Whether you are an athlete looking for ways to help recover from a workout, or you are experiencing newly discovered back pain due to a non-ergonomic work-at-home setting, it may be time to invest in a targeted deep tissue massager-otherwise It is well known as a massage gun.
The massage gun can be used in the comfort of your home to help you recover muscles after a particularly hard workout or a long day under your feet. “The function of the massage gun is to combine shock and exercise, called vibration therapy, to help relax tight and sore muscles, similar to massage, and to stimulate blood flow to help recovery,” explains John Garucci Jr. , DPT, CEO of JAG-ONE Physiotherapy and Medical Coordinator of Major League Soccer.
In order to help you choose the massage gun that suits your needs, we discussed with experts the working principle of the device and collected some of their favorite massagers on the market.
Learn more about Best massage gun | Features to consider | Pros and cons | How to use the massage gun
What is a massage gun?
Gallucci explained that the massage gun, technically more known as a percussion massager, is a hand-held tool that softens muscles by providing rapid micro-pressure bursts in concentrated pulses. These tools are often referred to as muscle-building “mini jackhammers” and are suitable for use when you feel sore or tight. “The percussion therapy provided by the massage gun will help relax or relax tight muscles or trigger points (allergic points located in tight muscles) and increase blood flow to the affected area,” Gallucci explained .
Other names for this treatment include Deep tissue massage or Self massage It can be performed on areas with a lot of muscles in the body, such as the neck, back, shoulders, and legs, to help relieve or prevent muscle soreness. “Massage guns can cause local irritation, pushing blood flow and related nutrients to these areas,” explains Rahul Shah, a spine and neck plastic surgeon. “These are also areas where muscles may produce lactic acid [which causes a burning sensation] And other by-products that increase muscle fatigue. By stimulating blood flow to these areas, these toxins can also be effectively neutralized. “
Acupuncturist, physiotherapist and triathlete Bianca Beldini (Bianca Beldini) explained that the high-speed vibration of the massage gun can also stimulate nerve fibers, thereby inhibiting local pain responses. “Oscillating pressure vibration can release tension in muscle fibers, increase the circulation of blood and lymph to soft tissues, cause muscles to relax and reduce pain,” she said.
However, it is not recommended for everyone to use a massage gun. Alan Conrad explained that he is a certified strength and conditioning expert and the owner of the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center. “Anyone suffering from high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, swelling, varicose veins or any autoimmune or muscle disease should consult their doctor before using a massage gun,” he said.
Best massage gun shopping
The following are the best massage guns of various brands and prices recommended by the experts we interviewed.
Best overall massage gun: Hyperice
According to Sean Lynch, a certified personal trainer, Orangetheory instructor, and studio owner, Hyperice’s Hypervolt model provides the best all-round value, with three speeds up to 3,200 beats per minute (PPM), five head attachments and A rechargeable lithium-ion battery can hold up to two hours of juice. Beldini agreed, noting that it was for her personal use. “It has multiple speeds, is easy to operate and relatively quiet,” she said.
The most affordable massage gun: VYBE
For those looking for an affordable option, Gallucci likes this model from VYBE. It weighs 2.5 pounds, is relatively light, and has eight speed settings and nine different accessories. “This machine is very suitable for use on the road, and is equipped with two rechargeable batteries, so you can always have spare batteries ready,” he pointed out.
The most suitable massage gun for travel: Hyperice
According to Gallucci, the Hypervolt massage gun is known for its fast-charging battery, lowest noise level, power and ease of use. “This Hypervolt product weighs 1.5 pounds and provides a powerful power for travel-friendly options,” he said, noting that it is “almost as powerful as many full-size guns.” Conrad agrees that this is a lightweight option that can be easily carried or packed in a bag while traveling.
Best splurge massage gun: Theragun
According to Gallucci, this massage gun is unique due to its ergonomic handle and adjustable arms. The arm angle can be easily adjusted for customized massage suitable for any body part. “Other special features include six speeds, seven accessories, two batteries for a total of five hours of continuous use, and Bluetooth capabilities,” he said. “This massage gun is an investment, but fitness enthusiasts and athletes feel it is worth the splurge.” Conrad also pointed out that the Pro model is more than 50% quieter than previous generations of Theragun.
The best massage gun for beginners: Wahl
Conrad recommends this option to beginners looking for a budget-friendly option before making a larger investment. It has four connectors, and although it is not battery powered, it has a 9-foot power cord so you can move freely. It also has two speeds and two vibration settings, up to 3,350 PPM. He pointed out that while travel guns like this might not be strong enough for larger areas such as the hamstrings, they are useful for smaller areas such as the calves and forearms.
