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How to use an acupressure mat

10 Ways to Use an Acupressure Mat: For Back, Neck, Sleep…

So you’ve bought your first acupressure mat, or maybe you haven’t just yet, and now you’re wondering what to do with it and whether it will actually work?!

You’ll be reassured to know that there are lots of different ways it can be used, offering various health advantages.

We’ve teamed up with Aku, the team behind (in our opinion), the world’s best acupressure tool — the Aku Mat.

Their professional insight, together with our experience and rigorous testing, has enabled us to summarize 10 ways to use an acupressure mat:

1. For Back Pain

How to use an acupressure mat for back pain

Back pain affects 80% of adults at some point in their lifetime, so if you’re struggling with the condition then you’re not alone.

There are a number of tools and remedies to help manage your condition, including acupressure.

It’s one of the most popular reasons to use the therapy, and it’s no wonder when you consider both the data and anecdotal evidence.

Once you’ve invested in your mat then you might be wondering how to use it to start relieving your discomfort.

  1. You can place your mat on any surface — but we recommend a bed or workout mat. Softer surfaces allow your unique body shape to naturally form to the Aku Mat.

  2. Sit down at the base of the mat and slowly roll your back down until you are lying on the mat. Make sure to have your bodyweight evenly distributed across the spikes.

  3. Once you’re in the desired position it’s all about breathing. Focus on slow, deep breaths — only then will your body and mind begin to relax.

  4. Several important acupressure points are located on the back, particularly the lumbar region. Applying consistent pressure to these areas can relieve lower back pain and sciatica.

  5. Aku recommends staying in this position for a duration of 10 minutes.

2. For Neck Pain

How to use an acupressure mat for neck pain

Neck pain is another growing health issue across the world, exacerbated by smartphone use.

In fact, research has shown that smartphone overuse in office workers increases the chance of neck pain by six times.

That’s because your neck is a notoriously tight area where stress and tension can build up.

To treat your neck you can simply roll up your mat to create a pillow and nestle the metal spikes into your neck.

10 minutes is the recommended duration of your treatment, giving the spikes time to soothe your tired or injured muscles.

Acupressure is proven to be effective for neck pain, and has many associated benefits that Aku summarize below:

Neck acupressure points are deeply relaxing and can be triggered to promote thyroid health, which lessens anxiety and stress.

3. For Foot Pain

How to use an acupressure mat for foot pain

All the research points in the same direction — acupressure has a positive impact on foot pain.

Aku are keen to point out that’s because our feet are covered in acupressure points and nerve centers that are a perfect target for the Aku Mat.

Follow the how-to guide below to start treating your foot pain:

  1. Roll out your mat. Start with socks on, and slowly work your way up to bare feet.
  2. Slowly step onto the mat and breathe deeply as your entire bodyweight presses into the metal spikes.
  3. The second you step on the spikes you’ll feel energy rush up the legs. This is the most intense method of the treatment.
  4. One minute durations are recommended initially until you get used to the treatment.

4. To Improve Your Sleep Quality

How to use an acupressure mat to improve your sleep quality

Are you one of the 30% of Americans that have symptoms of insomnia? Or just in desperate need of a good night’s sleep?

Then you might be turning to acupressure as the solution, which makes sense when you consider the scientific evidence.

Using a mat before bed helps to prepare your body to rest and calms the mind.

Start by making it a part of your bedtime routine.

Lie down for 10 minutes before climbing into bed. Consider a cup of sleep-inducing herbal tea too!

Beware, as acupressure is so good for sleep that you might drift off. However it’s essential that you don’t sleep on your mat.

5. To Speed Up Recovery from a Muscle Injury

How to use an acupressure mat to speed up recovery from a muscle injury

Acupressure can be used to aid recovery after a muscle injury.

Physical therapy professionals at Physio.co.uk explain:

Soft tissue injuries can result in scar tissue formation, increased tension and pain. Acupressure is effectively used to decrease tension and pain by reducing any scar tissue.

The acupressure technique applies deep pressure onto an area of injury and temporarily restricts the blood flow. On release fresh blood circulation is stimulated allowing nutrients and oxygen to be delivered and the tissue repair process to begin.

The deep pressure applied to scar tissue breaks down fibrous tissue and promotes tissue fibre realignment.

There are findings to suggest that even a short time on your acupressure mat can aid recovery.

In fact, just three minutes of regular treatment has been shown to lessen the pain scores of injured athletes.

Aku suggest starting with a thin t-shirt or socks on while your body adjusts to the initial intensity.

However for the full intensity you should work up to bare skin.

