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October 6, 2022
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Body aches and pains are nothing new, but research1 shows that they've become increasingly apparent over the last several years. The transition to a work-from-home setup has led to even more hours of sitting, oftentimes in not-so-ergo-friendly positions.

Luckily, there are ways to combat these woes—and acupressure is one of them. If you've explored traditional Chinese medicine (or spent any time on TikTok), you may have already been introduced to acupressure mats as an affordable yet effective method for reducing aches and pains. If not, today's your lucky day.

Acupressure mats can also reduce stress, relieve headaches, help you sleep better, and improve your overall well-being. Thanks to the growing popularity of these mats, there are a ton of options available on the market. The not-so-silver lining? This plethora of choices can make it difficult to know which one is right for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of acupressure, and to discover our picks for the best acupressure mat to fit your specific needs.

What is an acupressure mat?

An acupressure mat, sometimes referred to as a shakti mat, is a padded, spiked mat that applies pressure to your body in order to stimulate specific acupressure points and improve circulation, by releasing blocked or stagnant chi (energy)—similar to how acupuncture works. Unlike acupuncture, though, an acupressure mat does not puncture the skin and can be used at home.

These mats are typically made of cotton, with small plastic spikes to apply the pressure, and they often come with a small pillow, too. You can use an acupressure mat in a number of ways. Most commonly, people will lie on their mat on the floor, but the mat can be placed on other surfaces (such as your desk chair) for use throughout the day.

What are the benefits of an acupressure mat?

While they're fairly new on the scene, the concept of these mats is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has been utilizing the healing benefits of acupressure for thousands of years.

"Acupressure mats use a combination of heat and pressure (in the form of small plastic spikes) to stimulate the body's natural healing energy. The idea is that this will soothe and relax your muscles, ease tension, reduce stiffness, and increase blood flow—all without you needing to take time out for a full-on treatment by an acupuncturist," explains Jamie Bacharach, Dipl.Ac., licensed medical acupuncturist and head of practice at Acupuncture Jerusalem.

According to Bacharach, other common benefits of acupressure mats can include improved sleep, reduced headaches, loosened muscles, and reduced sciatica pain.

Studies2 have also shown acupressure to be an impactful way to reduce stress and anxiety, and you can even utilize the practice for bloating, brain fog, or to boost your immunity.

How we picked:

Quality & materials

As always, we prioritized products made with more eco-friendly, organic, and sustainable materials, whenever possible.

Price

Effective acupressure mats are a worthy investment for many people. That said, we know everyone's budget is different. We included options at a variety of price points.

Accessories

Most of the best acupressure mats will also come with a pillow for additional acupressure points and a carrying case for easier portability. We paid attention to the accessories each mat includes.

Reviews

We read hundreds of reviews on each product in order to provide a clearer picture of how a variety of people feel about these mats.

Our picks for the best acupressure mats:

Editor's pick: WTHN Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

Pros:

  • Includes acupressure pillow
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Memory foam
  • No free returns
Materials: Coconut fiberLinenMemory foam
Number of acupressure points: N/A
Mat dimensions: 16" x 9" x 1"
Accessories: PillowCarrying case

You may have seen this viral acupressure mat and pillow on your TikTok or Instagram feed, and it fully lives up to the hype. The mat itself is filled with coconut fiber and the pillow contains memory foam—and they're each wrapped in a linen cover, and covered in plastic acupressure spikes. The set comes with a carrying case, so you can bring it with you for quick relief while traveling or while on the go.

What our editor says:

"I'm a self-proclaimed acupuncture junkie, so I was a bit doubtful that I'd be able to achieve the same benefits from home. This mat proved me wrong. Even just 15 minutes on the mat makes me feel relaxed and refreshed—especially after a long work or travel day, or heavy exercise. While I won't be stopping acupuncture treatments anytime soon, this mat is a great way to stretch my time between sessions. It's helped with stress reduction and muscle recovery, and it truly relaxes me before bed." —Carleigh Ferrante, commerce editor

Best for back pain: Prosource Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

Pros:

  • Includes acupressure pillow
  • Removable cover
  • Less expensive

Cons:

  • Carrying case not included
  • Spikes are too painful for some
Materials: Plant-based eco foamCottonABS Plastic
Number of acupressure points: 6,120
Mat dimensions: 25 x 16 x 1”
Accessories: Pillow

This acupressure mat and pillow set is an excellent choice for anyone seeking relief from back pain, and it comes recommended by Bacharach. "A full-coverage mat with 6,210 acupressure points spanning the width of anyone's back, no matter your size, the Prosource has the coverage necessary to soothe problem areas and surrounding areas alike to ensure complete relief. The acupressure points stimulate meridians in the back to promote circulation for quick and long-term relief," she explains.

It's the most affordable option on this list, and it doesn't skimp on quality. The foam is plant-based and the cotton is organic, and the materials feel durable. One downside is that it doesn't come with a carrying case—but it does have small loops and buttons sewn in, so you can roll it up for storage. There are a variety of colors to choose from, and it's available on Amazon with free shipping and free returns.

