The 8 Best Acupressure Mats, According to Experts – WWD

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At-home wellness devices are gaining traction: You can find the likes of foot massagers, LED masks, and infrared sauna blankets for personal use. These tech-forward devices seem to be popping up everywhere, but acupuncture is arguably the original wellness treatment. “Acupuncture is over 3,000 years old,” explains Dr. Shari Auth, co-founder and chief healing officer of New York City acupuncture studio WTHN. “Traditional acupuncture is the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body, and it can treat a broad range of health complaints like digestive issues, stress relief, and seasonal ailments,” she adds. With the best acupressure mat, you don’t have to visit a studio to reap some of those benefits. 

Those who may not have access to a traditional acupuncturist can get a taste of the calming modality at home via acupuncture mats — and these devices are also a good alternative for those who get woozy at the thought of needles. “Acupressure mats have hundreds of acupressure points on them, and are designed to stimulate the points in the same way that receiving acupressure or acupressure massage would. They work on the pressure points to bring about the desired health benefits of each of the areas,” explains board-certified family medicine physician Dr. Laura Purdy.

These spiky mats can feel intense when you begin using them, but we’ll outline ways to make the treatment as comfortable as possible and offer options that target various concerns.

 Keeping scrolling to check out the best acupressure mats as an at-home acupuncture treatment, along with expert info on the benefits of using one and what to look for when purchasing the right one for your needs.

The Best Acupressure Mats of 2022

Related: The 50 Best Wellness Gifts to Help Anyone Unwind and Get Their Zen On

Unmera Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set 

Best Acupressure Mat for Beginners 

Size: About 28 inches long by 18 inches wide 
Benefits: Pillow treats neck tightness and headaches, and the mat aids with tense muscles and chronic pain
Materials: Linen, coconut fibers, and buckwheat husk filling
Special features: Different sting ratings are available to customize the intensity
Warranty: No
Pros: Gentler spikes than other options
Cons: If you prefer a different intensity level, you’ll have to exchange the mat

Acupressure mat rookies may be surprised at the level of intensity you feel when you lay on the prickly points. If your pain tolerance is on the low-end, this option is a good starting point — the brand offers three different intensities (the oat-colored mat is the gentlest). The set includes a separate acupressure pillow and mat, so you can ease yourself in by targeting your head, neck, or back, then work your way up to a full body session. 

What Reviewers Say: “I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable I actually felt laying on it. The little pressure ‘nails’ pushed into the areas that I needed, and within 20 minutes, I started to feel relief. I have been using this now for almost a month, almost nightly and I love it! If other pain relievers haven’t tried the trick and you were hesitant to go for acupuncture, try this first.”



<strong>Unmera Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set </strong>


$53.99 
$48



Buy Now

ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set 

Best Acupressure Mat for Full Body Relief 

Size: About 25 inches long by 14 inches wide
Benefits: Helps relieve chronic pain
Materials: Cotton and foam 
Special features: Packs in nearly 8,000 acupressure points 
Warranty: Yes
Pros: Included head pillow that can be used to target smaller areas of pain
Cons: Points may feel uncomfortable on bare skin

If you’re after muscle or pain relief, start here. Over 28,000 shoppers award it five stars, and it’s also doctor-approved. “I like this set because it includes a pillow for the neck as well as the mat for the back,” Purdy explains. “Neck pain and back pain often go hand-in-hand, and so treating both areas simultaneously would be more likely to have a better response for people who experience chronic neck and back pain.” The set comes in a number of colorways and includes a storage tote, too.

