12 Massage Gun Benefits, A Few Drawbacks and Things to Keep in Mind
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Hello and welcome to yet another post on our percussion massage gun blog. In this one we’ll look at massage gun benefits. Now, we’re Massage Gun Advice and we love talking about massage guns.
Massage guns are electronic devices that 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 with the help of a massage gun head.
But really, it’s not just vibrations with massage guns. Unlike the high-end foam rollers that have some sort of vibration therapy, massage guns offer something deeper than that.
These deeper vibrations is what is famously known as percussion therapy. This is actually why they’re also called percussion massagers. A therapist may be able to offer a deep massage, but a massage gun in hand takes it a notch higher.
These devices, however, are not just found in spas and massage parlors, they’ve actually made a name for themselves because of the endorsements from athletes and celebrities. Because of this, they’ve become sort of DIY therapists in themselves.
They’re a great alternative to other wellness tools like the foam roller. If you cannot carry your therapist a long, you can definitely bring a massage gun with you.
So let us see just how beneficial percussive therapy with massage guns is. We will discuss both health benefits as well as practical benefits of massage guns.
Massage Gun Benefits You Should Know
- Relaxation and Overall Wellness of Body and Mind
- Increased Blood and Lymphatic Circulation
- Muscle Strength and Mass
- Muscle Soreness
- Improved Sports Performance
- Rehabilitation – Post Injury Care
- Pain Relief
- Nervous System Stimulation
- Facilitates Lactic Acid Release
- Breaks Up Scar Tissue
- Improved Flexibility
- Injury Prevention
- Practical Percussion Therapy Benefits
- Are There Any Cons of Massage Guns?
- Is Percussion Therapy Safe?
- General Precautions / Things to Keep in Mind
- Why You Should Get the Right Massage Gun
- Massage Gun Benefits – The Bottom Line
Massage Gun Benefits You Should Know
Let’s start with health benefits, shall we?
Relaxation and Overall Wellness of Body and Mind
You can never understate the importance of having peace of body and mind. In fact, the reason we work so hard is to find a certain level of bliss within and outside of ourselves.
What else matters, right? A percussion massager is a wellness tool that does a good job to give you that body and mind peace. How?
- Stress Relief
When done correctly, especially by a massage therapist, massage guns can help the body release dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals are responsible for happiness and general body relaxation. But you need to know the right spots to hit and with just the right amount of pressure.
- Improved Sleep
Sleep deprivation is a real menace especially today. There’s just so much to do that irregular sleeping patterns have become something we have to deal with constantly. We won’t go into how much you need to sleep well but we’ll mention that sleep is important for focus, alertness, libido, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. Massaging your body regularly releases serotonin which keeps you relaxed. If you get it right, the body also releases melatonin, a chemical responsible for keeping you asleep when you need to be.
- Overall Boost On The Immune System
There is yet to be intensive studies on how percussive therapy impacts the immune system. However, we know that massage guns help improve blood circulation (we’ll talk about this later). Because of improved circulation, white blood cells and other immunity factors are able to travel through body tissue more effectively, potentially improving the body’s immune response in times of stress.
- Increased Focus
Because percussive massage therapy may improve circulation and decrease stress, your brain is more likely to maintain an optimal level of oxygen and alertness. Optimal oxygen and alertness typically assist in maintaining an optimal sense of focus.
The good part is that to achieve all this, all you need is a good percussion massager. Now, for better results for some of these benefits, you’ll probably need a therapist or someone with some deep tissue massage therapy knowledge.
However, what you’ll not need is a big expensive massage gun. A nice mini gun like the Ekrin Bantam has all the features to give you a thorough massage.
Same goes for the full-size B37 model, voted by us the best value massage gun of this year.
Increased Blood and Lymphatic Circulation
This is a less-talked about but equally important advantage of massage gun therapy. Many components of health are centered 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 guns are known to improve the blood flow(2,3) within a section of your body. However, a full body massage with these devices may lead to better circulation throughout the body.
Better 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 a licensed medical professional prior to participating in exercise or percussive massage therapy.
Lymphatic stimulation is also very important for maintaining a healthy body and mind. The lymphatic system(7) 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.
They are tucked away deep within the body or sometimes underneath the skin. 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 a 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 miniature massage gun with less power.
We have a separate post dedicated to massage guns for lymphatic drainage – check it out.
Muscle Strength and Mass
Anyone who works out, especially if you are into lifting weights, knows that if you want to increase muscle strength and mass you have to lift heavier, more often.
However, pushing the envelope means you have to endure the aftermath. Usually painful aches within the muscles – we call this Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS, which we will discuss later. Really gives the meaning to the “no pain no gain slogan”.
