Massage guns, also known as percussion massagers, percussive therapy and vibration therapy, offer many of the benefits of massage without the expense or the hassle of a visit to the massage therapist. These electric tools, which start at about $100 and resemble power drills, deliver a vigorous massage and typically come with a selection of attachments, such as balls of varying firmness and finger-like tips, and have different settings.
While they are designed to be used by anyone, they are most popular among endurance athletes. However, with the benefits come a few risks as well. Here is what you should know before using one.
Josh Shadle is a Boulder, Colo., massage therapist and avid CrossFitter who says his massage gun is a key part of his own recovery. He uses it every night, “sometimes for hours.” According to Shadle, “it’s just like a mirror of a really good massage therapist.”
Like a traditional massage, the gun aims to reduce inflammation by flushing extracellular fluids such as lymph fluid and venous blood out of the muscle tissue and into the circulatory system. It can help relax tight muscles, break up scar tissue and adhesions, and minimize muscle soreness and tension. A small study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found percussive therapy to be as effective as massage in preventing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
What to know before buying a Muscle Gun Massager?
Eva Carey, director of massage therapy at Zeel, said a top-notch massage gun can get the job done – but you should take your time learning how to use each feature. “Higher-end models can offer more application choices,” she said. “And make sure to use them with caution!”
If a $400 to $600 massage gun is not in your financial future, worry not – the less expensive ones could be a good investment, too. If you are willing to take the time to understand how different massage guns work and do your research before buying one, you might be able to find exactly what you need without paying an arm and a leg for it.
“Models work with either a circular or thumping motion, with varying speeds and pressure,” Carey said. “Considerations when shopping for one include weight of the unit, noise (a loud appliance is definitely not relaxing), and number of tips available for generalized or more specific application.”
Recommended Product: Muscle Gun Massager
Gadgets Junkie may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.