The body is a parallel between the things we can see and touch, and the things we can only feel. A human being is so much more than just a miraculous jumble of veins, bones, muscles, hair and skin.
It’s a mysterious river of life energy, and its flow and speed can be directed in very much the same way as any other tangible part of the body; if only you know where to cross its path.
This is an idea that’s been around for many thousands of years, and forms a central pillar of traditional Chinese medicinal techniques.
Acupressure is one of those ancient techniques that taps into what’s known as the body’s ‘meridian lines’. These streams within the body are what carry the concept of life energy, a trio of ‘yin’ (the dark), ‘yang’ (the light) and ‘qi’ (the vital energy of the body).
The tradition instates that by imposing pressure on certain areas of the body, known as acupoints, the body and how the body is feeling can both be manipulated.
Have you ever seen a spy movie where the good guy goes up to the bad guy and sends him to sleep with an almost-effortless split-second pressure hold to the neck? Although it’s a bit of an extreme example, it’s the same principle.
There are hundreds of different acupouints all dotted around the body, and adding pressure to them will all do different things; depending on where the acupoint is connected to.
Some techniques can be used to relieve migraines and headaches, whilst others can be used to remedy back and neck pain; it’s just knowing where to find them all.
It’s important to note that whilst their names and capabilities are both similar, acupressure isn’t at all the same as acupuncture, and thankfully there’s no need for needles!
Acupressure is typically a service you’d see a therapist for, but treatments can be costly and inconvenient if you have to travel far to get to them. So unless you’re a trained specialist, how can you enjoy the benefits of acupressure on your own?
Many of the most forward-thinking designers of our day have found a way where the treatment can be made accessible to the masses, with a technique that anyone who’s anyone can use. If you haven’t already been acquainted, we’d love to bring the Acupressure Mat into your life.
Essentially, an Acupressure Mat is covered entirely on one side with a pattern of plastic disk-like rosettes, with each rosette adorning a ring of small plastic spikes. We know that this must sound like a big jump from ancient Chinese medicine forms to could-be torture device, but the situation isn’t as prickly or as painful as it might first appear.
Lie on it, stand on it, lean on it, and you’re guaranteed to be stimulating a pressure point somewhere.
When the spikes find a pressure point and the pressure is sustained, anything that’s blocking the flow of life energy through the body’s meridian lines will be unblocked, and that’s when the process will be able to bring about physical changes, like remedying a sore back or clearing the dark clouds of a migraine.
The whole acupressure process is all about source, stimulation and clearance.
That’s why the Mat works so well, because it embraces a localised approach to bring the benefits of an ancient and tricky technique to everyone. Designs have been produced to allow this technology to work in tandem with the natural shape of the body, and innovation has produced other more area-specific solutions, including Acupressure Pillows; which are extremely handy to have when stimulating the curved neck and lower back areas.
How to Use an Acupressure Mat
The first thing to know about using an Acupressure Mat for the first time is that the process should never be unbearably uncomfortable, and although it might initially be a strange sensation, the feeling will feel a increasingly familiar the more you do it.
You can use a Mat or a Pillow either through clothing, wearing socks or a shirt, or direct against your skin, the choice is yours to make. What’s more, because of their nifty and convenient design, the benefits of Acupressure are easily accessible at any point throughout the day or night.
Just be sure to apply them to a flat and solid surface for maximum effect.
Here are some good techniques to try out:
If you Have Back and Neck Pain
Lie flat on your back, with your Acupressure Mat between you and the floor. Keep your knees bent, and your feet flat against the floor.
Place your Acupressure Pillow directly under your neck, so that its highest point sits centre against your spine. Focusing on your breathing, relax into this position, which you can keep for as long as you wish; a good 20 minutes usually does the trick for us.
This technique is an absolute gem for relieving back pain, muscle tension and tension between the vertebrae. It’s also been highlighted as one of the most efficient techniques for soothing stress.
If you have Low Energy
The feet are an epicentre of acupoints, and this next technique says hello to them all. Sitting comfortably on a chair, maybe even at your desk whilst you work, place the Acupressure Pillow under your feet, so that the Pillow sits snug and centre against the natural curvature of the arches.
With no great force, roll your feet from toe to heel, making contact with the Pillow at every available point. For a more holistic approach, you can also stand straight on your Acupressure Mat.
Because the feet are so interconnected with the rest of the body, this amazing and simple technique is capable of helping to clear everything from sore feet to sinus pressure, as well as alleviating low energy levels. Foot fantastic!
If You’re In Post-Workout
Acupressure Mats are particularly helpful when it comes to speeding up that post-exercise recovery. Although there are lots of ways in which it can be used for this reason, one of our favourite techniques incorporates elements of yoga.
To try is out, lie face-down on the floor, with the Acupressure Mat between the floor and your lower stomach/quad area. This is an area of the body that consumes the most muscle stress during a workout; especially if you’re doing anything cardio like running.
Pushing your hands flat into the floor, bring the upper half of your body up, into that familiar upward-facing dog position that we see all the time in yoga, as you feel the Mat stimulate your quad muscles.
This action will help to stretch out your spine, improve lower back pain, and boost your post-workout muscle recovery.
The benefits of Acupressure are almost as endless as the ways you can practice the technique, and these tools will shift how you think you’re able to look after your mind and body with not even a shocking amount of effort.
They’re transportable, adaptable and just like their method, completely out of this world. If you’d like to get your hands on one, they’ve just landed front and centre in our ‘New Arrivals’ collection, which you can check out here.
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