How to Use Percussive Therapy Devices to Ease Sore Muscles
Do you wish that you could ease muscle soreness following a challenging workout quickly and effectively? Massage guns mimic the striking maneuvers that massage therapists use to break up knots within muscle tissue. Percussive therapy guns are easy to use and ease your sore muscles, so that you can get back to your workouts.
“My best advice is to start trying to use one,” says Openfit Master Trainer Carlos Teasdale. “Once you do, I promise it will become a staple in your home and workout routine.”
Read on to learn more about percussive therapy devices and which ones are the best on the market.
What is Percussive Therapy?
Massage guns offer percussive therapy, otherwise known as vibrational therapy. Vibrational therapy provides rapid bursts of energy into the muscles with a massage gun that oscillates up and down.
“As an athletic trainer, I find vibration to help improve awareness and activation of the muscles you’re using it on,” says Teasdale. “I also find massage guns to have some analgesic effects. So using the massage gun is great for people who have pain.”
Teasdale mentions that percussive therapy lessens pain by increasing blood flow to the sore areas of the body, which can help:
- Reduce inflammation
- Alleviate muscle tension
- Break up adhesions in soft tissue
Percussive massage also acts as a light stretch for sore muscles, which improves recovery time. You can even use percussive therapy to warm up muscles before a workout, Teasdale adds. (But don’t use it as your only warm-up.)
Are Percussive Therapy Massage Guns Safe?
Absolutely! But Teasdale does recommend using them on soft tissue only.
“You should avoid bones as a rule of thumb, so never putting pressure on anywhere that is mainly bone,” Teasdale says.
If you are just starting out using a percussive therapy gun, go slower, then increase power. Similar to any myofascial massage (such as cupping or foam rolling), you need to ease into it to build a tolerance. If you focus on one area for too long before you are used to the device’s dynamic, it may cause bruising, so move your massage gun gently around tight muscles.
Avoid sensitive areas with your massage gun like the face and head. During pregnancy, always avoid the stomach area. Teasdale also cautions to avoid any swollen areas and focus on the tissue above or below the swelling instead.
If you have a pre-existing condition, Teasdale suggests consulting your physician or physical therapist before using a percussive therapy massage gun.
Should I Use a Massage Gun?
Massage guns are popular because they are a streamlined solution to break up pesky knots in your body. However, you can get the most out of your massage gun by using it in conjunction with other recovery techniques.
“Combining modalities is always a great way to improve your recovery,” explains Teasdale. “Try foam rolling, stretching, and then massage-gun the areas you can’t get with the foam roller. Then stretch some more.”
Recent studies show that massage guns decrease muscle soreness recovery times for athletes. They are also safe to use for rehabilitation patients who suffer from trauma, surgery, or disease because they help strengthen the weakened muscles.
What Are the Top Massage Guns on the Market?
There are many different massage therapy guns on the market, so which one should you buy? We recommend shopping for a massage gun with different intensity ranges that comes with different attachments for specific areas of the body.
“These massage guns and percussive tools are becoming the rage right now and for a good reason: They actually work,” says Teasdale. “The more you play with them and work out, the more you will find how they work for you!”
Krafton launched its new gun that is one of the quietest on the market. Its battery also lasts for over three hours, which gives you enough time to get multiple uses.
Where to buy: Kraftgun
The MIIKO is the lightest-weight massage gun, perfect for athletes on the go. It also comes with three different attachments for the troublesome areas.
Where to buy: Winnergear
Theragun is a trusted product that melts away muscle soreness and is safe for you to use every day.
Where to buy: Amazon
4. Hypervolt Plus
The Hypervolt is as powerful as the Theragun but quieter and cheaper. Lightweight and Bluetooth-enabled, it comes with five attachments.
Where to buy: Amazon