You've seen them all over the internet and social media, and your favorite athletes, fitness pros, and even celebrities sing their praises. But is a massage gun really worth the hype? A massage gun, or percussive therapy massage gun, can help with recovery, muscle aches, pain relief and more. These electric tools usually resemble power drills, and they deliver a vigorous massage and often come with a selection of attachments, such as balls of varying firmness and finger-like tips.
But is this device just for athletes, trainers, and fitness professionals? And when is it worth investing the money to get your own? Here's the info you really need about why the massage gun is so popular and why you should consider taking one home for yourself. Massage guns are a relatively new tool that started gaining widespread popularity recently. Many people now own their own massage guns, so what are the benefits of using a massage gun?
A massage gun isn’t just for workout recovery
This tool is best known as a workout recovery device, but it was actually originally developed specifically as a pain management tool by a chiropractor. Dr. Jason Wersland created the device after suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident. Looking for an alternative to surgery or pain medication, Wersland found percussive therapy to be effective at managing challenging pain and built the first model of the massage gun himself. As a pain-relief tool, it can be helpful for a variety of complaints including tension, knots, aches, pains and of course, sore muscles. Massage guns are also able to aid in breaking up scar tissue. Scar tissue helps to repair damaged fibers in your body but does not have the same elasticity as other muscle tissues in your body. As such, breaking down this type of tissue can help with alleviating pain.
While they aren’t just for workout recovery, massage guns are great for bouncing back after intense workout sessions. A massage gun is able to deliver targeted deep vibrations to your muscles using percussive therapy, which in turn helps to improve circulation and allows for more oxygen and nutrients to enter into your muscles. This can alleviate pain and help you recover faster; many users find the vibrational healing helps them recover from workouts much quicker
A massage gun can help your workout performance
Using a massage gun or other percussive therapy device can help enhance your workouts and prime your body for exercise. Using the device pre-workout can help activate your muscles and increase range of motion. After using a massage gun to warm up, you’ll find that your joints are more flexible and you have better blood circulation, thereby improving your range of motion.
A massage gun can help with injury recovery
Countless sports injuries are caused by muscle cramps and the lack of suitable recovery before the muscles are strained again. When using a massage gun to improve your blood and oxygen circulation, you can reduce the likelihood of overtraining and wearing out a muscle too fast.
If you have suffered an injury, massage guns can help you speed up your recovery and improve healing by improving circulation. Of course, a massage gun shouldn’t be the primary or only treatment you use to recover, but it can provide significant assistance in your overall recovery and rehabilitation plan.
A massage gun is more intense than foam rolling or massage therapy
In terms of workout recovery, percussive therapy devices are often compared to deep tissue massages or foam rolling. Since the massage gun and other percussive therapy devices have a force up to 60 pounds, they can go deeper than a foam roller or even a deep tissue massage. Another advantage is the surface area is smaller than a foam roller, meaning it can give you targeted relief in hard to reach places
Percussive therapy can also prevent the aches and soreness you experience from lactic acid byproduct (this is what causes the sore feeling) that can build up throughout an intense workout session. When oxygen levels are low in the body, lactic acid builds up in the bloodstream and you can have difficulties burning it off (this happens often after exercise) which can lead to cramps in your muscles. When you use a massage gun, you can help your body release lactic acid and other toxins.
A massage gun can help you sleep better and manage stress
The massage gun is called that for a reason. The device feels like an intense massage which can be extremely conducive for relaxation and stress reduction. Even if you’re unsure if the device will help you feel less stressed, body aches and pains will keep anyone up at night. It can be helpful to try it at night before bed to help soothe aches and pains so you can fall asleep easier.
A massage gun is like having your own personal massage therapist (for less)
Regularly scheduled deep tissue or sports massages can be a significant investment in time and money. It may cost you more upfront than a typical massage session but over time it can save you money. The average price for massage guns is $300-$600 plus (although you may be able to use your FSA!) and a single massage session averages $100. Even if you don't totally give up your massages, having a massage gun on hand can be very beneficial for in-between sessions or daily use.
How to know if a massage gun is right for you?
Massage guns offer many of the benefits of massage without repeated expense or the hassle of a visit to the massage therapist. If you work out frequently and are serious about recovery and performance, a massage gun may be a great option for you. If you're still hesitant to buy one, you may be able to try using one at your gym, a massage therapy office, or can purchase one using your FSA dollars.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.