Massage guns, also know as percussion massage devices are often used by massage therapists to relieve pain and improve blood circulation. They do this by producing vibrations that are applied to the skin from the massage gun head.
A lot of massage devices now have vibrating options like foam rollers but it’s not just the vibration that makes massage guns so good. It’s the percussion therapy. This is actually why they’re also called percussion massagers. A massage therapist can offer you a deep massage, but with a massage gun in their hand they can get even deeper into your muscles.
These electronic massage devices have now become an at home do it yourself type of therapist. They’re a great alternative to other massage tools like the foam roller mostly because of the portability.
Relaxation of Body and Mind
The importance of having peace of body and mind is huge and massage guns can help with general body relaxation.
When done correctly, massaging yourself with a massage gun can help the body release dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals are responsible for happiness and general body relaxation. However, it’s important to know the right spots to massage and to apply the right amount of pressure.
Sleep deprivation is all too common these days. There’s just so much going on in life that irregular sleeping patterns have become the norm. We all know sleep is important for focus, alertness, libido, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. So how does massaging help? Well, massaging your body regularly releases serotonin which keeps you relaxed and if you get it right, the body also releases melatonin, a chemical responsible for keeping you asleep.
Overall Boost to The Immune System
There are no intensive studies on how percussive therapy impacts the immune system yet but we know that massage guns help improve blood circulation which helps white blood cells to travel through body tissue more effectively, potentially improving your body’s immune response in times of stress.
Because percussive massage therapy may improve circulation and decrease stress, your brain is more likely to maintain an optimal level of oxygen and alertness. Increased oxygen typically assists in maintaining an optimal sense of focus.
The great part of all this is that to achieve these wonderful benefits, all you need is a good percussion massager. You might get more benefit from a therapist or someone with some deep tissue massage therapy knowledge but massage guns are portable and easy to use at home on a regular basis making them a very economical option. The bigger guns tend to be more powerful but you can get a lot of the same benefits from a nice mini gun like the Hemmka Health Mini Massage Gun. Despite its size, it is plenty powerful enough to give you a deep massage.
Increased Blood and Lymphatic Circulation
This is a less known but equally important advantage of massage gun therapy. Many components of health are based on efficient blood circulation.
The pathway to a healthy/active body is within the blood vessels. The more efficient the pathways, the faster the transportation of blood and nutrients and consequently the healthier the body.
Massage gun studies have shown that they improve the blood flow within a section of your body. However, a full body massage with these devices may lead to better circulation throughout the body. Improved blood circulation also means better nutrients and oxygen supply within the body. The nutrients and oxygen are needed for muscle repair and efficient body function. Poor blood circulation has adverse effects on your overall health. Some signs that your blood is not flowing as it should through your body include:
• Constant fatigue
• Swollen legs and arms
• Lack of focus and concentration
• Painful muscle cramps
• Cold feet and arms
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your GP before participating in exercise or percussive massage therapy.
Lymphatic stimulation is also very important for maintaining a healthy body and mind. The lymphatic system barely gets a mention in most healthcare blogs and textbooks. Your lymphatic system includes several lymph nodes that are placed throughout various areas of the human body. These nodes act as little bunkers that store the weaponry needed to fight infections within the body. The primary weapons these lymph nodes carry are known as lymphocytes.
Massage gun therapy has the potential to stimulate these nodes which in turn may help circulate the lymphatic fluids to areas of the body where they are needed.
Since each individual body has a different amount of skin, fat, muscle, and connective tissue, the size of massage gun will vary widely depending on treatment goals. A larger person looking for deep stimulation may need a larger, more powerful massage gun, while a smaller person may only require a mini massage gun with less power.
Muscle Strength and Mass
If you work out, especially if you are into lifting weights, you will know that if you want to increase muscle strength and mass you have to lift heavier, and more often. However, pushing hard in the gym means you have to endure the aftermath. Usually painful aches within the muscles, called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.
But if you have a massage gun to use on yourself after a heavy workout, there is far less reason to worry about the soreness. This means you can keep challenging yourself in the gym even more. This will typically result in more strength and bigger muscles. There are obviously other important recovery factors such as diet and rest, but a massage gun helps in the process. For improved muscular recovery, we would recommend going for the bigger version of the Hemmka Health Massage Gun.
DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness can last for up to three days after a heavy workout, although if it does last that long you probably over did it. That said, your Massage gun, used right, can greatly reduce this pain and get you going again. According to a study in 2014, vibration therapy can greatly improve muscle endurance, increase power, and improve kinesthetic awareness. This in turn greatly improves muscular performance and may greatly decrease DOMS.
