Massage guns are a common tool today to help improve muscle soreness and mobility, as well as aid in muscle recovery. A wide variety of massage gun brands are quickly becoming a “trend” in the health and fitness industry. But what exactly do massage guns do, and do they really work? Relief could be as simple as a small device that fits in the palm of your hand!
What is a massage gun and what does it do?
A massage gun is a small handheld device that looks and sounds like a drill. Most massage guns have a variety of parts and speeds that can be used to help relieve muscle pain. Wide range of brands ranging in price from $40 to $500.
Massage guns use a type of percussion (vibration) therapy. A foam roller, lacrosse, trigger shot, or massage can provide the same effect as a massage gun, but the massage gun can target very specific areas if desired. Massage guns promote blood flow to specific areas, which can help reduce inflammation and muscle tension. 2 They can be used before or after exercise, depending on the specific needs of the individual. While massage guns are designed for anyone, they are most popular with endurance athletes who want to relax tight and sore muscles after a workout. Each massage gun comes with different attachments to directly target specific parts of the body.
Do massage guns really work?
Research has shown that massage guns are effective in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improving short-term muscle length. After strenuous exercise, DOMS can cause muscle soreness for 24 – 72 hours. 2 By using a massage gun on the muscles used during exercise, you can reduce muscle soreness and aid in muscle recovery. 2
In a study by Konrad et al, the use of vibration (or shock) therapy on the plantar flexors, or muscles also known as the calf, was evaluated. After five minutes of tapping on these muscles, research showed a significant improvement in the ability to dorsiflex the ankle or pull the toes toward the shin. The study also showed no significant improvement in the available torque or strength of the calf muscles. This study demonstrates the therapeutic power of percussion therapy and how it can improve short-term muscle length.
Few studies have shown improvements in speed or endurance and torque. Therefore, it cannot be said that the use of percussion therapy can directly improve athletic performance. 4 Depending on what you use the massage gun for, it can be very effective. Massage guns are ideal for improving muscle length and reducing muscle soreness.
How effective is the massage gun?
“Unless you happen to have the knowledge and equipment of a physical therapy scientist, it’s difficult to quantify the effects of vibration and shock therapy,” Kozak said.
While recent studies have shown the effectiveness of percussion therapy and demonstrated benefits such as reducing lactic acid buildup and soreness, “the best way to maximize benefits is to know how to use a massage gun properly,” enthuses Kozak.
In the future, find out how effective massage guns are for different uses, including exercise recovery and medical musculoskeletal disorders.
Using a massage gun before a workout has as many benefits as using it after a workout. By increasing blood flow to the target area, you can prepare your muscles for building by increasing oxygen and nutrients.
What the research shows
Using a massage gun as part of your warm-up may reduce your perception of muscle fatigue during your workout. Scientists aren’t sure whether shock therapy reduces actual fatigue, but even if it doesn’t, the placebo effect could be something very powerful.
One study found that using a massage gun before exercise may reduce the total amount of microtears (muscle damage that makes you feel sore) in your muscles, compared to using a massage gun after exercise.
Research has shown that vibration therapy can be effective in increasing range of motion, which can help you get into deeper positions while exercising. For example, increasing your ankle range of motion can help you reach a deeper squat position.
There are many things you can do with a massage gun, from posture-related pain to stress relief. Most people use massage guns primarily for exercise-related soreness and stiffness, especially delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
As it turns out, it’s not a question of whether you use a massage gun, but when.
“If you’re trying to reduce muscle soreness after exercise, it’s best to use a massage gun right after exercise to help reduce lactic acid and toxin buildup in your muscles,” says Kozak. “A quick application again the next day increases blood flow, bringing oxygen to the muscles while relaxing the hardened fascia.”
Still, doing this occasionally and inconsistently probably won’t help much.
