Since The Shakti Mat's invention in 2009 a number of scientific articles have been published on the effectiveness of acupressure mats. It is exciting to see the use of this Eastern practice (acupressure devices and 'beds of nails') being utilised more and more in Western countries - a practice that has been around Northern India and China for over 2,000 years.
We have highlighted the most exciting findings below and provided links to each article.
Study 1 - Reflexo-therapy with mechanical cutaneous stimulation (full study here)
- Relaxation 96%
- Improved Energy Levels 81%
Study 2 - Does relaxation on an acupressure mat induce beneficial effects? A randomized controlled pilot study (full study here)
This study investigates the effects of acupressure mats on 36 participants reporting long term neck and back tension. Participants used acupressure mats for 15 minutes a day over a 3 week duration. The study reported the following results:
Fifteen minutes of daily rest on the acupressure mat significantly reduced experienced pain intensity. During visits at the clinic, patients stated they felt more energized, slept better at night and that the spike mat had made them feel better. It may be speculated that the altered states of consciousness induced whilst using the acupressure mat enables activation of self-healing processes in the mind and body. During such a state, abstract thoughts and ideas about problems or things that have happened or might happen (past-and-future thinking) decrease, thereby implying a sense of well-being.
Study 3 - Relaxing on a bed of nails: An exploratory study of the effects on the autonomic, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems, and saliva cortisol (full study here)
This study investigates the physiological and psychological response of 32 healthy patients whilst lying on a Shakti Mat for 20 minutes. The clinical trial reported the following results:
- Perceptual increased rate of relaxation
- Reduction in heart rate
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Increase in back temperature associated with enhanced blood flow
'These findings may be important for the use of a bed of nails as a device for physiologic recovery and increased relaxation'.
Book 1 - Reflexo-Therapy from Kuznetsov's applicator to Shakti Mats
The author, Tanya Zilberter, is a PhD graduate in Neurophysiology. Tanya investigates the use of Shakti Mats on pre-operation patients resistant or allergic to regular medicines. Patients who lay on the mat for one hour experienced relaxation, warming, cessation of sneezing, coughing and normalisation of blood pressure. The book explores the mechanism of its function through acupuncture point stimulation.
An Overview of Acupressure
Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) documented and publicised acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of conditions. Acupuncture is now covered by many insurance policies and is used most broadly to relieve pain.
A popular western explanation of this treatment explains how nerve cells from the skin and organs meet in the spinal cord on their journey up into the brain. As these nerve cells travel through the spinal cord towards the brain, signals between them communicate. Once they reach the brain, what results is information about the body’s state of being.
Because of this phenomenon, locations on the skin can correspond with different organs through 'neural-integration' (communication between the nerves that innervate these areas) in the spinal cord as these signals travel to the brain. An acupuncturist will apply stimulation to specific areas of the skin to strengthen a weak or deteriorated signal from an organ. These strengthened pathways can now transmit signals of illness or disease from their location in the body to the brain more effectively.
Ayurveda medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine have been using acupressure devices for 2,000 years. These traditions (practiced on more than 2 billion people) explain their effectiveness in their ability to help the body unblock energy pathways, referred to by Ayurveda as prana and Traditional Chinese medicine as chi. Many common illnesses and ailments are thought to be the result of blockages in these pathways. Because the body is such an effective self-healing mechanism, improving these communication pathways enhance the brain’s ability to target areas of stress and inflammation.