Christmas is scarily close now, and we’re all finalising our present purchasing ready for the big day. I have the most amazing gift idea to show you today, but I also think it lends itself well for the whole New Year new me kind of vibe, where we perhaps focus a little more on our physical and mental health, after the overindulging and burnout from the festive period. When I read about the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS, I knew I had to give it a try and I couldn’t wait to do a write up on it so keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS Yoga Inspired Back Stretching Mat.
What is the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS?
“STRETCH XS – THE BACK STRETCHING MAT INSPIRED BY YOGA
Lay back and unwind as STRETCH XS moves your body through a gentle yet powerful sequence of yoga inspired stretches and twists. Give yourself the gift the relaxation at home, work or even when you travel, release tension and improve flexibility with the HoMedics STRETCH XS. Compact and portable, this mat also comes with an adjustable headrest.”
I haven’t really talked about my health issues very much on my blog before. I did a post on an at home allergy and intolerance test, and have talked about mechanical massagers but that’s about it. I would like to do more personal posts during 2020 as I know I personally really enjoy reading those kind of posts on other people’s blogs. The HoMedics Stretch Mat XS really appealed to me as I have permanent back, shoulder and hip pain. I also have a neurological disorder which causes me seriously bad headaches. I’ve had migraines since I was eleven years old, but these headaches are debilitating and on another level so I was really intrigued to see how the HoMedics Back Stretch Mat could help with my pain and headaches.
The HoMedics Stretch Mat XS has been created to have an easily portable design, which you can simply fold and fasten securely with two velcro straps. The box the mat comes in is quite large, but once you’ve got the mat out the box it’s a lot more compact that I initially thought it was and it does fold up to be quite compact and it literally takes five seconds to unfasten and unfold to lay down and use. The folded mat also has an handy handle so you can transport the mat where you wish for instant relaxation.
HoMedics really have thought about every single little detail with this mat, and the mat comes with a support pillow which isn’t attached to the main mat so you can place it wherever you need it for the most comfort. It’s a nice firm pillow which really supports the head, but it has been designed with an Aroma Tab so you can pour a few drops of your favourite, relaxing essential oil blend onto the tab for an even more relaxing experience. I’ve enjoyed using lavender oil, but you could use any oil at all and the more you apply, the stronger the scent.
The HoMedics Stretch Mat XS comes with a very easy to use handheld control, with a generous length of wire too. The easy integrated control guides you through their programme of treatments allowing you to pause, play and customise the intensity of your stretch. At the top you have your power button, followed by the four buttons for the four different pre-programmed treatment sequences; Twist, Flow, Energise and Stretch. Once you’ve chosen which of the four treatments you want to do, you can then select the intensity from three different levels by pressing the up and down arrows on the control.
HoMedics recommend trying each sequence on the lowest intensity for the very first time, and once you first try each of the sequences waiting 48 hours before trying anything else as it’s always best to take things slowly. If at any point you find it too uncomfortable or you simply need a break, there’s a play/pause button on the bottom of the control which I’ve found really helpful so you don’t have to restart the whole sequence if you need to take a break.
How Does The HoMedics Stretch Mat XS Work?
The Stretch Mat XS features 4 Precision Controlled Air Chambers, all of which are carefully choreographed treatments inspired by yoga, and are all recreated through a system of air chambers throughout the mat. Each of the air chambers are designed to inflate in sequence and stretch the body. HoMedics recommend using the Stretch Mat on a floor, but alternatively it can be placed on a firm flat mattress, providing any soft bedding is removed first. It is mains powered, but once plugged in, you control everything with the handheld control.
The name ‘XS’ did make me worry it was perhaps a small mat which wouldn’t work for me as I’m 5 foot 11″ but HoMedics have confirmed that the XS refers to how compact and travel friendly the mat is once it’s folded and strapped up. HoMedics do offer two other versions of their yoga inspired mats; the HoMedics STRETCH Back Mat £249.99 and the HoMedics STRETCH+ Plus £279.99, and the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS that I have is £229.
What Are The Benefits of Using the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS?
- THE HOME OF WELLNESS: HoMedics is about creating a healthy home environment that helps you relax your body, de-stress, and simplify your life.