What Reviewers Say: “My husband often gets stress induced back pain and random back pain from a car accident that happened over 10 years ago. He’s found that using these mats really helps him release the stress and relax and helps significantly with the pain. He’ll often stand on it while watching tv, lay on it on the floor or in bed and he’ll even fall asleep on it. I personally still find them painful to use and can’t use it without wearing socks while standing or a shirt while laying down. But my husband has no problem using it without socks or a shirt.”

prosource



<strong>ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set </strong>


$29.59



Buy Now

WTHN Acupressure Mat Set 

Best Acupressure Mat for Relaxation

Size: 16 inches long by 9 inches wide 
Benefits: Softens stiffness and provides headache relief 
Materials: Coconut fiber, cotton, and linen
Special features: Memory foam pillow and carrying case included 
Warranty: No
Pros: Small enough for travel 
Cons: Thin mat may feel intense for sensitive users 

New York City acupuncture studio WTHN is all about making the concept of acupuncture accessible and understandable — so it’s no surprise that their acupressure mat knocks it out of the park. The mat’s acupressure points are arranged tightly together across the mat, so you’ll feel consistent pressure across your body while you relax on it. We also love it for its size: The thinner padding rolls up nicely for travel and storage. 

What Reviewers Say: “Lying with my lower neck, shoulders, and upper back on the pillow for five to 10 minutes every morning before getting up relieves me from morning stiffness and back pain from staring at a computer screen all day. Overall the mat set helped improve my posture, too.”

wthn



<strong>WTHN Acupressure Mat Set </strong>


$78



Buy Now

Shakti Acupressure Mat Original

Best Acupressure Mat for Anxiety

Size: About 35 inches long by 24 inches wide 
Benefits: Better sleep and less muscle tension
Materials: Organic cotton and dyes
Special features: Handmade in India 
Warranty: Yes
Pros: Durable spikes that don’t dull with use 
Cons: Carrying bag sold separately 

This mat is the priciest option on our list, but the company’s devotion to using high-quality materials and its philanthropic arm make it well worth the few extra dollars. Reviewers tout this mat’s ability to help you relax from head to toe, helping you achieve higher quality sleep at night and decreased anxiety during the day. The brand donates 10 percent of their profits to charities that have been vetted for their effectiveness, supporting a number of efforts to fight malaria, provide access to education in underprivileged communities, support rainforests, and much, much more (the brand discloses more about their donations on their site). 

What Reviewers Say: “My Shakti mat has become a mainstay of my self-care routine. I use it before bed while I read to wind down. I’m sleeping more soundly and my body feels far less tense. Being more relaxed has positively impacted my mood and overall stress levels. I’m definitely a convert.”

shaktimat



<strong>Shakti Acupressure Mat Original</strong>


$89



Buy Now

Bed of Nails Acupressure Strap 

Best Acupressure Mat for Travel

Size: 5 inches long by 9 inches wide 
Benefits: Wearable option
Materials: Organic cotton and recyclable plastic 
Special features: Velcro strap allows you to wear it while multitasking
Warranty: No
Pros: Less intense than traditional acupressure mats 
Cons: Smaller treatment area than full mats 

Although this option isn’t a traditional acupressure mat — you wrap it around your desired treatment area instead of laying on top of it — you’ll get similar benefits to the full body options. The spikes will feel gentler, too, since your body weight isn’t pressing onto the points as they do on traditional mats (to increase the sensation, simply lay down on a firm surface while wearing it). It’s great for on-the-go, or for the restless types who want to cook dinner, catch up on work, or tidy up while enjoying some relief.

What Reviewers Say: “My Bon strap is always with me. It is compact enough to fit neatly in my bag and thin enough that it is discreet when I wear it on my lower back. When I feel migraines coming on it is my go to. I pop it on and let the magic happen.” 

bedofnails



<strong>Bed of Nails Acupressure Strap </strong>


$29.95



Buy Now

Kanjo Acupressure Cervical Traction Wedge Pillow 

Best Acupressure Mat for Neck Pain

Size: 14 inches long by 6 inches wide 
Benefits: Relieves neck pain, tension headaches, and migraines
Materials: Cotton, linen, and BPA-free plastic 
Special features: Memory foam core 
Warranty: No
Pros: Special shape that targets the neck and shoulders 
Cons: The pillow’s firmness can be uncomfortable for sensitive necks 

Our necks are notorious for pinching pain or dull aching that can crop up from seemingly nothing. If you’ve been there, you know those aches can be disruptive (and morph into other plights, like tension headaches). This specially designed neck pillow dissolves tension within a few minutes: The sculpted divot targets acupressure points in your neck and additional spikes release tension throughout your shoulders and upper back. Many reviewers note that it helps them manage migraines. 