What customers say: 

This mat has 28,000 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon. One reviewer shares, "My back hasn't felt this loose in many years. I definitely feel relaxed both in my mind and my back. I'm super excited to use it again." Another says, "I've had lower back pain off and on for years. I also get tension headaches. The first time I laid on this mat I loved it! I laid on it for about fifteen minutes and my headache was gone. It says to start off laying on something soft. But I dived right in and laid on the floor with it. It wasn't painful or uncomfortable at all." 

It's worth mentioning that, while most stress that it's a good kind of pain, the majority of this mat's reviews do mention how painful it is.

Best for feet: Kanjo Memory Foam Acupressure Foot Mat

Pros:

  • Smaller size can be used on multiple body parts
  • Portable
  • Removable cover

Cons:

  • Some say it's painful to stand on
Materials: LinenCottonHigh-density memory foamBPA-free HIPS plastic
Number of acupressure points: 2,900
Mat dimensions: 16 x 14 x 1”
Accessories: None included

The Kanjo Acupressure Memory Foam Foot Mat is designed specifically with your feet in mind, but its smaller design is great for any part of your body. In fact, you can even use the Velcro strips to fix it in a rolled position, for use on your neck or lower back (similar to the way you would use an acupressure pillow). Although there is no carrying bag included, it does have a built-in carry strap. If you're looking for a small, portable option that can help reduce general foot pain, plantar fasciitis, and more, this may be your best choice. 

What customers say:

This mat has a 4.2 out of five-star overall rating on Amazon. One reviewer states, "I got this product for my brother who runs marathons and struggles with plantar fasciitis! It's been a great help on his foot!" Another raves, "It TOTALLY takes away my severe foot pain. I stand on it for only 5 minutes, sometimes less and sometimes more, and WOW! Pain gone."

As with most acupressure mats, some people do say this is too painful, especially when standing on it with their full body weight.

Best with pillow: Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow

Pros:

  • Includes acupressure pillow & carrying case
  • Removable cover

Cons:

  • Some say the quality is not up to par
  • Complaints about customer service
Materials: CottonFoamPlastic
Number of acupressure points: 6,210 on mat1,782 on pillow
Mat dimensions: 26 x 16 x 1”
Accessories: PillowCarrying case

For a more cost-effective option than many others on the market, this mat and pillow set gets the job done. It includes a carrying box with a handle, which makes it easy to store or transport, and it can also be folded and packed without the box. You can also remove the cover to hand wash it with soap and water—just be careful: It's spikey!

The brand provides videos and images outlining different ways to use the mat, including options for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users.

What customers say:

This mat has nearly 5,000 perfect five-star reviews, with a 4.3 overall rating on Amazon. One reviewer says the mat provides "life changing and immediate pain relief," and another raves, "This is my new relaxation and pain relief for lower back pain, compressed disc issues, and the stiffness that comes from aging and osteoarthritis. I will never be without this kind of mat again. It is that good." 

Negative reviews express concerns over the quality of the mat.

Best splurge: Pranamat ECO Massage Mat and Pillow

Pros:

  • Made with all-natural and ethically sourced materials
  • Includes acupressure pillow
  • Removable cover

Cons:

  • Significantly more expensive than other options on the list
Materials: Coconut fiberLinenUntreated cottonHypoallergenic HIPS plasticNatural buckwheat hulls
Number of acupressure points: 5,525 on mat2,375 on pillow
Mat dimensions: 28.7 x 17.7 x 1”
Accessories: Pillow

While this mat and pillow set rings in at a significantly higher price tag than some alternatives, the company prides itself on its quality materials and sustainable choices (which moves it way up in our books). It uses only renewable materials (Certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX) and has plans to move toward zero-waste processes. It's also the largest mat on this list and has research to support its claims.

Clinical trials performed by the Experimental Medicine Institute showed this mat to provide significant increases to local microcirculation, reduced inflammation, and increased production of beta-endorphins (which help block feelings of pain). Following 30 days of usage, the majority of trial participants reported reduced back pain, relaxed back muscles, fewer headaches, and better sleep. 

The brand offers a 30-day trial period and provides a five-year warranty. Just note, these terms may vary depending on which retailer you purchase from.

What customers say: 

This acupressure set has a 4.5 overall rating on Amazon, with customers mostly raving about immediate results they experience when using it. One writes, "The very first time I tried a Pranamat, I was shocked!!! Shocked of how great my body feels during and after the session. It helped me sooo much to unwind and recharge, WOW!!! And the quality is absolutely AWESOME!!!"

Best natural: Spoonk Acupressure Eco Mat

Pros:

  • Includes smaller travel mat with strap for easy carrying
  • Made with eco-friendly, nontoxic materials
  • Removable cover

Cons:

  • Not returnable
Materials: CottonNon-toxic and hypoallergenic ABS plasticCertiPur-US Eco-foam
Number of acupressure points: 6,210 on mat
Mat dimensions: 26.6 x 15.7 x 1”
Accessories: Travel-size matGroove ballCarrying case

This mat set is less expensive, but the company still focuses on using quality natural materials—including plant-based, CertiPur-US Eco-foam—and it isn't lacking in features either. The set comes with a second travel-size mat that can be rolled and used on the neck or head and a spiked groove ball for foot massage and reflexology. It's also one of the few acupressure mats that''s made in the U.S.

