Susannah Taylor: Pain relief? I’ve got it nailed

Most wellbeing treatments opt for gentle-sounding names. A brand called Bed of Nails, therefore, might put you off. But don’t let it. I have been using one of its mats for a few weeks now and am definitely feeling the benefits.

About 1,000 years ago, master yogis used to lie on beds of real nails, which were said to help them reach a deeper state of meditation. Bed of Nails has created a modern, less torturous, ergonomically designed alternative. Its all-new Eco Mat (£100, bedofnails.org) is covered in recyclable plastic discs attached to a natural linen mat filled with coconut fibres. Each disc is covered in 42 plastic ‘nails’.

The idea is that when you lie on the mat, the nails stimulate acupressure points to rebalance your body, offering benefits from reducing insomnia to improving energy, and also helping with chronic pain.

The company was founded by Carina Tannenberg in 2009 after she tried a similar mat which she found to be too painful: ‘When you have more nails, it’s actually less uncomfortable,’ she says.

Looking to soothe stress, insomnia or chronic pain? The acupressure effects of the mat and pillow could be the answer. Image: You Are Here Photo

So is her design completely painless? Well, you can definitely feel the 3mm nails (that’s the point), but I imagine they are a world away from a bed made of nails bought from  Screwfix. The more pressure you put on the mat, the more you sense them – so the most intense moments happen while getting on and off. However, when you’re lying down and your weight is distributed, it doesn’t feel like you’re lying on 8,820 plastic nails at all. And while your back is left flushed, it is harmless to the skin.

The mat works, says Carina, by ‘opening up your energy meridians and balancing energy throughout the body by stimulating acupressure points. This activates the parasympathetic
nervous system and can release endorphins, too.’

The mat’s benefits can vary between people and can depend on what time of day you use it. Carina says, ‘If you lie on the mat, as I do, for 20 minutes in the morning, it can energise you. In the evening, it can relax you by restoring your body’s balance.’

The mat has an army of fans including rock singer Liam Gallagher, who uses it before going on stage. Some users, says Carina, report an endorphin rush afterwards not dissimilar to the type you get after exercise, while others swear it aids sleep and reduces anxiety and stress.

However, the number-one reason people use it, she says, is for pain management. ‘When you have pain in an area, you tend to tense up, which causes more pain. The Bed of Nails mat works by reducing the tension and stopping this vicious circle.’

If you have pain somewhere the mat can’t reach, there’s the Eco Pillow (£60), suitable for the neck, head and feet, and the Eco Strap (£30), which you tie around your waist to help ease back pain.

My verdict on the mat? I love it. The back-to-school, back-to-work juggle has left me feeling overwhelmed lately, so I’ve been lying on the mat in the evenings before bed. I do this for about 20 minutes, then stand on it with bare feet, which I find relaxing. I get a warm afterglow (perhaps the endorphins kicking in) and sleep like a baby. What’s more, I’m waking up without feeling I need an extra two hours in bed. My only complaint is that my husband (who swears it’s transformed his sleeping) races upstairs first every night to use it.

The next generation of aromatherapy

Once upon a time, Trelonk in Cornwall was just your average farming estate with livestock and fields of traditional crops. Then, four years ago, it teamed up with Phytome Life Sciences, whose highly skilled scientists analyse the structural make-up of plants.

The result? Trelonk is now not only growing crops for high-impact wellness but, thanks to cutting-edge technology, is extracting the crops’ most powerful molecules to create super-boosted, next-level aromatherapy oils. These can target specific concerns or areas, from muscles and joints to stress, confidence, hyperactivity, insomnia and diet.

Of its Topical Blends, my favourites are Head Strong (containing rose, green mandarin, ylang-ylang and bergamot), which is great for when concentration is needed; Lights Out (a calming mix of lavender, neroli, clary sage and vetiver) is ideal if you’re struggling to sleep or prone to over-thinking. Each is £20. Both have been blended with Trelonk’s homegrown carrier oils so they can be applied directly to the skin (but shouldn’t be used on the face). trelonkwellbeing.com.