What’s the big deal about massage guns?
A Health Coach Review
One of the hottest items in the fitness industry right now is the massage gun—and it’s poised to become even more popular in the coming months. These portable massagers go anywhere you do, from the gym to your beach vacation to your living room. There are many different brands, types, and shapes of massage guns on the market, each with their own features and benefits. So, is a massage gun worth your time and money or is it just hype? Let’s get into it.
How did massage guns become popular?
Put simply, they feel great and help your workouts. There are numerous benefits to having a massage after a workout, and these devices make that accessible regardless of how much time you have. These products massage your tired muscles to assist with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and recovery after an intense day at the gym. Just think about your last intense workout—your muscles are burning, your heart rate is elevated, and you are already wondering just how sore you’ll be tomorrow. That’s where the massage gun comes in; it helps you avoid lingering soreness and get back to the gym sooner and more comfortably.
The science behind massage guns
According to a study published in Frontiers in Physiology, massage administered within two hours of exercise reduces the intensity of muscle soreness. The study explains that massaging muscles this soon after strain relieves tension and stiffness and increases range of motion through the joint. Massage therapy is also thought to increase blood and lymphatic flow through the muscles.
A second study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in 2017, concluded that vibration is equally effective in preventing DOMS because vibration therapy improves muscular strength and muscle power development. The study also found that the act of massaging tired muscles can help reduce tension on muscle tendons, which improves muscular flexibility and assists in decreasing muscle stiffness and increasing blood flow.
Massage gun pros and cons
So, yes—we all know massaging tired muscles feels good and helps your body, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we all want to go out and buy a massage gun. Here are the pros and cons I see for this popular gadget.
- It’s portable. You can have a massage wherever you are without having to take the time to head to a salon or spa.
- It’s flexible. You can use it anytime, which fits into your workout schedule, no matter how early or late you hit the gym.
- It’s versatile. It can help with both warmups and cooldowns, a perk you won’t get unless you’re getting two massages a day!
- It’s multifunctional. Many massage guns come with attachments for different types of treatments. They also have variable intensity settings so you can customize your massage each day.
- It’s helpful. It can really help reduce muscle soreness if that’s something that gets in the way of your wellness or happiness.
- The price. It’s hard to say whether this is a pro or con, but it is something to consider. Massage guns can run anywhere from $200 to more than $600. They’re certainly expensive, but they do pay for themselves over time because you’ll spend less time and money at the spa.
- The experience. Let’s be honest: Half the pleasure of a postworkout massage is the experience itself. If you want to close your eyes, listen to relaxing music, and come out smelling like essential oils, then this might not be for you.
- The volume. Some massage gun models are really loud. They may be embarrassing or unwieldy to use in public, depending on the model you get. Keep that in mind when picking your perfect massage gun!
- It’s one more thing. In some regards, it’s just another thing to remember when you hit the gym—especially since most of these products need to be charged first. If you struggle to bring everything with you or forget to charge your Bluetooth headphones before hitting the gym, a massage gun might just be another accessory you forget to pack!
Massage guns are popular for a reason. However, given their price, you should think long and hard before you take the plunge. They can be a great tool for those who find themselves sore after tough workouts, but not everyone is going to get the same amount of use out of them. With that in mind, think about your routine, budget, and level of discomfort from muscle aches and soreness before you take the plunge. Who knows? It could be just what your fitness routine has been missing.
Imtiyaz S, Veqar Z, Shareef M. To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Jan;8(1):133–6. doi: 10.7860/jcdr/2014/7294.3971
Guo J, Li L, Gong Y, et al. Massage Alleviates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front in Physiol. 2017 Sept 27;8:747. eCollection 2017.doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00747