What Reviewers Say: “My neck extension feels so much better with this wedge pillow. The acupuncture takes some getting used to but I could lay in this all day. Very relaxing.”

wedgepillow



<strong>Kanjo Acupressure Cervical Traction Wedge Pillow </strong>


$39.99



Buy Now

Byriver Acupressure Foot Mat 

Best Acupressure Tool for Foot Pain

Size: Various options available 
Benefits: Helps with plantar fasciitis 
Materials: Jade and foam 
Special features: Removable knobs and adjustable strap 
Warranty: Yes
Pros: Sandal-style design allows you to walk around while wearing them
Cons: May not accommodate particularly small foot sizes 

Acupressure mats are for more than sore backs and achy necks: The soles of our feet are home to multiple acupressure points that are purported to help reduce stress, improve digestion, and enhance your sleep quality. Beyond those benefits, these knobbed slides also alleviate the pesky heel pain that comes with plantar fasciitis, or tension from lots of walking or standing. For less pressure, slip into a pair of socks before wearing them. 

What Reviewers Say: “I have had ongoing issues with my left foot for over 2 years which led to ankle and knee problems as well. Plantar fasciitis would pop up about once a year and take months to resolve. I have had these sandals for 3 days and have worn them for 15 minutes per day as recommended and my plantar fasciitis pain is 90% better. I recommend these to anyone. Even if you don’t have direct foot pain, by correcting the feet, it will translate up the body.”

footmat



<strong>Byriver Acupressure Foot Massage Mat </strong>


$34.99 
$24.99



Buy Now

CXCTCT Extra Long Yoga Acupressure Mat Set 

Best Acupressure Mat for Tall Shoppers

Size: About 48 inches long 
Benefits: Treats whole back and neck 
Materials: Cotton
Special features: Includes acupressure pillow and two roller balls for feet 
Warranty: No
Pros: Efficient for treating multiple areas at once
Cons: The increased length is not matched with increased width 

If you’re over six foot, you know that finding wellness accessories that fit your build can often fall short. Smaller mats require you to segment out your upper and lower back to fully treat each area, but this one earns high marks because it’s lengthy enough to target the entirety of your back in one fell sweep. The pillow is an added benefit; you can step on it to release tension in your feet or stick with its traditional use: softening a tense neck. 

What Reviewers Say: “This is a wonder worker! It loosens you up, warms you up, calms you down, and almost always puts you to sleep. We stay on the mattress for five to 45 minutes depending on what we are needing.”

longmat



<strong>CXCTCT Extra Long Yoga Acupressure Mat Set </strong>


$69.99



Buy Now

The Benefits of Acupressure Mats

Soothing tight muscles: Acupressure can help manage acute pain, like a tweak in your neck or a knot in your shoulder, by increasing circulation to reduce stiffness. Even just one session can deliver relief. But what’s even more promising is acupressure’s ability to help relieve chronic pain. When paired with other physical therapy techniques, acupressure has been shown to help with improvements in lower back pain. 

Better sleep: We know that quality sleep has far-reaching benefits for our bodies (there’s a strong correlation between poor sleep and health concerns like depression and coronary heart disease). Burgeoning research shows promise for acupressure’s ability to facilitate better sleep in older populations. Try laying on your mat for five to ten minutes before bed, working your way up to longer sessions to reap the acupressure mat benefits. 

Migraine management: Migraines are a debilitating health concern — if you struggle with them, you’re probably open to just about anything to help manage symptoms. Acupressure is one avenue to try for relief — the modality can help manage migraine-related nausea. A 2017 study also showed that one month of acupressure treatment is more effective in reducing chronic headaches than one month of muscle relaxant treatment.

Improved mental health: Both Auth and Purdy agree that acupressure can help you manage stress, depression, and anxiety with regular use. A 2022 review supports their thoughts, finding strong evidence that acupressure is effective in reducing depression and anxiety in patients with depressive symptoms. 