Both vibration and percussive massage use the same mechanism but percussive therapy works directly over muscle tissue and has the potential to provide much stronger, specific results. The current research on vibration therapy is a good indicator that percussive therapy may be a much more effective treatment option. When you are actually experiencing real-time muscle pain, percussive therapy can help by breaking up the pain signals sent by your brain to your body. It’s a bit like when you bump your head and rub the painful spot with your hand.
Improved Sports Performance
A lot of athletes are now endorsing massage guns so they have become both well-known and popular. Because massage guns are great for pain relief and reducing muscle soreness, it’s easy to train better and consequently perform better so obviously they are popular with athletes. Efficient blood circulation and soft tissue mobility enhancements offered by percussive therapy may help the body perform at a higher level. Any athlete who is a top performer will tell you just how important it is to have a relaxed body before a big competition and at top levels of Sport every little incremental difference can be the difference between the podium and nowhere.
Rehabilitation – Post Injury Care
Massage gun therapy is highly recommended for rehabilitation treatment because it not only speeds up recovery, but can also prevent re-injury. Massage gun use during rehabilitation is supplementary to the standard methods of rehabilitation therapy and with serious injuries you should always follow professional advice in terms of your recovery. Percussion massagers are recommended for rehabilitation treatment because they help facilitate efficient circulation within those areas (fascial tissues and muscles), flexibility is enhanced and the healing process is revved up.
Here are some injury examples that are being treated more commonly using massage gun therapy:
• Muscle soreness
• Muscle cramps and spasms
• TMJ syndrome
• Nonspecific low back pack
• Shin Splints
Painkillers and medication are an easy approach to pain relief but there are many other ways to help with pain relief that don’t include pumping your body full of chemicals. Aside from a proper physio or therapist, with the help of your massage gun, you can massage the painful area to improve circulation and loosen up stiffness around joints and muscles. The area may be slightly uncomfortable at first, but it will become more tolerable as the area relaxes and you can adjust the intensity and pressure to what suits you. With time and careful use of your massage gun, you may begin to notice improved tissue relaxation and muscle or joint function.
Nervous System Stimulation
Nerve function is important if you want to lead a long and healthy life. Massage gun therapy can stimulate the nervous system and potentially improve certain essential functions. One potential effect is stimulating production or release of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Optimal levels of these chemicals mean sharper focus and a generally elevated mood.
Facilitates Lactic Acid Release
Feeling nauseated or cramped happens when there isn’t enough oxygen in the body’s muscles, which is essential to convert newly formed lactate into energy. As a result, lactic acid build-up happens faster than the body can dispose of it. A massage gun can help dispel the extra lactic acid into the circulatory system and get you going again. This also has the potential to reduce DOMS that may happen in subsequent days.
Breaks Up Scar Tissue
It’s not backed up by scientific research, but some user feedback suggests that massage gun therapy can be effective in reducing scar tissue. More importantly, percussive therapy has been reported to ease the pain around these tissues. Therefore massage gun therapy is not only recommended for sports injuries, but for post-surgery scar tissue treatment as well.
Deep tissue muscle massage provided by massage guns can help push out waste, improve blood circulation and release tension. This in turn helps improve tissue metabolism. This healthy exchange aids in preventing injuries and also likely speeds up recovery and tissue repair. Improved tissue health will support more regular exercise, which will typically lead to improved flexibility. Massage guns are also frequently used while stretching to help improve the depth of stretch, potentially leading to improved muscle and joint flexibility.
Massage guns can be used during your pre-exercise warm-up and afterwards for recovery. Before a workout they help wake up the muscles. This is a great way to warm up (runners can appreciate it a lot). Massage gun therapy as a warm-up ensures that your muscles are supplied with enough oxygen and activation before starting exercise. The massage can also help to raise your muscle temperature which increases flexibility. This greatly reduces the risk of injury, particularly in high intensity sport like sprinting etc.
Practical Percussion Therapy Benefits
Apart from the health benefits of massage gun therapy, there are other reasons why you may want to own one.
They are a portable version of a really good massage therapist. It’s always recommended getting a massage by a professional, but if you know what you are doing, a massage gun is cheaper and more accessible.
You can use a massage gun at home or when travelling. Sometimes getting to a therapist can be a hassle or not even possible. Just get out your massage gun and get to work on your muscles.
