Do Acupressure Mats Work for Back Pain?

Do Acupressure Mats Work for Back Pain?

Research has shown that self-administered acupressure can relieve the symptoms of back pain.

However it’s important to mention that many of the results are based on anecdotal evidence, such as lower reported pain scores.

A study conducted by professors at Michigan Medicine, looked at 67 people struggling with chronic low back pain.

Throughout the trial, acupressure was compared with usual forms of treatment, including pain relief medication.

After reviewing the findings, researchers were able to conclude:

Compared to the usual care group, we found that people who performed stimulating acupressure experienced pain and fatigue improvement and those that performed relaxing acupressure felt their pain had improved after six weeks.

Another investigation in 2017, looking at chronic low back discomfort, came to a similar conclusion.

As well as highlighting how the therapy could provide relief, they also identified a number of other advantages:

…acupressure does not require expensive equipment and large space. Using acupressure, therapists can teach patients a technique to control their own pain, as it is relatively easy to learn key points.

In addition, a significant association has been found between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and self-rated excellent health and health improvement.

As a manual technique derived from CAM, acupressure has the potential to save the healthcare costs while improving patient satisfaction and outcomes by promoting self-management of pain.

They were keen to highlight however that further research is needed to fully understand the level to which it can offer relief.

We should also note that investing in an acupressure mat isn’t some miracle cure for getting rid of your back issues.

It effectively just treats the symptoms of the condition in the short term, whether it’s pain or a stressed out mind.

However with very few reported side effects, it can be something you add to your toolkit for dealing with your condition.

Plus it’s not just professors shouting about the benefits of acupressure.

Users of the Phoenix Rising ME/CFS Community forum, struggling with the back pain associated with fibromyalgia, also have lots of good things to say:

I have fibro pain in my neck and back as well as osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and bulging discs. I frequently have muscle spasms and inflammation.

After lying on the mat, I feel like I used to after an acupuncturist would do cupping on me. It feels as if there is a powerful infusion of blood to my back. I think it’s the revved up circulation that makes my back feel better.

…I’m using it on bare skin and can’t lie on it for very long yet. Those little spikes are sharp suckers, and I think it might take me a while to get desensitized. However, even 10 minutes gets me some pain relief.

Resting your body on a spiky surface has lots of other benefits, too.

There is much evidence to demonstrate its power over symptoms of anxiety, it can even help you sleep better.

Want to learn more?

You can read the full list of acupressure mat benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing.

Laura Smith


Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.