They come in a few different shapes and sizes but mostly look like a gun shape, hence the name. They are powerful and portable and changing the world of massage.
So how do you use it and what do you do with the different attachments?
Let's begin by asking; What does a massage gun do?
It’s an electrical device that applies a percussive therapy to your body’s soft tissue. That means the head moves in and out at a rapid pace, beating your muscles repeatedly to loosen them out and speed up the healing process.
With Brushless motor technology and modern batteries, massage guns are very powerful and with the right head attachment, they’re comparable to a massage therapist working out tension in your body using their elbows and knuckles. Your deepest knots can now be broken down by you at home.
What can massage guns help with?
Massage guns can be used to treat a number of issues such as:
• Muscle fatigue
• Lactic acid build up and the effects of DOMS
• Back pain and sciatica
• Neck pain
• Leg pain
• Tightness and reduced range of motion
• Posture problems, including stiffness from sitting at a desk all day
General improved mobility
Massage gun users have found that they can move a bit better right after a percussive therapy treatment. It really helps free up stiff muscles that are due to sitting all day.
Increased body awareness
Percussive therapy can help point out tight or sore spots to people that they didn’t realise they had, giving their brain a stimulus to heal that area.
Waking you up
Massage guns can be similar to an energising morning massage, boosting circulation and helping get you into a more alert frame of mind before work or training.
Using your massage gun
Here are some tips on using your massage gun.
Choose the right attachment
Massage gun attachments offer different levels of pressure. This allows you to tailor your treatment to specific parts of your body. Bigger, softer attachments are better for treating more sensitive parts of the body, like the neck and lower back. Start with those first, then work your way up to pointier ones if you need to treat deeper spots.
Switch it on before you start
This is a good way to make sure it’s set to a comfortable speed before you push it into a painful muscle. You can always test it on the palm of your hand first.
Using your massage gun on specific areas of the body:
For lower back pain
• You’ll want to use a soft rounded head for this.
• Use the massage gun on your hip flexors (the big muscles at the front of your hips) first for about 15 seconds on each side
• Then treat your hamstrings for about 15 seconds on each leg
• Move to your muscles on the side of your hips, just above the hip joint for another 15 seconds or so on each side
• Move to your adductors on the inner thigh for 15 seconds a side
• Finally, treat your lower back directly, starting on your lumbar area, then either side of your sacrum for 15 seconds each side.
When you’re done, do some light stretching of all of the muscles you’ve massaged. Make sure and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
For neck tightness
• Use the softest attachment you have and go as light-touch as possible.
• Use your massage gun in quick, 10-second blasts along the trapezius muscles. First treat across the muscle fibres, then down to your shoulder. Then treat back and forth across your muscle fibers, then finally following the muscle fibers from one end of the muscle to the other.
• Repeat on both sides
• Your neck can hold a lot of tension, which is linked to headaches and fatigue, so take a deep breath and try your best to relax as you go. Easier if you have a partner that can do this one for you.
This also works for shoulder stiffness, just experiment with different attachments to find the most comfortable one.
How do therapists use massage guns?
A massage gun is a tool to help. It will never replace the hands of a good masseuse so in general, you’ll find therapists using them in conjunction with their hands. Massage guns can reach deep into specific problem areas or knots, while hands perform more complex motions.
Sometimes using a massage gun first allows a patient to relax before starting a proper deep tissue massage by hand.
How long should you use a massage gun for?
There are suggestions for different times depending on what you wish to accomplish.
15 seconds is good for re-activating muscles
This is good as a quick, mid-workout treatment that can help your muscles fight fatigue. Usually beneficial in between exercises in a HIIT session.
30 seconds activates muscles
Massage guns are known for stimulating blood flow so they can be good to use during your warmup before a workout to help avoid injuries.
2 minutes helps with pain relief and recovery
After you work out, a two-minute blast with a massage gun can help with immediate pain relief and break down lactic acid buildup while you’ve exercised.
Are massage guns dangerous?
They can be powerful devices so if you don’t use them correctly they can make soreness worse or cause painful tissue damage and bruising if held on a spot for any longer than two minutes or pressed too hard onto the skin. That’s especially true if you’re using one to treat more severe injuries like sprains which is not recommended.
How often should you use a massage gun?
You can perform the kinds of treatments we’ve spoken about up to two or three times a day. If you’re trying to improve flexibility and posture, then you’ll need to keep yourself to a three-a-day routine to see results. In any case always listen to your body. If it’s starting to hurt or feel like it’s too much then dial it back and adjust as required.