Acupressure is an ancient Chinese therapy that is practiced by health professionals around the world. However plenty choose to enjoy the treatment in their own home!
With chronic pain statistics showing that many are trying alternative therapies to cope with daily pain, it’s certainly worth a try when you see the many benefits of using an acupressure mat.
1: Natural pain relief
One of the key benefits of an acupressure mat is that it’s a natural form of pain relief.
With 191 million opioid prescriptions dispensed in 2017, and the US government declaring it a public health emergency, anything that can help manage pain in a natural way is sure to be desirable.
A major systematic review in 2014 looked at all the research surrounding acupressure and pain.
Findings were overwhelmingly positive and showed that acupressure was effective for a variety of different types of pain.
The study concluded that health professionals should consider the use of acupressure as a complementary therapy for managing the pain associated with many conditions.
2: Produces endorphins
Many heath professionals recommend acupressure as the process is found to release endorphins.
Endorphins work in a similar way to opioids. Often referred to as ‘the body’s natural painkillers’, they help to reduce pain and produce a feeling of euphoria.
Research published in 2017 showed that acupressure can stimulate the production of endorphins which helps to block the pain signals reaching the brain.
3: Lowers high blood pressure
Clinical trials conducted in Taiwan looked at the impact of acupressure on patients with hypertension.
During the trial it was found that blood pressure was lowered for a period of at least 30 minutes.
More research is needed to see the extent to which acupressure can reduce blood pressure on a long term basis, however the project proved it to be effective as a short term solution.
What’s the difference between acupuncture and acupressure?
- Acupuncture and acupressure both stimulate acupoints. Acupuncture is with needles that pierce the skin, acupressure is non-invasive with manual pressure used to massage the acupoints.
4: Effective for many serious conditions
Using an acupressure mat has also been shown to provide relief from a number of serious conditions.
A study conducted in Germany in 2012 looked specifically at the impact of acupressure mats on those suffering from chronic neck and lower back pain.
It showed that pain was relieved in both areas. The results also demonstrated the impact that the mat can have on the way the body processes pain.
Acupressure has also been shown to have a positive impact on patients coping with myocardial infarction.
An interesting project conducted in 2018 looked to see the impact acupressure had on heart rate and blood pressure.
Initially acupressure appeared to have little impact. However roughly 30 minutes after finishing treatment blood pressure and heart rate were found to be significantly lower.
5: Aids with sports injuries
For those suffering from sports injuries, results of a study conducted at the University of Otago revealed promising findings.
Acupressure decreased the reported pain scores in athletes with acute injuries but not anxiety levels.
The conclusion of the study was that acupressure could be effective in a sports setting, especially if there is limited access to medical care.
6: Improves sleep
The number of people suffering from sleep problems is rising at a rapid rate. Research shows that acupressure can help.
A study in 2015 looked at the sleep of menopausal women and found that sleep was improved significantly following acupressure treatments.
Respondents in the study were taught how to administer acupressure then monitored and asked to keep a diary to record the quality of their sleep.
It found that if individuals were shown how to apply the treatment correctly this could be used as a tool for treating the symptoms of insomnia.
7: Muscle relaxation
Users of the popular Spoonk Acupressure Mat reported relaxed muscles following regular use of an acupressure mat.
Those suffering from neck and back pain in particular reported that their muscles felt relaxed after sessions.
There is currently little research to back this up, however look at reviews of many acupressure mats and you’ll see this feedback.
8: Increases energy levels
Acupressure has been shown to help with fatigue and to increase energy levels.
An experimental study at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan focused on patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.
Findings proved that acupressure can improve fatigue, and it was recommended that educational guides should be created to help patients take advantage of the therapy.
9: Improves mental health
Through a major study in 2015 it was found that depression, anxiety and stress can be positively impacted by acupressure.
Subjects were given treatment three times a week for four weeks and the results were positive.
It was found to significantly reduce depression, stress and anxiety, in this case for patients with end stage renal disease on hemodialysis.
