Can a blanket help sleep, fibromyalgia and anxiety?

I was recently asked by some friends if I thought a weighted blanket would help their children sleep better at night. I jumped into researching it and the concept looks great. With two children who have sleeping issues and struggle with anxiety I couldn’t wait to try this theory out.

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The more I looked into it the more I saw all sorts of therapy for different issues. These included fibromyalgia therapy as well as panic attack therapy. Could this blanket really help a variety of issues from pain to anxiety and sleep problems?

I’ve spent the last 4 weeks using the Magic Weighted Blanket for all of these problems and the results surprised me. I picked Magic Weighted Blanket because they’re the original weighted blanket and they have mastered how to make one perfectly for every type of person!

First I immediately started putting the blanket over my sons legs at night and then covering him with a sheet. He went from screaming throughout the night from nightmares to waking and finding a way to feel better without waking everyone else up. He varies depending on how frightened he is but often takes a sleeping bag into someone else’s room and sleeping on the floor.

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Once we had that routine down pat, I introduced my daughter in using it before bed. While we are relaxing or reading together I’ll throw it over her lap to help her get sleepy enough for bedtime so that she doesn’t take so long to fall asleep. Many night we also add a children’s meditation and she’ll fall asleep within 10 minutes.

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My son also brought me the Magic Weighted Blanket the week I was suffering from extreme pain due to fibromyalgia or lupus. Although it was too difficult for me to sleep with the weighted blanket on, it knocked the pain down from a 9 to a 3 within minutes. I kept the blanket on the painful joints for 20 to 45 minutes and used warm compresses as well and it has been the best treatment for this attack of pain that I have been getting for most of my life.

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While the blanket does seem to help each issue, it can only go so far. If their nighttime routine is interrupted or delayed, their bedtime issues are exasperated. If I don’t treat my pain quickly, the weight and heat can only go so far. Despite that, I do think it is an extremely useful tool to have in the house! It can only help as much as it is used and once you’re in the habit of using it you will look back and realize how much it has helped since you started. I believe the longer you use it the larger the benefits will be!

How to get your kids into yoga AND meditation in 3 simple tips.

People are often amazed that my children will practice yoga with me. They’re downright in disbelief when I tell them my kids also meditate with me. They follow up with how their own children just “never would do anything like that”.

I’m here to tell you that any child can practice yoga and meditate. It just has to be fun!

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Your child will practice what they see you practicing. If I don’t get on my mat my children rarely ask me to do yoga with them. Not only does this motivate my child to do a healthy mindful practice like yoga, but it gives me that extra oomph to get down on my mat and practice too so that they learn by my actions.

I invite my children to practice meditation with me (separately from my own meditation) and let them choose a fun crystal from my altar or explore sounds with our singing bowls. By showing them this area is filled with joy rather than something they should stay away from encourages them to meditate to bring themselves joy.

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Kids like to play games. My kids have a collection of yoga inspired books and games. We do these together as a family and the real object of the game is to focus on what you’re doing right in the moment. This is the basis of a meditation practice and an amazing skill for any person to learn. It leads to deeper satisfaction and overall happiness, as well as less anxiety and better coping skills during stress.

Consistency will build their own practice. Just like anything else, teaching your kids the practice of meditation and yoga will become a habit they can eventually do on their own. Make a point to practice for 5 minutes a day with them. Everyone has 5 minutes to spare and there are even apps for guided kids meditation that can become part of the bedtime routine.

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With kids, it’s that simple. They won’t jump in right away or even all the time but they will experience the benefits of the practice themselves and you’ll  be surprised how they go towards it when they need it most. I often stressed the benefits I noticed in my kids after they practiced to remind them why they continue to do it. My daughter struggled with negativity and falling asleep at night, she often complains of nervousness and fears. With her nightly meditation routine she rarely wakes up throughout the night and often falls asleep on 10 minutes or less. It has even inspired her to say one positive thing each morning when she wakes up and every night when she says goodnight. She just turned 7 years old and has been practicing meditation for about a year.

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My kids practiced yoga daily when they were infants and toddlers. Their practices have evolved into gymnastics and karate which they are devoted to and extremely ambitious in. They often point out to me how similar poses are in the three and they see yoga in everything that they do. They still practice random poses throughout the day but they no longer sit on their mats with me and practice like they used to. With it instilled in them, I know it is a practice they will always return to in times of need.

The more your children see you meditating and practicing yoga the more they will want to try. They might even practice in private after being exposed to it on a daily basis.

