Core Balance Acupressure Mat review: spiky comfort that won’t break the bank

The Core Balance Acupressure Mat is cheap & cheerful – but does it actually work?

Core Balance Acupressure Mat
(Image credit: Beth Girdler-Maslen / T3)
T3 Verdict

Easy to fit into anyone’s routine, the Core Balance Acupressure Mat uses spikes to target painful spots, reduce tension and boost blood flow. While its quality could be better and it takes a few tries to feel anything, it’s surprisingly comfortable and leaves you feeling relaxed.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Nice to lie on after getting comfortable

  • +

    Finds painful parts & eases them quickly

  • +

    Cheap

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Material feels low quality

  • -

    No pillow for head support

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In this review, I wanted to put the Core Balance Acupressure Mat to the test to see if it eased back pain and improved my sleep. As someone new to acupressure, I was a bit nervous to lie on a bed of spikes but after trying it, I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable it was.

The Core Balance Acupressure Mat promises to “boost blood flow to your back, reduce pain and tension, combat stress and enjoy a deeper sleep”. It does this with its evenly distributed spikes that are said to stimulate acupressure trigger points.

Despite its scary-looking spikes, I was curious to see if the Core Balance Acupressure Mat could be an alternative to the best massage guns (opens in new tab), in terms of easing muscle pain after workouts. As someone who’s been running a lot recently, my back and legs have been calling for some TLC and I wanted to see if using the Core Balance Acupressure Mat made them feel relaxed and helped me sleep better.

With all the features and health benefits that the Core Balance Acupressure Mat claims to have, I was a bit apprehensive considering how cheap it is. It’s definitely cheap and cheerful… but does it actually work? Keep reading my Core Balance Acupressure Mat review to find out.

Core Balance Acupressure Mat

(Image credit: Beth Girdler-Maslen / T3)

Core Balance Acupressure Mat review: Design & Price

The Core Balance Acupressure Mat measures 63cm x 41cm with a thick 2cm PU foam core which is covered by a 100% cotton cover. It features 230 discs with 6,210 acupressure spikes which are evenly distributed across the cover to make the mat more relaxing to lie on. The spikes measure 3.5mm and are non-invasive so they won’t puncture the skin.

The cover is made of skin-friendly material which can be removed and washed after multiple uses. The spikes come in multiple colours on the black cover, so you can choose from grey, teal, purple, white and blue spikes. The mat also comes with a cotton bag so you can easily pack it away and travel with it.

When I unpacked the Core Balance Acupressure Mat, it was much smaller than I’d initially expected. However, after I tried it as a 5ft 2in woman and my boyfriend who’s 5ft 11in gave it a go, it fit both of us fine, so don’t be put off by the small size once it’s unfurled. The mat is incredibly spiky to handle but doesn’t hurt the hands. The foam core is surprisingly thin but the instruction manual that comes with the mat (which I’ll discuss more below) says to use the Core Balance Acupressure Mat on a sofa or bed so you have extra comfort from that.

One criticism I have is that the bag and cotton material of the mat feels very low quality. Of course, the spikes are the main attraction but the cover and bag could feel and look nicer. Having said that, the price of the Core Balance Acupressure Mat is £17.99, which is incredibly affordable. If it was more expensive, I’d expect better quality materials but I can’t be mad at what it delivers at the cost.

Core Balance Acupressure Mat

(Image credit: Beth Girdler-Maslen / T3)

Core Balance Acupressure Mat review: Usability

The Core Balance Acupressure Mat comes with an instruction manual which goes into detail about how to use it, what clothes to wear, how to care for it and what you should feel when you’re using it. The instructions have a clever timeline that says your skin should feel prickly and uncomfortable for the first minute, a warm feeling for 1-5 minutes, a tingly sensation for 5-9 minutes and overall relaxation from there.

After reading the instructions, I put on a loose gym t-shirt before placing the mat on my sofa. I didn’t feel an intense tingling but could definitely feel like I was lying on spikes. It doesn’t hurt but it does feel uncomfortable until you settle in for the long run. I didn’t feel like I was getting the best experience from the sofa so I tried it on my bed, which is what I’d recommend.

Once I got past the prickly feeling, I found the Core Balance Acupressure Mat surprisingly comfortable and could feel it targeting specific points in my back. I could feel muscle pain in my lower back and after using the Core Balance Acupressure Mat for a few minutes, I could feel the pain go away. I also liked lifting my arms above my head to put more pressure on my shoulders which also felt good.

I tried the Core Balance Acupressure Mat a few times, typically after I’d worked out in the evening and had a shower. I did find that any muscle issues that popped up after a run were looked after and I fell asleep relatively quickly. As someone who doesn’t normally have problems falling asleep, I’m not entirely convinced if the Core Balance Acupressure Mat had anything to do with this, but my body felt much more relaxed after using it.

Core Balance Acupressure Mat

(Image credit: Beth Girdler-Maslen / T3)

Core Balance Acupressure Mat review: Verdict

Overall, I enjoyed using the Core Balance Acupressure Mat and liked the way it felt. It delivers gentle pressure on the back which I didn’t find too intrusive and I felt a real difference after using it. It’s also incredibly cheap and easy to fit into your lifestyle. I’m not 100% sure if it helped with my sleep but it did relax my body so I’m generally happy with my experience.

There are a couple of downsides to the Core Balance Acupressure Mat. First, you really need to find the right surface to actually feel it and you need to use a thin top for the same reason, too. If the spikes press against bare skin or you’re on it for a while or at a strange angle, it can leave marks on your back and the material could be better in quality.

So, should you buy the Core Balance Acupressure Mat? If you get the occasional back, neck and shoulder pain, I’d say that the Core Balance Acupressure Mat is a good and inexpensive purchase. It’s not too intrusive so if you need something that’s more intense or something that targets smaller areas, one of the best massagers (opens in new tab) is probably the better choice.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Acting Wellness Editor & Deals Writer

As T3's resident Shopping Expert and Deals Writer, Beth covers deals, discount codes, how to save money and seasonal holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day, Boxing Day and Easter sales. Alongside her primary focus of deals, Beth is currently Acting Wellness Editor, covering all things sleep, yoga, relaxation and general wellbeing.


Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting DIY craft projects that will probably end in disaster!