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What are massage guns and why you need one
What if we told you that you could enjoy a professional-level massage every single day of your life… for forever.
Would you think we’re insane? We forgive you.
Meet the massage gun. The hottest piece of equipment out there. It’s a portable massage that you can enjoy whenever and wherever you want. During a workout, in between laps at the pool, after dinner at home, or even in the office after a super long presentation about corporate something.
If you’ve ever had tight and sore sore muscles, you’re reading the right post. Keep reading to see why you need to click buy on the best massage gun from ShapeNation now.
What is a massage gun?
A massage gun may look like a gun, but it’s more of a jackhammer than a pistol.
Massage guns are also called percussion massagers because they use rapid, short bursts of pressure to loosen tight and sore muscles and give a deep tissue massage. A lot like a jackhammer… where your aching muscles are the concrete.
Just like foam rolling and other types of SMR (self-myofascial release) tools, the percussion therapy that comes from a massage gun will help relax tight muscles, increase flexibility and flush out toxins.
What is percussion therapy for?
Percussion therapy is the name for the deep tissue massage that comes from using a massage gun. Think of it as a self-massage – no massage therapist or spa appointment needed.
Percussive therapy is best suited for large muscle groups like your neck, back, shoulders and legs.
Is percussive therapy good for you?
We’ll get into the benefits of percussive therapy and massage guns later, but to answer this question: Yes, percussive therapy is good for you.
From weekend warriors to professional athletes, the pulses that come from a massage gun help relieve the tension in muscle fibers and improve circulation.
What does that mean? Your muscles will relax and won’t hurt as much.
Percussive therapy with a massage gun offers several benefits:
- Deep muscle tissue stimulation
- Relief of sore muscles
- Relaxation of tight, stiff muscles
- Increased mobility
- Faster muscle recovery
Is vibration therapy the same as percussion therapy?
- Vibration therapy uses vibration (hence the name)
- Percussion therapy uses hammering motions (like playing percussion (drums))
Both vibration and percussive therapy ultimately achieve the same goal. They reduce the body’s perception of pain by stopping the pain signals the brain is sending. Plus, they relieve muscle tension, making post workout recovery your new favorite pasttime.
What can a massage gun be used for? Here are the top 5 benefits
Most people use a massage gun to recover after training, but it can also help loosen and warm up muscles before training. The best part about a massage gun is that you can give yourself the massage.
The massage gun is especially useful if you’re recovering from an injury that needs massaging more often. The cost of purchasing the best one is worth it compared to what you’ll save from an hour of professional massage therapy.
1. Massage guns can reduce and prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
DOMS can last up to 72 hours after a tough workout or anytime you stress your muscles past their limit. With a massage gun, you can give yourself quick relief and cut down your recovery time.
2. Massage guns help improve flexibility and range of motion
Just like foam rolling and other forms of SMR, percussive therapy with a massage gun helps separate the muscle from the tissue surrounding it, releasing any muscle knots and tension. This, with dynamic and static stretching, can increase your flexibility and lead to a greater range of motion. What happens when your range of motion improves? You’re less prone to injury and your posture and balance improve.
3. Massage guns help increase blood circulation
Lactic acid. It’s no friend of ours. Or yours. Overtraining causes lactic acid buildup (the pain you feel in your muscles). Increasing blood circulation is the best way to remove lactic acid from muscle tissue. Percussive therapy is an easy way to get your blood flowing, and you can do it by yourself.
4. Massage guns give you quick relief from muscle soreness
While an improved range of motion and flexibility sound great, they still take time. The number one reason to use a massage pistol is that you’ll get instant relief from muscle soreness. It might not be 100% – but you’ll notice a difference right away. And that difference can be what lets you walk out of the gym… instead of crawling in agony.
5. Massage guns can help the rehabilitation process
Percussion massage guns can encourage muscle recovery by increasing blood flow and removing muscle knots and pain.
Note: Before you start hammering away on an injured leg, please check with your doctor or physical therapist.
7 things to look for when buying a massage gun
Are expensive massage guns better? While you do 'get what you pay for' when it comes to massage guns, there are other factors more important than price.
- Massage head attachments. The different massage heads that come with the massage gun. The best choices can massage as deep as 12 mm.
- Power. How long the massage gun holds its charge.
- Battery life. How long does the battery last in the massage gun? Some last 4-6 hours and even have a power-saving feature that switches off after 10 minutes of not being used.
- Speed settings. Are you looking for a gentle rub or a deep tissue massager? The best massage guns come with up to 20 different speeds with a variable speed dial.
- Handle. Choose a massage gun with an ergonomic handle. You'd hate to lose control while working on hard-to-reach body parts like your back.
- Sound. The last thing you want is to wake up your neighbors when you start massaging your thighs. Go for something around 35-50 dB so you can use your massage gun at the office, gym or when your partner is sleeping in the next room.
- Lightweight. All of that percussive power doesn’t have to be heavy. The best massage guns are lightweight and portable in your suitcase or gym bag.
10 types of massage heads
Massage guns are affordable, convenient ways to get a professional massage at home. And the best part is… they come with different massage heads to focus on different areas of the body.
Before you ask… Yes, you can use the attachments in any way you want. We won’t call the massage gun police. But we can say that you’ll get the best results if you choose the head attachments that matches the result you’re after.
