A heated mat that makes you feel less stressed, reduces pain, and gives you a boost of energy sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s what I thought when the HigherDose Infrared Mat (£890) landed on my doorstep one early September morning after the brand graciously gifted me one to road test.
There’s been a lot of hype around the HigherDose Infrared Mat, which has been backed by Goop Lab and launched by a brand that already has a long list of celebrity fans including Lady Gaga, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Leonardo DiCaprio. After reading all about the benefits of owning a HigherDose mat, I’ve been intrigued, especially since I’ve suffered from lower back pain for as long as I can remember. Add to that stiff muscles from not properly stretching after workouts, and having an overall lack of energy as we moved into winter — and this mat couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
In a nutshell, the mat combines infrared heat, which helps with inflammation, increases circulation, and relaxes the body, with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF). If, like me, you haven’t heard of PEMF before, “it’s a form of electrical therapy used to help improve the symptoms of a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, inflammation, and even fractures”, Dr Amy Hoover, physiotherapist and part of the clinical advisory board at P.volve told POPSUGAR. The mat also incorporates crystal therapy, with a thick mesh layer of purple amethyst and tourmaline crystals that, according to the brand, penetrate together to provide a deeper dose of infrared.
Spoiler alert? In my opinion, the mat lives up to the hype. After testing it for a couple of months, my fiancé and I are officially hooked. Keep reading to discover why.
So, What Does Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy Do Exactly?
The study of PEMF dates back to the early 1930s when scientists at Yale University discovered that depleted electrical energy from the body was the cause of disease. They found that PEMF helped stimulate cell activity to help the cells repair, regenerate, and rebuild. “PEMF works as a sort of charger for our cells — improving the energy and ability of our cells to heal — and acts to reduce the inflammatory process in our cells,” explained Dr Hoover. “In a way, it helps to deliver a message to our cells triggering them to repair damages within our body.”
First used in the 1950s, PEMF therapy harnessed the power of electricity and magnetism to jump start and heal cells in the body. In 1979, electric therapy for “non-union” fractures was granted the “safe and effective” classification by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2006, the FDA recognised PEMF as treatment for depression and anxiety, noted Nadia Alhibhai, an osteophath who has her own clinic, Back 2 Well-Being in West London. In 2011, the the FDA approved PEMF Therapy for the treatment of brain cancer, and four years later, in 2015, the FDA reclassified PEMF devices from their existing Class 3 category (a medical device with high risk to patients or users) to a Class 2 status (a medical device that poses a moderate risk) — the class a majority of medical devices fall under in the United States.
Do Experts Recommend PEMF Therapy?
The experts I spoke to — a combination of doctors and osteopaths — all would recommend PEMF therapy to their patients if it’s an option that’s financially viable for them. “One of the best advantages of this therapy is that it seems to have little to no adverse affects on the body, and many studies show that it is relatively safe,” said Dr Hoover. “Regular PEMF therapy can help the body work better and improves circulation,” Alhibhai added.
What’s So Special About the HigherDose Mat?
What’s unique about HigherDose’s Infrared Mat is the fact it combines infrared heat — which warms up your body, relieves minor aches and pains, and relaxes you — with the PEMF technology that you can turn on and off. There are seven settings: the lower settings are to be used if you want to feel relaxed, while the higher settings help you feel energised. The combination of infrared heat and PEMF being pulsed together throughout your body increase oxygenation and circulation that help boost your immune system and stimulate your body’s healing process.
What also makes the HigherDose mat different from other infrared mats on the market is the addition of a 20 pound layer of black tourmaline and amethyst crystals. According to the brand, when heated, the crystals produce negative ions, which supposedly have an impact on your mood by targeting your serotonin levels (a natural high). It’s important to note that while there are many people in the world who love crystal therapy, there are currently no scientific studies on the efficacy of crystal healing.
How Do You Use the HigherDose Infrared Mat?
Unlike the brand’s Infrared Sauna Blanket, which you wrap around yourself, the HigherDose Infrared Mat is like an electric yoga mat that you lay on. Just roll it out, plug it in, choose the intensity level you want (from one to seven), and how long you want to use it for (one hour, three hours, or twelve hours if you want it on throughout the day to pop on and off as you please). I always opt for the one hour session and on a high level, as I like to really feel the heat on my back, especially in the evening. You’ll often find me doing deep stretching on there or a mini yoga practise to really penetrate the muscles and de-stress. If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing as a bedtime ritual, a lower level of PEMF and infrared therapy might be a better option. I often light some candles while using the mat for the recommended 20 minutes to really get into the mood.
Our Honest Thoughts on the HigherDose Infrared Mat
At first I thought that truly unwinding wouldn’t be possible for me, as I can never switch off — even
during Shavasana at the end of a yoga class. But believe it or not, those 20 minutes on the mat with no phone, TV, or any distractions goes by so quickly. It warms my body up, but doesn’t get so hot that I get sweaty, and the heat really helps me relax. However, I also feel like I have a new sense of energy after using the mat. Getting up after a session makes you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders — similar to the feeling you get after a good massage.
After a while, you get used to the texture of the tiny crystals embedded into the mat. In fact, I even enjoy the added crystal layers for deep stretching, as it gets into painful areas on my back and my body felt renewed with the added heat.
One thing to note about the HigherDose mat is that it’s rather large (basically the size of a yoga mat, if not a little bigger), and when using it, you need to make sure you place it somewhere that you have a plug socket nearby. When not in use, it’s slotted under my bed quite neatly. The brand has also just released a travel mat too, if you are short on space, which can even be placed on your working-from-home chair, so you get PEMF benefits throughout the work day.
How Do I Know if the HigherDose Infrared Mat is for Me?
If, like me, you work out numerous times a week, get stressed with life’s daily tasks, and work at a desk, often hunched over, you’re sure the feel the benefits of the HigherDose mat. I use it just after I put the kids to bed to de-stress and to properly stretch out for a full-body reset — and the moment I get up from the mat I feel a deeper sense of calm.
My fiancé swears that the mat is helping him sleep better (he thought it would be a bit gimmicky when it arrived, but he uses it five times a week now … sometimes even more than me). Sure, at £890 it is a massive investment, but if you consider how much an infrared session costs at a clinic (around £30 for 30 minutes and a PEMF treatment at £15) the more you use it, your initial investment in the mat slowly pays off. Plus, there are monthly finance options available, too.
Image Source: HigherDose