Over the years, particularly with the emergence of Acupressure Mats, (especially since The Shakti Mat's invention in 2009), there have been a number of scientific articles that have been published on the effectiveness of acupressure mats. It is exciting to see the use of this Eastern practice of acupressure - a practice that has been around Northern India and China for over 2,000 years - being used more and more in Western countries!
Here you will find what we believe to be the most exciting findings with links provided to each article. Enjoy!
REFLEXO-THERAPY FROM KUZNETSOV'S APPLICATOR TO SHAKTI MAT: FORTY YEAR-LONG SUCCESS STORY (CLICK HERE FOR BOOK)
The author, Tanya Zilberter, PhD in Neurophysiology, describes her findings on "... the use of The Shakti Mat as a method of pre-op treatment for patients resistant to regular medicine, or allergic to it, etc... it never pierces the skin and hurts for only a minute or two, then people get warmed and relaxed, stop sneezing, coughing, and their blood pressure gets normal. In a few days they are ready for their surgeries..." The book explores the mechanism of its function via acupressure/acupuncture point stimulation.
REFLEXO-THERAPY WITH MECHANICAL CUTANEOUS STIMULATION: PILOT STUDY (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STUDY)
This study reviews the effects of self-acupressure devices (ie: The Shakti Mat) on subjects after 2 weeks of regular use. One or more positive effects of the device on the five most frequently reported conditions (starting with the most frequent: stress, pain, muscle spasms, mood swings and insomnia) were reported by 99 of the 105 participants (94%). The results reported and collected were as follows:
- Improved Sleep 94%
- Relaxation 96%
- Improved Energy Levels 81%
THE BENEFIT OF A MECHANICAL NEEDLE STIMULATION PAD IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC NECK AND LOWER BACK PAIN: TWO RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED PILOT STUDIES (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STUDY)
This study investigated whether a treatment with a needle stimulation pad (acupressure mat) changed perceived pain and/or pain tolerance thresholds in patients with chronic neck and lower back pain. The study followed 40 patients with chronic neck pain and 42 patients with chronic back pain using a needle stimulation pad (acupressure mat) once daily for 30 minutes, over a period of 14 days. The findings of this clinical trail were reported as follows:
- Reported reduction in both neck and lower back pain
- Deeper sense of relaxation
- Increase in individual's pain thresholds (ie, lower sensitivity to pain)
- Reduction in neck pain-related disability (ie, restricted movement)
"Conclusions. The mechanical needle stimulation pad (acupressure mat) seems to be an effective treatment method for chronic neck and lower back pain"
RELAXING ON A BED OF NAILS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF THE EFFECTS ON THE AUTONOMIC, CARDIOVASCULAR, AND RESPIRATORY SYSTEMS, AND SALIVA CORTISOL. (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STUDY)
This study investigated subjective and physiologic responses of lying on the bed of nails called The Shakti Mat and of listening to relaxing instructions and music. The study followed 32 healthy participants who lay on a Shakti Mat for 20 minutes. The findings of this clinical trail were reported as follows:
- Self-rated relaxation increased over time in all conditions
- Heart rate was slower with an increase in heart rate variability (HRV) *
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in localized body temperature, associated with enhanced blood flow.
* an increase in HRV may indicate a lowered risk for Cardiovascular disease
DOES RELAXATION ON A BED OF NAILS (SPIKE MAT) INDUCE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS? A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED PILOT STUDY (CLICK HERE FOR FULL STUDY)
This study investigated the effects of acupressure mats, used for 15 minutes daily for 3 weeks, on 36 participants suffering from muscle tension pains in their back or/and neck. The results of this study were reported by participants as follows:
- Significant reduction in pain intensity
- Improved sleep
- Increase in energy levels
- Reduction in stress- Self-rated relaxation increased over time in all conditions
- Improved sense of well-being
Acupressure is a complimentary therapeutic approach, similar to acupuncture (however acupressure does not puncture the skin), in which manual pressure is used to stimulate specific points along the energy lines (or "meridians") of the body.
The Chinese discovered, more than 5,000 years ago, that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited other parts of the body more remote from the pain and the pressure point1. Over time, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain but also influenced the functioning of certain internal organs.
From a Western medicine perspective, an explanation of how acupressure works within the body can be explained through how nerve cells from the skin and organs meet in the spinal cord on their journey up into the brain. In response to a stimulus, stimulated nerve cells communicate, sending information signals up the spinal cord, and send sensory information to the brain. Once this information reaches the brain, it assesses and filters the information and responds appropriately to the stimulus.
Because nerves cells all lead back to the spinal cord (and thus are connected via the spinal cord pathway), various areas on the skin can correspond with different organs through 'neural-integration' (communication between the nerves that intersect these areas). Through acupressure, it is possible to strengthen a weak or deteriorated signal from an organ by applying pressure to specific areas of the skin. Once strengthened, these pathways are able to transmit signals of illness or disease from their location in the body to the brain more effectively, thus stimulating the brain to respond to activate an appropriate healing response.
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine have been using acupressure devices for thousands of years (think of the ancient "bed of nails"). From these Eastern medicine perspectives, an explanation of how acupressure works can be explained as assisting the body clear blocked "meridians" or energy channels (these energy channels are called different names depending on the culture but are referred to as "prana" in Ayurveda and "chi" in Traditional Chinese medicine). These traditions work from the belief that many common illnesses and ailments are the result of blockages in these energy channels. Using the body's own wise and effective self-healing nature, improving the flow of energy through these channels enhances the body’s ability to target areas of stress and inflammation and respond appropriately.
Many of the current health concerns in our society today (everything from "bad backs" to arthritis) are the direct and indirect result of living unnaturally. Stress, tension, lack of exercise, poor eating habits, and poor posture all contribute to the rapidly worsening epidemic of degenerative diseases around the world. Acupressure (and acupuncture) are just some ways to help your body find balance through the pressures of modern life.
1 Ilza Veith, trans., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949). An ancient Chinese medical text.