Check out BalaKids, a Shambhala imprint for a beautiful collection of yoga, meditation and mindfulness books to get your kids started on their journey or strengthen the practice they already have!

ProSource Gym Rings

20190403_135024I love playing around with gym gear. I feel like my yoga practice is very strict and dedicated and when I can goof around with gymnastics it feels like I’m using my skills but also just doing it for fun.

I started yoga to heal and I guess somewhere along the line it became work for me. If I grab some gym gear and let loose it reminds me to smile when I practice yoga too. I grew up intrigued my gymnastics and strength training but also lacked the ability to advance due to my health restraints.

I’m stronger and more flexible than I ever have been before and while I love watching my kids play all sports, I particularly love watching them flourish in Gymnastics and Karate!

My son adores ProSourceFit and their gymnastics gear, but mostly their wooden rings and chalk.

I love the rings because they’re smooth and safe, lightweight so I can move them back forth between my hookups indoor and my sons jungle gym outdoors. The straps make it so easy to adjust the length between my kids and I and wherever we decide to throw them up.

They’re an awesome price if you’re looking for some good gear to practice at home! Check them out on ProSourceFit here:

https://www.prosourcefit.com

Here is a complete workout on gym rings to get built and have fun doing it!

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/built-like-a-gymnast-pack-on-the-muscle-with-gymnastic-rings.html

The Home of the Fiddle Leaf Fig

Have you avoided the infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig because of how finicky it is rumored to be? These beauties don’t have to be difficult to care for.  I got my beauty from PlantEmporium along with an Alocasia Stingray and Alocasia Odora Variegata.

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People easily get intimidated by plants because of how popular they are and of course the price factor. Don’t let this hold you back! I find that treating a plant like it is “special” often leads to me overcaring for it and eventually it’s demise. Follow these simple tips to help your FLF flourish for years to come.
FIDDLE LEAF FIG CARE
Light: Give it bright consistent light, preferably by a sunny window. Turn the plant every few months once it begins to lean toward the light.
Drafts: Make sure that your window is properly sealed. Figs are used to the still, warm conditions of the rainforest. Cold drafts from windows, doors and air-conditioning units may cause its leaves to dry out and drop.
Soil: Rich, well-drained peaty soil. Plan on re-potting about once a year because once roots become crowded they will start growing through the container’s drainage hole, causing circulation problems and even root rot.
Water: Water only when soil is dry to the touch. Then water thoroughly (until the water drains into the saucer) and allow to dry out again. If plants don’t get enough water, new leaves will turn brown and drop; on the other hand, if they are overwatered, the oldest leaves (toward the base of the plant) will turn brown and fall off.
Fertilizer: Feed with a water-soluble plant food throughout the growing season according to directions.
Pests: Figs are vulnerable to aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites and whiteflies, causing leaves to turn yellow and drop. Inspect the foliage regularly, and if signs of infestation occur, wipe down the leaves with a solution of ½ teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one gallon of water. To protect the leaves from further attacks, add neem oil to the solution according to directions.
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To check out the PlantEmporium packaging I took a video you can see on YouTube and IGTV! Click the photo to watch the unboxing!
YouTube:
YouTube

IGTV

Screenshot_20190403-103504_Instagram.jpgIt’s easy to see why they have almost 900 five star reviews on Etsy! PlantEmporium puts a tremendous amount of care into their plants so that they arrive without any damage and very happy! Each of my orders from them has been a great experience. None of the plants I received this year or last year have had any bug problems and while some stress from shipping expected, all my plants are doing really well!I’ll share care tips for both alocasia plants in the upcoming weeks as well! I plan on doing weekly plant care posts in addition to my yoga and health posts! Spring is so inspiring!

Here are the other beauties from PlantEmporium:

Don’t forget to check out PlantEmporium for all the rare plant beauties!

Check them out here https://www.etsy.com/shop/PlantEmporium and leave a comment with which plants you would like care tips on!

Meditation for any Personality

When I was in Yoga Teacher Training my mentors told us that a meditation practice has to be consistent to be powerful. This mean everyday, the same amount of time and the same type of meditation.

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The velvety Ajna cushion makes sitting for meditation a joy.

One thing you can find comfort in is taking your time to figure out which type is best for you. While my typical practice falls under Lovingkindness meditation, I still use mantra or chakra meditation when needed and often fall asleep to a guided yoga nidra meditation.

Whoa, that’s a lot of confusing words at once. Here I’ll describe the different types of meditation and I suggest trying each type for at least a week and then committing to one type as your daily practice and leaning towards others for specific times or needs. Try to meditate daily for at least 5 to 20 minutes.

