Crazy as it may seem, the newest trend in curing aches and pains is spikes. Yes, tiny white plastic spikes attached to a mat. Ouch?! You would think so but the Vila Acupressure Mat is designed to create short-term discomfort for long-term benefits. Vila, named after the Swedish word for rest and relaxation, puts a brand new twist on acupressure mats. Originally create centuries ago in the Middle East, acupressure mats work by activating pressure points in the back and neck. When these areas are triggered, the body is given a signal to produce more blood, which creates an internal surge of oxygen and energy.
Not brave enough to try the mat first, like a good big sister I tested the mat on my brother. Wearing shorts and a T-shirt, he stretched himself across the mat. Being the tough guy he is, he claimed the mat felt good. Not believing him I laid on it and surprisingly felt pressure (not stabbing) in my back. The only time it didn’t hurt so good was when I got up, shifted all my weight to my hand and pushed on the mat to stand up. Not the most pleasant experience but I survived.
The Vila mat’s petite 2-by-3-foot size makes it portable and fits in even the smallest spaces. The slightly intimidating sharp pointed crowns send the brain slight pain signals causing it to produce endorphins. These natural painkillers stop muscle tension and relieve back aches … aaaaah. Depending on your pain tolerance, you can feel the effects of the mat by only lying on it for a few minutes at a time. As you build up, you will be able to lie on the mat for longer periods to get even more benefits.
While nothing tops the feeling from a massage or a good yoga session, if you’re in a hurry or stressed after the gym or your local massage joint closes, this is the next best thing. If you’re not totally down with silent meditation, turn some relaxing tunes on in the background to distract yourself and make the time fly by. You can also stand on the mat for a mini-reflexology foot treatment. Spikes are non-toxic and the mat has a removable cover for spot cleaning. Vila mats retail for $40 each and can be purchased at vilanow.com.