Best customizable massage gun: Theragun
In general, this is Conrad’s favorite massage gun for three reasons: it is quiet, has an ergonomic handle, and is full of power. “Theragun is a pioneer in this market, and this fourth-generation Theragun lives up to the top products that Theragun is famous for,” Gallucci agreed. “I like this machine best because it is very quiet [and] powerful [and] There are five attachments and five speed settings, allowing me to customize massage treatments. “
Massage gun features to consider
According to the experts we consulted, shoppers may encounter some noteworthy features when viewing different models of massage guns.
- noiseGallucci warns that some devices are very noisy, making them uncomfortable to use near the head or neck. He recommends reading the reviews and looking for complaints about noise levels to help avoid ending up with a massage gun that is too loud.
- strength. Some massage guns provide different speed levels, in units of strokes per minute or PPM. “Higher speed or speed will produce a more superficial numbing effect, and higher power models will penetrate deep into the muscle fibers,” Beldini said.
- weightGallucci added that the massage gun is used with one hand, which makes weight very important. “If the gun is too heavy, your hands or arms may become tired before the massage ends,” he said.
- portabilityIn addition to weight, if you want to put the massage gun in a gym bag or carry it with you when traveling, you also need to consider the size.
- Easy to use. Not only should you consider whether you can maintain and apply pressure by yourself, but also consider how easy it is to quickly cycle at different speeds when targeting different parts of the body.
- Smart applicationSome massage guns support Bluetooth connectivity and use their own applications, so you can control the speed, personalize settings or choose different programs based on the activity or area of interest.
- Head attachment. Buying a massage gun with a series of head attachments will give you the flexibility to handle different parts of your body. For example, a large round head can be used for larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, while a flat head can be used for small and dense muscle groups, such as the scapula.
Popular massage gun brands: Theragun and Hypervolt
When shoppers start to consider investing in massage guns, they may notice that two brands dominate: Theragun and Hypervolt. “These are the two’best-selling’ devices, so I got a lot of feedback from other athletes that I think are reliable sources,” Lynch said.
“Theragun is known for its beautiful design features, ergonomics and ease of use in different intensity settings,” he explained. However, according to Lynch’s experience, their guns are loud and they are some of the expensive models on the market.
At the same time, Hypervolt “has many of the same features as Theragun, although it is much quieter,” he said. Although the massage gun is “not as’sexy’ aesthetically”, he said that it will not affect its quality in the end, which is why he said it has the best all-round value.
Massage gun: advantages and disadvantages
According to Gallucci, when it comes to massage guns, there are many aspects that need to be considered, and there are pros and cons.
After arduous exercise, even some heavy housework or yard work, Gallucci said muscle soreness is very common-a massage gun can help. “In order to soothe those sore muscles, many people turn to massage, and the massage gun is a convenient and portable way to take your massage anywhere,” he said. Using a massage gun can not only relieve pain, but also help remove waste from damaged tissues and decompose scar tissue, thereby speeding up recovery time.
According to Gallucci, unlike other massage tools such as foam rollers, massage guns also provide enough pressure to really work. He said: “Some people are not exerting enough physical strength, while others are afraid that they may feel pain in the affected area.” “Massage guns are battery-powered mechanically, so they will not hinder and always provide the same level. Strength and ensure pressure.”
The massage gun needs to be used correctly. Those who are inexperienced or have not done enough research on how to properly operate a massage gun may end up hurting themselves. “You may end up massaging an area that is experiencing involved pain, rather than really targeting the area that needs help to recover, and it does more harm than good,” Gallucci said.
Massage guns used to treat injuries such as strains, sprains, fractures, and even extreme swelling can also make the injuries more serious. “They will further damage the injured tissue and even increase the swelling rate,” he said. “Before using a massage gun, you should consult your doctor if you have a chronic disease and see if it is suitable for you.”
As a physical therapist, Gallucci often works with patients who don’t think they need to consult a doctor before using a massage gun. However, if you do not talk to your doctor beforehand, it may cause further harm. “My advice is to do research and understand the purpose of the machine and how to use it correctly, so as not to end up hurting yourself,” he said.
Once you consult a doctor and complete the study, Gallucci recommends that you keep the following tips in mind:
- try Relax your body completely Before using the massage gun. “When you go to a masseur to receive a massage, they will perform the massage in a relaxing environment, and there is a reason,” he said. “When the muscles relax, your body will see better results from the massage.”
- Use one Slow and steady rhythm. Especially when using the product for the first time, it will treat the target muscles more effectively.
- Don’t just target the painful area. Also exercise the muscles around this area. “When another muscle is under pressure, the body will compensate by asking the surrounding muscles to take action,” he explained. “Treatment of the entire affected area can promote the healing process.”
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