Acupressure yoga mat, Indian bed of nails, Yantra mat, Shakti mat, nail mat, Theramat or spike mat are all names for one and the same thing. It is a modern day mat of nails made up of thousands plastic spikes or acupressure points aimed to spread a deep sense of relaxation and relieve symptoms such as restless sleep, stress, insomnia, headaches, poor circulation, back and neck pain. Your first time on these spikes mat you will initially experience some level of discomfort. If you relax your body so your body’s weight is evenly distributed over the mat, the sharp feeling is quickly replaced by a comfortable state or natural high. The mat will create a soothing warmth, because of the heat caused by the increase of blood flow, a natural response to the spikes. Since the body experiences feelings of pain, it releases endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and will soothe away aches and tensions throughout the body. Oxytocin is also called the ‘happiness hormone’, since it makes you feel energized, joyful and relaxed. The spike mat is a great tool for meditation, since it deepens relaxation into peace and tranquillity. In addition, the improved circulation lowers blood pressure and improves nutrient delivery.
It is recommended to lie on the mat for about 15-20 minutes to experience the benefits. Lying on the mat should feel ‘nicely painful’, although everyone has different pain thresholds. The first time you could use a towel or a t-shirt to decrease the sensations. If you are getting used to the acupressure mat, you could even doze off while lying on the spikes.
The healing art of acupressure has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. Scriptures written over 4,000 years ago describe ‘nail beds’ that were used to heal the body and mind. They activate nerve endings down your body and provide soothing healing relief to your entire body. Studies have not only shown that as a result of acupressure, the body’s own pain-relieving and happiness hormones are relieved, there is even some evidence that it can create an increase in metabolism. Since the acupressure mat increases your blood flow and circulation. In addition, you can experience a meditative state of mind where you achieve the kind of focus and clarity that usually comes with prolonged meditation or intense physical activity. The only thing you have to do is lie down and relax.