Massaging can benefit you whether you are an athlete, a bodybuilder, or just prone to sore muscles. It offers a great way to release tight muscles.
Studies have shown that massage might aid weight loss. While a massage will not directly decrease your belly fat or reduce your cellulite, it can work wonders for people seeking to lose weight in some ways. Most times, weight loss is a necessary step for bodybuilding as there is a need to eliminate excess fat, and then, replace it with lean muscles. Here are ways a massage can help bodybuilding:
- It makes it easier to exercise
- It enhances blood circulation to all parts of the body
- It makes it easier for a person to stick to a diet
- It makes for better sleep
- It reduces stress which has been associated with weight gain
- It makes for an improved range of motion
- It reduces muscle soreness
Bethany O’Shei, a licensed massage therapist in Clay Health Club + Spa, New York City, said massage helps stimulate the release of endorphins which gives us the feeling of euphoria. And by giving our bodies such a treat, we are rewarding our bodies for the hard work they are doing.
People can also benefit from the healing power of massage since touch itself is therapeutic.
What are percussion massage guns?
Lots of people visit a spa for massage sessions. However, the spa is not the only way to get a massage. You can get a thorough body massage right from the confines of your home!
With percussion massage guns, also called percussion massagers, vibration therapy, or percussive guns, you can relieve muscle tensions by yourself at home without having to visit a spa or schedule appointments with a masseur.
A percussion massage gun is a handheld device that uses the force of percussion to work the body’s soft tissues. It applies concentrated pressure deep into the body muscles.
There are series of studies on the impact of massage therapy on humans, and such scientific studies have backed the usefulness of massage guns.
There are different types of percussion massage guns. They vary based on factors like power, sound, value, portability, versatility, battery life, ease of use, etc. These massage guns typically look like power drills and come with different attachments and settings for delivering a thorough massage. They are designed to be used by everyone but are more popular among bodybuilders and athletes.
How to use a massage gun
One of the perks of using a percussion massage gun is its ease of usage. You just have to point at the target muscle (or group of muscles), press the tool on the area, and allow it to do its work.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before using your massage gun to get the most out of it:
- To get started, you have to turn it on and allow the head to begin pulsing
- Float it alongside the muscle you want to loosen
- You don’t need to press too hard as the pulses will do their job
- Focus on one spot for about 15 seconds
- Linger on a trigger point (e.g., a knotty, tight muscle area that is more sensitive and painful than other muscle areas)
- Move the massage gun slowly along your muscle, do not rush; just enjoy the massage
- Do not use a massage gun on bony areas, on open wounds or bruises, or if you have severe unexplained pain
- Do not exceed the recommended usage time as instructed by the product’s manufacturer
Note that all massage guns typically come with different attachment tip shapes. The most common are the large ball, the bullet, the flathead, and the fork shape.
The large ball shape is the most versatile and is designed to massage both large and medium group muscles. The bullet-shaped tip is best for massaging specific trigger points or knots. The flat-shaped tip is multipurpose and provides a more dense massage while the fork-shaped tip is great for targeting certain areas like the spine and lower back.
When to use a massage gun
People use massage guns, particularly when they want to relieve muscle tension. However, they are most commonly used before and after workouts.
Before workouts, they can be used to “wake up” muscles (more like warming up the muscles). First, they increase blood flow to the muscles. It further stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, activating the fight-or-flight response system, which prepares the body for physical activity.
They can be used while working out to loosen tight and tense areas so you can get more out of the next workout set.
They can also be used after workouts to promote recovery. It can help relax your nervous system and put your body in a state of rest, making recovery faster.
Aside from workout sessions, massage guns can be used at any time, provided you are tensed and want to relax and loosen your tight muscles.
How do massage guns benefit people?
Massage guns are optimal tools for treating sore muscles and will benefit many people, from professional athletes to recreational gym-goers and people with chronic painful health conditions.
Massage guns have similar effects as massage therapy and foam rollers; however, these devices go about massaging differently. While foam rollers use myofascial release to reduce muscle tension, massage guns use percussion force to apply pressure to muscles.
