I lay on a bed of nails for 15 minutes every day for a week — here’s what happened to my body

a photo of a woman lying on an acupressure mat
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Before you ask, no I did not subject myself to lying on an actual bed of nails for a week. Instead, I lay myself down on an acupressure mat for 15 minutes every day in a bid to find out more about this modern-day take on lying on a bed of nails, which ancient gurus supposedly did as a form of meditation and healing.

I’ve collected a fair number of the best yoga mats over the years but I had never heard of an acupressure mat until I received one as a gift for my birthday a couple of years ago. Various brands are selling this style of acupressure mat, but the particular one I received was bought from a brand called Bed of Nails.

I’ll admit that I didn’t get much use out of my mat until recently when I discovered just how relaxing the practice of lying on a mat with multiple plastic spikes sticking out of it can be. So, I decided to lie on it for 15 minutes every day for a week to see what else I’d learn from using an acupressure mat.

What is a bed of nails? 

a photo of a bed of nails mat/acupressure mat

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The short answer is it is an acupressure mat. But if you have never seen one before, you probably want to know more, especially if you end up wanting to buy one after finding out my results from using one. 

A bed of nails in this context refers to a mat consisting of a large number of sharp nails or spikes arranged closely together. It is often used as a metaphor or in certain practices, like meditation or yoga, to describe a surface that may appear uncomfortable or painful but, due to the distribution of weight, does not cause harm. It instead provides acupressure-like stimulation to various points on the body.

I lay on a bed of nails for 15 minutes every day for a week — here’s what happened to my body 

Before reading about my experience with an acupressure mat, it's important to note that while some people find such mats beneficial, others may not, and it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using them, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. 

It didn’t hurt

Lying on my bed of nails did not bring on any feelings of pain but it does feel a little bit uncomfortable at first as you get into position and let your body settle into the harmless spikes. 

I found the more comfortable I got with the sensation that the mat brought to my body, the more I wanted to experiment with my positioning. I loved the feeling brought by pulling my knees into my chest like you would during the popular Apanasana move, which is typically used at the end of a yoga sequence. From here, I liked to gently rock my body from side to side, feeling the nails lean into different parts of my back. 

I had to get used to being still

Even if I am sitting at work or watching my favorite Netflix series, I struggle to sit still for too long. I find myself feeling the need to go and take a walk, clear something away, or make a cup of coffee. However, it’s recommended that you spend at least around 10-20 minutes on an acupressure mat to feel the real benefits of one. So I opted for 15 minutes a day, which was tricky for me to settle into at first.

To keep me focused on the present and on what I was feeling while on the mat, I played some relaxing spa style music during the first few sessions and this really helped. As I sunk into the spikes and began to feel a warm and tingling sensation throughout my body, the whole experience felt very soothing. This made it much easier to settle for the 15 minutes.

It was an extremely relaxing experience

The thing I love most about using a bed of nails is the fact you can use it on your own, in private and at home. I’m a pretty ticklish person so the idea of paying for a massage or of someone doing acupuncture on me is just going to end in me squirming and wishing the minutes away. But with my own acupressure mat, I was able to chill out for fifteen minutes every night before bed on a mat on the floor (you can also put it on top of your bed). 

The acupressure points on the mat stimulate pressure points on the body, which I found helped to trigger the release of endorphins and relieve me of tensions in my back and shoulders — both areas that are prone to stress. 

I lay on a bed of nails for 15 minutes every day for a week — here's my verdict 

While lying on a bed of nails isn’t going to be the cure for a serious back problem you may be suffering from, I do think it is a fantastic relaxation tool. 

Paying for special treatments like acupuncture or a massage can be very expensive and not everyone’s ideas of relaxation, which is where an acupressure mat can be a great cost-friendly solution.

From alleviating muscle tension and reducing pain to promoting relaxation and fostering a mind-body connection, these mats are ones to watch in the world of wellness. Would you try laying on a bed of nails?

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.