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Acupressure mats are designed to produce similar results as acupressure massage.

From traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupressure is a technique used to release blocked chi (Qi), or energy, throughout the body. Once these blockages are removed, pain may be reduced or completely alleviated.

Acupressure mats contain several hundred plastic points that apply pressure to many acupressure points in the back. There are also acupressure pillows that can be used on the neck, head, hands, or feet.

Many people are currently using acupressure mats to alleviate back pain and headaches. But do they work? It depends on who you ask.

There isn’t a large body of research on acupressure mats specifically, although some small studies show them to be beneficial for reducing pain. Many users also swear by the positive results.

Acupressure mats themselves haven’t been studied extensively for their potential benefits. Since these mats work similarly to acupressure and acupuncture — by stimulating pressure points along the meridians of the body — they may provide the same or similar types of benefits.

The main difference is that acupressure mats stimulate many acupressure points indiscriminately, as opposed to targeted acupressure treatments provided by a professional.

Acupressure mat benefits

Acupressure mat users have reported finding relief for the following conditions:

Acupressure mats are generally very similar in design. The differences in cost between them is often associated with extra bells and whistles, such as storage bags. The type of fabric used to make the mat may also increase the cost.

In general, more expensive is not necessarily the same as more effective, so we tried to include a range of options with a variety of prices.

Pricing guide

  • $: under $40
  • $$: $40-$80
  • $$$: over $80

All the mats chosen were picked based on high customer reviews and the quality of the mats. Each manufacturer went through our vetting process, reviewing the company’s claims and industry best practices, and any potential lawsuits to make sure the product is high quality from all angles. If you’re ready to try an acupressure mat, check out the mats below.

Best affordable mat

ProSourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

  • Price: $
  • Health concerns to help: back and neck pain
  • Best for: those looking to keep the cost down
  • Pros: includes a pillow, available in a range of colors, and price is budget-friendly
  • Cons: doesn’t include a storage case, and some users commented that it was smaller than they expected

Key features: This mat set is made from plant-based foam and thick cotton. The mat is full-sized and contains 6,210 plastic spikes. The pillow provides an additional 1,782 spikes. The set is available in several different colors like black, blue, pink, and purple. The pillow can also be used under your feet for additional relief options.

Considerations: Users bemoan the lack of a carrying case or storage bag for the mat, but rave about its pain-alleviating abilities. The cotton cover is removable and can be hand-washed. (Do not place in a commercial washer or dryer!)

Best mat for on-the-go use

Original Bed of Nails ECO Acupressure Strap

  • Price: $$
  • Health concerns to help: lower back pain, sciatica, and fibromyalgia
  • Best for: on-the-go
  • Pros: can be worn while you move around, made of eco-friendly materials, and small enough to travel easily
  • Cons: doesn’t offer acupressure over the full back, and more expensive than some full-sized mats

Key features: This acupressure strap is made with an eco-friendly blend of coconut fiber, linen, and buckwheat hull. It can offer targeted acupressure and is small enough to pack easily when traveling. Because it can be worn while you perform other tasks, you can get items checked off your to-do list while relieving pain and tension.

Considerations: This isn’t a full-sized mat, so you won’t be able to apply pressure to your whole back or larger areas. You may need to also purchase the brand’s pillow or more traditional mat depending on your relief goals.

Best mat for feet

Daiwa Felicity Foot Massager Reflexology Mat

  • Price: $
  • Health concerns to help: blood circulation and foot pain
  • Best for: those with feet pain
  • Pros: affordable price, embedded with magnets, and FSA/HSA-eligible
  • Cons: primarily focused on feet and not as eco-friendly as other options

Key features: This mat has a 13-inch diameter and includes over 250 nodes with four pressure points each. It also has 10 embedded magnets to help with blood circulation. The price is one of the more affordable ones on our list and if you have an FSA/HSA plan, you may be able to save even more money on this product.

Considerations: This mat has a weight limit of 250 pounds. It also is not as versatile as some of the other options on our list, since it is only designed to be used on feet. While it is portable, if you intend to travel or take it with you frequently, you may be frustrated that it doesn’t come with its own carrying case.

Best mat set

Pranamat ECO Massage Set

  • Price: $$$
  • Health concerns to help: neck and back pain
  • Best for: those who want a luxury mat set
  • Pros: handmade, certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX, and comes with mini-mat and pillow
  • Cons: the most expensive option on our list and does not include a carrying case

Key features: This set includes an acupressure pillow and a mini-mat in addition to the traditionally shaped acupressure mat. This set is handmade in Europe and certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX. It is made with coconut fiber filling, buckwheat hulls, linen, cotton, and HIPS ecoplastic.

Considerations: This is by far the most expensive option on our list; however, it can be returned for 30 days for any reason and comes with a 5-year warranty. If you intend to travel a lot or hope to take your mat to work with you, you’ll want to keep in mind that this option does not include a carrying case.

Best splurge

Shakti Premium Acupressure Mat Original

  • Price: $$$
  • Health concerns to help: tension from tight muscles and stress
  • Best for: those not on a tight budget
  • Pros: handcrafted in India using organically certified cotton and dyes, this mat is available in three different intensity levels, and every spike is individually attached using a special clip technique
  • Cons: this is not the most budget-friendly option, and the acupressure pillow is sold separately

Key features: You can choose from the Shakti light with 8,000 pressure points, the Shakti original with 6,000 pressure points, or the Shakti advanced with 4,000 pressure points. The spikes on this mat are designed not to bend or go blunt even with daily use and are individually attached with a special clip technique.