But since you have your massage gun to take care of yourself after a heavy workout, there is far less reason to worry about the soreness(4,5).
This means you can keep challenging yourself in the gym even more. This will typically result in more strength and bigger muscles.
Obviously there are other important recovery factors such as diet and rest, but having a gym massage gun at your disposal is a huge plus.
For improved muscular recovery, we recommend going for a deep percussive massage gun. We have reviewed some like the Ekrin B37 or the Achedaway Pro.
DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness can be a real pain, and can rage on for up to three days after a heavy workout. Massage gun therapy can greatly reduce this pain and get you going again.
According to a study in 2014(1), 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.
But wait a minute, I thought percussion massagers offer percussive therapy and not vibration therapy? Well, don’t overthink this too much.
Both these therapies use the same mechanism. However, 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.
In the case where 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 more or less the same thing as what happens when you hit your head on a hard object and rub the painful spot with your hand. Maybe not exactly, but you get the point.
Improved Sports Performance
We know about massage guns because athletes just will not shut up about them. In some way these devices wouldn’t have gathered any traction if people weren’t talking about them.
And we’re not talking about just any athletes or sports people, top performers have endorsed these guns – Marcus Rashford (the world-famous soccer player) is a good example.
Because massage guns are great for pain relief and reducing muscle soreness, it’s easy to train better and consequently perform better.
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.
Rehabilitation – Post Injury Care
Massage gun therapy is highly recommended for rehabilitation treatment because it not only hastens recovery, but can also prevent re-injury.
Massage gun use during rehabilitation is supplementary to the standard methods of rehabilitation therapy. This is achieved via improved healing and recuperation of atrophied or damaged muscles caused by trauma or illness.
Because percussion therapy facilitates efficient circulation within those areas (fascial tissues and muscles), flexibility is enhanced and the healing process is hastened.
The following are examples of conditions that are being treated more commonly using massage gun therapy:
- Muscle soreness
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- TMJ syndrome
- Nonspecific low back pack
- Shin Splints
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Related posts worth reading:
- Are massage guns good for sciatica?
- Massage gun for shin splints – will it help?
- Are massage guns good for back pain?
It’s not all painkillers, needles, and rigorous dietary supplementation when it comes to relieving pain. are many less-invasive and comforting ways to alleviate chronic pains.
inding the right massage fun, and perhaps an experienced rehab specialist (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.), may be just what you need to treat your pain.
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 will become more tolerable as the area relaxes.
With time and careful use of your physical therapy massage gun, you may begin to notice improved tissue relaxation and muscle or joint function.
Nervous System Stimulation
Nerve function is crucial 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 of percussive therapy is simulating production or release of the feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. Optimal levels of these chemicals(5) means sharper focus and a generally elevated mood.
The conclusion here is that percussion therapy may help you to chill out in the evening after a long day, feel better the next day morning, and overall improve your mental well-being over time. The key to success is to use it regularly, as a part of your daily routine.
Facilitates Lactic Acid Release
Literally every athlete or gym enthusiast will tell you how frustrating it can be when you are working out and suddenly you feel tuckered, nauseated, and cramped.
This 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 burn it up.
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 later on.
Breaks Up Scar Tissue
There are accounts, though not backed up by scientific research, that massage gun therapy can be very effective in reducing scar tissue. More importantly, however, percussive therapy has been reported to ease the pain around these tissues.
As a result, massage gun therapy is not only recommended for sports injuries but for post-surgery scar tissue treatment as well.
Deep tissue 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 hastens tissue repair.
Improved tissue health will support more regular exercise, which will typically leads 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.
We recently wrote an in-depth post about massage guns for arthritis. We had a person with rheumatoid arthritis as a consultant, a woman in her early 40s. She has been into percussive therapy for more than a year (daily routine) and saw a noticeable improvement in muscle tension around joints, and the range of motion.
Massage guns can be used before a workout to 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.
Practical Percussion Therapy Benefits
Apart from the health benefits of massage gun therapy, there are practical reasons why you may want to own one of these devices.
Some of them are:
- They are a mirror of a really good massage therapist. We have recommended getting a massage by a professional, but if you know what you are doing, a massage gun is a cheaper therapist or chiropractor. You can use one anytime you need to without having to worry about paying for it any time you have a massage.
- You can use a massage gun at home for self-care. Sometimes leaving home for a massage can be a hassle especially when you are not feeling like it or are simply tired. Just rev on your massage gun and get to work on your muscles.
- You can use them on your family or loved one. Again this just emphasizes how cheap having a massage gun can be. If visiting a SPA is expensive for you, taking your entire family there is even more expensive.
- Have a massage on the go. You can carry a massage gun with you anywhere. Sure others are heavy and bulky, but 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.
