If you read my post on the standing desk then you’ll also have read that we’ve recently been able to test out the Shakti Mat.
I’ve seen a lot about these curious looking contraptions spread across social media in the last 6 months, but I always tend to err on the side of caution lest I be drawn into another fad that turns out to be a waste of cash.
It was by sheer luck that I realised one of my friends (who I shall refer to as ‘N’) had one and when asked how he felt about it he became very animated indeed! He told me that he’d had his for around a year and absolutely wouldn’t be without it. As well as being a landscaper, N is also a wrestler and weightlifter so, as you can imagine, he tends to be prone to tight muscles, aches and pains. I have always been surprised at how well he manages this…it would seem that this Shakti Mat is his secret weapon! By this point, my interest was peaked. Unfortunately, because of lockdown, I was unable to nip over for a test run.
My initial impression, when looking online, was that the Shakti Mat looks rather expensive. It was quite a surprise to discover how inexpensive it actually was. This came at a time when my partner had really started having issues with his back and neck and Christmas was fast approaching…’what better way to try one out than to test it on my beloved’, I thought. I decided to go the whole hog and get the neck pillow as well.
Christmas morning was quite amusing – when Matt’s children asked what I’d got him he pulled the Mat out of the box and exclaimed ‘She’s got me a torture device!’
Given his initial response, I only thought it fair that I also give it a go to show Matt some moral support. The promo videos I had watched prior to purchasing this product were informative and the reviews stated that the first time using it could be quite uncomfortable and intense, but this would ease with time. The basic principle behind the Mat is that it works through acupressure points to relax the body and mind. The benefits of the Mat are said to include helping improve sleep, improving circulation, stress relief, relaxation of body and mind and increasing general vitality.
The quality and appearance of the Mat are not displeasing. It can either be rolled up and stored discreetly or hung on the wall and displayed as a feature – just be careful you don’t accidentally lean on it (although I can see the benefit of having one on the wall to lean on!)
Shakti Mat state that the first 10-20 seconds of use can feel quite intense and prickly. Within 20-40 seconds blood starts moving to the area and then within 1-2 minutes the skin begins to warm.
At 2-4 minutes a deep, tingling feeling begins and within 4-6 minutes full body restoration occurs. Between 6 and 20 minutes there is a generally increased flow of blood all around the area and this leads to a ‘blissed out’ feeling. The skin tends to look like orange peel and becomes very red by the end of the session, but this is normal and a good sign that the Mat is doing what it’s meant to.
Sounds alright doesn’t it?
Having used it a few times now, I can confirm that this Mat does appear to improve blood flow and that it does generally leave you feeling more relaxed and centred. The initial few minutes, especially on first use are very intense, although using it fully clothed helps to take the edge off a bit – just take care with delicate clothing. With persistent use, those intense first few minutes seem to get easier and the bliss out phase seems to come on more quickly.
I’ve recently been diagnosed with a subacromial impingement (shoulder injury) and this has definitely proved challenging, generally giving me extreme pain towards the end of a working day. This tends to affect all around the shoulder girdle, into the neck and down into the upper back and arm. The Mat definitely helped to ease this, especially with persistent use before bed. The only issue I have found with it is that I have to be very disciplined and put proper, dedicated time aside to build up a daily practice. It is a case of ‘the more you use this the greater the benefits will be’.
I haven’t tried using this product in the morning yet, but I can see how it could help to give you a really good and positive start to the day.
Are there limitations or down sides? Well…if there are more then I haven’t thought of them yet, but I will say that those individuals who suffer with sensory disorders should perhaps make sure that this is for them. Getting off the Mat is slightly uncomfortable, but this is far outweighed by the benefits and it is only slight.
If you are someone who suffers with tension and anxiety, especially the kind that can manifest in the upper back, shoulders and neck then I’d definitely recommend this. It’s an inexpensive and effective solution to help with daily tensions and can be integrated into a daily meditative practice.