- A NEW WAY TO UNWIND: The HoMedics STRETCH Mat XS is pre-programmed with 4 treatments, where precision-controlled air pockets inflate in sequence to recreate the ultimate yoga experience.
- INNOVATIVE DESIGN: HoMedics STRETCH Mat XS guides you through a range of sequences. All treatments were designed by our very own certified yoga teacher with over 12 years of experience.
- RELEASE TENSION & IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY: Using a simple, handheld control, every treatment can be customised to perfect the intensity to suit your flexibility.
- GOODBYE TO STIFF BACKS: Stretching at least once a day can leave you feeling livelier and less stressed. Get the most out of your yoga experience with the HoMedics STRETCH Mat XS.
Twist: A varied program incorporating a number of twists to help alleviate tension throughout the whole length of the spine.
Flow: Waves of motion progressively working up and down the length of the spine to help increase mobility.
Energize: An uplifting program to help boost energy.
Stretch: An ‘all round’ treatment providing a great antidote after long periods of sitting.
Something which really impressed me with this mat is that it’s versatile. You have the option of a more customised experience, as the Stretch XS is designed to be used in two different orientations; 1. Shoulders and Back (the upper torso) – lay on the mat with your shoulders against the bolster end of the mat OR 2. Hips and Back (the lower torso) – lay on the mat with your bottom against the bolster end of the mat.
It’s amazing that you can simply switch the way round you want the mat, depending on which part of the body you’re wanting to treat. I think it really is remarkable that you can treat both sections of the body with the one mat, as many treatment mats are designed to treat just one area of the body. It takes two seconds to spin the mat, and you can simply move the support pillow wherever you need it.
I was really nervous the first time I used the mat as I didn’t know what to expect, but there’s a great video on the HoMedics website showing the mat in use, including the super easy set up too. Inside the box there’s an instruction manual which recommends which position you should have your legs whilst using the mat, depending on your flexibility.
So for example if you’re like me and totally inflexible with a tight back, tight hamstrings or back pain, HoMedics recommend: Leg Position: having your knees bent up with your feet flat on the floor. Arm Position: your arms by your side or rest your hands on your stomach. Intensity: low. Whereas if you’re more flexible, you may be recommended to try your legs straight with a medium to high intensity. The more you use the mat, the better your flexibility may become so you could work your way through the programmes and intensities over time.
I must have used the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS at least thirty times since I got it, and the biggest improvement is something I didn’t even think would benefit from using the mat. I have impingement in my right shoulder, so whenever I turned my head or lift my arm, I’d get a sharp pain in my shoulder but the impingement has completely gone and did do after only three uses of the mat. I’d suffered for months and used painkillers, massage and heat therapy but nothing helped until I used the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS.
From the four different sequences, my favourite is most definitely ‘Flow‘ especially when I have one of my severe headaches. It releases tension within minutes and makes me want to fall asleep as it just stretches the muscles out. Twist is the most full on sequence but it is the most effective at relieving my back pain, and hip pain once I’ve spun the mat round. My OH loves the Energise sequence before he does a run as it really helps to boost energy, and to help clear the head.
There are some really useful tips inside the instruction manual on how you get the best from the Stretch XS such as relaxing techniques, breathing techniques and movements you can do to enhance the sequences such as shoulder twists and hip twists. The four treatments last between 6.5 and 11.5 minutes each, and it always blows my mind how quickly they finish as they’re so enjoyable. I have used the mat every single day since the 48 rest period after my very first try and I cannot recommend it enough. Especially if you have posture issues where you’re perhaps slumped over a laptop or computer all day, and find you get a lot of tension in your neck, shoulders and back.
I have never been flexible enough to do yoga, and in all honesty my balance is awful too and the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS is the perfect alternative. It allows you to experience the benefits of yoga, but in a much more comfortable, convenient format and it eases any muscular pain or tension in minutes. Sure it’s an investment piece to own, but when you price up the cost of a professional treatment versus the amount of use you’d get from having a mat you can use in the comfort of your own home, it really does make it worthwhile.
You can purchase the HoMedics Stretch Mat XS on the HoMedics website.