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Giselle Castro-SlobodaFitness and Nutrition Writer
I'm a Fitness & Nutrition writer for CNET who enjoys reviewing the latest fitness gadgets, testing out activewear and sneakers, as well as debunking wellness myths. On my spare time I enjoy cooking new recipes, going for a scenic run, hitting the weight room, or binge-watching many TV shows at once. I am a former personal trainer and still enjoy learning and brushing up on my training knowledge from time to time. I've had my wellness and lifestyle content published in various online publications such as: Women's Health, Shape, Healthline, Popsugar and more.
Massage guns have become a favorite tool among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. Since the percussive therapy trend hit the scene with the Theragun in 2016, many other companies have created their own versions with various price points. It's no surprise that this tool has become popular since percussive therapy has been found to help with recovery, muscle aches and soreness and pain relief amongst other things.
However, massage guns tend to be expensive and you might wonder if it's worth purchasing one. Here's what you need to know about massage guns and why you should consider investing in this recovery tool.
1. It's not just for workout recovery
Massage guns are mainly known as a workout recovery device, but it was initially developed as a pain management tool by chiropractor, Dr. Jason Wersland. Wersland is the founder and CEO of Theragun, and he created the device after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident. Instead of turning to traditional methods for pain relief, he wanted a holistic way to deal with the pain and found percussive therapy to be the solution.
2. It can help you perform better in your workouts
Using a massage gun as a warm up before your workouts can help loosen up tight muscles that are stiff from previous activity. Although further research needs to be done, percussive therapy has been shown to increase the range of motion in athletes prior to exercise. It does this by stimulating blood flow, awakening your nervous system, and softens the tissue in the area you're massaging.
A massage gun before exercise provides a similar effect to foam rolling, but it's less painful and combines the effects of a conventional massage and vibration therapy. By warming up your muscles before exercise you'll move better and minimize the chances of getting injured.
Watch this: This power tool may be the best affordable massage gun you can get
3. It's helps with post-workout recovery
Now that you know how a massage gun benefits your warm up, it's important to know how it can help post-workout too. Percussive therapy helps prevent the soreness you experience from lactic acid byproduct (what causes the sore feeling) that can build up during an intense workout session.
The muscle recovery benefit can be attributed to mechanotransduction, which is a term that basically refers to using some type of force (in this case a massage gun) to create heat in the muscle, which causes the body to respond by increasing blood flow and nerve stimulation to that area. As a result, this response helps prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
If you've used a massage gun then you understand how a massage can make you feel better after a tough workout or a long day on your feet. Because of its soothing effects, it can be helpful to reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed. Using a massage gun as part of your bedtime routine may even help you fall asleep faster. According to Theragun, percussive therapy can help reduce stress, tension, and help you sleep since it "downregulates" the nervous system.
If you're familiar with that feeling of going to bed with aches and pains, then you know that they can keep you up at night. Therefore, it's not the worst idea to use a massage gun before bed if it means you'll have a sound sleep.
5. It's like having your own on-demand massage therapist (for less)
If you get regular deep tissue or sports massages, you know that the expense, time and lack of convenience can be an issue. A better alternative would be to own a massage gun for the times you can't schedule a massage due to a busy schedule. However, a massage gun will cost you more up front than a typical massage session. Most massage guns, depending on the brand and size, can range from $160 to about $600. The good news is that due to their popularity, there are alternatives on Amazon that are less than $100 if you're on a budget. The big picture is that even if you spend a couple hundred dollars on a massage gun, in the long run it can save you some cash if you forgo massages.
Even if you don't totally stop getting massages, having a massage gun on hand can be helpful for in-between sessions or daily use.
How to know if it's right for you?
Erin Pollicelli, a physical therapist and founder of STRETCH Kinetics says,"anyone can use one, although athletes or those who work out a lot stand to benefit the most. She adds, "I think people should know that it's not always easy to use on yourself; there are areas that are often tight but difficult to reach. "
So if you work out a lot and are serious about recovery and performance, a massage gun may be a good option for you. If you're still hesitant to buy one, you can always try a less expensive version before investing in a more professional-grade massage gun.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.