Many believe that the acupressure mat originated from the bed of nails used by ancient gurus and yogis for healing and meditation. The bed of nails is made of an oblong piece of wood with thousands of nails embedded on it pointing upwards.
The bed of nails is a part of Indian mysticism hundreds of years ago, but today, it used to entertain people in circuses and sideshows to demonstrate the bravery, stamina, and invulnerability of the performer towards pain. On the other hand, science teachers use the bed of nails to demonstrate the principles of pressure.
According to Tanya Zilberter, Ph.D., author of the book Reflexo-Therapy From Kutzenov Applicator to Shakti Mat, the idea regarding the bed of nails was introduced in Russia during the mid-19th century by Russian celebrity, Ivan Turgenev in his novel “Eve” wherein a patient in the story was asked to lie down on a bed of needles before a surgery. The procedure was done to keep the patient relaxed and his blood pressure at normal levels. Zilberter believed that acupuncture is the theory behind the procedure.
Zilberter found the person who created the first acupressure mat was Ivan Kuznetsov, a Russian music teacher who suffered from chronic pain. He had a severely impaired peripheral circulation and muscle spasm to the point that he could not move his limbs. Acupuncture was the only treatment that made him feel better, but the cost per session was too expensive for him, and only a few clinics in the country offer free acupuncture. He tried to learn how to perform acupuncture on himself, but he failed because he could not reach all the acupressure points on his back.
Kuznetsov then decided to pierce a sheet of tire rubber with thousands of office pins ¼ inch apart and lay on it to reach the acupressure points of his back. His idea worked and called his invention "Iplikator" and filed a patent in 1979. Since his invention, thousands of clinics in Russia tested the Iplikator and it was featured in a science magazine called Invention and Rationalization in 1981. The Department of Public Health in Russia approved the manufacturing and sale of the device with no trials.
- Johannes, Laura (5 April 2011). "8,000 Spikes of Relaxation". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
- How Stuff Works
- Tanya Zilberter (2010). Reflexo-therapy From Kuznetsov's Applicator to Shakti Mat: Forty year-long success story. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1450597562.