When it comes to the world of wellness, it can feel like a new cure all product hits the market every five minutes – but one in particular has caught our eye recently: The Shakti Mat. Now, to clarify, Shakti Mat is a specific brand of acupressure mat, both of which have been knocking around for a while (over a decade, actually) but have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. But how is an acupressure mat supposed to work? And most importantly, do they work? We took up the challenge of reviewing one.
Firstly, Shakti Mats specifically claim to aid the user with a number of different issues, including:
Muscle tension recovery
Better energy levels
Back and neck pain
How does a Shakti Mat work?
The general idea behind a Shakti Mat (and its competitors) is that the multiple spikes attached to each mat are specially designed to target your muscles in the most relaxing way. Now, we realise that 'multiple spikes' and 'relaxing' don't exactly sound like a natural fit, but the pain is actually not all that bad (we'll get into that properly in a minute). Akin to an acupuncture session, the mats are designed to hit pressure points and provide the body with a myriad of benefits, as listed above.
Is a Shakti Mat painful?
One Cosmopolitan UK staffer was keen to try out The Shakti Mat and said: "Initially I was wary of gently lowering my bare skin down onto a thousand pointy, metal spikes, but after doing so slowly, I was surprised to find it actually didn't hurt all that much. At first, the sensation was similar to being sunburnt but after a few minutes (and some deep breaths), I got used to it and started to – dare I say? – enjoy it."
She added, "I road tested the Shakti Mat combo, which retails for £78 in total, meaning I lay down on a flat mat for my back and had a curved pillow that focuses on the neck too. Be careful not to get your hair caught up in the neck pillow, as that's definitely no fun attempting to detangle."
Overall, she said the experience was a positive one. "I often experience backache and neck issues after a bad fall a few years ago resulted in whiplash. My back pain has definitely increased now that I'm working from home a lot more and don't have a proper office chair in place. The Shakti Mat alleviated some of my stiffness and left me feeling chilled out afterwards, with a nice zingy feeling zipping through my body at the same time – in the same way that after a massage you can feel sleepy, but later on more energetic."
She added, "Maybe it's a placebo effect or the fact that being on the mat forced me to put my phone down for a while, and just lie still – a rarity these days – but either way, I felt better after my Shakti experience than I did before. That burning sensation could be quite addictive."
Is a Shakti Mat good for muscle tension?
Others have recommended the mat as being beneficial for Restless Leg Syndrome and as a good way to soothe muscles after exercise or playing sports (one rugby player we chatted to while researching the mats couldn't stop singing its praises).
Is a Shakti Mat good for anxiety and stress?
As our Cosmopolitan staffer said, she definitely felt more relaxed and energised after spending some time on the mat. But if you're struggling with stress and anxiety to such an extent that it's impacting on your day-to-day life, we always recommend reaching out to your GP for a chat.
Try an acupressure mat yourself:
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