Guided Mindfulness Meditation: Being mindful is the trend right now, but how to be mindful is often confusing. Mindfulness is being attentive to a specific act or thought while letting other intrusive thoughts pass through without paying any attention to them.

For this you can download apps so a teacher can verbally direct your attention to physical sensations and what is happening in your mind. The teacher will also guide you through distractions and how to refocus. I use Insight Timer App often for Guided meditations.

Moving Meditation: This meditation seems to come easily to most people! You can practice this anywhere and in any way. When in sitting mediation I focus on my breath to let my brain and body know what to get ready for. I also practice this while cooking, cleaning, gardening, walking and basically in everything that I do. Whatever act that you choose, focus deeply on the movement, every body part that is touching the ground, slowly feeling each movement and even repeating what you are physically doing. Think about the sounds, smells and tastes. Observe what you see. We often run on “automatic” and don’t fully take in everything around us. This is the perfect opportunity to try that. When an intrusive thought arises, notice it and refocus on a physical sensation.

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Lovingkindness Meditation: I often find myself focusing on people and their behaviors to a point that it consumes too many of my emotions. I use the Lovingkindness meditation to reiterate that loving everyone ultimately sets me free from negative emotions. To practice this, you use a mantra and repeat it to direct love and compassion towards yourself and others that you may have negative feelings about.

Come up with three to four short phrases that are important to your happiness. I typically use “May I be healthy, May I be happy, May I be calm, May I live with ease” as the ultimate wishes for my life. Start repeating your mantras about yourself and really extend those wishes deep into your heart. Know that you deserve these wishes and can have them. Send these wishes to others you love. Next send them to someone you don’t have any emotional attachment towards, like a neighbor or someone you see around town. Lastly, send these wishes to someone who typically triggers negative emotions for you. Remind yourself that they need these wishes as well and remain with an open heart. Over time, you will begin to see others with love and compassion and not be triggered by differences or personalities.

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Chakra Mediation: If you haven’t heard of “chakras” you have probably been living under a rock, although many gurus find their chakras and open them by being in rocks, so you’re probably just blind. Chakras are the areas of different energies throughout our being and consciousness. For this meditation form, you have to know a little about the chakras to perform it. You will begin in a seated position and breathe through the chakra points and central channels. Check out this link for an in depth guide to the Chakra meditation.

Mantra Meditation: One of the more commonly know forms of meditation and probably the most straight forward. In this form of meditation you recite a phrase/sound/word either silently or aloud. You can lie down in savasana or sit comfortably in a chair or on a meditation cushion. Start by repeating your mantra according to your breath and let it form it’s own pattern. You can look up a mantra or be given one by a teacher. Click here for some sanskrit mantras to try!

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Meditation actually changes the way your brain responds to situations and the longer you consistently practice, the stronger and more positive your brain becomes. Give it a try for 30 days and see how differently you feel and react to daily triggers! Let me know how it goes in the comments.

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Buyer Beware: Florida Hill Nursery

I have been going through a long dispute with my credit card company because of Florida Hill Nursery. If I have one piece of advice you remember, it’s to stay far away from Florida Hill Nursery and purchase from any of the lovely shops I’ve featured before.

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Their practices are despicable. They have absolutely no customer service. This is not an exaggeration, it literally does not exist. After sending them 3 separate emails and forwarding those to another email I found for them, messaging them on their Ebay account, leaving a voicemail on their telephone number, reaching out on their Facebook, I was left no choice but to dispute the charge on my credit card company. I did this, explaining that my order says complete and I received nothing. My CC refunded me the amount temporarily as they reviewed the case.

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After 9 attempts and almost two months, they never responded to me.

They reached out to Florida Hill Nursery and a week later I received a destroyed box with FIVE plants in it. Already wrong, considering I ordered six. Two of the plants I did receive died in 24 hours. Another two were mislabeled and not the plants I ordered. As for the last one, it is a pink syngonium and to make sure it is actually of the “strawberry” variety it would have to go for testing to differentiate it from all the other pink syngonium.

When I decided to go to the BBB I found out the worst. They are rated an F. This happens often enough and with all the same results. Most people do not get what they ordered and do not get a refund. It’s a scam.

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So I had to jump through more hoops to prove this company is charging people and not sending items unless threatened by a credit card company, and even then sending dead and incorrect plants fraudulently labeling them as those you ordered.