“Like exercise, the benefits of using a massage gun only last as long as you keep using it regularly,” says Kozak. For best results and lasting relief, keep the massage gun in your gym bag or near your home gym equipment so you can remember to use it when you’re relaxing.
what the research shows
Vibration therapy may be as effective as massage therapy in reducing muscle soreness,1 an impressive finding considering the ample evidence supporting massage therapy for muscle recovery. 2
When used immediately after exercise, massage guns appear to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), a type of soreness that develops 24 to 48 hours after exercise.
These findings are promising, but in general, more research is needed to determine the true effect of massage guns on muscle recovery. Studies such as these have limitations, including the fact that pain is self-reported.
Massage gun safety
Correct use of massage guns is safe and effective, Kozak said, and the main risks of massage guns are related to improper use.
“The main risk for any athlete to use a massage gun is to make sure it doesn’t cause more damage to an existing injury,” he explained. “For example, it’s best to avoid treating areas of torn or strained muscles, as the impact of a massage gun may further aggravate the injury.”
It may sound like common sense, but the best way to avoid it is to understand how your body feels and how you think it will respond to the shock of a massage gun, Kozak points out. “A good rule of thumb is to always stop treatment if it’s causing pain,” he says.
If you’re not sure how to use a massage gun or if you shouldn’t use it at all, be sure to refer to your device’s instructions or consult your doctor.
Best Electric Massage Fascia Guns at Amazon
Massage Gun Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massage Gun for Athletes,Super Quiet Portable Electric Sport Massager,Handheld Deep Tissue Massager of Y8 Pro Max (Gray)
- The massage gun is equipped with a 4800mAh lithium battery, which can be used for 15-24 hours of massage on a single charge.
- Muscle massage gun, a variety of speed levels to meet different body needs, very suitable for neck, back, arms and legs muscle massage.
- Hand-held percussion massage gun can effectively help relieve muscle soreness and promote blood circulation.
- Exit the massage gun, only about 25-55 dB at 1,300 to 3,200 rpm for an excellent deep-tissue massage for athletes anywhere.
- Deep Tissue Massage Gun, weighing only 2.1 lbs with a gross weight of 4.2 lbs, lightweight design with carrying case.
Massage Gun Deep Tissue for Athletes, Muscle Percussion Massagers Gun for Neck Back with 10 Heads, 30 Adjustable Speeds Portable Handheld Electric Massager for Body Relaxation
- 10 replaceable massage heads: 10 custom massage heads allow you to reach every muscle, provide targeted massage heads for each muscle, easily and quickly remove and fix massage heads in seconds, giving you different Massage experience.
- 30 MODES AND LCD TOUCH SCREEN: This massage gun has 30 adjustable vibration modes, the sensitive touch screen allows you to make adjustments quickly and easily, whether it is muscle relaxation after exercise or daily body massage, you can easily find the best one The vibration amplitude is right for you.
- Ultra-quiet massage tool: The muscle massage gun adopts the latest noise reduction technology and is equipped with a high-torque dual-bearing brushless motor, even at the highest speed, the muscle massage gun will not exceed 45db, so you can use it at home, gym, office and other places.
- Long working time: The wireless massager is equipped with 2600mAh high-quality rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can work for more than 6 hours, and it only takes 1.5 to 2 hours to fully charge.
Massage Gun Deep Tissue, Percussion Muscle Massager Gun, 30 Speeds Quiet Handheld Massager for Muscle Neck Back Shoulder , LCD Touch Screen with 10 Heads
- 10 PROFESSIONAL MASSAGE HEADS: Interchangeable massage heads in 10 shapes target specific muscle groups for faster recovery. Easily and quickly remove and fix the massage head in seconds, which will give you a different relaxing massage experience.
- 2400mah Quick Charge and Long Life Battery: The deep tissue massage gun comes with a 1A/25.2V adapter, which means it can be charged quickly. The 2400mah capacity battery means the brushless high torque motor in this gun massager can run continuously for 6 hours.
- 30 Adjustable Speed Levels: The ZonGym Hand Massage Gun offers 30 different speed levels up to 3200 rpm. Whether it is muscle relaxation after exercise or daily body massage, you can easily find the most suitable vibration amplitude for you.