ZEN TIP TUESDAY #9
This week for ZTT #9 I’m happy to welcome Kate Campion who is sharing with us the benefits of using an acupressure mat – the main one being improved and more restful sleep! Kate also gives us the heads up with her tips on using it and when not to use it! This is one thing I had never even thought of to help me sleep better, but it sure has grabbed my interest now! Enjoy the read, and of course you can learn more about Kate at her bio at the end of the post.
If you’re joining us for ZTT Link-Up #007, welcome!
REASONS TO USE AN ACUPRESSURE MAT
If you have trouble switching off at the end of the day, and can’t remember the last time you closed your eyes in bed and simply fell asleep, then this tip is for you!
For many years, I had issues with sleep.
My brain seemed to never stop working. It was constantly full of chatter – most often when it was time to rest my head on the pillow.
That chatter would run through all the things I had to do, all the things I hadn’t done…
At its best it kept me on my toes.
At its worst it would start to bring up all my mistakes, failings, and fears.
In desperation, I started taking sleeping pills. But although they would help me fall asleep quickly, I’d wake up at 2.00am hyper and wired. And over time I felt their efficacy wane and I went from half a pill to one pill to one and a half to two.
Sometimes even then they wouldn’t work.
And more often than not, I’d wake up irritable and tense after taking them.
When I met my now husband, my life changed in so many ways, and I stopped taking the pills.
But still, with the pressures of work, running a home, parenting, and everything else, there would be nights when I would lie there restless and stressed, feeling a world away from any kind of relief.
And when I started my blog on top of my job, which meant some crazy hours, it got even worse.
I knew something had to change.
EARLY DAYS OF USING AN ACUPRESSURE MAT
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I saw an ad for a Shakti mat, which they described as “a bed of nails.”
Intrigued, I clicked on it to read more.
It explained the Shakti was an acupressure mat, which I had never heard of. However I had had acupuncture a few years before and found it to be beneficial.
I decided to order the mat.
When the Shakti mat arrived, I was a little freaked out. It was a flattish, foam filled mat covered in tiny plastic spikes.
That night, I put it down on the bed, and then managed to manoeuvre myself so I was sitting with it right at my back.
I lay down slowly and instantly felt a combination of pain and warmth.
My back went bright red and felt almost like a burning.
I lay on the mat for about 15 minutes before I felt like I’d had enough.
I sat up and removed the mat and proceeded to have one of the best sleeps I’d had in years!
AFTER USING THE ACUPRESSURE MAT FOR A WHILE
Now every night I use my acupressure mat.
I follow the same process as that first time, though now I tend to lie for 20 minutes at a time. I no longer get the burning or warmth – just a feeling of intense relaxation.
I usually read when I’m on it, however I often find that lying on the mat stills me to the point where I just want to put my book down and concentrate on my breathing.
This is especially the case when I’ve had a stressful day.
I’ve also found the acupressure mat great for standing on when I have sore legs, or rolling up and putting under my neck when my muscles are stiff.
But overall, my most zen moments come from using the mat as part of my evening ritual.
BENEFITS OF USING AN ACUPRESSURE MAT
It clears my head, stills my mind, and enables me to have a restful night’s sleep.
If you’d like to try an acupressure mat, here are my tips.
- Wear a thin t-shirt to start with if you’re super sensitive to pain
- Begin by only lying only 5-15 minutes to begin with.
- Once you’re in position, stay in position! I find that if I move, especially after I have been lying on it for a while, that it’s too painful to continue.
WHEN NOT TO USE AN ACUPRESSURE MAT
It is also important to note that, according to the Shakti mat creators, an acupressure mat is not recommended in the following cases:
- coagulation problems (haemophilia) or using anti-coagulants
- substantial skin damage (severe eczema or psoriasis) in the areas of use
- fever or an acute illness
- heart diseases
But if you’re clear of those conditions, and you struggle with unwinding, then I recommend you give an acupressure mat a try.
I recommend the Shakti mat as it’s still going strong in its third year of use. You can also go to Amazon and search for an acupressure mat, but check the reviews because they’re not all created equal!
Katie is a wife to the world’s most supportive husband, and a mom to two adult children and two griffon furbabies. She blogs at My Sweet Home Life, where women find inspiration and motivation to organize their homes, nurture their relationships and develop themselves. She believes that with small steps daily in the right direction, anything is possible!
