Chances are you’ve seen someone use a massage gun or have one. If not, I’m sure you’ve at least heard about this pistol-shaped therapeutic device that sends a combination of percussion and vibrations deep down into your muscles.
Massage guns, also known as percussive therapy devices, are super popular. They’re pitched as portable devices that anyone can use to relieve pain and help you recover from exercise and injury.
But do these massage guns work, and are they worth your time and money?
Percussive therapy has been around for some time. Tapotement, the rapid and repeated striking of the body with the edge of the hand or a cupped hand, is a commonly used Swedish massage technique and is an example of percussive therapy applied manually.
Technology has created affordable, handheld, percussive therapy devices and can apply percussion hundreds of times faster than a human hand without tiring out. The speed of these devices creates percussion and vibration, which is beneficial.
Research supports percussion and vibration. Massage guns can be used as an alternative to the foam roller or a massage. Benefits include decreased stress, pain, and tissue tension to enhanced recovery, blood circulation, and range of motion.
One recent study looked at muscle strength and range of motion before and after a massage gun was used for 5 minutes on the calf muscle of healthy recreational male athletes. Compared to the control group, the results of this study showed that the range of motion increased by about 5 degrees (or 18 percent) following treatment.
Another study looked at the effects of applying vibration for 15 minutes on the leg muscles of professional athletes after running, hiking, or weight training. Compared to the control group, the results of this study showed that vibration reduced muscle soreness.
How To Use A Massage Gun
To use the gun effectively, start by moving the gun over the bulk of the muscle that feels tight. Add pressure as tolerated but not too aggressively. Stay in one spot for up to 15 seconds or sweep an area for two minutes. Stay away from bony areas and be mindful of acute pain or injury, aggravating the issue.
If you feel sorer after using a massage gun, you’ve pushed too hard or too long. Remember that the goal is to relax and feel better, not suffer.
And if you have nerve sensitivity or deep vein thrombosis or are pregnant, consult with your doctor before using a massage gun. Also, if you bruise easily, make sure the speed and attachment are suitable for your tolerance.
Should You Get A Massage Gun?
You don’t have to be an elite athlete or a diehard exercise fanatic to benefit from a massage gun. Many people who use these devices are ordinary, everyday people looking for natural remedies for stress or pain relief.
Massage guns can also provide temporary relief for people suffering from chronic pain. The gate control theory of pain describes how non-painful input such as vibration can close the nerve “gates” to painful inputs, preventing pain sensation from traveling to the brain.
So if you’ve been thinking about getting a massage gun, do it, but keep in mind massage guns aren’t cheap. The top-of-the-line guns can cost hundreds of dollars, so you should evaluate your purchase carefully. However, some massage guns are less than $50, have great reviews, and can be delivered right to your doorstep like this Massage Gun.
Take the Challenge: 5-Minutes for 5-Days.
I challenge you to put this knowledge to use with a 5-day massage gun challenge. Your challenge is to use your gun for a minimum of 5 minutes five days in a row. Give it a try, and let me know if you notice any difference.
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