You’ve probably seen pictures of these spiky little mats floating around social media and wondered what in the world they are and why on earth anyone would want to lay on a bed of almost-needles. Those were my first two thoughts when Dosha Mat reached out to me… but I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve used this mat on and off for the past year, and put it to heavy use earlier this year when dealing with some serious anxiety. I was certainly skeptical at first, but I can see its benefits now.
What is The Dosha Mat?
The Dosha Mat is an acupressure mat designed to help increase bloodflow throughout the body in order to ease pain and aid in relaxation. It’s similar to massage and acupuncture, minus the needles and need for a professional. This mat, along with many others like it on the market, have tiny little buds of hard plastic spikes (as you can see below) that press on the skin when you lay, sit, or stand on the mat. These buds are designed to alleviate tense muscles, help with back/neck/shoulder pain, and with continued use, reduce stress and promote sleep.
Unlike those other mats on the market, however, Dosha Mats are made from 100% eco-friendly materials. They have a natural linen cover that’s hypoallergenic with a removable pad made from coconut fibers. What’s more, the plastic buds are surgical-grade, so you don’t have to worry about introducing harmful chemicals into your skin or having some type of allergic reaction. I’ve found that I really like the removable cover, too, in case you need to clean it (by hand — you can’t put this one in the washing machine). All in all, this is a really high quality product.
I’ve been using the mat on and off for over a year now. When I received the mat, I was immediately skeptical — what IS this thing? I took off my socks, stepped on it, and just about screamed in pain. Those little lotus flowers are SHARP! So I put my socks back on and tried again. A little better, but not much. Now, I’ll be honest here, after this initial introduction, I rolled the mat up and stored it under my bed for quite some time. That is until earlier this year when I was having severe anxiety attacks just about every day.
It was my last semester in graduate school and my culminating project (Master’s thesis essentially) was getting the run-around from my professors and I couldn’t fathom continuing on. I’m not an anxious person by nature, but this semester had me worked up beyond belief. After one particularly bad day, I decided I needed to get this anxiety under control by any means necessary or it was going to eat me alive and I probably wouldn’t graduate. I’d been hearing a lot about essential oil diffusion and meditation, so why not give that a try… and break out my Dosha Mat from hiding, too. And that’s what I did — every night for about 3 months straight. I laid on the mat next to my bed, put lavender oil in my diffuser, and listened to calming music to tune out my thoughts.
Do I think the mat helped? Yes, yes I do. It sounds strange, but laying on tiny spikes was actually relaxing, but not sleep-inducing. The prickly sensation was enough to keep me awake so I could actually enjoy the meditation, but it was also nice to have that warm, blood circulation feeling before bed.
How I’m Using It Now & Things to Consider
I don’t use the mat quite as often now, since my anxiety has diminished substantially after graduating. I try to use it every Sunday night though to help calm nerves before the work week and to really get a good relaxation routine going. After using it this year, here are a few final thoughts and things to consider:
Wear clothes and socks when trying it for the first (few) time(s). Not going to lie: this mat HURTS if you stand or lay on it with bare skin. Frankly, I’m not sure how anyone does that even after months of use. My recommendation is to wear thicker socks and clothing to start out while you get used to the sensation. After a while, try it out with thinner clothing and if you want, bare skin.
Lay down on it slowly. If you just plop yourself down on this mat, you are going to feel it (in a bad way)! Dare I say the little flowers might actually stab you if you collapse onto it. I found sitting down on it for a few seconds works best to get my body used to the pricks, and then slowly roll down onto your back from there.
Don’t be surprised if your skin gets temporarily red and indented. I can’t say I was surprised at the fact that my skin got red — I do have quite sensitive skin, after all. But looking at my back after laying on the mat for 5-10 minutes was a bit of a shock. Red and indented. I’ll take that as a good sign though that the mat actually does increase bloodflow and improves circulation.
It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. The mat itself runs $99 full price, but they are on sale for $79 right now. I’ve done some research and mats like this on Amazon range from $20-$230. Not sure on the uber expensive ones, but I can almost guarantee the cheap ones are not made from a high quality plastic/cloth. The Dosha Mat certainly is, and you can tell right when you open the package.
Readers: chat with me! Have you ever used an acupressure mat before? Have you even heard of/seen one? If so, what was your experience like? If not, is it something you’d like to try? How do you deal with anxiety when you’re in a panicked state?
Disclosure: I was gifted this acupressure mat from Dosha Mat in exchange for my review and honest opinion on here on the blog. As always, I only post about products I actually use and enjoy myself, and all opinions, photos, and copy are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!