I’ve been struggling to sleep recently. Many reasons but not helping is my back has been really really tight. Not painful as such, but the muscles are tight and whilst stretching helps it feel better I just can’t get comfortable come bedtime.
Then I stumbled across acupressure mats. Now these are either the best kept secret ever or I have majorly missed the boat on some fitness trend.
Because sod foam rolling, vibrating foam rollers or even small spikey balls. These mats are amazing.
If you aren’t familiar, they are a little bit like beds of nails. A small yoga mat, covered in little circles of sharp pointy plastic. You lay on them, or stand on them, with bare skin. Sounds horrific. It’s honestly amazing.
It’s a similar concept to acupuncture, although here it’s pressure as the points don’t break the skin. You place the pressure point evenly on the mat and allow your weight to ease onto the spikes. At first it’s a bit painful, (some people like to start with a thin layer of clothes until used to it) and you don’t want to wiggle about once in place, but as you get used to the sensation it stops feeling like pain and starts to feel like relaxation, it feels like your body eases it’s around the spikes and you stop feeling like you’re laying on anything.
I’ve been aiming for 20 minutes before bed each night for the last few nights and once I stand up it feels like I’ve just had a deep tissue massage on my back. I feel loose and not achy and it makes falling asleep feel much easier. Now it does list better sleep as a benefit, although it may be that I’m finding sleep a bit easier because I’m more comfortable lying as I go to sleep. Either way it’s a win.
I’ve yet to fully explore what else I can do with this mat. I did give standing on it a go, although I only lasted two minutes (smaller surface, more weight) so will need to build up my tolerance for that. I also want to try on my glutes and thighs as I think that may also benefit my back. I’ve also read that laying on your stomach may aid digestion so may give that a go too just to see how it feels after.
If you do suffer from aches and pains though so far I can highly recommend these little beauties. They can be expensive but I got one for £10 on Amazon and it’s great so you don’t need to spend loads to give it a try.