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When Acupressure Mats Attack


According to the website, if I ordered this “acupressure mat,” I’d be able to feel restored blood circulation and endorphins which are like the sex hormones, and WOAH, who doesn’t want more sex hormones? Also: increased blood circulation is probably good, although I admit that my back hasn’t felt particularly necrotic.

So I ordered one. I figured, “like sex but without condoms and conversation” + “increased blood circulation” would equal a whole lotta RADNESS.

When it arrived in the mail, I clapped with glee. My back blood was practically NOT circulating (lies) and I hadn’t had sex in forever. I just KNEW this mat would change my life. It’s like one of those As Seen On Television Products, where you’re all, I KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE A LIFE CHANGING BOOGER CLEANER, and really, it’s just a bulb syringe they give new babies at the hospital, when they should be giving their MOTHER’S more pain meds.

Alas, I digress.

Carefully, deciding to take a break from The Job Hunt, I laid the mat on my bed, ready to get my endorphin on. Being the sort of idiot who hears “don’t do this,” which somehow translates into my three remaining brain cells as “you should totally do this. All the COOL kids are,” I touched one of the spiky things figuring, “hey, if Imma lay on this, I should know what I’m up against.”

The motherfucker totally scratched my hand.

Oh well, I said to my cat who was sitting on the other half of the bed, staring at me as though I’d suddenly turned into one of the Olsen twins, let’s get my endorphin on.

I stretched and squinched, trying to figure out the best way to mount such an obstacle without scraping the skin off my back entirely, eventually deciding that log rolling onto it was probably the best course of action. I was wrong. The acupressure mat, now covered in bits of my skin that were, moments before, minding their own business, won. But because I am not only annoying, but stupid too, I decided to lay there, shirt off, on the thing for the ten minutes the instruction book suggested that newbies try.

The pain wasn’t as immense or intolerable as I’d expected, considering how damn sharp the things were, and I was pleased that I hadn’t tried acupuncture – not because I’m afraid of needles (see also: large tattoos) – but because I was afraid that the ancient acupuncturist* would be all, “OH MY STARS – YOU HAVE NO QI! GET OUT DEVIL WOMAN!” I figured that since acupuncture and acupressure SOUND the same, it was probably similar results… minus the ancient man yelling about my Qi.

I laid there on a mat of plastic nails for awhile, waiting to feel the rush of endorphins. Instead of feeling all “I just had an orgasm,” my back began to feel as though it had turned to liquid. I half-expected the blood to begin seeping onto the sheets, especially once Basementless Kitty decided that now was a mighty fine time to splay his 35 pound body atop mine, pushing me further into the plastic nails.

When I finally peeled my warm back off the mat, I was particularly shocked to discover no blood.

Cools, I thought. I gotta use this motherfucker AGAIN. My back is NICE and toasty and even though I don’t feel as though I’ve had an orgasm, I bet it’s helping with my non-existent Qi.

And so I have. During the day, I’ll take a 15 minute rest on it while I meditate about cheeseburgers and before bed, I lay on it, waiting for my sleeping pills to kick in. I’ve yet to feel endorphins, but I’m hopeful.

A couple of days ago, after a particularly long and brutal day, I set up my mat, as always, and laid down upon it, day-dreaming about a particularly delicious cheeseburger. And like BAM, I was out. Down for the count. Fast asleep. Probably the deepest sleep I’ve had in years, which = rad.

….except for the part in which I’d forgotten to remove the mat from underneath my body.

Because four hours later, I woke up, my squirrel bladder tap-tap-tapping me to empty it, and realized I was still on the thing. When I sat up in bed, the mat sat up with me, clearly affixed to my back, which was now thudding a dangerous-sounding thud. I’d clearly over-circularized my blood, which is probably not even a real word. With great pain, I peeled the mat off my back, inch my inch, like the world’s most painful band-aid, and put my shirt back on.

It was all I could do not to shriek like someone had suggested that my boobs would make an excellent table-lamp. I limped to the bathroom, the blood clearly dripping from my back, and examined my back. I had a perfect representation of the mat done in black and blue and red. I’d have been more impressed if I’d seen the Virgin Mary, but still, it was pretty awesome. If I’d had my wits about me, I’d have taken a snap of it just because.

One should always attempt to capture their stupidity on camera. Or so America’s Funniest Home Videos tells me.

By now, most of the bruises have subsided, and the cuts have formed delightful looking scabs, so I look sorta like a recovering plague victim, which is why, from now on, I plan to keep my camera on and charged at all points in time. You can’t let an opportunity like that pass you by.

And I’ll continue hoping, in vain, that I’ll feel those “endorphin” thingies, because obviously.

*All acupuncturists are ancient and shriveled in my mind.


What was the dumbest thing YOU’VE done lately, Pranksters?
posted under Aunt Becky Has VD
17 Comments to

“When Acupressure Mats Attack”

  1. On January 7th, 2013 at 9:52 am Cindy Says:

    Oh, Aunt Becky, You have just reminded me that I need to place an order for my N.A. home group. How a story about scabby-leprosy-recovery and an accupuncture mat relate to my N.A. home group is beyond me, because my mind just works in stupid ways like that. Thank you for the reminder; now, let’s hope I don’t get distracted by mutant bunnies before I actually get that order placed.