You can connect with Kate here:
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER
ZTT LINK-UP #007
Hi Min & Kate , I’ve never heard of an Shakit mat before and whilst I’m a little wary of the ‘bed of nails’ it does sound like it would be wonderful for my back. I suppose you get used to the pressure and if it helps to have a good night’s sleep I’m there. It reminds me of the roller used for muscles – it hurts a first but certainly helps to release tension. Thanks for the tip and I will check out the mat through the links. Have a great day ladies. Another great #ZTT tip Min. x
Hi Sue – I’ve heard of these mats before but never really understood their purpose or that they could help with sleep. When you think about it though – the correlation between acupuncture and acupressure via the mats – the benefits start to make sense. It’s something I might investigate further & consider trying if my sleep issues worsen! xo
Hi Min, just popping back to say thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and I’ll be sharing on social media. Have a great day! x
Thanks for sharing Sue! Hope you’ve had a fab day! 🙂 xo
Hi Kate – This is good to know in case I ever need it. Fortunately, I’ve been sleeping well without requiring any aid. Thank you, Min, for another informative post. #ZTT
It’s so great you sleep well Natalie! Still fabulous to have this little nuggets of info tucked away if we ever should need them though isn’t it. I never would’ve thought of this one! xo
Oh I loved reading about the Shakti mat. I don’t have trouble sleeping as much as I used to but I think I would LOVE one of these to relax on.Thanks so much Kate for sharing and Min for hosting ZTT.
It’s so interesting isn’t it Denyse? At the moment I seem to sleep ok just not long enough – waking very early in the mornings. I have my moments though where I can’t get to sleep at night. Using an acupressure mat as an aid to better sleep never occurred to me before but it’s on my radar now! 🙂 xo
This is so interesting Min and Kate, thanks for the information. Thankfully sleeping is rarely an issue for me. Linking up again this week.
Oh you’re so lucky that sleep is not an issue for you Deb! I hope it continues that way for you! Thanks so much for linking up with ZTT again this week. xo
Sharing for #mlstl Min 🙂
I know it would help my whole body relax more…as I already like walking barefoot on spikey grass….so I have ordered one! I shall report back. Denyse
Fantastic Denyse – I hope you find it helps you and I’d love to hear what you think!
That was really interesting – I think the need to be still and the distraction from all the “monkey mind” thinking definitely plays a big part in preparing you mentally for rest and sleep. A great idea and one worth tucking away for future reference.
I agree Leanne – and one I’ve got tucked away too – I may just get one at some point!
Hi Min – just popping back to say thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
Thanks so much Leanne! 🙂 xo
I can’t say I’ve tried it, but I loved those shoes when they were a thing. #MLSTL
Oh you mean those ‘masseur sandals’? I think that’s what they were called? I was never a fan of those but then again I never had a pair to get used to! 🙂
This is the first I have heard of an acupressure mat. It is quite intriguing. It would be interesting to give it a try. MLSTL
I’m so pleased about all the ladies (including yourself Michele) that are becoming aware of the acupressure mat for the first time via this post! It may not be for everyone but it’s always good to be aware of different options out there isn’t it? 🙂 xo
Sounds like agony to me. I believe that it works for you, but I’m not sure I’m willing to try it. I need to ponder this, At times I don’t sleep for long periods of time and I know that REM sleep is important. Be well and know that I’m visiting you at the Midlife Share Party.
It wouldn’t be for everyone Nancy but isn’t it fabulous to have different options available to us. Sleep often becomes an issue, particularly during midlife! xo
You are right. Have a fabulous day!
Hi, Min and Kate – I hate to admit how out-of-touch I can be (or that I sometimes live under a rock) but…I had never heard of an acupressure mat before. Like other readers, I am now very interested in giving this a try. Thanks for sharing this!
Hi Donna – I’m so happy that this post has introduced quite a few (including yourself) to the acupressure mat for the first time. It may not be for everyone but it’s a great option to consider, especially for those with sleep issues! If you give it a try – let me know how it goes! 🙂 xo
I have never heard of these mats but sounds like something I need. I have a tough time sleeping since husband has gotten sick.
I’m sorry your husband is sick Victoria! I’m glad you’re now aware of this mat. I’ve heard such good things about them. I’m considering getting one myself!