What did I do to prove my theory? I had a relative order a plant. I chose the alocasia “frydek” because it was another one of their “too good to be true” plant choices. About two weeks later he received this plant and shockingly, it is NOT an alocasia “frydek”.

There is always a risk when purchasing plants online. With Florida Hill Nursery there is almost a guarantee you will either not get your order, only get part of your order and/or get the wrong plants.

Eventually, my CC company took the money back out and I had to further dispute my case. Two months later, I send more proof and my CC company calls me and tells me that the best they can do is give me 50% back. I settle just to be done with Florida Hill Nursery and move on. I hope with this article, people can be aware of their practices before purchasing anything.

To check out some shops I love, you can see my posts on The Houseplant Shop, Coastal Tropicals, Petalsome Presents, (And one more).

Happy hunting!!

Coastal Tropicals made me an aroid addict

Screenshot_20181215-153042_InstagramAs I fall deeper into the rabbit hole of indoor gardening, I’ve become seriously addicted to syngonium, philodendron, pothos, arrowheads and anything aroid!

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Coastal Tropicals has come up front in the aroid collection, with syngonium ranging from “white butterfly” to “confetti”, caladium, alocasia, philodendron and so much more!

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I received a white butterfly syngonium, confetti syngonium, regina red syngonium, mini allusion syngonium, deja vu philodendron, red bellied tree frog caladium, and orange prince philodendron.

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If you check out my last post on Coastal Tropicals you’ll see the Banana Tree, Passiflora vine, succulent mix, and venus fly trap I got for the beautiful summer weather!

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The thing about Coastal Tropicals is how much consideration she puts into every order. They are wrapped perfectly so that not one single leaf was damaged in my entire order! You can watch the unboxing video on my IGTV. She sells a lot of starter plants which makes those dreamy wish list plants affordable. I keep update photos on my plants on IG and you can also see them by checking out @coastaltropicalsandmore and clicking on photos they are tagged in!

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It’s the best shop to grab everything you want. They have such a huge assortment of plants that you’ll find everything from airplants to arrowheads! All the while getting much more for your plant budget (avoiding that dreaded self-imposed plant ban, am I right?). I can’t wait until the weather warms where I live and I can swarm her site and purchase everything that grows! Coastal Tropicals plants all came healthy, happy and beautiful. Each and every single plant is always exactly what I was looking for, and not to play favorites here, my confetti syngonium was impossible to find anywhere else.. her prices are impossible to beat! Check them out, grab what you can if weather permits or make your list for spring, you know I’ve already compiled pages upon pages.

 

The shop that started my plant addiction

Awhile back I did a review on The Houseplant Shop and after all this time, I’m officially addicted to indoor gardening! I went back and purchased plants throughout the year from them and reunited for another collaboration.

This time I received two unique plants that are sure to be showstoppers next spring!

The Goldfish Plant and a Silver Satin Pothos.

Goldfish plants (Columnea gloriosa) come to us from the Central and South American tropics and derive their common name from the unusual shape of their flowers, which with some imagination, resemble fish. Under ideal conditions, the goldfish hanging plant blooms prolifically in a variety of reds, oranges and yellows. The leaves are generally 2 to 3 inches long, thick, waxy and dark green, although there are a few varieties with hairy leaves. The stems are vining and can reach 3 feet long.

(Read more at Gardening Know How: Goldfish Hanging Plant – How To Grow Goldfish Houseplant (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/goldfish-plant/goldfish-hanging-plant.htm)

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Satin Pothos is just as easy to grow as its relative, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum). Keep it warm and take care not to overwater this house plant. Cold drafts and soggy soil are two things it won’t tolerate.

You’ll see the best leaf color and variegation by keeping this pothos plant in bright, indirect light. You’ll also keep this plant healthy by boosting the humidity around it. In fact, its variegated foliage makes this plant a beautiful addition to a terrarium.

This striking tropical plant is fairly new to house plant nurseries, and is garnering a lot of attention.

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My previous plants have exploded with growth this summer! I started propagating my Jade Peperomia because it had become so tall and lanky.

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My Golden Dust Croton will definitely be getting a pot upgrade this spring! It is so lush and bushy! This is by far one of the easiest plants I have ever cared for. It was ALWAYS thirst during summer so impossible to over water and naturally as the air started to cool and I slowed down to weekly water it was still happy. By winter I think I’ll need to spread it out more but it’s a plant that tells you exactly when it’s thirsty by drooping dramatically!

