Everything You Need To Know About Massage Guns
Can they boost your workout or prevent post-workout muscle soreness? Here’s what the science says.
Massage guns are more popular than ever. Celebrities, professional athletes, and fitness influencers alike rave about their benefits. Can they help up your fitness game, too?
Here’s everything you need to know about when they help, who they might benefit from, and how to use one if you decide to try it out.
What is a Massage Gun and Why Use One?
Massage guns look like a drill. Except for ins tead of being used to drill holes, they give you an effective massage on command. Most massage guns come equipped with numerous attachments, allowing you to get a more targeted message that truly provides relief to those pain points throughout your body. They also usually have rechargeable batteries, allowing you to take the massage gun on the go and recharge the battery quickly.
Compared to a professional massage, a massage gun allows you to save hundreds of dollars on massage without sacrificing quality. You don’t need to spend $50 per hour on a massage. Instead, just spend $100-200 one time and get a great massage on command. You can’t beat that! They’re also portable and compact, so you can bring a massage gun on vacation, to work, or even to the gym!
“You can use a massage gun whenever you're looking to relieve some muscle tension, but it may be especially beneficial to use after a workout to promote recovery with reduced muscle soreness,” says Leada Malek, CSCS, a sports physical therapist in San Francisco who’s board-certified through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists.
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What Are the Benefits Of a Massage Gun?
When it comes to recovery from both injury and exercise, massage guns have numerous benefits. Perhaps the most important benefit is improved blood circulation. Your blood flow is critical in injury prevention. The stronger your blood circulation, the easier it is for your muscles to avoid injury. When you do get injured, this also helps minimize the injury and get you back on your feet in little time.
Massage guns also help break up the buildup of lactic acid in your body. Typically, lactic acid will build up after an intense workout. This is why your muscles feel “sore” or “cramped” after a workout. It's quite normal! However, just because it's normal doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything about it. Simply point the massage gun at these pain points and watch as that tension starts to evaporate out of your body.
Yet another powerful benefit of a massage gun is that they stimulate your muscles, giving an extra kick to your post-workout recovery and pre-workout stretches. A little touch added with a massage gun can go a long way towards making each and every workout count for more.
The Difference Between Massage Guns, Foam Rollers, and Other Muscle Recovery Options
“Massage guns do similar things as massage, but the way they go about it is different,” Malek says. So they'll offer a similar effect as foam rolling and massage. Which you choose may depend on personal preference.
Foam rolling uses myofascial release to decrease muscle tension. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. For various reasons, fascia can get tight, even inflamed, and when that happens, your ability to move can be hampered. Yet the gentle to moderate sustained pressure you apply with a foam roller can help tight areas of the body relax or release, Malek says.
You might get similar effects by holding a massage gun to one area, but it doesn’t qualify as a myofascial release because of its rapid, percussive nature, Malek says.
An advantage of the gun? It can target specific areas of the body better than a foam roller, especially those that are hard to reach, like the pectoral muscles in your chest, your biceps, and psoas muscles (which run from your low spine to the tops of the femur bones in your legs), says Brian Abarca, a personal trainer certified through Passaic County Community College and owner of Abarca Fitness in Union City, New Jersey.
Static stretching, on the other hand, uses slow, sustained stretches on a muscle to promote relaxation and reduced feelings of muscle tightness, and like foam rolling, it has more research to support its benefits, Malek says.
For some people, stretching may be more relaxing because of the nonpercussive impact on the muscle, Malek says. And because you don’t need equipment, it’s more convenient.
RELATED: Quick Fixes for Sore Muscles
How to Use a Massage Gun
You can use a massage gun whenever you want to relieve muscle tension, but it’s most commonly used before and after workouts. “For warmups, using a massage gun can reduce soreness or stiffness from workouts from the day or days prior and activate muscles before a session,” Abarca says.
According to Abarca, they’re recommended to be used within 48 hours following workout to help reduce soreness and improve recovery.
To use the gun effectively, find an area on your body that feels tight and start by moving the gun over the bulk of the muscle. “Add pressure as tolerated but not too aggressively,” Malek says. (Typically there’s a button or switch on the gun to increase pressure.) Stay in one spot for up to 15 seconds or sweep an area for two minutes. Some guns even have a monitor connected to an app to direct you how hard and how long to go.
Stay away from bony areas. And if you have an injury, check with a physical therapist before using a massage gun on it. Malek recommends avoiding going over an area of acute pain or injury, which can aggravate 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,” Malek says.
And if you have nerve sensitivity or deep vein thrombosis, or you're pregnant, consult with your doctor before using a massage gun. Also, if you know you bruise easily, make sure the speed and attachment are suitable for your tolerance, Malek says.
What to Look for if You Decide to Buy a Massage Gun
Massage guns aren't cheap. Top-of-the-line guns can cost several hundred dollars, which is why you should evaluate your purchase carefully. Search online for reviews to start, Malek says.
Because massage guns come in different sizes, consider your own comfort when it comes to how heavy and how large you want it to be, and which muscles you’ll want to use it on, Malek says.
Some come with adjustable heads and handles (making it easier to reach certain body parts). Think, too, if you want to take your device on the go; if so, mini massage guns might be an excellent option, as they can easily fit into a backpack.
No matter the size, check that the gun comes with different attachments to help you hit hard-to-reach or difficult spots, Abarca recommends. It should also have different settings so that you can choose more gentle or more intense percussive movements. And do pay attention to how loud or intense the gun is, as that will also affect your enjoyment.
RELATED: 7 Tips for Getting Back Into a Workout Routine if the Pandemic Disrupted Yours
What is the best massage gun
Using a massage gun that is suited for your needs and built to last long term is one of the key steps to ensuring a healthier body, with minimal effort. If you are looking for something pocket friendly while also effective consider the Booster U1 Massage Gun. Brought to you by Suzhou Pineapple Health Technology Co. the Booster U1 Massage Gun is a user favourite with thousands of positive reviews from all over the world.
Suzhou Pineapple Health Technology Co. was founded in February 2017 as a high-tech enterprise focusing on research and development and the inclusion of scientific methods to produce high-quality products. Funny focuses on creating products for the sports health and rehabilitation industry and has long term goals of making the Booster U1 Massage Gun Number 3 in the fascia gun category, right after Theragun and Hyperice.
A massage gun is an excellent recovery tool for anybody: athlete or otherwise. Compared to more traditional forms of massage, they are far more cost-effective. Compared to more basic forms of relief, such as a foam roller, massage guns are also easier to use. Massage guns are a fool-proof way to get the massage you want, when you want it, for pennies on the dollar.
As such, we’d highly recommend using a massage gun. There’s a reason they’re so popular. Where else can you get a great massage on demand? Sure, you could go to the professionals, but get ready to spend some serious money. Instead, why not purchase a massage gun once and experience massage on demand?
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