    Also, I love you!

  2. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:30 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Bwahahaha. Get one! Bwahahahahahahahaha.

  3. On January 7th, 2013 at 9:56 am Emily Says:

    Never heard of this before, and you’d think your “review” would deter me from making a purchase…but it’s in my cart on Amazon waiting for me to click buy.
    What is wrong with me?

  4. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:29 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Bwahahaha! Well, maybe you’ll get endorphins. Then I will be very jealous 🙂

  5. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:03 am @Ruaidh Says:

    RT @mommywantsvodka: When Acupressure Mats Attack (alternately: stupid human tricks)

  6. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:16 am Emily Says:

    wait holy crap, this was just emailed to me!!! IT’S LIKE YOU’RE MAGIC.

  7. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:29 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    No. Way. That’s TOTALLY the mat! It’s nice… well, it will be once I actually can use it again. Still not quite healed.

  8. On January 7th, 2013 at 10:36 am Grace Says:

    Note to Future Becky – next time you lay on the pokey mat thingie, SET AN ALARM!

  9. On January 7th, 2013 at 1:27 pm Pete In Az Says:


    Doesn’t extreme pain give you a rush of endorphins?

  10. On January 7th, 2013 at 2:20 pm Triplezmom Says:

    Ow, ow, ow. I have no words. Oh wait, yes I do: Buy a good vibrator. Orgasms and you can massage your back with it. No potential wounds involved!

  11. On January 7th, 2013 at 3:22 pm Kana Says:

    When you get cut you scab – if you damage the area, you develop calluses, right? Will you get mat calluses if you lie on your sca-spots? Will your Qi be trapped in the calluses from the last mega-nap, like life-essence tumors? We are agog, follow-up posts are called for!

  12. On January 7th, 2013 at 6:39 pm stephgas Says:

    i second the buy a good vibrator. don’t waste money on the cheapest one because you’ll quickly discover why it’s the cheapest one.

    also, this mat thingy sounds strangely intriguing. i had a lovely experience with acupuncture after a car accident. i don’t know that i actually *felt* my chi flowing all over the place, but it was relaxing and covered by my insurance. and got rid of my sinus headaches.

  13. On January 7th, 2013 at 7:31 pm Aunt Becky (@mommywantsvodka) Says:

    Probably the dumbest thing I did that week:

  14. On January 8th, 2013 at 3:41 pm Erin Margolin (@ErinMargolin) Says:

    When Acupressure Mats Attack: According to the website, if I ordered this “acupressure mat,… via @MommyWantsVodka

  15. On January 8th, 2013 at 3:44 pm becca Says:

    buy good vibrator = buy a Hitachi. $35-40, no touchy endorphins caused by said ouchy mat. guarantee you will not fall asleep with Hitachi on, and it has varying speeds if you were to use it on your back…

    I do not have one, but I have friends that swear by them. 😉

  16. On February 21st, 2013 at 12:35 am Ebu Says:

    So funny to read your acupressure mat post especially since i can relate to falling asleep on my acupressure mat.
    Made the mistake of putting my elbow on the darn thing once, and managed to get a couple of drops of blood that time. Other than that, I have grown to love my Heavenly mat and use it multiple times a week for better sleep and after hard workouts.
    Got mine here for only $27

  17. On April 22nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm mb Says:

    I just sent the following letter to my neurologist. I wanted to get it on the internet somewhere so if anyone else has the same theory they might find my experience using a google search:

    I wanted to share with you what I believe was the source of my clots that caused my strokes. Prior to my first stroke I received an acupressure mat (see photos and google “acupressure mat” for more information). These mats are essentially a bed of nails with 6000 sharp plastic points. I would lay on this mat on my back without a shirt on and fall asleep. I don’t recall if I used it the night before my first stroke but I do know that I fell asleep on it the night before my second stroke.

    When laying on this mat, one of the first sensations you have, after some initial discomfort, is that you feel your pulse throughout your entire back. I figure that this is because every nail tip is cutting off circulation which is forced into alternate blood vessels.

    There is a warning to not use these mats if you are on blood thinners because it can cause subcutaneous bleeding. I figure they also cause subcutaneous clotting and the clots were released into my bloodstream the next morning when I woke up and started moving around.

    I thought I would let you know since you wrote a paper about finding strange sources for clots that affect people with a PFO. Also, these mats are pretty popular and if I’m correct that they could be a source of clots, they could be affecting a substantial number of people. I would think that if you have access to the proper statistics, you might be able to check whether increased use of these mats could correspond with an increase of TIA s. But keep in mind that most people use the mats with their shirts on or with a towel between their skin and the nails so the increase may be much smaller. Also, it seems like it would be easy to check to see if these mats, when used the way I used them, cause clots. I would think you could test this using ultrasound on people who do not have PFO s so there would be no risk of stroke.

    I never used my acupressure mat after my second stroke and have since thrown it away.

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