- Spherical head – For arms, waist, hips, thighs, calves
- Flat head – For large muscle groups like the hips and leg muscles
- Cylindrical head – For joints, palms of your hands, soles of your feet
- U-shaped head (fork-shaped head) – For neck, spine, Achilles tendon
- Bullet head – For joints, deep tissue, trigger points
- Round head – For thick muscle groups
- Palm shape head – For upper back (wings), shoulders
- Rubber gas head – For all parts of the body
- Stainless steel flat head – For a strong massage and deep pain relief
- Stainless steel cylinder head – For a strong massage and muscle pain
Is percussive therapy with a massage gun right for you?
That’s the million-dollar question, right? After seeing the benefits and narrowing down the perfect attachment… is a massage gun something you should buy?
Here’s our answer. Percussive therapy with a massage gun is for anyone with an active lifestyle. The very fact you’re here reading this means it’s probably for you.
- Professional athletes
- Gym lovers, ski buffs, surfers and gymnasts
- People who want to recover quickly
- Anyone with muscle soreness
- Runners with shin splints
- The man or woman with muscle cramps
- Anyone who loves post workout massages
- The guy in accounting who gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- The other guy in accounting with terrible posture
- Anyone wanting better blood circulation and an improved range of motion
For anyone who loves fitness and training as much as we do, you’ll find that a massage gun completely revolutionizes your warm-up routine. It’s an easy way to wake up your muscles and get ready for a killer workout.
What about after training? A deep tissue massager is going to give you the same relief (and keep DOMS from knocking you out) that a masseur or therapist would.
Massage guns aren’t just for the active…
The same principles that make a deep tissue massage gun great for athletes are the same ones that benefit anyone recovering from an injury. Increased flexibility and range of motion, better blood flood, fewer cramps and stiffness – who wouldn't want that?
How to use a deep tissue massage gun – 3 easy steps
Using a massage gun is pretty easy. Turn it on, point, and shoot.
Before you begin, remember that high pressure does not always equal a better massage.
It’s best to start slow on the lowest setting and check your tolerance first, increasing by increments as you find what works for you.
Step 1: Let it float slowly over the muscles
Don’t force the massage head attachment into your muscles. Let it gently glide over the sore area and do the work for you.
Step 2: Move it
Keep the massage gun moving. Staying in one spot can be dangerous in the long run, so our advice is to keep the pressure moving slowly over the area.
Step 3: Breathe and relax
Breathe. It’s easy to tighten other muscles when you’re nervous or focusing on one area. That’s not helping. In fact, it’s just creating possible imbalances in another muscle group. Try to relax as you massage.
It’s a massage, after all. Enjoy it.
How often can you use a massage gun?
In most instances, it’s fine to use a massage gun 2-3 times a day for around 2-3 minutes per muscle group.
If you’re ever in doubt, check with a physical therapist, personal trainer, or doctor with any serious questions.
Is it normal for skin to turn red after percussive therapy?
You will notice that your skin becomes a little pink or red when you use a massage gun. It’s important to keep the head moving and adjust the speed settings to something your body can handle. This will help you avoid bruising. If your skin becomes inflamed or painful, you need to stop reading this and go see a doctor.
In all seriousness, it’s very normal for your skin to become red in the same way it would with a massage from a therapist.
Where can you not use a massage gun?
Can a massage gun harm you? It can if you don’t use it correctly or use common sense.
Do not use a massage gun on your face, throat, neck, or private areas. It’s weird that we even have to write that… but, the world is weird now.
You should also avoid wounds or scabs and any inflammation-related injuries. Bones aren’t particularly pleasant to massage, either. We suggest skipping bones (like your elbows) and sticking to soft muscles.
But that leaves plenty of places you can use the massage gun: legs, back, arms, ankles, chest, butt, feet, and whatever else needs a good percussion massage.
How to keep your massage gun clean
If you’re using your percussion massage gun on a sweaty thigh after a hard run, you’ll need to keep it clean.
Wipe down the head with an antibacterial wipe or use a damp (not wet) towel. Use a dry towel or cloth to remove any moisture.
If you’re using a foam head, let it air dry.
Alternatives to a massage gun
A massage gun isn’t for everyone. That’s not true… they are for everyone (because massage guns work), but not everyone chooses to get one.
If you’re looking for the same muscle relaxation benefits, check out a foam roller or a massage ball.
The best massage guns – Locked and loaded at ShapeNation
We’ve rounded up some of the best percussive massage guns on the market. We’re talking about the best deep soft tissue manipulation to help recover, fight DOMS, improve blood flow, correct posture issues and help you get the most out of your fitness routine.
And the best part? You can use it by yourself.
With a massage gun, you won’t have to sit through an entire Kenny G album while some stranger rubs you down with oil. Whether you’re at the office, the gym or even on your morning commute, you can give yourself the relaxation and relief you deserve. Soothing sax, optional.
While you’re loosening up your muscles, check out our expansive selection of tools and fitness equipment to give them a killer workout. From kettlebells and dumbbells to yoga mats and foam rollers, ShapeNation is your gym partner for life.
Are you looking for more products to take your training to the next level? Our most popular categories are dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise mats, resistance bands, protein powder, workout clothes, headphones, massage guns, foam rollers, and exercise balls. Find all the best exercise equipment on ShapeNation