Are There Any Cons of Massage Guns?
OK, so we just discussed some key massage gun benefits, but what about the cons?
Yes, there are downsides to massage guns. However, these can be easily remedied and you can get back to enjoying these famous tools.
Here are some cons of massage guns you should be aware of:
- The risk of incorrect use.
You’ll notice that we have insisted on knowing 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. Luckily we have a post on how to use a massage gun properly and effectively. Also, don’t forget to read the instructional manual on how to use the device.
- The risk of aggravating injury or other chronic conditions.
Apart from the injuries we have listed above, 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.
- Massage guns can be heavy and bulky.
This is true, some massage guns can be rather bulky and make using them a tough task. However, there are some that are compact and light. You also have the option of mini massage guns should the full-sized ones prove too heavy for you.
- High initial price point.
This was a problem when these devices had just hit the market. We can confirm that with many devices now flooding the market, the prices have gone down quite significantly.
There are other guns that are a bit pricey still like Theragun Pro. The thing about Theragun though, is that they’re a top gun offering premium quality to the user. But there are alternatives that can be just as effective (and often as good quality) at a much lower price.
In fact, the device that we voted the best massage gun 2023 is actually half the price of Theragun Pro.
Related Itchy after massage Gun? Here’s why and what you can do.
Is Percussion Therapy Safe?
Having gone through all the rap about how beneficial massage gun therapy is, can we recommend it? Absolutely!
Percussion therapy is one of the top methods for muscle recovery. However, we recommend that you use the gun properly for better results. It’s also wise to consult an expert if you have doubts about your own ability to use these devices.
However, too much of a good thing can be dangerous, and you’ll do well to 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 a few minute at most
General Precautions / Things to Keep in Mind
- Massage guns can cause pain. 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:
- An inflammatory disorder
- Warfarin and heparin prescription
- Muscle strain, varicose veins, ligament sprain, high blood pressure, and conditions affecting blood vessels like thrombosis.
Why You Should Get the Right Massage Gun
We may spend ages debating massage gun benefits and how you should take care when using them. However, it goes without saying that different people have different needs. That’s why getting the right gun makes a huge difference, not just in addressing your pain points, but also avoiding injury in the process.
There are a few things that you should know when you go out to buy a massage gun. We have discussed them in most of our guides but these are important:
- 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. This usually combines with the;
- 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. The Achedaway Pro has a stall force of 80lbs. and a 15mm amplitude. These are top features for a massage gun. On the other hand, if you are looking for something for relaxation or to just get the blood flowing, then you probably just need a mini massage gun. The Ekrin Bantam will be perfect. Smaller guns have low stall force and shorter amplitudes compared to their larger counterparts.
There are other things to look out for such as the percussion range, the number of speed levels, the number of attachments and others that we have discussed in length in our guides.
Massage Gun Benefits – The Bottom Line
As you can see, the number of massage gun benefits vastly outnumber concerns or disadvantages. For us, however, and I’m sure also for most users as well, one of the greatest benefits of percussion massagers is that you get to perform deep tissue therapy on yourself.
Sometimes you just don’t have the time to visit a masseuse or chiropractor, but need relief immediately. In that case, individualized therapy is your friend. 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.
We all get stressed from daily life activities. However, failure to manage this stress properly could hurt your health over time. A massage gun could be a hack to successfully managing stress within the shortest possible time and in the most convenient way while getting the many other benefits attached to it.
- To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Shagufta Imtiyaz, Zubia Veqar, and M.Y. Shareef
- Effect of Whole Body Vibration on Skin Blood Flow and Nitric Oxide Production
Paula K. Johnson, MS, J. Brent Feland, PT, PhD, A. Wayne Johnson, PT, PhD, Gary W. Mack, PhD, and Ulrike H. Mitchell, PT, PhD
- Effects of whole-body vibration on blood flow and neuromuscular activity in spinal cord injury
A J Herrero , H Menéndez, L Gil, J Martín, T Martín, D García-López, A Gil-Agudo, P J Marín
- The effects of whole body vibration therapy on bone mineral density and leg muscle strength in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Ricky W K Lau, Lin-Rong Liao, Felix Yu, Tilda Teo, Raymond C K Chung, Marco Y C Pang
- Vibration therapy: clinical applications in bone
William R Thompson, Sherwin S Yen, Janet Rubin
- Short-term effects of vibration therapy on motor impairments in Parkinson’s disease
Lauren K King, Quincy J Almeida, Heidi Ahonen
- Lymphatic System Flows
James E. Moore, Jr. and Christopher D. Bertram
NOTE: We only use high-quality sources and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to support the facts within our articles.
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