Is losing weight on your list of wellness goals? You’re not alone. According to the CDC, more than 40% of adults in the United States live with obesity, which can lead to related conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Unfortunately, losing weight can be a difficult journey – especially in today’s busy, stressful world. Interestingly, these modern problems have led many people to discover acupressure, a centuries-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique known to reduce stress and anxiety, aid in weight loss, and promote whole-body wellness.
For those looking to shed pounds, an acupressure mat can be a convenient, invigorating way to tap into the benefits of acupressure and TCM at home, at any time.
How Can an Acupressure Mat Help You Lose Weight?
To understand how an acupressure mat can help you lose weight, it’s first important to understand how stress can make you gain weight.
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone known as cortisol (aka the “stress hormone”). This chemical reaction evolved as a means of survival, triggering humans to either fight or flee from life-threatening situations.
Our bodies need cortisol to survive. But when we’re under chronic stress (which, let’s be honest, so many of us are these days), cortisol levels remain consistently elevated, wreaking havoc throughout the body. Side effects of stress include anxiety and depression, heart disease, insomnia and – you guessed it – weight gain.
That’s where acupressure comes in. In TCM, acupressure is understood to alleviate stress and rebalance the body’s chi, or energy flow, by stimulating specific pressure points, also known as “acupoints.” Less stress means less cortisol – and in turn, less roadblocks to healthy, sustainable weight loss.
The great thing about acupressure mats is that they can be used anywhere, anytime to tap into the ancient practice’s many benefits. These mats use raised plastic “pins” to gently stimulate acupoints from head to toe, signaling the brain to relax, rebalance, and realign.
Benefits of Using an Acupressure Mat for Weight Loss
Acupressure mats offer a variety of benefits to support health and weight loss. Let’s consider a few of the most promising perks:
Chronic pain and excess weight go hand-in-hand. Extra pounds place added stress on joints, causing painful inflammation. This discomfort can make it difficult to exercise, leading to more weight gain. By ramping up the body’s natural healing abilities, acupressure mats can actually help alleviate common aches, including neck, back, and shoulder pain.
Poor sleep has long been linked to hormone imbalances, increased hunger, and obesity. By activating certain pressure points associated with insomnia, acu mats can help quiet the mind, ease anxiety, and ground energy – leading to deeper, more restful and restorative sleep.
Points that bring balance to digestive processes are located throughout the body. Lying on an acupressure mat can holistically address areas associated with the stomach and intestines, helping to support healthy digestion and reduce bloat.
If you’re having a hard time finding the mental or physical energy to workout, an acupressure mat can provide that little boost. Acupressure is frequently used by athletes to increase stamina, fight fatigue, and recover quicker.
As a bonus, acupressure mats can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. By massaging the skin and underlying tissues, the mat’s spikes help to increase elasticity and dissipate fluid retention, leading to less dimpling and a smoother overall appearance.
How to Use an Acupressure Mat for Weight Loss
Interested in using your acupressure mat for weight loss? From where to when to how, we have you covered.
Acupressure Points for Weight Loss
There are five main pressure points associated with boosting the body’s metabolism and digestive processes. If you’re interested in losing weight, consider stimulating the following points:
Acupressure Mat Positions for Weight Loss
It’s important to utilize a diverse set of positions to address the head-to-toe systems involved in balancing your body’s energy and metabolism. When using an acupressure mat for weight loss, try the following positions:
- Flat on the Back: Simply lie flat on your back and relax as the needles work their magic and ease tension. Try to keep your back as loose and relaxed as possible; ideally, this position is done without a shirt on.
- Flat on the Stomach: To stimulate your digestive organs, lie down with your chest and stomach on the mat. Cross your arms beneath your head to form a “pillow.”
- “Up Dog”: If you practice yoga, you’re probably familiar with the “up dog” position. With your thighs and lower stomach on the mat, press into your hands into the floor to lift your upper body.
- Seated Forward Fold: Sit on the mat with your legs outstretched. Folding with a flat back, reach to grab your calves or ankles.
- Standing: Sit on a chair, and place your feet firmly on the mat. If it’s comfortable, stand on the mat for a deeper sensation.
How Often To Use an Acupressure Mat for Weight Loss
Acupressure mats are safe to use every day. To get the most benefits, set aside time to use your mat daily. If better sleep is the goal, make the mat part of your nighttime routine; for energy boosts, try a mat session during your “midday slump,” right around the time you’d usually crave an afternoon coffee.
How Long to Use an Acupressure Mat for Weight Loss
Acupressure mats can take some getting used to – not everyone finds them super comfortable at first! However, once your body adjusts, you’ll sink right in and feel a flood of relaxation.
How long you use the mat depends on the specific position and your comfort level. When lying down, anywhere between 20-40 minutes is recommended to reap the maximum benefits. For more active positions, 5-10 minutes (or even less) may be enough. Go slowly, listen to your body, and remember to breathe.
How to Choose an Acupressure Mat
There are a number of acupressure mats on the markets these days. When choosing a mat, consider the following questions:
- Is the mat large enough to target the areas you’d like to address?
- Is there a layer of padding to increase comfort?
- Can you easily bring the mat when traveling, or to work?
The WTHN Acupressure Mat Set is a high-quality, ergonomically designed option with everything you need to get started. The all-in-one set includes a generously sized mat; an acu pillow specially designed to relieve neck tension; a convenient on-the-go carrying case; and an accessible how-to guide.
What Does the Science Say About Acupressure Mats for Weight Loss?
Clinical research on acupressure mats and weight loss is still emerging. However, numerous studies have shown that acupressure can be helpful in alleviating chronic pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality, and increasing energy. So while it may not be possible to directly connect acu mats with numbers on a scale, the evidence for stress and pain reduction is promising.
Who Should Not Use an Acupressure Mat for Weight Loss?
Acupressure mats are safe and effective wellness tools for many people. However, an acupressure mat is not advisable if one of the following applies to the user:
- Have a heart condition
- Using blood pressure medication
- Have a skin infection
- Have open wounds
Acupressure Mats for Weight Loss: Final Thoughts
As the world seems to spin faster, many people are turning to the wisdom of TCM to address stress, tension, and associated weight gain. Although acupressure goes back thousands of years, it’s still as effective and relevant as ever – and now, with modern-day tools such as acu mats, the practice’s time-tested benefits can be easily enjoyed by anyone, right at home. If you’re ready to address weight gain in a holistic, whole-body way, an acupressure mat can be a valuable (and relaxing) part of your journey.