Acupuncture At Any Time


Let's take a moment for some of the better fashion technology at our disposal. For instance, the OMsignal shirt that tracks your fitness performance and sends results to your phone—definitely very useful. Similarly, Uniqlo’s signature HEATTECH items are nonnegotiable in New York's subzero winter temperatures. Less attention should be paid to Japanese lingerie brand Ravijour and their bra that only unhooks when your body is giving off “true love” vibes...

So, when I first heard about Item M6, a German company making “intelligent” tights, I was skeptical. I’d read about tights infused with vitamin E or shea butter to moisturize your legs (because putting on your own lotion is too much of a hassle), but in general, I’d never considered tights to be a particularly smart clothing item. But these tights in particular have technology based in principals of ancient Chinese medicine, which at least sounded better than a computerized pop-open bra.

The concept of Item M6 is this: the tights (and leggings, socks, and other shape-wear) are made from a super-tight formfitting material. They have been specially developed to apply pressure to the S6 (also called the M6, hence the brand’s name) meridian. In Chinese medicine, this is the spleen point and is located on the inside of the lower leg, by the ankle. According to the brand, it’s one of the most widely used acupuncture and acupressure points for general wellness and balancing, and its stimulation can lead to increased circulation, more energy, stress-reduction, and an overall feeling of lightness.

Since I often find myself complaining about cold feet, I figured I'd at least try them—worst case scenario, you've got a warm pair of tights on that leave you feeling the same as you started. So, I put them on for my first-ever attempt at cross-country skiing. If you’ve ever seen someone cross country ski, you know that it looks effortless and graceful. If you’ve ever actually done cross-country skiing, you know that it can actually be highly strenuous and totally awkward. I squeezed my feet into the socks (they are really tight) and started to ski. To my surprise, I actually did feel energized and, despite the fact that my friend led us far off the groomed trail onto a path that required a two-mile uphill ski-climb, totally pain-free in my feet (GPS socks would have come in handy). I also didn’t scream or yell at all during this off-piste incident, so I give them praise in the stress reduction department too. Since then, I’ve also worn the tights several times and do feel a boost of energy when I have them on. As an added bonus, I am also pretty sure that my legs lose at least two inches of circumference because the tights are Spanx-level intense in their compression abilities.

Just to be sure I wasn’t insane, I turned to acupuncturist Mia Hatgis to find out if these apparent miracle tights could be legit. I was pretty certain she would scoff at the notion (or at least have a lot of questions), but instead she confessed that she and her husband already wear the socks regularly.

So how does it work? “S6 is the crossing point of the three yin meridians—liver, kidney and spleen,” she said. “So stimulating that point has a huge value in the maintenance of our health.” Specifically, it’s good for balancing and boosting energy. It basically opens up the channel for energy to flow through your body from head to toe. “The way the socks are made, they stimulate not only the S6 point, but other points around the foot and ankle, which are important for maintaining balance and nourishment as well.”

In her own experience, the socks (and tights) give her something of a head rush. “I notice that when I put them on, there’s a lot of energy rising to my head,” she said, “like my brain is opening up.” She recommends them for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet or just needs a little boost. In other words, you can think of them as your own personal acupuncturist, working 24/7 from your sock drawer.

—Victoria Lewis

Photographed by Tom Newton.