Potential benefits: Purdy notes that acupressure may also help with lymphatic drainage, stress management, arthritis, and fatigue. Auth also notes that regular use can bring about increased energy — she recommends using a mat weekly or daily for 10 to 30 minutes per session. 

What to Look for in the Best Acupressure Mats 

Size: Most mats are about two to three feet long. They’re smaller than a traditional yoga mat, but this allows you to zero in on treatment areas by lying on your back or your sides or standing on the mat for foot-related relief. If you’re on the taller end, you’ll want a longer mat so you don’t have to segment out your treatment to cover one area. 

Materials: The softer the filling, the less intense the acupressure will feel. Most are about one to two inches thick. This allows you to lay the mat on a soft surface, like a mattress or a couch, to lessen the intensity or use it on a firm surface to increase the pressure.

Number of points: Generally, the more dense the points are, the less pressure you’ll feel. If you’re a beginner, look for options with tightly packed points. If you’re after firm pressure, go with one with fewer points, spaced further apart. 

Added attachments: To make your acupuncture mat a one-stop shop for pain management, look for mats that include add-ons like acupressure pillows. These pillows can help with neck pain but also double as lumbar pillows for a gentle pressure on your low back. 

How to Use an Acupressure Mat 

Choose your surface: This is arguably the most important step beyond choosing your mat. What you place your mat on will significantly change the intensity level. For more pressure, place the mat on a hardwood or tile floor or a thin rug. For less pressure, lay it on your couch or on your mattress. 

Adjust yourself: You’ll want to make yourself as comfortable as possible — start by wearing a cotton T-shirt or thin sweatpants if you’re treating your back or legs, working your way up to treating bare skin. Grab other props like yoga blocks or pillows to support yourself as you get into your desired position. 

Breathe deeply: Once you’re in place, do your best to focus on breathing — the first few minutes will feel intense, but the relief will come. Pop in a pair of headphones and turn on your favorite podcast (or better yet, cue up a meditation app to promote more relaxation). Try to stay still for five minutes, then assess if you can hold it out for longer. Work yourself up to a 10 to 30-minute session. 

Do Acupressure Mats Really Work? 

Both of our experts agree that yes, acupressure mats do work! More research is necessary to back up some of the claims you may see from different brands, but there’s promising research for their ability to aid in stress management, better sleep, and improvement with mood disorders like depression and anxiety. You’ll likely notice muscle relaxation first, with other benefits trickling in as you use the mat regularly. 

Are Acupressure Mats Safe to Use?

Most people are good candidates for acupressure mats: The main acupressure mat side effect you may experience is redness in the treatment area. “Acupressure is very low risk,” says Purdy. “That being said, those with certain chronic diseases such as cancer or heart disease should check with their specialist before doing acupressure.” Auth adds that acupressure mats should not be used on open wounds. If you’re expecting, you’ll also want to check with your doctor before use.

Meet the Author 

Claire Sullivan is a freelance beauty writer based in New York City. She spent six years writing and editing on staff for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, most recently covering the beauty beat for both brands. Her background in food writing translates to a no-nonsense approach to wellness, skin care, hair care, and makeup: In her eyes, it’s all about technique and ingredients. Claire loves to turn expert advice into easy steps that inspire you to give your beauty routine a makeover. 

Meet the Experts

Dr. Shari Auth DACM, LAC, LMT is the co-founder and Chief Healing Officer of WTHN. As a licensed Acupuncturist, Board-Certified Herbalist, and a leading holistic health practitioner in NYC for over two decades. She has developed offerings tailored to the masses alongside Michelle Larivee. Together they’ve created WTHN, the inclusive NY-based wellness studio making traditional Chinese medicine more accessible for all. 

Dr. Laura Purdy is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician who has been featured in Vogue, on Fox News, ABC, NBC, and NPR (among others) as the nation’s leading authority and thought leader on the future of digital healthcare. Dr. Purdy’s in-depth digital health expertise comes from more than a decade spent providing and directing primary care for hundreds of thousands of patients of all ages, from all walks of life.


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