Sometimes I find myself getting a bit of back pain, especially in my lower back and my neck and shoulders. It’s no surprise really, when you see how much time I spend on the computer every day. While I try to retain correct posture, it’s really really hard to sit correctly and the body tends to just subconsciously fall into the position which it finds the comfiest. This is often head forward which pulls on the back and the neck. Back and neck issues are so common with office workers and other people who use computers for 8 or so hours every day. At the end of last year, I actually went to see a chiropractor about the issues I was having with my neck. After three sessions, they had fixed most of the major issues, putting my spine back into correct alignment. I was still, however, getting the occasional headache and pain in my lower back just from every day life.
I had heard of Shakti Mats before and I always wondered how they worked and how easy they would be to lie on. When Shakti offered to send me a mat, I jumped at the chance to see how well acupressure could help me. There are three versions of the Shakti Mat depending on how intense you want the pressure. I am using the original which has 6.000 plastic spikes. Shakti recommends this original mat will work well for around 95% of people, so it’s a good place to start. There’s also a money back guarantee, and Shakti mention on their website that 99.9% of customers are satisfied… that’s a pretty good rate!
One thing that really attracted me to the Shakti Mat, was how they were made. Each mat is handmade in a charity workshop in India, where the workers are paid well and are well looked after. The mats are made from organic cotton and organic dye and the plastic used is recyclable. Basically, these mats are about as eco-friendly and ethical as you can get, and I’m really pleased to see this. Each mat has a thin foam liner, with a brightly coloured cotton sleeve over the top. The spikes are attached to this liner.
When I first got my mat, I ran my fingers over the spikes, and my first through was …. “I’m supposed to lie on this?”. To the fingers it feels incredibly spiky and painful, however it’s amazing when the body weight is placed on the mat, it changes from painful to an actually quite enjoyable sensation. The first time I used the mat for my back, I did wear a thin t-shirt, but after a couple of uses, I found I was getting the best relief when I just wore a sports bra. Of course you could do this topless too and it is the best way to get the most out of the mat. At first it is a little uncomfortable, however within a few moments this has changed to a warming and pleasant sensation that travels over the body.
I’ve found that lying on the mat for only 5-10 minutes at night really helps me destress and I feel like the tension just flows out of my back afterwards. If I’m feeling tight or stiff, I’ll use this mat, and each time after using my back feels an awful lot better. I’ve also found it really useful for after the gym when my muscles are feeling a bit tight or sore. I’ve found just sitting on the mat, can help with glute pain after a leg session.
The mat can be used in a variety of ways;
Standing: This helps to increase circulation and helps to wake you up. This is good for doing in the morning for an energy boost. I’m still wearing my socks to do this, as it feels too ticklish and prickly in bare feet. I usually stand on the mat for around 2-5 minutes to kick start the circulation
Lying: This is my favourite way to use the mat. Depending on where my back is sore, depends on where I place the mat under my back. I’ll often pull my legs up and rock back and forth slightly for a slightly more intense acupressure. I generally lie on the mat for around 5-10 minutes. Shakti actually recommend that you lie on the mat for 20+ minutes but I have a bit of a short attention span, so I find 10 minutes is enough.
Under the neck: Roll the mat up (being careful of the spikes!) and place it under your neck to help with neck and shoulder pain. This feels a little uncomfortable at first, but after a few seconds, the body gets used to it and you can feel the tension releasing from the body. I only wish there was a way to keep the mat rolled up, as it does tend to unravel if you move.
Overall I really like my Shakti Mat, and I find myself using it a few times a week. I find it’s mainly useful for relieving the tension and any pain in my lower back and shoulders, and I’ve also used it under my neck when I have a headache. It is also recommended to help with sleeping, and while I definitely find it helps me to relax at night, I’m unsure as to whether it’s assisted with the quality of my sleep. I would recommend you give this a go if you suffer from tightness or mild pain in your back or shoulders
You can purchase the Shakti Mat online. They retail for $69.00 and are available in Light (with 8,000 points), Original (6,000 points), and Advanced (4,000 points). The lesser the points, the more intense the acupressure.
Please note: I was sent this product to trial. These views are my personal opinion and are no way influenced by others. I always provide an honest opinion, so you all know which products are worth purchasing