8 Basic Acupressure Mat Positions for Total Body Relaxation

Acupressure Mat Positions

These are some of the basic positions to use on your acupressure mat (also called mechanical needle stimulation pad) to get total body relief. You’ll want to start with the simple positions. Once you’re used to the pressure caused by the spikes, you can progress to areas aside from your back and towards a more comprehensive self administered acupressure routine.

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How Do You Use an Acupressure Mat

Some people look at the spiky mat and ask how am I supposed to use that? While it may be painful or unpleasant at first, follow these instructions to reap the benefits and relieve pain after a few sessions of using a shakti mat. Some of the benefits include stimulating pressure points and relieving pain (including shoulder pain and caused by upper body or shoulder tension.)

Place the mat on a flat surface like the floor or a firm bed or couch.  Adjust your body position carefully onto the mat without allowing your full weight to press in any of the contacts more firmly than the others.  The first few times you use the mat, wear a thicker shirt or lay a sheet or blanket down to make it more agreeable.

Position the acupressure pillow under your neck.  If your mat did not come with a pillow, you can use a rolled towel.  After settling onto the mat, breath slow and even through the initial pain. It will be uncomfortable and painful at first but it will lessen over time.

For the first few times you’re on the mat, aim to last 5 minutes. Gradually increase the time to 10 minutes and beyond. You can build up to 40 minutes for the best results.

It is important to use the acupressure mat properly otherwise it could lead to injury.  Never run or jump on the mat and make sure you hydrate so that toxins can be flushed from the body.

Acupressure Mat Positions for Full Body Relaxation

1. Back Position

Acupressure mat - back position

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: Place the mat down on a flat surface like the floor or a firm couch. Position your back, so the surface of the mat is even from the shoulders to the small of your back if possible.

If you need to feel the pressure on your lower back, move the mat lower and bend your knees with your bare feet flat. If this position is difficult, try using a wedge or pillow under your knees to keep yourself comfortable.

Explanation: If you’re experiencing pain between your shoulder blades or in the small of your back, which is very common, the mat will provide tremendous pain relief in these areas. Acupressure mats are a great way to relieve back pain because that blood flow brings increased healing.

2. Neck and Shoulder Positioning

Acupressure mat - neck and shoulders position

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: While some mats come with their own acupressure pillow, there are some mats without pillows. Adjust your mat in place under your neck and shoulders. The pressure and contact points will need to align with the curve of the neck for natural pain relief. A towel between the mat and the floor should work well.

RELATED: 5 Best Acupressure Mats Reviewed

Explanation: Chronic neck pain often comes from shoulder and neck strain and tension. When you can target these specific areas with increased blood flow it opens the blocked areas of the neck that have resulted from tension. It can relieve tension headaches, too.

3. Lower Back and Buttocks

Acupressure mat - lower back and buttocks

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: This is almost the same position you would be in for lower back alone. The mat should be under your buttocks but high enough to cover the lower back. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. You might find this positioning more comfortable on a bed or a firm couch.

Explanation: Pain in the sciatic area can be relieved by allowing blood to flow freely between the buttocks and lower back. You can shift from one side to the other lightly to see increased relief.

4. Buttocks and Thighs

Acupressure mat - buttocks and thighs

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: For this position, place the mat on the floor or a hard chair. You might even use the mat while sitting at your desk at work. Be sure that you’re used to the sensation before trying it at work, though. While sitting on the mat, lean forward reach for your toes lightly to feel the effects on your thighs.

5. Hips and Thighs

Acupressure mat - hips and thighs

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: As you did for the other positions, keep the mat flat on the ground and adjust your body for increased or decreased pressure.

6. Feet Positioning

Acupressure mat - feet

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: At first, you might need to wear socks when attempting to stand on the spikes. As you become accustomed to the pressure, you might want to go barefoot on the mat. This kind of pressure on the feet can provide stimulation of zones on the foot. It’s a type of healing known as reflexology that is said to impact other areas of the body with pressure on the zones of the feet.

7. Stomach

Acupressure mat - stomach

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: Place your stomach flat on the mat while it’s on the floor or flat on a bed. Your arms can be crossed under your head for support or resting next to your body.

8. Face and Jaw

Acupressure mat - face and jaw

Image by Heavenly Mats

Instructions: Roll the mat into a tube and place your face on the surface of the spikes as if it were a pillow. The spikes might be too painful at first, but you can cover the mat with a thin blanket if you wish.

Can Anyone Use an Acupressure Mat?

While an acupressure mat offers many benefits, it is not safe for everyone.  Those with the following conditions should not use acupressure mats:

  • high blood pressure
  • blood circulation issues
  • epilepsy
  • open wound
  • women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Children under 7 years old should not use the mats and older children need to be supervised.

Here’s an infographic describing multiple benefits of acupressure mats:

Benefits of acupressure mats

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Natalie Bell