The hottest gift of the year - Metro US

The hottest gift of the year

It’s a mat studded with about 6,000 sharp plastic needles, it claims to cure stress, backaches and insomnia — and it’s the year’s hottest Christmas gift.

Nail-bed yoga mats — based on the ancient Indian bed of nails — have taken the world of health and fitness by storm and are selling in hundreds of thousands. The foam rubber pad is covered in hard plastic disks from which plastic needles protrude.

Users say it can be quite painful initially — but once the body gets used to the sensation, the effects are incredible. A number of varieties are on sale, but the makers of all state the needles stimulate the body to produce endorphins and oxytocin — the feel-good hormone.

They recommend using the mats for 10 minutes in an initial session, with the aim of using it for between 20 to 40 minutes to see the best results.

Makers of one variant, the Acushakti, claim using the mat can produce:

? Muscle pain and/or stiffness relief

? Back and neck problems relief

? Stiff joints prevention

? Headache relief

? Exhaustion prevention

? New energy

? Increased blood circulation

? Support when feeling depressed

? Improved sleep

? Pure relaxation

The nail-bed mats are particularly popular in Sweden, and in a bid to prove the mats’ performance, the largest maker of the mats in Sweden plans a medically supervised survey of 30 regular users.

And a recent article in The New York Times found young Swedes prepared to testify that the mats made a difference to their lives.

One, Emilia Drake, 24, told the Times: “Absolutely it helps. I feel very relaxed. I could fall asleep standing.”

You can find the Acushakti mat and more about it at: www.acushakti.com

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