It was a Saturday night and instead of sharing a few wines with friends, I found myself lying on a bed of prickly nails with nothing but a light t-shirt on for protection against the 6000 spikes pressing into my back.
The product in question is called the Shakti Mat.
The brainchild of two New Zealand friends, the wellness tool incorporates aspects of acupressure and promises to give the user enhanced relaxation, better sleep, increased circulation and pain relief from tight muscles. Although you can stand or rest select body parts on the mat, it advises you to lie on the mat, butt naked (ideally) for 20 to 30 minutes daily before bed.
The sharp points work in a similar way to acupuncture needles by increasing blood flow to a certain area which releases pain and tension, making it a wonder for sore muscles. There’s also the meditative element that comes from resting on the mat, which is particularly effective at calming the mind before bed. Especially if you’re bedtime ritual more often than not involves a lengthy Instagram scroll.
But first things first, make no mistake, the 6000 plastic spikes are sharp. Like really sharp.
The first time I used my Shakti Mat, I had just taken a hot shower (do not do this) and upon – gently – lying down on the mat’s many, many sharp spikes I was greeted with an equally sharp pain. So much so that I gave up after a minute. After a few more failed attempts, I finally resorted to wearing a thin t-shirt – which Shakti actually recommends for newbies, I was just too stubborn – and the experience was SO MUCH BETTER.
While I could still feel the sharp pricks against my skin, the sensation was more akin to discomfort over pain. I then spent the next 20 minutes intently listening to a podcast without a second screen to distract me and when my phone timer indicated that my 20 minute session was over, I was already blissfully ready for bed and did actually experience a much deeper sleep than normal. Although this could be due to the fact that I 'properly relaxed' my way into sleep, instead of opting for an Instagram-scroll-induced slumber.