Psst: This acupressure mat is currently on major sale on Amazon.

What customers say: 

It's earned over 2,000 five-star reviews, with a 4.3 (out of five) overall rating on Amazon. People do say it takes getting used to, but many reviewers share how it has helped reduce their pain. One says, "Had bad shoulder and back pain. I was looking for an acupuncture mat that helps the pain. I was skeptical at first but I read all the reviews were great so I tried it and I was amazed by how this thing worked for me."

Best for sciatica: Shakti Premium Acupressure Mat

Pros:

  • Available in multiple intensities
  • Removable cover
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Doesn't come with any accessories
Materials: Polyurethane foamNon-toxic and recyclable ABS plasticOrganic cotton
Number of acupressure points: 6,000
Mat dimensions: 29 x 16 x 1”
Accessories: None included

Bacharach says this mat is "An excellent choice for individuals with sciatica." There are three intensity options to choose from (light, original, or advanced), so you can tailor your experience based on the severity of your conditions (or your threshold for pain). The light is suited for softer massage fans, the original is great for deep-tissue massage lovers, and the advanced is best for people who are experienced with acupressure and acupuncture techniques.

Rather than using glue for the spikes, these mats utilize a unique clipped-on design—plus, the cotton is 100% organic. The company offers free returns and exchanges within 30 days but states that only 1 in every 271 customers return their mat.

What customers say: 

This mat is a popular option on Amazon, with over 1,500 five-star ratings and hundreds of positive reviews. One person writes, "One of the best 'self care' purchases I have ever made. Yes, it's initially uncomfortable. All good things usually are. The mild pain subsides to warmth, endorphin rush, and serenity." Another reviewer adds, "Just get it. It works. I got it to ease the fibromyalgia and it has also helped my slipped disc, sciatica and a hip bursitis!!"

Best for beginners: Bed of Nails Original Acupressure Mat

Pros:

  • More acupressure points
  • Removable cover
  • Great for beginners

Cons:

  • No pillow included
  • May not provide enough stimulation for those who have experience with acupressure
Materials: Polyurethane foamNon-toxic and recyclable ABS plasticOrganic cotton
Number of acupressure points: 8,820
Mat dimensions: 28.5 x 16.5 x 1"
Accessories: Carrying case

An excellent option for beginners, this mat uses more nails per plate than standard mats—but the spikes are less sharp. The surplus of nails helps stimulate more acupressure points, while the duller spikes give a less intense sensation overall. TL;DR; if you don't want to physically feel the pain but do want to achieve the benefits, this mat is a great way to dip your toe in the acupressure waters.

The brand uses nontoxic, recyclable plastic on all its mats, with organic cotton fabric and no glue. There is also one tree planted for every mat sold.

What customers say: 

This mat has over 300 five-star ratings on Amazon, with a 4.2 overall score. One reviewer writes, "I really notice a difference when I use my mat and pillow regularly. My back doesn't hurt as much the next day, less headaches. And when I have a headache, putting the pillow under my neck while I lay down really helps get rid of it." The negative reviews are generally focused on the gentleness of the mat, which speaks to this being best for beginners.

Who should use an acupressure mat?

"Acupressure mats tend to work best for people who are suffering from mild to moderate muscle or nerve pain and discomfort, excess stress, insomnia, and other similar disorders," says Bacharach. But they may not be for everyone. "If you aren't sure if an acupressure mat is appropriate for you, it's always best to consult your health care provider."

Acupressure mats are not advised for people who are pregnant or nursing, have a skin infection or an open wound, or have an existing heart condition.

FAQ

Are acupressure mats any good?

Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that acupressure mats can offer a variety of health benefits, including reduced pain and stress levels and better sleep. However, not everyone will experience the same benefits.

Which acupressure mat brand is better, Spoonk or Nayoy?

Spoonk and Nayoy both offer highly rated acupressure mats. However, Spoonk is made with eco-friendly and nontoxic materials, making it the preferred option for many consumers.

What is the best time to use an acupressure mat?

These mats can be used any time of day, but Bacharach specifically emphasizes their impact before bedtime—especially if you are seeking those sleep-related benefits. "As acupressure mats are designed to relieve pain, tension, and stress, they should be used close to bedtime in order to lead to optimal sleeping conditions," she advises.

The takeaway.

If you struggle with back or neck tension, lack of sleep, stress, or anxiety, it's worth trying an acupressure mat to relieve these symptoms throughout your day or before bed. Just remember to start slow because they can feel sharper than they look. Gradually increase your time on the mat, and you'll be reaping the mental and physical benefits of acupressure in no time. And if you're looking to really improve your sleep experience, check out one of our best pillows for neck and back pain.

Meet The Experts

Jennifer Wirth is a freelance content strategist and writer with expertise in parenting, beauty, and health and well-being.