What exactly are massage guns?
Massage guns have gained a lot of popularity in recent years since they came out in 2016. It is very common that you would go into a sports field and see athletes warming up or cooling down with a massage gun.
Massage guns provide a form of percussion treatment. It vibrates in various speeds and strength to a local point so it can receive a massage effect. Massage guns come with different attachments and depending on the area, you may use sharper or more localised attachments.
Athletes often use massage guns during warm up and cool down. During warm up, the athletes’ aim is to prepare the muscles for activities performance by improving strenght and range of motion (ROM). In contrast, during cool down the aim is to reduce/ prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMs).
What does the evidence suggest?
A randomised control trial that was done in 2020 had 16 male athletes divided into two groups. The aim is to find out whether a massage gun will improve maximum voluntary contraction (strength), ROM and reduce/ prevent DOMs.
The intervention group includes percussion therapy for 5min on the calf muscles post exercise. The control group involves 6 min of sitting post exercise.
The result found that the percussion therapy group has increased ROM and reduced DOMs compared to the controlled group. However, they did not find a significant difference in strength in between both groups.
So… Is a massage gun worth my money?
The study above has a small sample size. Therefore the result may not apply to every single person who owns a massage gun. However, it is a good indication that massage guns do work to prevent DOMs and improve ROM post exercise.
If you have the money to spare and if you are too busy to stretch or foam roll after a workout, then a hand held massage therapy device is great for your needs and convenience. However, you can achieve the similar result by foam rolling, stretching or by wearing compression garment which does not cost nearly as much. At the end of the day, massage guns are effective to release muscle tightness. Whether it is worth it, it is up to you and what suits your lifestyle the best.
This information can be used to gain a better understanding of percussion therapy. To find out more about how we can help, or to book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.