When you’re dealing with body aches and pains, your solution is likely a combination of over-the-counter pain medication and plenty of rest. But for more than 9,000 shoppers—including a nurse with a pinched sciatic nerve and a reviewer with fibromyalgia—the ProSource Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set ($22; amazon.com) is the “most effective” all-natural pain reliever. And it turns out their claims aren’t unfounded.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found a needle stimulation pad, like this Amazon best-seller, has “substantial potential” for alleviating chronic neck and back pain. The study also found the mats can trigger a parasympathetic response in the nervous system, which leads to a relaxed state in the body.
We know: Lying on a bed of (plastic) needles sounds like the cause of back pain rather than its treatment. But the tool’s effectiveness is rooted in more than exploratory studies. The mat is considered both an at-home, less precise version of acupressure practiced in traditional Chinese medicine and a modernized version of the bed of nails historically used in meditation practice. Essentially, it’s a holistic approach to treating pain by simultaneously increasing blood circulation, releasing endorphins, and relaxing muscles.
The mat works by creating over 7,992 acupressure points along the body, broken down into just over 6,000 spikes on the mat and just under 2,000 on the pillow. You can sit, stand, or lie down on the mat for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to trigger your body’s response. Reviewers write that, initially, the mast will cause a wave of pain, but the torture subsides into a pain-free bliss.
You can adjust the intensity of your treatment by standing, sitting, or lying down on the mat and pillow set. Further personalize the treatment by placing the kit on a softer surface for a lower intensity option or trying it against bare skin for a stronger sensation. Eventually, you’re bound to find the perfect combination that has earned the mat its reputation as a “lifesaver” and a “miracle” for chronic neck and back pain.
“As the result [of] an accident in 2015, I have chronic lumbar back pain that, at times, gets so painful that I will run a fever, vomit, and pass out,” wrote one 5-star reviewer. “When I feel my back starting to flare up, I've laid on the mat for 30 to 45 minutes and find that my pain is completely gone! This is astonishing since I always have some baseline of pain at all times. I recommend this to everyone who suffers from chronic pain. It has changed my life!”
Plus, shoppers say it’s also helped with health concerns like migraines, lupus, and insomnia. It’s also been a useful coping skill for one shopper with anxiety that compared it to a sensory aid like a weighted blanket. And despite the seemingly endless benefits, the popular mat is only $22. Really, the only choice you have to make now is deciding between the 7 color options.
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