Acupressure and Acupuncture use the same pressure points or meridians and are actually quite alike. The main difference between the professions is that Acupuncture employs needles, while Acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure. When these acupressure points are stimulated they promote circulation of blood, release muscular tension and enhance the body’s life force energy to aid healing. Acupressure therapy can be used to:
No, Bed of Nails® is not an acupuncture mat or acupuncture pillow. It does not employ the use of needles which penetrate the skin. The Bed of Nails® acupressure mat and pillow has 8,820 plastic nails which access points (meridians) throughout the body. The sharpness of the plastic nails activates the sympathetic nervous system in the body which then activates the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing one into very deep relaxation and supporting the natural healing process.
Acupressure is an ancient healing therapy using the fingers to gradually press and massage key points (meridians), which stimulate the body’s natural self-healing ability. The point at which you press or massage is the acupressure point or acupoint. An acupressure point has two working methods, when you stimulate a point in the same area where you feel pain or tension, it’s called a local point. That same point can also relieve pain in a part of the body that is distant from the point, in which case it is called a trigger point. This triggering mechanism works through a human electrical channel called a meridian.
The meridians are pathways that connect the acupressure points to each other as well as to the internal organs. Just as blood vessels carry the blood that nourishes the body physically, the meridians are distinct channels circulating electrical energy throughout the body. They are thought to be part of a master communications system of universal life energy, connecting the organs with all sensory, physiological, and emotional aspects of the body.
Because the stimulation of one point can send a healing message to other parts of the body, each acupressure point can benefit a variety of complaints and symptoms. For example, the highly effective acupressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger is not only beneficial for relieving arthritic pain in the hand, but also benefits the colon and relieves headaches, toothaches, and sinus problems.
The Bed of Nails® acupressure mat and pillow, positioned on a chair, bed or floor, enables an individual’s; back, chest, neck, hands and feet to experience the benefit of acupressure without someone having to memorize pressure points from a chart, spending hours self treating each point individually or spending hundreds of dollars at a spa getting acupressure therapy.
Acupuncture points, also called acupoints, are locations on the body that are the focus of acupuncture, acupressure, sonopuncture and laser acupuncture treatment. Several thousand acupuncture points are considered to be located along meridians (connected points across the anatomy which affect a specific organ or other part of the body).
Acupressure and Acupuncture use the same pressure points or meridians, but Acupuncture employs needles, while Acupressure uses gentle to firm finger pressure and massage. When these acupressure points are stimulated they promote circulation of blood, release muscular tension and enhance the body’s life force energy to aid healing.
Applying pressure to special meridian points on the body expels excess heat and moisture and improves circulation and chi flow. Using the acupressure points on the body for weight loss strengthens the digestive system, controls appetite unblocks stagnating chi and blood flow, allowing the body to naturally find its balance again.
Acupressure alone will not cause weight loss but with healthy food choices and exercise in the form of adding daily activity will contribute significantly to your weight loss goals. According to the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, studies show using acupressure for weight loss decreases the BMI 1.7 points on the average, the other half of the patients received only weight loss counseling and lost only .05 BMI points.
Research on nail mats so far is preliminary, scientists say. There are more than 100 acupressure points on the human back—and using a mat with many evenly distributed points, “you’d have to hit some of them,” says Steven Given, associate dean of Bastyr University’s School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Kenmore, Washington. The mat is likely to provide some benefits, he says.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, tested heart rate, body temperature and other physical reactions to the “nail” mat compared with a soft bed in 32 healthy volunteers during three 20-minute sessions. Findings showed that back temperature was higher on the nail mat than on the soft bed—indicating increased circulation, says study co-author Erik Olsson, who worked on the study at a Swedish rehabilitation clinic and is now a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden. Heart rate slowed and was more variable on the mat—signs the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation, was activated, he adds. Since the participants were all healthy, the study didn’t measure if there were any health benefits. Dr. Olsson says further study would be needed to determine if endorphins are produced.
A study of 36 sufferers of chronic neck and back pain, published in the online journal Alternative Medicine Studies, found that nail mats used 15 minutes daily for three weeks reduced the patients’ peak levels of pain but failed to reduce their normal pain levels. No effects were found on depression, anxiety and sleep. The study, which used a control group of patients who received no intervention, received no funding from companies selling mats, according to lead author Anette Kjellgren, an associate professor at Karlstad University in Karlstad, Sweden.
London neurophysiologist Nerina Ramlakhan says she recommends the mat to patients suffering from insomnia. “It very quickly helps the body to come into a state of rest,” says Dr. Ramlakhan, who treats patients with sleep problems at a psychiatric clinic. She recommends relaxing on the mat for 10 to 20 minutes in the afternoon, or even starting off with it in bed at night.
I tested the mat several times, with light clothes and on bare skin. At first, I felt a prickly sensation that was annoying, and my stress level went up. Stuffing a pillow under the mat to bring the spikes in contact with my neck felt good. By the third time, I was able to sink into the sensation and experience the spikes as a massage. While some sites suggest using the mats for foot reflexology, I found standing on it to be very uncomfortable.
Treating anxiety naturally is important. Anxiety is an inability to cope with stress and control your fear response, and so ideally you want to try to find a way to regain control of that fear response without the use of any medications or supplements.
Acupressure represents a popular anxiety treatment, and an alternative to acupuncture that many people find causes them distress. But how effective is acupressure, and how is it performed?
Natural Anxiety Treatments
Acupressure is one of many anxiety treatments available that do not involve the use of drugs. But anxiety treatments have one fairly common rule: the easier they are, the less likely they are to work. Acupressure is a fascinating idea. It’s the idea that you put pressure on the same points that are used with needles in acupuncture in order to get the same effect to your mind and spirit.
Like acupuncture, acupressure finds the specific points on your body that are believed to be related to Qi, blood, and so on. By pressing on those points with the thumb, Qi is restored to the body and provides you with considerable relief.
Acupressure’s Effect on Anxiety
It’s Fun – Acupressure is an interesting activity that is believed to improve your anxiety levels. Whether the research confirms that or not isn’t as important. Sometimes doing something interesting to try to combat anxiety, like acupressure, is valuable just for the experience and to see how you feel after it.
It’s Harmless – The only downside to choosing to try acupressure is if you depend on it as your only treatment. As long as you’re willing to find a new treatment when/if acupressure doesn’t work, there’s no real harm in trying it out for yourself. Perhaps it works, perhaps it doesn’t, but if it works for you with no side effects then the only real downside is your time.
People Believe in It – Many people believe in a lot of things that don’t work. But once again, when you’re talking about something that is guaranteed to be harmless, then perhaps there is reason to give it a shot.
Doing Something is Important – Acupressure is still doing something about your anxiety, and the act of doing something for your mental health is still very important. Simply making sure that you’re willing to get out there and try something is important, because it makes sure that your mind is focused on curing your anxiety forever.
There are downsides to depending on unproven treatments. The main downside is simply the time wasted on something that doesn’t work, and the tendency for people to quit when enough treatments fail.
If you choose to do acupressure as an anxiety treatment, make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of forgetting about your anxiety or becoming frustrated if it doesn’t work for you. If you’re going to use acupressure, do it for fun in addition to some other type of treatment that is more likely to work.
I’ve helped many people cure their anxiety, including those that have tried acupressure. Take my free 7 minute anxiety test to get your free anxiety profile and learn more about what it takes to get anxiety relief.