Metro Newspaper

The Shakti Mat

What is it? A bright orange soft, spongy mat covered in more than 6,000 tiny plastic spikes. They activate acupressure points which, in turn, encourage the release of endorphins, our body's happy chemicals. Designed by a Swedish former massage therapist, Om Mokshananda (real name Jonathan), he travelled to India and the Himalayas where he practised yoga and meditation. Once he returned to lower altitudes Om Mokshananda decided to save the rest of mankind from stress and imbalance by developing this modern day bed of nails.

Why we like it: Because by lying on this spongy spikey mat for at least ten minutes a day (ideally 40 - yikes), it will help my insomnia, lethargy, and muscle tension. Apparently. And the mat is made by local women in Varanasi, India, where profits help the local community.

Why we don't: Um, it bloody hurts. Apparently, first-timers should lay a sheet over the spikes. I didn't read that bit so I layed my bare skin very gingerly on the mat. The pain was almost unbearable at first (new mothers may disagree with me) and I didn't align myself correctly, so I painstakingly peeled myself off and did it again. Apparently, after a few minutes, the pain should be replaced with a 'comfortable' heat as the blood rushes to those points. And it did - although I wouldn't say it was comfortable. However, after I finally exhaled, I managed a whole ten minutes before rolling off - yelping once more. I then spent another few minutes inspecting the tiny puncture marks all over my back. Just one left a tiny purple mark. And how did I sleep that night? Like a baby.



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