You can use them on your family or partners. That’s definitely a lot cheaper than booking everyone into a spa.
Have a massage on the go. You can carry a massage gun with you anywhere. Mini massage guns offer you the option of portability.
You get direct feedback when massaging yourself. You get to learn about your body as you self-massage. This is highly recommended if you want to achieve a healthy life going forward.
Are There Any Cons of Massage Guns?
Yes, there are downsides to massage guns but these can be easily remedied and you can get back to enjoying the benefits.
Here are some cons of massage guns you should be aware of:
The risk of incorrect use.
It’s important that you know what you are doing with a massage gun. A massage gun is a tool, and that means it’s only as good as the user. You run the risk of injuring yourself or not getting the desired results if you don’t use it right. Look up videos online or ask your therapist for advice.
The risk of aggravating an injury or other chronic condition.
It’s not recommended to use a percussion massager on injuries like sprains, broken bones, or large swellings. Chronic pain conditions like hypertension, varicose veins, rheumatoid arthritis, and others could become worse if you use a massage gun. Find out from a doctor about your condition before using a massage gun.
High initial price point.
There are a lot of very expensive brands of massage gun and while they might say they do something different our range of highly economical Hemmka Health massage guns are just as effective and are a great starting point into the world of do it yourself massage. Our massage guns only cost the price of 1 or 2 massage therapy sessions.
Is Percussion Therapy Safe?
Having gone through all the benefits of massage gun therapy, it’s fairly clear that we are fans. Percussion therapy has become one of the top methods for muscle recovery. However, we recommend that you use the gun properly for the best results. It’s also wise to consult an expert if you have doubts about your own ability to use these devices. However, like everything in life too much of a good thing can be dangerous, and you should take care not to overdo the massage. When you notice the area you’re massaging turning red or losing sensation, it’s probably a good sign that you need to move on to another part of the body.
Do not keep the massage gun head over one spot for more than 20 seconds. Keep moving the gun over the skin. Many companies recommend limiting time spent on any single area of the body to no more than 2 minutes at most.
General Precautions and Things to Keep in Mind
• Massage guns can cause pain and new onset of pain usually means you are applying too much pressure, or the speed is too high. Check that you are applying just the right pressure based on what area of the body you are massaging.
• Avoid touching nerves. When you feel an electric shock-like pain, stop immediately.
• Do not use a massage gun directly on bony areas, the spine, neck, fractures or wounds.
• Only use them on muscles for complete assured safety. Otherwise consult an expert.
• Do not use a massage gun on an area that has impaired sensation. If you feel you’re not getting precise sensorial feedback, don’t continue massaging that area. Chances are you are doing more damage than repair.
• Do not use massage guns if you are on blood thinners (example: heparin and warfarin) prescription.
• Seek medical advice first before using a massage gun if you have:
o An inflammatory disorder
o Warfarin and heparin prescription
o Muscle strain, varicose veins, ligament sprain, high blood pressure, and conditions affecting blood vessels like thrombosis.
Why You Should Get the Right Massage Gun
There are a few things that you should know when you go out to buy a massage gun.
Stall force: This is the amount of pressure it takes to stall the motor of a particular gun. The higher the number here, the deeper the massage gun can hit usually not a problem with brushless motor massage guns.
Amplitude: Which is the distance that the massage gun head travels back and forth as it hits the skin in what we call percussions per minute. The combination of the stall force and the amplitude will often clue you into what the gun can do. If you have big muscles, then a gun with a higher stall force and longer amplitude will serve you well. That said, if you are looking for something for relaxation or to just get the blood flowing, then you probably just need a mini massage gun. Smaller guns tend to have lower stall force and shorter amplitudes compared to their larger counterparts.
There are also other things to look out for such as the percussion range, the number of speed levels, the number of head attachments etc.
Massage Gun Benefits – Summary
There are clearly a number of massage gun benefits and they outweigh any concerns or disadvantages and one of the greatest benefits of percussion massagers is that you get to perform deep tissue therapy on yourself.
If you don’t have the time to visit a masseuse or physio, but need relief immediately, well now you can have it. You can combine passive and active recovery methods (the active recovery being you massaging yourself) to get efficient healing of your muscles and relief from pain.
Click Here to view our range of quality massage guns.
Note: The benefits and information listed here have been sourced from various articles and publications but it should not be taken as medical advice. As when using any medical equipment, if you are unsure about anything then you should ask your healthcare professional for advice and recommendations.