Table of contents
Using a shakti mat; what is it and how does it work? It is said that sitting or lying on such a spiky mat does wonders for your well-being. Why? In this blog we answer that question!
A nail mat may remind you of fakirs who lie completely still on iron pins. However, for many people using stinging points is not a fable. For over a thousand years, people in several parts of Asia have been working with pressure points, for example in acupuncture, reflexology and Ayurveda. The acupressure mat is a handy version that is suitable for doing such therapies at home. If you want to know what benefits are to be gained from using a spike mat and how you should use it, we suggest you keep reading!
An acupressure massage with a shakti mat is used to:
- Stimulate pressure points
- Dispose of bodily waste
- Stimulate happiness hormones
As a result of these possible acupressure mat benefits, issues such as stress, pain and discomfort could possibly be eased. Additionally, you can use a shakti mat to perform yoga exercises.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the human body runs on energy or chi. It is believed that several energy channels, or meridians, run through your body. These energy channels can be stimulated by touching specific spots. This can be done with light pressure, such as with acupressure or with needles for an acupuncture massage. Your body reacts by sending energy to that spot. The idea is that the body can heal itself with this method.
It is believed that when the chi is activated because of an acupressure massage, the blood flow in that spot will be stimulated. As a result, your muscles and organs receive a lot of oxygen and therefore they can, for example, dispose of waste.
When you lie down on the thousand little spikes of a shakti mat, your body receives a pain stimulus and will react by producing endorphins and oxytocin. According to many people, these happiness hormones are the good stuff. Endorphins are pain-killing and provide you with a cheerful feeling while oxytocin reduces stress and is known as the hug hormone. Thus, it is believed that a mat massage may temporarily lower your blood pressure and stimulate deep relaxation. Beneficial for both body and spirit!
Shakti mats are designed to treat stiff muscles in your back, neck and shoulders. However, it is possible to stimulate other firm body parts, such as your limbs or the bottom of your feet. It is not recommended to use a shakti mat for the softer parts of your body, because the spikes can be pretty sharp. Below we have listed tips for use of the shakti mat on:
- Neck and shoulders
- Pelvis and legs
- Feet and hands
If you want to treat your entire back, you should buy a mat that is large enough. You could use a cushion below your neck and knees for comfort.
Your neck and shoulders are also easily triggered when using a shakti mat. Roll up the mat and place it under your neck. You could also fold it a couple of times to create a large pillow that fits your shoulders. You could even add some blankets to achieve the right height. If you are going for a more luxurious approach, you might want to buy a special shakti mat pillow.
To relax your pelvis, you could sit on your mat cross-legged or in another meditation pose. According to energetic medicine, this might help the blood flow in your legs or your root chakra.
According to Chinese medicine, all energy channels end in your feet and hands. Thus, it is believed to be possible to treat the whole body through your hands and feet. For such a treatment you can go and stand on the mat or, when standing causes too much irritation or pain, place your feet on the mat while sitting on a chair. You could also let your hands rest on the mat by putting the mat in your lap or on a table, for example. Another option is doing yoga exercises on the mat, as you will put pressure on your hands while doing so.
You could include using the mat in your daily routine, such as in your self-care ritual or just whenever you feel like it. Try a meditation on the mat or put it over your yoga mat to add acupressure to your asanas. Start your day by standing on the spikes for a couple of minutes, or end a long workday with it. This massage-friend could also come in handy right before bed; some people use it every night. You could, for example, place the mat on your bed so you can start to relax even before you turn the lights off. However, according to experts, you should not spend entire nights on the mat, because that would be too much.
If you want to use the acupressure mat for the first time, you should take the following into account:
- The duration of your session
- Your comfort
It takes some time for your skin to get used to such pressure and, according to experts, you should therefore ease into it. That is how you ensure healthy use of the Shakti mat!
The duration of your session depends on your personal preference. Build up the duration of your exercises to allow your body to get used to the mat. For beginners a duration of 15 to 20 minutes is often recommended.
Be nice to yourself and don’t cross your limits when it comes to pain. For example, you could put a blanket over the mat or put on a shirt to see how your body responds; this is especially recommended when you are sensitive in your neck or the back of your head. The surface on which you lie also makes a difference; in bed the feeling of the pressure points is less intense compared to when you lie on a wooden floor. After a while, you are probably used to the spikes and you will increase contact with the skin, but always make sure that you put your level of comfort first! Being stressed on a shakti mat does not do any good!
The effects of a shakti mat are almost immediately noticeable. For example, when you are relaxing you may feel a warm glow or tingling. This is a sign that your blood flow is stimulated. After lying on the mat, your skin may be a bit more red than usual. According to the acupressure, this has to do with the benefits of the acupressure mat. It is believed to be a sign that your blood is flowing well and that waste products have come loose, just like what happens after a scraping massage with Guasha stones. According to experts, the redness should fade after a while.
The best shakti mat for you may not be the best shakti mat for someone else. Therefore, we are curious about how you use your mat and how you have experienced it! Feel free to share your nail mat review here so that other people can read it! The more inspiration the better! 🙂