There it goes again, the agonising pain in your lower back. Unfortunately, you must render over time and will not be able to see a massage therapist to help with your sore muscles. So, what do you do? You reach for your handheld massage gun, hoping to relax those tight muscles. However, does it really work or only provide a placebo effect? Let's find out in this article.
What are Massage Guns?
Massage guns are handheld devices with massage balls on the end. They're used to increase blood flow and reduce muscle pain by massaging soft tissues like tendons, muscles and ligaments.
Massage guns work by creating a tapping or percussive effect against the muscle tissue of the body. The massage balls help break up knotty adhesions, which decreases pain and improves blood circulation, leading to muscle recovery.
Using massage guns stimulates the lymphatic system to reduce swelling caused by exercise. They also help improve flexibility, which makes them beneficial for both athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Many massage therapists are now adding massage guns to their routines because of their proven benefits. Massage guns increase blood flow by up to 30 percent, but people with sensitive skin must use them with caution to avoid the risk of irritation or damage due to excess pressure or friction.
Why Use a Massage Gun at Home?
If you think of the benefits of massage gun use, there are actually so many of them. One of the best things about massage guns is that they are so easy to use. Most models come with an adjustable head and different power settings, so you can choose how hard or soft you want the massage to be. They also usually come with different attachments, so you can choose the right one for your needs. Some people find a massage gun too strong in certain areas, but this can easily be adjusted by using a lighter touch. As regards physiological benefits, check out this list:
- Relieves tension and stress
- Improves blood circulation
- Promotes movement of lymph fluid to prevent swelling
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Increases range of motion
- Minimises muscle soreness
- Prevents delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Improves digestive health
- Improves sleep
What are the Different Types of Massage Guns?
In order to get your hands on an easy-to-use massage gun that can provide a variety of health benefits, you need to know the difference between these massage devices. There are many budget massage guns available, as well as percussive massage guns with advanced features and a longer battery life. The one that you choose should be based on your body's needs and your wallet's capacity.
Here, below, are common massage guns. Each one has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to understand what each one offers before you make your purchase.
Air massage sticks
For a gentle percussive therapy, go for these simple, lightweight and affordable massage devices. They are also easy to use, portable and perfect for massage beginners. On the downside, they typically deliver a much lighter massage than electric massage devices do, although there are some models that are more powerful.
Electric massage devices
These handheld massagers have many benefits that outweigh their shortcomings. For instance, they are user friendly and have different speed settings, so you can customize your massage experience and decrease pain in sore muscles. The downside is that they aren't as lightweight or compact as air massage sticks are, which makes them less convenient if you prefer to use your massage gun on the go.
These percussive massage guns are ideal for deep tissue massages, but note that they may not be safe for everyone. If you have delicate skin, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, varicose veins, or you're taking blood thinners, consult a health professional before trying these percussive massagers.
Hydraulic massage devices
These power tools offer the most intense massage, making them perfect for those who have chronic pain or need a more powerful massage after an intense workout. However, they are also the bulkiest, and they are not cheap massage guns. However, if you know that you'll be using your massage gun regularly, then a hydraulic version is definitely worth the investment.
When deciding which type of massage ball to use with your massage gun, it's important to first identify what type of massage you need. Different massage balls work best for different parts of the body. For instance, massage sticks are great for massage therapy on the feet, while massage balls are perfect for targeting smaller areas like the neck or face. Here's a look at each one:
- Ball massage sticks are typically made of hard plastic or metal and have small massage balls attached to them. They are perfect for use on larger muscle groups and work well in conjunction with other massage techniques.
- Spiky massage balls are typically made of rubber or silicone and have small spikes on them. They are perfect massage balls for anyone looking for a deeper massage.
- Foam massage balls, also known as foam rollers, are typically made of soft plastic or rubber. A foam roller or foam rolling is great for massage beginners, pregnant women or those with sensitive skin.
Are Massage Guns Effective?
Using massage guns in addition to traditional massage therapy has become popular among health fanatics all over the world. Massage gun sessions can be carried out before or after sports activities, and massage therapists can use massage guns on their clients as part of their massage session.
While so many nice things have been said about massage guns, they are not on par with traditional massage in reducing the risk of injury. Researchers and athletic trainers alike found that a percussive massage treatment can never replace the healing touch of a professional massage therapist. One study on the effects of percussive therapy on the calf muscles revealed that, while it helped decrease muscle stiffness, it did not increase muscle strength, unlike vibrational therapies.
When it comes to pain relief, muscle guns are unquestionably efficient. These percussion therapy devices are worth considering in the recovery routine of athletes or gym buffs because they can reach the body's deep connective tissues.
So, if you're looking to add a new dimension to your massage therapy routine by bringing in a massage gun, be sure to do your research first. Better yet, consult a professional massage therapist to get their opinion on the matter, as they would know better.