10: Better digestion
It might seem like an unlikely benefit, but acupressure has been shown to improve the quality of life for those suffering from digestion problems.
A 2015 research project looked at perineal self-acupressure which aided in the movement of bowel function and generally was found to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of those suffering from constipation.
11: Healthier complexion
Many manufacturers promote the fact that acupressure therapy, when applied directly to the face, can have a positive impact on your complexion.
Michael Reed Gach, PhD, an expert on acupressure therapy does suggest that the technique brings more oxygen to the skin which in turn improves the appearance.
However currently there is little evidence to substantiate the claims.
12: Weight loss
A research project in 2010 found that acupressure, specifically ear acupressure, had a positive impact on weight loss.
In fact it showed that over the course of eight weeks BMI was significantly reduced.
There is little other evidence to prove or disprove the claim, however many manufacturers (like Bed of Nails) highlight it as a feature of the mat.
13: Positive impact on headaches and migraines
Acupressure has been shown to have a positive impact on chronic headaches.
Research conducted in Taiwan in 2010 compared acupressure with muscle relaxant therapy, and found that acupressure was much more effective.
Six months after just one month of treatment the effects still remained.
Consumer reviews of the Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Pillow back up this finding, with many mentioning how wonderful the mat can be for reducing both the frequency and intensity of migraines.
14: Manage your own treatment
The ability to manage your own treatment is a big selling point of the acupressure mat.
You can carry it with you wherever you go and use it as much or as little as needed to help you get a handle on your daily pain.
Users providing reviews on their Spoonk acupressure mat purchase commented on how they use their mat as part of their daily pain management routine.
15: Little or no side effects
Use of an acupressure mat is found to have little or no side effects.
Research that looked at pain severity in female nurses with chronic back pain, determined that acupressure was effective in reducing pain but also that it was an easy therapy with no side effects.
However there are a number of people who should avoid acupressure including those with fractures for example.
16: Long term use
Research published about acupressure always highlights the fact that it’s a safe treatment option that can be used on a long term basis.
17: Low cost
Compared to other therapy options for pain, acupressure mats are a relatively affordable choice.
They range in price from approximately $20 to $70 depending on the size and quality of mat that you’re looking for.
When you want treatment for a serious condition you might have been given a number of invasive options.
However acupressure is non-invasive so can be tried without the element of risk.
Acupressure mats roll up just like a yoga mat, so they’re compact. Ideal for carrying with you or storing away at home for whenever you need it.
Many acupressure mats, like this VIVA natural linen organic mat, come with a bag, allowing you to take it wherever you want.
It might be something you could keep at work for difficult days or use at the gym.
21: Use at home
Acupressure is carried out by physical therapists in many clinics, however the benefit of an acupressure mat is that you can use it in your own home!
It’s ideal if you have pain that strikes without warning, as you have a pain relief option that you can roll out whenever you need it.
22: Purchased over the counter (OTC)
You don’t need a prescription to purchase an acupressure mat, they can be easily purchased from many different outlets.
23: Enhance your yoga and meditation practice
Regular users of acupressure mats appear to be reunited in how much their acupressure mat aids them in their yoga practice.
Many (like users of Ajna’s Organic Eco Acupressure Massage Mat) speak of another level of relaxation and how the mat adds a new dimension to their practice.
Others spoke of using it in meditation and how it can be used as part of a relaxation routine.
With so many benefits, it’s time to roll out your acupressure mat and reap the rewards!
- UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. (2019) What is the difference between acupuncture and acupressure?. [Online] Available from: https://exploreim.ucla.edu/east-west-medicine/what-is-the-difference-between-acupuncture-and-acupressure/ [Accessed 9 June 2019]. ↩
- Arbuckle, A. Q. (2016) 1910-1981 Beds of nails. [Online] Available from: https://mashable.com/2016/03/04/bed-of-nails/ [Accessed 9 June 2019]. ↩