Use your tool in bed, on the floor, or on a couch, whichever acupressure mat position feels the most comfortable.

6. To Improve Mobility - Releasing Knots and Trigger Points

How to use an acupressure mat to improve mobility - releasing knots and trigger points

Aku remark that relaxing tense muscles and improving mobility is one of the top reasons to invest in the Aku Mat.

Of course if you’re struggling with knots in your back, you can follow the guidance above.

However if it’s knots in your legs, they have a more unexpected suggestion!

They recommend sitting on the Aku Mat for 5-10 minutes with your legs over the surface area of the mat.

For more localized areas of tension they propose another of their spiky tools — the Aku Ball.

We also reviewed this product in detail and found it to be highly versatile for pain relief.

Covered in 656 metal spikes it’s perfect for improving mobility in your neck or releasing a trigger point elsewhere on your body that might be hard to reach by lying down on the mat.

7. To Boost Your Circulation

How to use an acupressure mat to boost your circulation

Looking for ways to give your circulation a boost? Then the Aku Mat could be a good investment.

There is evidence to demonstrate that the treatment can significantly increase blood flow to the area being treated.

In the small-scale study, patients with Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Diseases underwent regular three minute sessions with positive outcomes.

Aku feel that incorporating acupressure into your daily routine is the way to go!

There is no frequency limit as such, just regular 10-15 minute sessions should help you experience the full acupressure effect.

8. To Produce Endorphins

How to use an acupressure mat to produce endorphins

Here at The Good Body we were lucky enough to speak with CEO of Aku, Paul de Jersey (you can read the full Q&A here).

He explained that the tiny metal spikes on the Aku Mat stimulate active nerve centers in the body to increase local blood flow and lymph circulation.

This reflective action triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters and an essential part of the body’s natural healing process.

When speaking about the production of endorphins in particular, he offered this clear and insightful guidance for use:

  1. To maximize benefit and limit initial discomfort, we recommend standing or laying on the Aku Mat for up to 10 minutes a day.
  2. Begin with a light t-shirt or socks, and graduate to skin on metal contact as your body adapts to the process.
  3. After a few minutes laying or standing on the Aku Mat, endorphins begin to flow throughout the body enabling the user to enter into a state of euphoric pleasure and total relaxation.
  4. You will feel a rush of warmth to the targeted area, followed by a release of tension as muscle aches and pains begin to melt away.

9. To Treat Anxiety

How to use an acupressure mat to treat anxiety

More than 30 different pieces of research have proven that acupressure therapy has an immediate and positive impact on the symptoms of anxiety.

We’ve found through testing the Aku Mat, that the best way to find relief is by making it part of your self-care routine and setting a mood.

Consider lighting a candle, misting some anxiety-relieving essential oils into the air, or listening to binaural beats. Making it part of your yoga or meditation practice can also be powerful.

Don’t underestimate the power of your breathing while using the tool either.

According to Aku, many people tend to hold their breath as a reflex mechanism when stepping onto the spiky surface.

Ashley Neese, wellbeing influencer and author of the book “How to Breath”, shared some comprehensive breathing exercises with the Aku team.

Try following the ‘4 in, 4 out’ technique below:

  1. Find a target area then lay on the mat
  2. Set an intention for recovery (there are many positive affirmations that can inspire you)
  3. Set a timer for 3 minutes
  4. Close your eyes
  5. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your diaphragm
  6. Begin counting to 4 slowly on the inhale
  7. Slowly exhale for 4
  8. Repeat this until the timer rings
  9. Move the mat to another target area and repeat

The thinking behind this technique is that it helps your body enter a parasympathetic state, slowing your heart rate and allowing you to feel calmer.

10. To Increase Your Energy Levels

How to use an acupressure mat to increase your energy levels

Though research is fairly limited, experimental studies have revealed that acupressure can increase your energy levels.

The Aku Mat can be particularly potent, which Paul de Jersey explains is down to the technology used:

Our products are meticulously designed with high-grade metal spikes that naturally stimulate energy flow throughout the body.

We harness ancient techniques with new age technology to create the most effective acupressure experience available.

Some generic acupressure mats are comprised of cheap and sometimes harmful plastics.

There are dozens of plastic mat derivatives available, but only one mat that emulates the authentic acupressure experience.

As with boosting your circulation, it’s a case of making the treatment a part of your everyday routine.

Regular practice will allow you to achieve the full range of benefits that acupressure can offer!

We wrote a detailed review of the Aku Mat after months of testing.

By looking closely at each feature, our team were able to deliver an insightful look at the product that you can read here.

Laura Smith

Author

Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

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