One advantage of this is that they do a better job targeting specific body areas than foam rollers. For instance, pressure from massaging guns can reach the deep pectoral muscles and other hard-to-reach muscles like the psoas and biceps.
Here are the top benefits of massage guns:
- They activate the muscles and the nervous system
- They relieve muscle spasms and stiffness
- They improve sports performance and recovery
- They prevent injury and enhance range of motion
- They improve blood circulation and boost metabolism
- They provide healing from pain
- They aid the release of lactic acid and other toxins that must have accumulated during intense exercise
- They are used for injury rehabilitation processes
- They make for improved sleep and immunity
- They are affordable, portable, and easy to use
What qualities make some massage guns better than others?
There are lots of massage gun products out there. They all have unique qualities and features that differentiate them from another. This could make it difficult for a potential buyer to choose the best for purchase. There are some features you might want to consider before buying your massage gun.
Below are some qualities that can make a massage gun stand out from other products in the market.
- Power and speed
This refers to the amplitude of the massage gun or the depth at which its head moves as well as how fast it oscillates. The power and speed of a massage gun will determine the general comfort level of the massage.
Some people like their body massage to be gentle and soft, while some prefer hitting on the muscles. Buying a massage gun that has more variable speeds will be best as it will enable you to select the ideal speed that works for you. Also, the amplitude will determine how deep the message travels.
Massage guns come in different sizes and designs. Some have a more modern and sleek look, while others have more of a utilitarian look. Some have handles fixed to them, while others are held by the body or battery.
It is best to choose the one whose design suits your needs. Remember that even small details like the placement of the power buttons and handles can matter. For instance, if you want to massage your lower back, will a massage gun with no handle or short handle work for you?
Since the idea of having a massage gun is so that you can use it wherever you want and at any time, it would be best to look out for portability. Portable massage guns are easier to carry around and easier to use.
Most massage guns weigh between 2-2.5 pounds. If it gets heavier than that, it could be a burden to carry around.
- Battery life
Most percussion massage guns have an average battery life of about 2 to 3 hours when used at full speed, and most come with Lithium-ion batteries.
However, there are some with batteries that last for only one hour. If you don’t want to be constantly worried about your massaging gun battery life, you should check this feature when making your purchase. You might want to check out ReAthlete DEEP4s with a battery life of up to 8 hours when used on low speed and 4 hours when used on high speed.
When making your purchases, remember that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. Hence, before making a purchase, look at the product’s warranty. Check for the reputation of the company, reviews, and warranty offer.
What are the best massage guns on the market?
With the above massage gun features in mind, below are some of the best options in the market.
This is dubbed the best massage gun for runners. It is of two versions- the standard Hypervolt and the Hypervolt Plus. The Plus version is more high-powered and drills into the muscles with up to 30% more intensity than the former. The device is designed to be grabbed easily. It also has a battery life of up to 2 hours.
This percussion massage gun has a decibel rating of between 30 to 50, making it one of the quietest massage guns available in the market. It comes with six attachment heads that are swappable. It comes with a handle and a conveniently placed power button. Its battery lasts for up to six hours!
This is a pro-grade massaging tool for people who are intentional about massaging specific muscle groups. It delivers up to 60 pounds of force and with up to 85 percent 5-star ratings on Amazon, it is undoubtedly one of the best massage guns in the market.
This brand has up to 80 percent 5-star ratings on Amazon. It is touted to be the best massager for lower back pain. It has six head attachments and 12-speed levels. In addition to these features, it has three massage modes and a heat setting which makes it perfect for loosening stiff or sore back muscles.
Just like its name depicts, the force of percussion from this massage gun penetrates deep into the muscle tissues. It has variable speeds with different head attachments. It is fairly heavy but easy to use.
Massage guns are recommended for use not only for athletes but also for anyone that suffers from sore muscles or chronic pain. However, it is best not to go too hard on yourself to avoid aggravating pain, soreness or injury. Also, if you are pregnant or have health conditions, like deep vein thrombosis or nerve sensitivity, it will be best to consult your doctor before using a percussion massage gun.