All around the world the demands on healthcare systems with finite resources is increasing. The resource which seems to have been forgotten is the power of the human body to heal itself. These methods are sometimes called “Alternative Therapies” although in truth they have been providing effective relief for centuries, long before the rise of “Modern Medicine.” One of the most effective of these treatments is the Acupressure and it is easy to see why. The treatment is non invasive and does not bring with it unwanted side effects. It can be performed in the comfort of your own home. Most importantly – it works – with results which can be measured from the first treatment and benefits which accrue with use.
Acupressure has proved to be popular and has gained a strong reputation amongst natural treatments and alternative medicine all around the world. The first use of the acupressure mat as we know it today was in Soviet Union in the 1980s and the name of the first mats was related to its inventor Ivan Kuznetsov. These mats are called Kuznetsov Applicators. Since their introduction many millions of Kuznetsov Applicators have been sold in the former Soviet States and the lives of millions improved as a result.
In the late 1990s, with the spread of liberation following the demise of the Soviet Union Acupressure Mats began to be popular in a wide range of former Soviet Block countries and beyond. Today we are seeing the popularity of Acupressure Mats spreading worldwide with their use sweeping across Scandinavia, Western Europe, America and Australia. This popularity of Acupressure Mats is explained by their extreme simplicity and fantastic effectiveness. Unlike most drugs, relief is usually immediate.
Acupressure itself is known to benefit health in a number of positive ways – including reducing stress and tension; increasing blood circulation; aiding in the removal of toxic wastes; providing relief from head, neck and shoulder aches; promoting healing; increasing energy levels; and increasing feelings of well-being. Original Acupressure Mats have provided effective relief in thousands of clinical cases and the success rate is 93%. It doesn’t seem to matter how severe the pain is or how long the person has suffered. Millions of Acupressure mats are being sold annually and as the reputation of the treatment spreads it is certain that more are will be sold in the future. There are dozens of different types, sizes, modifications and names of the Acupressure mat.
Mats are now marketed under a confusing number of trade names. They are variously called Tibetan Applicator, Russian Prickle Pad, Bed of nails, Hedgehog, Spike mat, Spikmatta, Piikkimatto, Shaktimatto, Shakti Mat, Yoga mat, Fakir Mat or Yantra mat. With such a variety to choose from choosing the right mat for your particular condition can be a puzzle. The main thing that should be considered is that this is a personal use device and it will be used in direct contact with our skin.
It is important to check that plastic spines are made of non allergic and non toxic materials and that they are securely fixed to the base fabric using a high strength, non-toxic adhesive. It is also important to check that the mat has got the necessary health and hygiene certificates. The material used for the base of the mat is also important. Ideally it should be 100% Linen or Cotton fabric which allows free air circulation to your skin. Linen fabrics, with their high level of resistance to fungus and bacteria, are exceptional Fabrics for Healing, Healthy Living and Well Being. It is also better if the fabric has natural colors and is not chemically bleached or dyed.
Factory production is much more preferable than hand made for higher hygiene standards and better quality control of the evenness of distribution of the spikes. Also factory produced mats allow closer spacing of the spines for a more even distribution of pressure. For maximum effect Acupressure Mats should be used on a flat and hard surface to maintain the best pressure from the spikes on acupressure points on the body. The use of foam backing is an indication that the mat has been produced with aesthetic rather than health considerations in mind!
Trying to repeat contours of the body reduces the pressure on the trigger points and thereby reduces effectiveness. Acupressure healing relies on the application of pointed pressure to the body trigging a series of complicated internal processes producing a Healing Response. Pain or injury acts to alert the body that damage control is needed, at which point the Healing Response begins and endorphins are generated to repair the affected area. This increases the heart rate and alters the blood pressure to speed up the elimination of toxins from the damaged area.
The research and clinical tests which proves the effectiveness of Acupressure used original Acupressure mats on a flat thin fabric base. Results for modified mats are unproven.
Independent experts have compared the most popular Acupressure mats on the market today. The mats tested were:
* Swedish Acupressure mat (spikemat.com) – 51
* Shakti mat (shaktimat.com) – 26
* Fakir mat (yantramattan.se) – 22
* Yantra mat (fakirmat.com) – 26
* Tibetan Acupressure mat (promoted at http://www.best-pain-relief.co.uk ) – 65
Evaluation was carried out of seven important characteristics of the mats. The performance of each was evaluated using the 10 ball scale where 10 is a measure of ultimate performance. The total rating is shown on the bottom of the table.
Swedish Acupressure mat, Shakti mat, Fakir mat, Yantra mat, and Tibetan Acupressure mat:
Quality of materials used: 9 6 5 6 9
Base fabric: 1 5 4 5 10
Production Quality: 10 – – – 9
Evenness of spine distribution: 10 4 4 4 9
Spine profile: 7 4 4 4 10
Clinical testing and approval: 6 2 1 2 9
Effectiveness: 8 5 4 5 9
Total rating: 51 26 22 26 65
Please remember that whilst this evaluation may help in your mat selection whichever Acupressure mat you choose and use will be better than not using any of them!