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Lastly, my Calathea, that started my obsession with Calatheas, is popping out new leaves despite my watering mishaps with it. All are very forgiving plants and helped me learn a lot about indoor gardening!

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I’ve also ordered endless air plants, syngonium and various pothos. They have such a large variety of plants you can keep in the home.

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The most important reason I’m so in love with House Plant Shop is because of the quality. I have never received a plant with bugs, they always come exactly as described, and the customer service is unbeatable. They usually have the “most wanted” plants of the season, at great prices.

When you disappear

I recently struggle more and more with the state of our country. Everytime I hear the school alarms go off, I fear the worst. Everytime I turn on my phone, I see the worst. Raising a female, I battle what sometimes seems like the inevitable in this country, that she will be abused because of her gender. I question how to raise my son to be an empathetic, giving, kind, compassionate person.

Sometimes it seems like my hobbies are so insignificant with all the pain and suffering in the world, most especially so close to home.

I lose my love of writing. I forget to share all the things that heal me in battling 8 autoimmune disorders. I forget sharing what has healed me from the trauma, abuse, loss and oppression I have experienced. Sometimes I forget to battle the anxiety and depression that used to just be a part of my complicated health issues and traumatic experiences.

But that is why now is more of a time to share my path to healing from the inside all the way to my soul outside of me.

I spend a lot of time trying to spread awareness. One of the biggest battles this country faces is hatred. I try to spread awareness of important social issues that need to change, like the rampant racism, ethnocentrism, misogyny, disregard for our environment and animals, sexism (which is a separate issue from misogyny), violence and dehumanization of nearly any group of people that isn’t “white”.

With that awareness and constant education brings this feeling that maybe this is hopeless, maybe this country is getting worse and more violent. The headlines of everyday news can easily cause despair.

So I think it is important to have something that is carefree and positive. I practice short yoga flows, yoga nidra, some form of art, and indoor gardening. These outlets aren’t “life-or-death” terrifying, they focus on my breath and growth and give me space the clear the inward pain, release the fear and come back fresh.

It’s important to release so you build your energy back up and don’t become mentally or physically ill from all the despair, violence and fear.

With that, I begin again.

Later I will post a new article on indoor gardening and online nurseries! I have found some beautiful sellers who never disappoint and I can be rather picky when spending money on plants!

Find something good each day, to give a little attention to and fill yourself up with good so you can serve the country positively and work for change.

Follow @Shaunking @rachel.cargle on Instagram for easy access to keep yourself informed and aware of social issues.

What does acupressure really do?

I’ve recently shared acupressure mats and pillows with family members and they asked me lots of questions about why, how, where. I realized so many people probably have the same questions and would love to learn more about it!

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I’ve tried the new Ajna Pillow which I use multiple times in a day for underneath my legs, my lower back, shoulders, neck and head. Basically any time I am sitting or lying down I’m using this mat to heal.

I love all Ajna Wellbeing products, but I adore this pillow for accessibility, price and quality. Check out my review on their full acupressure mat!

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What is acupressure?

Acupressure is NOT acupuncture as it requires no needles or anything penetrating the skin. Research is now showing that a lot of our health is affected by fascia, a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ. Acupressure is thought to work through putting pressure on these tissues to release toxins, built up pressure and/or inflammation.

Before the realization of fascia, traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy — or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.

According to this theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance.

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How to use acupressure?

Use it for 20 minutes or until you feel a reduction in pain. If you want to use a neck pillow with an acupressure mat, lie the maton a flat surface. Slowly lower yourself onto the mat and place the pillow under your neck. Adjust your body and the pillow as necessary until you are comfortable. Many people suggest using acupressure mats as soon as you wake up. Doing this will help you in flushing out toxins and other waste materials from your body. Drink at-least 24 ounces of water after being on the mat, which might help your body to release the impurities through out the day. Some other quick tips on how to use acupressure mats on a daily basis.

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Where to use acupressure?

You can stand on a mat with bare feet to energize the body and release fatigue.

People also sit on the mats to release any thigh or glute tension or recover after sore muscles. It also brings blood flow to these areas and helps reduce cellulite.

You can lie flat on the mat with a bare back to help any back pain from the shoulders to pelvis. Or lie on your front to release any tension held in your front body.

You can lie on your side with a roll under the mat to reach your side body.

Pressing your hands into the mat can help with dexterity and motor functions.

Rolling the back of your skull slowly from side to side on a mat can reduce migraines and headaches as well as stress.

These mats can be used endlessly, these are just some suggestions! Check out Ajna Wellbeing as I recommend these for their quality and affordability!