Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can you fall in love with a Mat? GelPro Mat Review

Okay, I didn't want to use this blog to do reviews but I think my story on why I am reviewing the GelPro Mat fits more here on my personal blog than my other blog.

I learned of the GelPro Mats last year while surfing the internets. I stumbled on a blog that was giving one away. I read the description and instantly I knew I wanted and needed one of these. Never heard of a GelPro Mat? Here is the description paraphrased from the site: GelPro Mats are gel filled anti-fatigue mats made especially to help people who love to cook to have something to relieve pain when standing on hard floors for long periods of time. They also help people who might have arthritis, foot pain, plantar fascitis, and diabetes. So you see because the are filled with gel, they help cushion the body and help relieve pain.

Some of you know I have lower back pain like nobody's business so I knew I had to have one. Now I can write up all the info they have on their site, but I won't because I am trying to give an honest review of my experience with this mat. You can visit the GelPro Mat site and get more of the technical details and you should because if you suffer from any of these things, you might want to look into purchasing a GelPro Mat.

Well back to my story, I entered the giveaway and lost. BOO! But I still wanted one so I decided to contact the company and see if they would let me review one and they said yes. They were kind enough to send me a Medium Basketweave mat in Coquina to review. When you go to their site, you will see they have tons of sizes and colors and textures to choose from.

Now you are probably wondering why I wanted this so badly, well the reason is because about 6 years ago I actually broke, well fractured, my back and fractured my tail bone in a freak accident. We were on vacation in Costa Rica and we had gone to our favorite beach. On our first day there, we got up and walked to the beach and jumped in. It was a beautiful sunny day and the ocean was calm as it always is there. There were a few waves but nothing bad. Tom had waded out a few feet deeper than me and we were talking. At one point, I turned to look at the beach waiting for my sister and dad to come in. When I turned around, I saw it. A huge wave coming down on us. I yelled to Tom and he ducked under the wave. I tried to do the same but because I was closer to the shore, I was unable to dive under all the way and the wave caught me, picked me up and then proceeded to slam me down butt first onto the bottom of the ocean. Let me tell you that was the worse feeling I ever had. Besides the initial slam which hurt like hell, I was underwater the whole time. The first thing that popped into my head was OMG am I paralyzed. I popped my head up and proceeded to stand up and I could. I started limping back to the shore in extreme pain. It was horrible.

To make a long story longer, as I usually do, I made it to our room and Tom got me some ice but the pain continued. I have to admit that I was very lucky that I wasn't paralyzed or worse. My sister, Tom and my dad had to go to the next town over and get a doctor since my pain was getting worse as the day went on. When the doctor came he poked and prodded me but declared that although I might have a broken back, it wasn't serious because I could still walk and feel my legs. That was a huge relief. We had to stay a few more days at the beach and then back to San Jose to my mom's house and the whole time I was in extreme pain and discomfort. We finally flew home and the first thing I did was go to the doctor. I got an MRI and discovered that I had in fact fractured a vertebrae and my tailbone. After weeks of intensive physical therapy, I was still in pain. Luckily, at the time, my sister was dating a doctor who not only was a Western medical doctor but also a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. I flew to L.A. for treatments and he healed me. After one treatment, I was able to do things I had not done since the accident. I will blog about what he did on another post at another time because it is a great story so keep an eye out.

But although I was almost back to normal after his treatments, years later I still have some discomfort. I cannot stand or walk for really long periods of time. When I do so, I have pain and my back gets sore. Just this Thanksgiving, I threw my back out in Ohio while we were visiting Tom's family. It wasn't pretty and it hurt like hell. I ended up at one of those walk-in emergency clinics the day after Thanksgiving getting a morphine shot and some excellent painkillers and muscle relaxants. So you see, I still have to be very careful when it comes to my back.

And as you all know, I love to cook but sometimes when I am cooking, my back gives out and I have to leave the stove and sit down to alleviate the pain. A few weeks ago, I decided to make risotto for the first time. And I have to tell you that it was painful. You literally have to stand at the stove for about 25-30 minutes adding liquid to the rice and stirring. And standing on a hard tile floor for that long without being able to leave the risotto was not fun. Although it came out delish for being my first time making risotto, my back paid for it. Thus, the GelPro Mat.

I received my mat the other day and can I tell you, I LOVE it. Can you love an inanimate object? Well, I do. It is soft and cushy and so comfortable. Because it cushions the body when standing, the stress is off the back. I have had it for about a week now and it has really made a difference when I am cooking. I love it so much, I keep hinting to Tom that we need one for the sink. And I actually think I would love a long one for the vanity area of our bathroom. I wish my birthday was coming up soon because I would tell Tom to buy me one of these. Now word of warning, they aren't cheap. They run from $99 on up. But boy, I am willing to spend the money to get another one for the sink. They are worth the price.

I asked Tom if he could see us tiling the whole kitchen, in fact, the whole house in GelPro Mats. Of course, he was a Debbie Downer and said no. But he has mentioned he really likes the mat as well and I catch him standing on it every so often. I now find myself walking into the kitchen and stepping on it every chance I get. I even found our cat, Shawn, on it the other day enjoying the gel and the comfort. I shooed her away because that mat is mine. This is going on my Christmas list for sure. These would make a fabulous gift!! (hint, hint Tom)

The mat has really made my cooking experience so much better. While I knew this was a good product from reviews I read, I needed to experience it myself. And now that I have, I highly recommend one of these if you have the same lower back issues I have. I decided to put it to the test by making risotto again the other day and boy it was a breeze. The mat allowed me to stand up for the whole 30 minutes without feeling the pain. Plus, the risotto came out so delish. I will blog about that another day because I have issues with Jaime Oliver and his willy-nilly cookbook I got the recipe from.

The mat looks really good in the kitchen. I would definitely consider getting the same color for the mat Tom is going to buy me (hint, hint) for the sink area. Plus, it's super easy to clean. I just took a Clorox wipe and cleaned it off. Easy peasey. My friend, Lindsay, asked if it attracted hair or dust and I have not seen any evidence of that.

I like reviewing products and find that most are always good and I never have reviewed a really sucky product and let's hope I never have to. But I can honestly say that this product is probably the best item I have ever reviewed. I wish I would have known about it before especially after the accident. I have been living in discomfort for so long when I didn't have to. And now I can't imagine living without it.

So I want to thank the GelPro Mat company for allowing me to try this product. Go check out their GelPro Mat. You might just want one for yourself. Or if you want to be really nice , you could send me one for a gift.


  1. I would arm-wrestle you over one of these mats because they are really great. I had no idea until I got one what I was missing out on.

    Sometimes I go into my kitchen and just stand on it. Not because I actually want to cook something or clean the kitchen...I'm content to just stand on my gel mat. If there's a fire, it's on my list of things to grab before I run out of the house.

  2. i wonder can you sit on them....
    I know my cats would be all piled up on it. Cats are smart! I cant stand long either, at home in bare feet. like doing dishes. ugh. plus i just hate doing them!

  3. i'm glad you found a gel mat that's great!

  4. fabulous! all cooks need one of these... :)

  5. I could really use a mat like this too! (How can I review one? ;) lol)

    I get bad lower back pain too, and am in the kitchen quite a bit, standing on flagstone flooring. You are lucky to have that mat! I can only assume they are like the gel mats we used at work. ;)