Massage guns are everywhere. Sporting goods stores stock them and they’re certainly not hard to find online. Athletes endorse them and fitness coaches endorse them, but they’re not just a trend.
This frenzied popularity is for good reason—massage guns work, but only if you use them correctly.
What is a massage gun?
If you’re new to it, a massage gun is a device that allows anyone to give a quick, powerful massage anytime, anywhere.
It’s not hard to decipher why these devices are called massage guns — they look like handguns and provide self-massage therapy.
There are many of these devices on the market, which can make it difficult to distinguish the best massage gun from the poor quality one.
In short, a good massage gun delivers rapid force into your muscle tissue, reducing soreness and stiffness. For more details on how to choose a massage gun, check out our roundup of the best massage guns you can buy right now.
How do massage guns work?
Massage guns use percussion therapy or vibration therapy, sometimes both at the same time. While both percussion and vibration therapy have benefits, they are slightly different.
Both are types of soft tissue manipulation, which experts believe can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue after a workout.
What is percussion therapy?
Percussion therapy involves applying force to the muscles and fascia (a type of connective tissue) to break up adhesions and encourage blood flow to painful or sensitive areas.
Percussion therapy devices reach deep into soft tissue for maximum benefit. For example, Theragun devices reach up to 16 mm into your muscles.
What is vibration therapy?
Think of vibration therapy as percussion therapy on a smaller scale. Vibration therapy still applies force to the targeted areas, but the amplitude of the force is lower – this type of soft tissue therapy is generally defined as 8 to 10 mm penetration into the soft tissue.
Vibration therapy is often the best option for people with chronic pain, very sensitive muscles, or a medical condition that prevents them from using percussion therapy.
In other words, percussion therapy is a deep tissue massage while vibration therapy is a Swedish massage.
How to use the massage gun properly
To get the most out of the massage gun, it’s important that you know how to use it properly. Improper use of the massage gun can result in injury or at best a waste of money.
Here are some tips for using your massage gun in different situations.
Use a massage gun before a workout
A pre-workout massage gun session can help warm you up by increasing blood flow to the muscles you plan to work during your workout. Using a massage gun during a warm-up can also improve your range of motion before a workout.
To use the pre-workout massage gun, spend one to two minutes directly massaging each muscle group you plan to work, plus 30 seconds on the supporting muscle groups.
For example, if you’re going to work on your legs, try the following pre-workout massage gun routine:
- 60 seconds per quarter
- 60 seconds per hamstring
- 30 seconds on the lower back
- 30 seconds per calf
In less than five minutes, you’ll have increased circulation and ready muscles for exercise. However, don’t overlook other important warm-up ingredients, such as dynamic stretching and light cardio to get your heart rate up. However, percussion therapy is not a substitute for targeted movement and priming.
Use a massage gun after a workout
After your workout, you can use the massage gun as part of your cool-down process. Post-workout percussion therapy can help bring your body from a high state back to a resting state. In theory, a massage gun relaxes your nervous system by masking pain signals sent to the brain after a tough workout, similar to a TENS unit.
In addition, cushioned percussion therapy boosts circulation after a workout, bringing oxygen and essential nutrients to your tired muscles.
Finally, post-workout percussion therapy can help reduce inflammation in your muscles, helping with post-workout muscle soreness (muscle pain is thought to occur from small tears in muscle fibers and inflammation in the tissues). ).
Use a massage gun for sore muscles
You may notice a day or two after a workout that your muscles are really sore. This is called delayed-onset myopathy (DOMS) and gun massage can help to some extent. The massage gun won’t completely remove DOMS, but it can provide temporary pain relief.
To use the massage gun on sore muscles, adjust the speed and depth settings so they don’t cause pain. Since sore muscles tend to be sensitive, you’ll probably want to apply lower settings on your device.
When you find a suitable environment, use the massage gun for one to two minutes on each painful area.
How not to use a massage gun
In general, massage guns are safe to use for sore muscles and as a tool to improve your fitness. However, you need to be aware of the common improper use of massage guns.
Do not use the massage gun:
- On bone areas
- About musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains and strains
- On bruises or open wounds
- If you have severe or unexplained pain
- Do not talk to your doctor if you have arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, or another musculoskeletal condition
Frequency of using massage gun
You can safely use the massage gun every day as long as you use the right technique and don’t exceed the recommended use time provided by the company (most massage guns come with instructions for using the device in the manual). certain session).
Using a massage gun for too long on one muscle or group of muscles can lead to sensitivity or pain. Use the massage gun too little and you may not get the benefit. If you’re not sure if you’re using the massage gun for the right amount of time, refer back to the instructions on your device.
A very good word
Massage guns can be a healthy and helpful part of your exercise and recovery routine. However, it is important to exercise caution when applying any force to the body. Take care to avoid using the massage gun on any wounds, bruises or overly sensitive areas, and talk to your doctor if you’re not sure if a massage gun is right for you.
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