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I get a lot of questions from friends asking me what “I’m trending on” as far as health hacks and tweaks to make the gears run better. Truthfully, if you have seen my living room that’s a really long list. I love a gadget and I’m a sucker for tech that gives the body a boost and aids in recovery. The list includes oxygen tanks, magnetic coils, electro-stimulation machines, and many many others. It’s like Dr. Frankensteins laboratory up in here. However, if I had to name one item today, one thing that’s really rocking my world, dollar for dollar, kicking ass and taking names…
The Spoonk Mat
Upon first glimpse this eco –friendly mat made from organic hemp, plant based foam and safe non-toxic plastics, looks like the bottom of a big golf shoe. There are over a hundred half-dollar sized spike circles, which create a literal “bed of nails”. I have to admit I’ve walked by versions of these things in Whole Foods and Westerly market for years, and it looked like a big waste of time, or at least money. I have tried too many things that have just not delivered so understandably I’m very skeptical. That being said…this one is pay dirt!
*pay dirt – noun – North American
1. ground containing ore in sufficient quantity to be profitably extracted.
2. informal profit; reward.
“the gig pays three hundred bucks a week—looks like I just hit pay dirt”
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. So when I recently began to have trouble with my sleep cycle I did some digging.
My problem: I found myself “wound” up when it was time to “wind” down. I would get tired at night, but when it was time to finally turn in…I could not sleep. Remember we are essentially big dumb animals who want to eat, sleep and play. Unfortunately our system of ultra competetive capitalism takes us in the opposite direction of these natural tendencies. At the end of the day we really have to work to find ways to support our natural biorhythms, relax and reset.
A recurring cycle in the physiology or functioning of an organism, such as the daily cycle of sleeping and waking.
Remember when you were a child, and you took a nap with soft cuddle blankets, and stuffed animals? This only stopped because society dictated, if we had our way we would all be laying down for a recharge around 2:30-3:00!
Note to self: this is the worse time to schedule an important meeting or event cause every one involved will be fighting off the Energy Lethargy dragon. She’s coming and searching for yawls and half open eyelids. I call her Shelia.
In NYC…#foretaboutit #nevergonnahappen. The lights, sounds and energy of the city don’t stop. There is very rarely time for a nap as we are all hustling to make ends meet.
Pushing through this midday siesta, using stimulants and shots of espresso to get things done is like pulling energy form an energy credit card. Eventually you are going to have to pay it back to the man ( otherwise know as your adrenal glands). It’s not uncommon for people with reversed cortisol levels to get a boost of energy around 10:30/11pm at night. The reason? Your natural rhythm is all screwed up! So what is our fix?
The best way to make use of those 8-10 hours at night is to dive in quickly.
Enter the Spoonk mat / or sleep induction mat.
While Spoonking sounds like a term in the urban dictionary (it’s not), its actually one of my favorite toys.
The deal: lay down on the mat without a shirt on (naked on top I like to say) and disperse your weight across the spikes. POW! Yes it’s pretty intense, but after about 2 minutes, your nervous system adjusts and starts to release beneficial hormones into the circulating blood. I have to admit the first time I tried it, I felt really good. It turns out one of the chemicals released from the body in this period of stimulation is oxytocin, also released after sex, so there is that. (No… I’m not kidding). The first time I used it I also felt high as a kite. My body had not been taken to that level of deep relaxation in a LONG time. I was immediately hooked. I felt a strong sense of mental clarity, my thoughts were no longer racing, and I was ready for bed. I find if I dedicate my last 15-30 minutes before bed to the SPOONK I sleep like a baby…An old man baby.
It’s a magical relationship and I’m not planning on breaking up with my mat…..EVER. Are you wondering if this is something you should try? I am yelling a resounding yes!
As I always say, the most important part of health is rest, recovery, and rest. Whatever stimulating factor your are applying to your life; yoga, weights, organic food, accumulation of knowledge… if your not going into deep sleeping and for a good hunk of time, it’s all for not.
This mat has made a shift in my health and I hope it does the same for yours. If you read the reviews on any site including amazon, you’re going to see some high praise. Out of almost 1,300 reviews 95% are 4 and 5 stars.
The mat can be used on your feet, IT bands, your stomach, your back and even your face to relieve facial tension. I use it on my back and on my stomach to help with micro circulation and breaking up high lying scar tissue.
Application in the Arts:
If you’re a musical theater performer I have some good advice for you. Your body is your business, you are a working factory, you are pumping out song, dance and text. When that building which houses your artistic spirit is hurting , broken or sore…everything suffers. This is less than the cost of a single massage and it’s complimenting your nervous system. Longevity in this business is going to be your best friend. ::steps off soap box::
Just to finish this up: the listed benefits according to the company are:
- Muscle relaxation
- Faster time into Deep sleep
- Increased energy
- Endorphin and oxytocin release (this is the human bonding hormone that supports love)
- Stress management
Did I mention the relationship to deep sleep and it’s anti cancer effects? The effects of poor sleep on mortality? The effects of poor quality sleep with relation to type 2 diabetes?
Pub Med “Interventions may be helpful for adult cancer patients experiencing insomnia”
Pub Med “Both short and long duration of sleep are significant predictors of death in prospective population studies”
Pub Med“Quantity and quality of sleep consistently and significantly predict the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes”
Do you think this is going to hurt you? Upon using on the mat, you are going to feel a little intensity from the spikes, and while I know most of us don’t enjoy pain, this is my favorite part of the mat. Collectively we have become a nation of soft, weak, lazy people. I include myself in this statement. Our ancestors slept outside in the rain, on rocks. They went days and weeks without food. They ran ( not in sneakers) over hard gravel and stones. Do you hear what I’m saying? For a human being to approach everything with the need for it to feel good is limiting. Expand your mind and be open to new things, even if they hurt a little bit (insert your own sexual deviant joke here). The 3 mintues of pain from the spoonk is the reason for the incredible release of hormones that in turn will calm the mind. Be bold, be brave, and relish the experience for what it is……PRIMAL SCREAM!