Considerations: Shakti prides itself on fair living wages and medical funds for employees as well as investment in the education of their employee’s children. The company also gives back with charity donations (10% of the profits go to charities that support the vulnerable in India.)

Best mat for taller folks

Lixada Massage Mat

  • Price: $
  • Health concerns to help: may help with muscle tension as well as head, neck, back, arm, leg, hand, and foot pain
  • Best for: full-body acupressure/tall individuals
  • Pros: budget-friendly price tag; comes with two massage balls, a pillow, and a carrying bag; the mat’s extra length works well on chairs
  • Cons: not made with the most eco-friendly materials and some users felt the spikes were too gentle

Key features: This extra-long acupressure mat also comes with two massage balls, an acupressure pillow, and a carrying bag to make it easier to transport this to the office or on trips. The mat has 230 massage nails and 6,210 massage points. The included pillow offers an additional 59 massage nails and 1,593 massage points.

Considerations: If you’re looking for a sharp needle feel, some users commented that the spikes on this mat may be too gentle for you. Some of the other mats on this list are also made with more eco-friendly materials.

Acupressure mats can take some getting used to. The spikes are sharp and can cause discomfort or pain for several minutes before they start to warm up to the body and feel good.

To get maximum results, use the mat each day for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Remember to breathe and practice consciously relaxing your body. Here are some more tips:

  • choose the surface to put it on: Beginners often use the mat spread out on a bed or sofa. Intermediate and experienced users may move their mats onto the floor.
  • try sitting on it: You can also sit on or against the mat in a chair so that your butt and lower back have direct contact.
  • Start with a layer between yourself and the mat: Wearing a light shirt or placing a piece of thin fabric over the spikes may help you acclimate to the feeling of the mat. Users report that they get the best results when the mat is in contact with their bare skin, but don’t feel the need to go shirt-off right away.
  • lie down slowly: Lie down with your weight evenly distributed on the mat. This will help you avoid injury from the points.
  • reposition yourself carefully: Don’t fidget or move around on the mat, as you may more readily pierce or scratch your skin that way.
  • use consistently: Mats take getting used to, but really seem to work for many people. If this product appeals to you, stick with it and give it time to work.

When choosing an acupuncture mat, you’ll want to consider:

  • materials: Acupressure mats come made from a range of highly synthetic and eco-friendly materials. The materials used to make the mat are usually one of the biggest factors in the price. You’ll want to look for a mat within your budget made of durable materials that you’re comfortable with.
  • number of spikes and style: Mats differ in the number of spikes they have and even the shape/style of the spikes. You’ll want to note how the spikes are attached to the mat since this can impact how long they last without breaking off!
  • size: Acupressure mats come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You’ll want to find one that’s a good fit for your body length or the part of your body you want to target.
  • any “bonus” items: Acupressure pillows, balls, and even mini acupressure mats may all be included with your purchase. These can be especially helpful if you plan to use acupressure on your arms, legs, hands, and feet. If you plan to take your mat with you, you may want to look for one that comes with a carrying case.

Acupuncture mats are not safe for everyone. You’ll want to keep some considerations in mind before buying or using one:

  • Mat spikes can pierce the skin, especially when used incorrectly. To avoid wounds or infection, don’t use an acupressure mat if you have thin skin, diabetes, or poor circulation.
  • Most acupressure mat manufacturers don’t recommend using them while pregnant.
  • Don’t use an acupressure mat to induce labor. Acupressure for labor should only be done under a medical professional’s supervision.
  • Babies, toddlers, and small children should not use acupressure mats.
  • If you have high or low blood pressure, talk with your doctor before using it.
  • Acupressure mats shouldn’t be used instead of medical treatments or prescribed medications.

It’s important to discuss any medical concerns with your doctor. You should never use an acupressure mat as a replacement for medical care.

An acupressure mat is not a replacement for prescribed medications or medical treatments.

If you have pain that does not go away, it’s important to see a doctor. Notify your doctor right away if pain, numbness, or weakness spreads or becomes worse.

How long does it take for an acupressure mat to work?

Using an acupressure mat for approximately 20 minutes is generally believed to be sufficient. You may have to build up to this or wear clothing while doing this in the beginning. It’s a good idea to follow guidance from the manufacturer and/or your doctor.

Who shouldn’t use an acupressure mat?

Acupressure mats should not be used by children or babies. They are also not appropriate for those with unregulated high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, or skin inflammation/infection.

If you could be pregnant or are pregnant, discuss using an acupressure mat with your doctor first. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, heart issues, or any other serious medical condition, consult with your doctor before using an acupressure mat.

What’s the difference between acupressure and acupuncture?

Acupressure uses manual pressure from fingers, elbows, etc. to apply pressure to acupoints. In acupuncture, this pressure is applied with extremely thin needles that enter the body.

Can you lie on an acupressure mat for too long?

While there is not a specific time limit for lying on an acupressure mat (less than 30 minutes is frequently recommended), lying on spikes for too long can cause bruising or damage to the skin’s surface. It is not generally advised to fall asleep on an acupressure mat overnight.

Acupressure mats haven’t been studied extensively, but many users rave about the reduction in pain and stress.

If you have back or body pain, stress, or headaches, acupressure mats and pillows may be worth a try. They do, however, take some getting used to.

You can also consider trying acupressure massage or acupuncture. Sometimes working directly with a professional can be more effective and calming to boot.