This is such a simple idea that it is laughable, however the joke was on me as once I tried it I was amazed how relaxing it is.
The mat consists of a coated foam base with loads of round pressure point relievers. The nearest thing I can compare the texture of the nodules to is those nobbly tumble dryer balls, but obviously flat and alot sharper. You can lay on the mat, sit on it or stand on it and the nodules will start to relieve stress and pressure. The instructions do acknowledge that it can be painful at first but after 5 minutes the pain subsides. You start off doing 10 minutes a day and increase this to 40 minutes after a while. I like to use mine last thing at night which is the time I tend to struggle to relax and this has honestly helped me to get to sleep much faster than I used to before the mat arrived.
The only down side is that this does not come with a massive amount of instructions, but I have been able to find a range of books on Amazon that have allowed me to get 110% out of my mat. I recommend that you try the mat before you buy any books as my partner doesnt like using this and finds it painful. I love it, but obviously it isnt to everyones taste.
on 24 April 2011
I bought a Yantra mat in November 2010.
I had some pain in my arms a few years ago and sought advice from a few sources to try to combat this.
I attended classes in Alexander technique, and found its most useful technique to be its simplest one - lying down in 'semi-supine position' - lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your head slightly raised off the floor on a couple of books; and imagining your back lengthening and widening. This allows your shoulders and back to gradually relax down on to the floor. The effect is a bit like 'ironing' stress and twists out of your back and shoulders.
This is the most calming exercise I know, and it also features in yoga and Pilates. I've been doing it 10 minutes at a time at least once daily since discovering it. It's particularly good last thing at night to help you sleep.
I also had a few sessions with a physio, who recommended the semi-supine position with a modification - lying with a rolled towel under my upper back, roughly along the upper quarter or so of my spine. I think her logic was that this would stretch the tissue and so relax it.
This was very uncomfortable at first, but the effect I experienced after a 10-20 minute session of this was incredibly relaxing - even made me feel quite high.
I've since experimented with placing lots of different objects - eg electric plugs (unconnected to power, obviously, and with the pins pointing into my shoulders), lego, cups, a foam roller - under my shoulders (usually one object at a time) while in semisupine position. Most sharpish objects have a similar effect to the towel.
I've tried to find information about this sort of thing on the web, and the closest thing I've found is Myofascial_release/foam rolling
I came across the Yantra mat while googling on acupressure. It seemed like a worthwhile experiment too.
I've tried it in a few positions, but the only one I've found had any effect was semisupine.
Even just a couple of minutes of semisupine on the mat would often make me both relaxed and buzzed, but contrary to the manufacturer's claims, it actually GAVE me insomnia! Even if I used it in the morning, it could still take me a couple of hours to sleep that night as I was still feeling a bit hyper. But on other days, the mat would have little effect on my mood - using it a few days in a row seemed to lessen its impact.
I'm not sure if the mechanism at work here really is acupressure - there seems to be little evidence for meridians. I think the explanation I've read which makes most sense to me is that the spikes on the mat lead to increased blood flow and release of endorphins, which make you feel good.
It's strange that there seems to be have been so little scientific research done into semisupine / myofascial release / acupressure / lying on unusual objects. These are techniques that cost little in terms of time, effort or money yet can have a hugely beneficial effect on your mood.
After buying the Yantra, I also bought another couple of acupressure mats. The first was an 'Massage Shakti Acupressure Meditation Yoga Nail Mat' from eBay. This was a slightly smaller and much cheaper mat, but seemed otherwise identical to the Yantra - possibly made by the same manufacturer (the Yantra mat has a label saying it's a 'Product by Attract', but I gave the Shakti to a friend, so not sure if it has this label) - and gave a similar effect.
The second was the Acupressure Mat Combi, which I bought from Acupressure Mats UK via eBay. It was more expensive (about £60) and is a very different type of mat - you'll find it by googling. Instead of the Yantra's thousands of tiny spikes, this one has hundreds of broader spikes. The Combi is really 2 mats - one 'classic' (hard spikes) and one 'soft' (softer spikes). I didn't find the soft version effective, but I use the classic one daily - I place it behind my back for 20 minutes or so while sitting down each morning, and it gives pretty consistent results - makes me feel comfortable, relaxed yet alert all day. However, it also has the effect of making it difficult to get to sleep.
Shocked by the high price of the Combi mat, which is after all just a couple of bits of plastic, I tried using some cheaper spike mats (not intended for acupressure) which I found on amazon - Mat & Rug Grip Strips (meant to prevent your shoes from slipping on the floor) and Fence Wall Spikes (for keeping cats off your fence). These also seem quite effective, but the Acupressure Mat Combi (classic) is still the best I've tried.
It's interesting that the reviews for the green Yantra mat are better than those for the purple one! I'd advise anyone considering the mat that, before buying, they should try basic semisupine position first, then try semisupine with some small sharp inexpensive household objects under their shoulders, to see if these have any effect.
PS - If I was reviewing Amazon's review process, I'd give it 0 stars. It seems if you include a link external to Amazon (as I did - to wikipedia - in the first version of this review), your review will be rejected. There is a warning about this somewhere in the small print, but you don't receive any email notification about a rejected review. If I hadn't saved my review in a text file on my PC, all this typing effort would have been wasted - I'd have lost the review. Sort yourselves out, Amazon!
on 14 April 2010
I work in Sweden and this is where I was informed by a colegue to the accupunture mat, at first I was very skeptic , as I am overweight and struggling with lower back pain I purchased one, IT was very sore at first because I tried it without a Tshirt on,So now I try lying on the mat with a T shirt on and it is much better, you have to lye on the mat for more than 5 minutes to get the benefit, I will say this has helped the pain in my back for short periods but I believe this would really benefit normal size people with back problems