With quarantine dominating our lives these past few months, stress relief has become more than a luxury — it’s become a necessity. Since many of us can’t attend our yoga classes or acupuncture appointments, it’s time to take things into our own hands. Acupressure mats are an effective and non-invasive way to melt your worries and knots away. At first glance, these plastic-spike studded mats look like a torture device (bed of nails, anybody?), but people have described the sensation as being extremely therapeutic and easing a range of physical and mental ailments.
Learning how to use your acupressure mat might take some trial and error since the goal is to create a customized amount of pressure for your body. This can be adjusted by wearing different layers of clothing or bare skin, and experimenting with the time of applied pressure. The best acupressure mats won’t provide more pressure than you can handle.
Investing in an acupressure mat lets you spend less on expensive classes or appointments and can increase your overall sense of well-being and calm, which we’re all desperate for nowadays. However, the best acupressure items also include pillows, pens, and other relaxation aids.
Here are our top acupressure picks to fit every lifestyle and need.
1. Artree Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
BEST OVERALL ACUPRESSURE MAT
Reviewers often compare this well-padded mat to its luxury competitor Pranamat, but it’s available for a fraction of the price. Filled with adjustable and hypoallergenic buckwheat hulls and coconut fiber, this pillow and mat set is also scented with herbs to provide increased calm for the user. Medical-grade plastic ensures that no chemical smell wafts out during your spike session. The pillow is actually shaped like a pillow rather than a half-moon, which increases portability and allows it to be wrapped around the waist or other body parts. Best of all? It comes with a useful backpack rather than a tote.
2. NAYOYA Acupressure Mat & Pillow Set
Packed in a convenient box with a handle, this stress-busting acupressure mat is optimal for sciatic pain and other persistent body and joint aches. It comes in at a reasonable price and targets 6210 points in the mat alone, while the additional pillow comes with 1782 points. This is the best acupressure mat for beginners and comes with extensive instructions, which other options don’t. Some users with severe skin issues or sensitive skin reported that the mat worked without aggravating them, as opposed to less gentle mats, which also means you can lay on it for longer than other options on the market.
3. ProSourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY MAT
This large mat and pillow set comes in a range of colors for just $19.99 and is often purchased for back and neck muscle relaxation. With nearly 7,000 four and five-star reviews on Amazon, this relaxing plant-based and cotton eco foam uses completely non-toxic materials and can be used in a multitude of ways. Some users even report using it for fibromyalgia and other conditions that can be expensive to treat. Whether it’s stimulating endorphins or easing insomnia, this mat has your back — literally. Reviewers claim this “bed of nails” is sharper than other plastic-spiked mats, melting muscles into the mat and reducing severe pain.
4. Ajna Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
BEST FOR LOWER BACK PAIN
The additional pillow that comes with this set might be even better than the mat itself. Many acupressure mats come with pillows that are not, in fact, pillow-shaped at all, and more of a non-malleable cylinder shape that can only be used for the head, neck or feet. The buckwheat-filled pillow isn’t just easy to store, but its more versatile shape makes it fantastic for targeting lower back pain, at 17-by-12 inches. The entire Ajna set is made of sustainable materials (including the packaging) and is engineered to last long. This brand seems to be a favorite due to its unique pillow shape.
5. ZenGuru Acupressure U-Shaped Neck Pillow
BEST ACUPRESSURE PILLOW FOR TRAVEL
This U-shaped acupressure cushion has completely reinvented the travel pillow game, and might just finally allow you to catch some restful zzz’s on-the-go. Whether you’re a travel junkie or a desk worker with a bad case of tech neck, this acupressure pillow by ZenGuru relieves stress and pain with its integrated magnet therapy that isn’t present in most mats. These deeply penetrating magnets seek out the shoulder and neck area to target pain more effectively. One side of this pillow is covered in a targeted area only, while the other is coated in plastic spikes all over, allowing for neck, shoulder, and head relief simultaneously.
6. TheraFlow Dual Foot Massager Roller
BEST ACUPRESSURE TOOL FOR ACHY FEET
Sometimes, just the thought of a bed of nails piercing through your sensitive soles is enough to send a shiver down your spine. If an acupressure mat for your feet sounds too intense to start out with, this TheraFlow dual foot massage roller covers a large amount of surface area with less intensity. Designed to integrate the Shiatsu technique, this roller can massage swollen and achy feet suffering from the symptoms of neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and standing on your feet all day. Unlike other generic rollers on the market, this is designed to work for a range of different feet. Kick back, turn on the TV, and enjoy a relaxing reflexology massage courtesy of TheraFlow.
7. VitaliZEN Extra Long Mat Set
BEST OVERSIZED ACUPRESSURE MAT
The surface area on some acupressure mats isn’t the best — especially if you’re taller than average. This kit by VitaliZEN is extra-long and comes with some freebies, like a massage ball and a travel-sized mat, enhancing its bang-for-your-buck value. Letting you target as many pressure points possible, this double-sized mat can still be conveniently packed up in the complimentary carrying bag. It’s also constructed of organic cotton and non-toxic foam, with recyclable spikes, so you can rest assured that your carbon footprint is as tiny as possible.
8. Breolife 3-in-1 Electronic Acupuncture Pen
BEST ALTERNATIVE TO ACUPUNCTURE
Similar to acupuncture, this electronic acupuncture pen uses magnetic technology to reduce muscle tension and open up your meridians in a non-invasive way. If you have sensitive skin, fear of needles, or are simply looking for an affordable alternative to acupuncture treatments, this 3-in-1 massaging pen uses electric massage therapy to open up your Qi. With nine modes of energy intensity, this item can be adjusted to your desire – many users claim that the lowest setting is enough to get the job done. Ideal for targeting small areas and acute pain where a mat would be too much, such as on the knee.