on each disc.
The mat was long enough to cover my entire back (even the lowest part of my back near my underwear line) and my neck. I’m not sure what I expected when I laid down, but within just a few very brief moments I understood why some people refer to acupuncture mats as “a bed of nails!” If you’ve ever stepped barefoot on a Lego, imagine that sensation over your entire back — yes, it’s that intense! The thing is, as I laid on top of the plastic spikes all I could think of was the list of benefits that would come from this practice. I stayed there, my bare body on top of hundreds of spikes, for about 25 minutes. Believe it or not, the pain did become more bearable with every few breaths. When I finally got off the mat my back was bright pink — think the color of a fresh itchy bug bite. My skin was also quite warm to the touch. It usually takes me a while to fall asleep, but the first night that I used the acupuncture mat I followed my bedtime routine as usual and I was out within moments!
When I woke up in the morning there was much less tension in my neck and shoulders than what I’m used to! Considering how much initial pain that I experienced during the first use I kind of shocked myself, as I was almost-eager to use the mat again for a second time the next night. This time, however, I decided to keep a t-shirt on before laying down on the mat—this was much more comfortable. I continued to use the acupuncture mat for 20-30 minutes every night. As the days passed I actually felt like I wanted a sharper feeling from the spikes (weird, I know). So, I started wearing a thinner tank top when using the mat. Then few more days later was back on the mat without any clothing to buffer the pain! Believe it or not, it was not nearly as painful as the first time I used it.
After Two Weeks
After laying on the mat every night for over two weeks I can honestly confirm that I experienced some of the results listed above. In fact, I plan to continue to use the Resveralife Acupuncture Mat on a nightly basis. To my surprise, I am now much less sore the mornings after I work out; I’ve even started using the mat on my legs and arms as well. Now, I’m not going to say that it’s cured my restless thoughts and made my sleeplessness totally disappear, though, I do find that I am often able to fall asleep faster and when I wake up in the morning I feel much more alert than I did prior to using the mat.
The final — and my favorite — result that I’ve experienced since using the mat is my skin, both my face and body, is now brighter and has a sort of healthy plump-ness to it. I’m assuming that this effect is due improved blood circulation and oxygenation of my skin. What amazes me about this is that I’m not using the mat on my entire body (or my face!). While I am using the mat on my legs and arms, I am only using it on the back side of my body. I’ve looked into it and found that some people lay face down on the acupuncture mat — I’ve considered giving this a try, but I will definitely have to go back to wearing a thin piece of clothing to buffer the pain of the mat and build on my skin’s tolerance.
If I could change one thing about the Resveralife Acupuncture Mat it would be that the mat came with a neck pillow, too. Since the neck has a natural curvature when you lay flat, the mat doesn’t come into direct contact with your neck unless you tilt your chin inwards towards your chest. Alternatively, I’ve started to roll up a bath towel and place it under the acupuncture mat to give it just a bit of a lift which allows the spikes to come in contact with my neck.