THere’s one reason you see massage guns all over social media and beyond: They can be a really effective tool after a workout. Post-exercise muscle soreness is often inevitable, but having a good recovery routine (yes, a recovery routine is essential) can reduce your soreness, reduce the risk of injury, and improve your overall performance. Make sure you are eating the right foods that will keep you energized and supported rest, stretching, and a good night’s sleep to improve your overall mood and ensure that you can do all the workouts and exercise modalities that your heart can get desired. And if you’re feeling particularly sore and your foam roller just won’t cut it, massage guns can help tremendously.
What do massage guns do?
Massage guns can relieve tension and pain by combining massage and vibration therapy – but there isn’t much research on massage guns and their effectiveness. “While the scientific evidence is poor and there aren’t many studies currently investigating the effectiveness of massage guns, the idea is that percussive massage treatment with the massage guns likely combines the elements of traditional massage and vibration therapy,” says Leada Malek. PT, a board certified sports specialist based in San Francisco.
Massages can reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility, and increase blood flow, all of which help reduce and eliminate muscle soreness, she adds.
Vibration therapy has been found to improve kinesthetic awareness, says Dr. Malek, in addition to improving muscle performance and recovery, which can help limit delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Massage guns can also help reduce lactic acid build-up, which can also contribute to DOMS, says David Jou, PT, DPT, co-founder of Motivny in New York City. “With guns, the idea is that treating the muscle this way will result in faster recovery from injuries, workouts, and better overall performance,” says Dr. Malek.
Best massage guns
Theragun Elite – $ 399.00
This is Dr. Malek’s favorite massage gun “because of its adjustable head and multi-grip handle that you can use at different angles”. This massage gun is powerful but extremely quiet so you can use it while watching your favorite shows.
Hyperice Hypervolt – $ 249.00
Both Dr. Jou and Dr. Malek say this massage gun is one of their favorites. Dr. Jou especially likes it because it is easy to use, offers adjustable settings and is also quiet.
Theragun Mini – $ 199.00
If you’re always on the go, be sure to check out the Theragun Mini as it can be tossed in almost any pocket without weighing you down, which is one reason Dr. Malek likes this massage gun. “The Theragun Mini is an excellent travel option and fits in a backpack. It’s great if you’re hiking, camping, or going to a game and want to have a quick session on the go, ”she says.
Hyperice Hypervolt Go – $ 199.00
If you love the standard Hyperice Hypervolt but want something small that you can pack up without taking up too much space, try the Hyperice Hypervolt Go. It has three different speeds and two head attachments.
Best massage guns on Amazon
Fitpulse muscle massage gun – $ 80.00
The Fitpulse Muscle Massage Gun is one of the most popular on Amazon with over 6,000 reviews. It comes with 17 head attachments to reach every muscle in your body from your neck to your feet, as well as a pocket for storage / to make travel easier. This massage gun also has 30 different speed levels – for relaxation or to feel like having a deep sports massage.
Promising review: “I bought this massager after my friend used his on me and immediately decided I needed one. I have several injuries and a lot of tightness. I love all the different heads that come with it for use on different parts of the body. For the back and lower shoulder areas, you will need help reaching them. It seems to make a difference that you can feel all day. When I wake up with a headache, I can use it on my neck and upper shoulder to relax the muscles enough to go back to sleep, which is a complete relief. ”- Christina & Chris
Y8 Pro Max Deep Tissue Percussion Massage Gun – $ 100.00
This is another popular deep tissue massage gun on Amazon that is designed to be used all over the body to help relax and loosen up your muscles.
Promising review: “My back and neck pain have been a problem for years. It always bothers me and restricts me[s] my movements. I used to take pain medication regularly when I had severe muscle pain. At 56 years old and still working, I really need a permanent solution to my problem. Now that I have decided to try this massager, I will definitely say that it really works wonders[s] on my body. It is really effective. I no longer have to take my pain medication. It is a good decision that I made the decision to invest in this massager [I’m pain-free now]. Plus, this little machine is well made; Very high quality. With a high battery capacity of 4800 mAh, it allows you more hours of use before charging. The motor is brushless; therefore it is calm and long-lasting ”- Frederick
Theragun Pro – $ 599.00
If you take your recreational game seriously and your muscles are working optimally, the Theragun Pro is for you. This version of the Theragun offers professional muscle treatment (if you can’t get to your favorite masseuse, you’re in luck!) And offers an ergonomic handle as well as an adjustable speed range. If you are new to massage guns, it connects to the Therabody app, which, in addition to custom wellness routines, provides several specific routines for body parts and activities.
Promising review: “I’ve been a fan of Theragun for a while. I’ve had the G3Pro since it came out and WOW was I impressed with this new one !! Super quiet with a really slim screen. I’ve always been a fan of swapping out the attachments so nothing new. I would definitely recommend this PRO to anyone who exercises regularly or sits behind a computer all day! ”- Sarah G
Best massage guns under $ 100
Kelice’s Deep Tissue Massage Gun – $ 40.00
Do you want to feel like you’ve just got a massage from a professional whenever you need it? Try the Kelices Deep Tissue Massage Gun. It comes with 10 heads to target different muscle groups all over your body, a carrying case and 30 different speed levels to suit your needs on all occasions.
Cryotex massage gun – $ 70.00
If you’re looking for deep muscle relaxation, you can’t go wrong with this Cryotex massage gun. It’s light (two pounds to be precise), comes with six different massage heads, is quiet, and comes with a carrying case too.
Chola’s massage gun – $ 50.00
Get everything you could want in a massage gun at an affordable price with this listing from Cholas. It has 10 heads, is extremely quiet, has 30 different speeds and has a battery life of six hours before it needs to be charged.
How to use a massage gun
There are no official rules for using a massage gun (be sure to check the instruction manual!), But it can be most beneficial to use it immediately after training. “To relieve exercise-related pain, it is ideal to use the massage gun immediately after your workout to increase blood flow, which helps flush lactic acid and toxins from your muscles,” says Dr. Jou.
In addition to using the massage gun immediately after training, Dr. Jou, use them the next day too, to make sure your muscles stay loose and flexible.
As for time, Dr. Malek using the massage gun on different muscle groups for 15 seconds to two minutes is usually effective. “You can easily stroke the muscle or apply pressure with the gun,” she says. Some massage guns even have monitors that connect to apps and let you know how much pressure you are applying and how long you have been working on an area, which can be a helpful tool.
Regardless of how you plan to use your massage gun, Dr. Jou and Dr. Malek to stay on the muscle instead of going over bones and attachment points as this can cause discomfort.
One of the best things about massage guns is that you can use them virtually anywhere on the body that there is a decent amount of muscle mass. That means it can be used to relieve neck pain, lower back pain, and sore muscles after running. Afterwards, many feel like they have just received a deep tissue massage.
Dr. Malek recommends finding an area that feels tight, focusing on the belly of the muscle (the middle), and gently stroking most of the muscle. You can stay there for at least 15 seconds to two seconds and increase the pressure if you can handle it, but with a massage gun it shouldn’t be painful.
What to look for in a massage gun
Before you invest in a massage gun, Dr. Malek for thinking about your level of activity and what you will be using the massage gun for. She also recommends buying a massage gun that has good reviews and is of high quality – she says the higher frequency guns are more robust – so they won’t break after a few uses.
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