Acupressure Mat: FSA Eligibility
Revenue Ruling 72-593
What is acupressure?
Acupressure is often referred to as "acupuncture without needles," as it applies the same principles to treat specific medical conditions, promote relaxation and channel the body's own ability to naturally heal itself. As opposed to needles in the practice of acupuncture, acupressure concentrates on these same pressure points, or acupoints, that lie along meridians or channels in the body. It is believed that these meridians are interconnected with organs and tissues throughout the body, and those which are out of balance can cause illness (WebMD).
The belief of acupressure practitioners is that activation of these points with pressure can improve blood flow, relieve tension and allow energy to flow more freely throughout the body. Acupressure takes on a number of regional styles, including other Asian bodywork therapies like qigong and Tuina, as well as the Japanese style of Shiatsu.
Acupressure is used as a means of pain relief, reducing tension in sore muscles and to promote deep states of relaxation, similar to massage therapy. Because of its concentration on acupoints and their relation to the body's overall balance, acupressure practitioners have also developed techniques that can treat conditions like fibromyalgia, headaches, neck and back pain and much more.
While acupressure's roots are based in more than 5,000 years of Asian medicine, it is mostly discounted by Western medical professionals and believe that any form of pain relief that arises from the treatments are more related to the same physical effects that occur during massage therapy. The body's natural release of endorphins, reduced muscle tension and improved circulation that arises from these treatments could account for the natural pain relief qualities that acupressure espouses.
What is an acupressure mat?
An acupressure mat is a means of delivering this therapy to various parts of the body, but they are predominantly used to tackle neck and back pain. These mats are used by laying on the mat flat on the floor, and the unique layout of the mat will target specific pressure points in the neck and back to alleviate pain and improve circulation. Acupressure mats have been known to be effective treatments for neck/shoulder/back pain, headache/migraine pain, fibromyalgia and sciatica nerve pain (CBS News).
In addition to their role in treating a variety of chronic and acute pain issues, acupressure mats contain more than 8000 separate acupressure points that can spark an increase in circulation and provide myriad positive benefits. Many users have reported an improvement in their sleep cycles, treatment for sore muscles after a workout or as a means of stress relief. Acupressure mats have also been embraced by the yoga community as an additional source of therapy during the practice. While some users may report some pain at first, in time this will decrease during subsequent sessions as the body becomes use to the sensations and begins receiving benefits from regular practice.