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What are massage guns?
We all know the feeling of being bogged down by sharp aches and pains - especially in your back and neck. 😩
While a good mattress against back pain and regular exercise and stretching can help, you do sometimes need immediate relief.
We may have a suitable solution: Massage guns.
A what now?
Massage guns are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s quite likely that you’ve heard about these nifty little gadgets before.
These are small percussive devices that look like a somewhat wonky gun (or hard-wearing hairdryer) and can be used for deep tissue massages - on yourself or a partner. 💆♀️
They don’t offer you what you’d traditionally think of as a massage.
Instead, they rely on percussive therapy - that is, pounding and jiggling the muscle to increase blood flow, which can help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.
While they may sound daunting, massage guns are actually pretty easy to use.
We’ll show you how to use them correctly a bit further down. 👇
But, first, what can a massage gun help with and who are they suitable for?
Who are massage guns suitable for?
Massage guns can be used by almost everyone.
We’ll go into details on who massage guns are not suitable for in the next section. 🙅♂️
But, first: Who can use a massage gun?
Massage guns for relaxation
Massage guns are great for a range of people looking for relaxation, muscle relief, and getting rid of those knots in your back and neck.
After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good massage?
Visiting a massage therapist every day is expensive. 💰
With a massage gun, you can enjoy a powerful massage daily - and only pay once.
If you’re just starting your massage gun journey, we’d recommend starting at the lowest level first to loosen those muscles before getting into more deep tissue work.
If you’re using your massage gun to target more specific pain, it’s a good idea to chat with someone in the know - or do some thorough research. 🙇♂️
Massage guns for athletes
Athletes training regularly - and intensively - will undoubtedly benefit from massage guns. ⛹️♂️
These not only help with faster muscle recovery but also improve range of motion.
This is because the massage gun can loosen the fascia, the connective tissue around the muscles.
Massage guns are great for alleviating acute muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Professional athletes can also use massage guns before training to prepare the muscles for a good workout and prevent injuries and fatigue. 🥳
This makes daily training without excessive muscle stiffness possible.
Athletes may benefit from massage guns with higher amplitude (meaning they can reach deeper-lying muscle tissue).
The TheraGun Pro has an amplitude of 16 mm!
Massage guns for chronic pain
People with chronic conditions such as continuous back pain, neck tension, or muscle stiffness may notice positive effects from using a massage gun.
It’s vital that you discuss the use of the massage gun with your doctor or physiotherapist first.
If used incorrectly, chronic pain may worsen. 😳
Massage guns for the elderly
Decreased mobility and increased pain are common struggles with ageing.
Massage guns can help combat these problems by reducing pains, increasing tissue elasticity, and heightening overall wellness.
Be careful that you don’t overuse the massage gun - and stay away if you have high blood pressure or osteoporosis.
You may want to try a percussive massage device like the Wahl with an extra-long handle for easy use.
How to use a massage gun on yourself
How to use a massage gun on yourself correctly depends both on your needs and on how long you’ve been using massage guns.
First-time users often find high intensities painful. 😬
They should stick to lower intensities to work on loosening the muscles first.
Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to use a massage gun on yourself:
- Check the massage gun for cracks or production faults.
- Read the user manual carefully to find out which attachment and which level is best for you. 📖
- You don’t have to undress to use the massage gun - the machine can be used on naked or covered skin.
- Find a comfortable lying or sitting position. 🧘♀️
- Start on a low level to warm up your muscles and work up the intensity bit by bit.
- Let the massage gun do the work for you. There’s no need to apply additional pressure. To work on a trigger point, slowly move the massage gun over the area, drawing circles or lines.
- You should not remain on any one point for too long. ⏲
- If you feel any sharp or strong pains, stop massaging immediately.
- Remember to clean your device and massage heads with a slightly damp cloth after each use.
If you’re working on difficult-to-reach areas, it’s best to ask a friend, partner, or family member to help you out.
How often should you use a massage gun?
If you’re using your massage gun for back pains or simple relaxation, a treatment two to three times per week is sufficient.
If you’re working out, you can use the massage gun as a warm-up before each training session. ♨️
This will help prevent sore muscles after your training.
You only need to use the gun on each muscle group for 30 to 90 seconds.
After the training session, you can use the massage gun on the muscle groups for 2 - 5 minutes to help relieve cramps.
For how long should you use the massage gun?
Since massage guns can deliver up to 3200 revolutions or percussions per minute, it’s important to not use the device for too long - especially if you’re starting out! 😲
Sportspeople can use the massage gun for 30 - 90 seconds before exercise and 2 - 5 minutes after training.
To relieve sore muscles, you should use the massage gun at its lowest speed and massage each tension point for about three minutes. ⏰
Some massage guns, like the Bob and Brad X6 Pro, can turn off automatically to prevent overuse.
How long to massage for will be influenced by the attachment you’re using.
Some massage heads have a more pointed tip than others and are better suited for deep-seated pain.
These should be used for shorter periods of time than flatter attachments, which can be used over your whole body. 🚶♂️
Let’s take a closer look at massage gun attachments in the next section.
How do massage guns actually work?
So, how exactly does a massage gun work?
What’s the technology behind it?
A massage gun delivers percussions that affect the targeted muscle areas and can relieve deep-lying tension.
Most massage guns contain an electric motor that draws its power from a rechargeable battery, usually located in the handle.
Some massage guns, though, are cable- and not battery-operated.
During use, your massage gun will heat up - this is why you’ll usually find air holes in the casing. 💨
Make sure you keep these open and clean to prevent overheating.
Different intensities and speeds
Most quality massage guns have different speed levels and can manage between 1200 and 3200 revolutions per minute! 😱
Different speeds should be used for different areas of the body.
You should also start slowly if you’re new to massage guns.
Massage gun amplitude
In addition to speed, massage guns will often give their amplitude.
This refers to how deep it can get into your muscles.
The higher the amplitude, the deeper an effect the massage gun can have.
The Theragun Pro, for example, has an astounding amplitude of 16 mm!
What do massage guns cost?
Most quality massage guns are available for around £100.
But there are also some cheaper and some much more expensive models available!
The TheraGun Pro, for example, costs upwards of £500.
A massage gun that costs more isn’t necessarily better.
Remember to look at the criteria listed above to see if a massage gun will suit your requirements. 👆