It’s no secret that a good massage, whether done by hand or by using devices designed for the purpose, leaves you feeling invigorated; it relieves pain and can speed recovery from injuries, chronic conditions, or just a rough day at the gym.
How do massage guns fit into this picture, though?
We’ll try to break it down for you.
As it turns out, a massage that uses a rapid drumming action is one of the best ways of stimulating joints, nerves, and blood vessels deep under the skin. Simple vibrating massagers aren’t nearly as effective, and even skilled masseuses are now turning to massage guns for certain treatments.
Especially as you get older, aching muscles and joints are simply a fact of life. Whether this is due to a medical condition, lifting weights, or simply sitting behind a desk all day long, you don’t need just to grin and bear it.
Here’s how a massage gun can change your life.
Using Massage Guns as Part of a Workout Routine
As more than one gym instructor likes to say: “Pain is just weakness leaving the body”.
While this is true as far as it goes, and we thank them for their attempt at poetry, there’s really no glory in suffering more than you have to.
Stretching, as well as prudent warm-up and cool-down routines, certainly helps. Apart from these essentials, there’s something else you should be doing to ease your suffering the day after a long run or heavy workout, and we’re not talking about popping paracetamol.
Deep tissue massages like these percussive machines provide can actually stimulate large skeletal muscles all the way through. This helps to eliminate pockets of lactic acid and other waste products, stimulates myofascial release (i.e. resolves tension in the tissues that support the actual muscles), improves blood flow, increases muscle and joint elasticity, and has a notably positive effect on recovery time.
So, whether you want to train harder or just feel like less of a train wreck the day after, taking ten to twenty minutes to apply a massage gun to sore areas really has proven benefits. One can even help you limber up more effectively prior to a workout or competition, opening up your blood vessels and increasing flexibility, thereby increasing performance while reducing the risk of injury. Foam rolling simply can’t compete.
Therapeutic Percussive Massage
While they’re mainly seen as fitness tools, many of the same benefits massage guns offer to athletes also apply in a different context: the treatment of chronic or acute medical conditions. There’s a wealth of anecdotal evidence available that points to the ability of deep tissue massage to reduce pain, increase flexibility, and allow the body to heal itself better.
Importantly, massage also diminishes stress and anxiety, as well as improving the quality of your sleep. As a bonus, you can use your massager whenever you want to, without having to pay top dollar for a therapist’s time and skill.
Some of the ailments percussive massage has been known to relieve include:
- Soft tissue inflammation from any source, including infection
- Plantar fasciitis
- Trauma recovery
Using Massage Guns Safely
Sporting motors of 250 watts or even more, a massage gun has the capacity to do harm as well as good.
Strangely, this little detail is often skipped over in the user manual.
The risks are indeed minor, but we thought we’d share a few tips to help you avoid unnecessary discomfort:
- Start slow, with brief sessions on low power, and observe how your body responds. Different people have different pain thresholds, making it possible for some to injure their muscles without realizing it.
- Be careful around bony areas. While using a massager on padded areas like the thighs and calves is easy, you’ll need a lighter touch and perhaps a special attachment on other areas or risk bruising the skin.
- Nerves and major blood vessels should be avoided, too, which means especially the neck.
- Don’t use your massage gun as an excuse to overdo it in the gym. While the rapid beat of a percussion massager does provide instant pain relief, you should respect your body’s signals and know when it’s time to rest.
- Certain medical conditions, including deep vein thrombosis and pregnancy, make intense percussive massages somewhat risky. If you’re in any doubt, consult your doctor.
- Similarly, injuries such as severely pulled muscles and torn ligaments should be massaged only gently, if at all. Massage guns are useful tools, but they’re not magic; they can speed up the healing process in some cases, but they can also cause further damage if used carelessly.
- Even though it feels good, it’s important to move the massager from place to place every few minutes to give your muscles a break from being kneaded. Some massage guns even shut down automatically after every ten to twenty minutes of use to remind you of this.
FACT SHEET & STATISTICS - DID YOU KNOW?
A typical massage gun will knead your muscles anywhere from 8 to 60 times per second.
Professional masseuses charge an average of $75 an hour – getting your own massage gun is dirt cheap by comparison
Percussive massage guns are a relatively new concept, but the rise in their popularity has been meteoric.
Muscles tend to contract slightly when first agitated by a massager, but start to lengthen and relax after about half a minute of stimulation.