Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to "Spoonk" for Better Health

Hey everybody, today's green tip is all about a cool healthy product I've recently come across called the Spoonk Accupressure Mat. In case you're wondering, it's pronounced like the word "spoon" with a "k"...spoonk! If you've followed my blog for a while you know I love alternative health products and after a few months of using the Spoonk Mat,  it is one that I incorporate into my life on a daily basis to promote better health.


As you can tell by the pictures, the mat is just as unique as it's name...as it's covered with thousands of tiny white spikes. In my house we call it the "pokey mat" and basically it's a mat you lay on to reduce pain and inflammation, improve sleep, and increase energy.

Learn more about the mat and see it in action in this week's video...


What is it?
The mat is based on principles of Japanese Shiatsu massage and accupressure. The idea is that the 6000 some pokes contained within it, stimulate specific reflex points throughout the body and bring circulation to the area where it's being used. In turn, it relaxes stiff muscles, decreases pain, and releases feel good hormones.

Who is it for?
Anyone with chronic pain, neck, back, or shoulder pain, sleeping issues, general fatigue, and even depression.  In a study done with the Spoonk Mat, 98% of users reported pain relief, 94% reported more relaxation, 94% reported better sleep, and 81% reported an increase in energy level. So chances are everyone could probably benefit from a little Spoonking!

I carry all my tension in my neck and the tops of my shoulders
and the Spoonk has really helped to relieve that. 
Benefits I've noticed since starting:
  • Better sleep: I fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and have more vivid dreams. 
  • Less tension in my neck and back 
  • Better mood, especially in the hours following using the mat
  • More energy (when paired with a nap). I like to think that it's like "extra credit" for my nap in how it enhances my rest and relaxation.
How do you use it? 
Basically you just lay on it! Ideally you would lay on it with your bare skin, but if it's too uncomfortable for you, then you can wear a light t-shirt. As you can tell from the photos, I often use a thin tank-top for times when I don't feel like being topless.

When to use it?
The main way that you can use the mat is to lay on it, in a bed for 30-40 minutes daily. But in being a working mom with two little girls, I just don't have 30 minutes to take a little mini Spoonking session during the day...although I've been trying more lately (which I will post more about soon).

Imagine it's nighttime! 

But another time they suggest to use the mat is to lay on it 20-30 minutes before bed, but again, if I'm in my bed at night...I am out literally within a few minutes. There's no way I would last 30 minutes just laying there, relaxing, and then be able to remove it. So what do I do? I lay on my mat before bed and leave it there even when I fall asleep. It usually stays there for 30 minutes to 2 hours or so. Then if I wake up for some reason (cue my 6 month old crying), I toss the mat on the floor, and go back to sleep.

Also, I skip the travel size mat as a pillow during this time because it would be one more thing to move in the middle of the night, so instead I prop the Spoonk main mat up with my pillow so it can cover both, my back and neck.

My typical bedtime set up: Spoonk mat + Earthing mat.
Read more about Earthing mat here. 

I like to lift my tank top up so that I can get more spikes
on my low back.

Other times I use the mat...

1. After a workout. This is one of my favorite ways to use it. I'll lay on it for 30 minutes or so after a hard workout like a run on the treadmill or a challenging BarreAmped DVD. It helps me rest, recover, and reenergize to on going with my day.

Laying on the Spoonk mat after a workout. You can bring
your knees in like this to push the spikes more into your
lower back if that's an area of pressure for you. 

2. At school in my chair. I was looking for a way to incorporate Spoonking into my day while I'm at work with my job as a teacher and although I'm usually pretty busy, I do try to use the Spoonk on my chair when I'm taking a break or sitting down. I use the travel-size mat and fold it up behind my low back. It does seem to work a bit better if I lift my shirt up in the back, but for picture's sake I kept it down.

Using the Spoonk travel size mat during my lunch break.
I fold it like this (there is Velcro on both sides).

3.  Stand on it. This gets at a different area of the body, the feet. As you can see I usually use the mat on my back or neck, but this stimulates my body in a different way. According to the Spoonk experts, standing on the mat (with socks) for 5-10 minutes (especially in the morning) can help energize you. I like to do this while I'm standing at my kitchen counter checking emails or working on my blog. It feels good on my feet and definently wakes me up.


You could also use the mat on your stomach or even on your face, but I tried these and found them to be a bit uncomfortable, maybe in the future. Read more here on their website.

Basic guide of how long to Spoonk for:
Shorter periods: 5-10 minutes= help to energize you
Longer periods: 25-45 minutes= help to relax you
Find whatever time works for you, maybe it's shorter intervals...or maybe it's one long Spoonking session, either way is fine.

After using the Spoonk mat for a few times I began to notice what I call the 3 Stage of Spoonking. Maybe I'm the only one who experiences them, I don't know, but I figured I would share in case you can relate as you try out the mat...

The 3 Stages of "Spoonking"
1. Ouch...that hurts! When you first lay down, I'm not going to lie, those spikes hurt!

2. That itches! After a couple of minutes, I usually settle into the mat and then it starts to itch and feel uncomfortable. So I re-adjust, move around, and get comfortable once again.

3.  Bliss! About 5 minutes or so in, I hit my favorite stage: Bliss! This is when I forget I'm even on the mat and just relax and melt.  This stage usually continues after I get off the mat as you can see below.
Post-Spoonking bliss. (  :

After getting up from the mat you may jump back to Stage 1 of "That hurts!" as you get off the spikes. It seems to go away after a few minutes.  In case you're wondering, this is about what your back may look like after using the Spoonk mat. It usually goes away after 5 or 10 minutes, so don't worry you're not Spoonked for life!

Here's some Spoonk Aftermath going on...I was on the mat
for about 30 minutes in case you are wondering. 

Precautions:
Now although it would be great if everyone could use the Spoonk mat, there are some precautions set forth by the manufactures, such as: don't use if you're pregnant, have unregulated high blood pressure, are on a blood thinning medication, or if you have skin issues or inflammation.  Also do not use on children under the age of 7. Read more here. And last, lay down slowly on the Spoonk mat and avoid sudden movements...or you could get a poke, a cut, or a nasty scratch. Ouch!

So there you have it, the Spoonk Mat! What do you think? If you're anything like me when I first heard about this mat I was dying to give it a try and know what it felt like. So if you're interested in trying it, I got mine here at Amazon.com and it cost about $50 for the main mat, a travel-size mat, and carrying bag. If you're on the fence, try reading some of the customer reviews on there, I know I found those helpful.

Last, be sure to post back your experiences with Spoonk, and until next time, Happy Spoonking!

*Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.*

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