I’d never even heard about massage gun therapy until a year ago…
I’m not the sort of person who enjoys getting regular massages; however, throughout the last 7 years or so of throwing heavy weight around inside various gyms, I’ve begun to realize the importance of stretching and deep tissue massages.
The only problem is, this doesn’t change the fact that I dislike getting massages.
That was, until I stumbled upon this shiny expensive looking thing inside Robinsons department store in Singapore; back in late 2019 when I was visiting for a few days to open a bank account.
A massage gun… now that’s something I can get on board with.
I picked one up, and exactly 1 year later I now consider it to be a necessity to bring with me wherever I travel to.
Within this article, I’ll give you a complete overview of my experience using a massage gun, the benefits of using one, which you should purchase, and any other important information you should know before making the commitment.
DISCLAIMER: “I am not a doctor, nor am I a medical professional. Most importantly, I’m not YOUR doctor. Everything I talk about is based on my own experience and that’s it. Do not take this as advice. This is for entertainment purposes only. This article may contain affiliate links to products, from which I may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase, at no extra cost to you.
Massage Gun Therapy
Massage gun therapy, otherwise known as percussion therapy, has only become popular over the last 4 or 5 years.
Generally speaking, a massage gun is a handheld device, normally wireless, that provides rapid bursts of pressure into the muscle tissue. This is caused by the head oscillating back and forth, and that head will normally have a foam-like ball or similar looking shape attached onto it.
There’s a wide range of products on the market today, and they normally will differ by speed, quality, attachments, battery life, noise, and angles.
Benefits of Using A Massage Gun
Some of the proposed and studied benefits of percussion therapy or vibration therapy through the use of a massage gun include:
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Increased blood flow
- Improved range of motion
- Injury prevention & recovery
- Pain relief
- Lactic acid release
Which Muscle Groups Benefit Most from Massage Gun Therapy?
In theory, any large muscle tissue would benefit from massage gun therapy, however there’s certain areas which are a little more difficult and might require a different approach.
I’ve found that massage gun therapy works best on the largest muscle groups in your body; those being your leg muscles and back muscles, which include:
- Gluteus Maximus
When you get to the smaller muscle groups, it might become more difficult and dangerous using a massage gun for those areas. However, there’s still lots of other muscles that I’ve found benefit from percussion therapy:
- Pectoral muscles
Which Massage Gun Should You Buy?
Once you’ve decided you’re interested in acquiring a massage gun, the tricky part is buying the damn thing. In my opinion, I strongly believe this is an area where quality trumps everything else.
First of all, you’re looking for a product that’ll last a long time, and thus is made with quality in mind. These things can get incredibly expensive, so the last thing you want is for it to break and not have any warrantee or guarantee behind it.
Second, you need to buy a product that’s going to get the job done. If the maximum speed is too low, and the device shudders any time you apply pressure, it’s pretty much useless.
Which brings us to the problem…
The only device on the market, in my opinion (and I haven’t tried every single one), that meets both the rules laid out above; is the Theragun. Now, if you can afford the hefty price tag this product comes with, you’re good to go.
If not, I’m sure there’s an alternative you can purchase that packs the same punch as the Theragun.
However, when it comes to tools like this, I’m looking for the creme de la creme, the cream of the crop, the king of the jungle; which is why I opted for the Theragun G3 Pro.
I should note they’ve recently released a newer model, with the main attraction being the lower noise volume. Anyhow, I picked up my G3 Pro for roughly $800 SGD.
With that, you receive:
- A travel case
- Two batteries
- A battery charger
- Six different attachments
Theragun also have an app, now called Therabody, where you can find tutorials on how to use the device on different muscle groups and for different purposes.
If $800 SGD (roughly $600 USD), seems like a lot of money to you; I don’t blame you. You might want to check out the Hypervolt. I personally haven’t used it, but I know the price point is much more reasonable, and I’ve heard good things from satisfied customers.
How to Use the Theragun
The great thing about the Theragun is that it comes with a free app to help make sure you’re using the product correctly and not doing more harm than good. I’d use the app first to see what they recommend for the muscle groups you’re wanting to us it on.
Generally, you’d want to start with the default attachment and the 1st speed setting (or lowest speed setting if you have the new version). Then follow the app’s advice on the correct motion, and the length of time to be applying pressure to any particular muscle.
If you identify a problem area (a muscle that’s more sore than everywhere else), you can switch to the thumb attachment for a more precise application.
How Often Should You Use Your Massage Gun?
How often you use your massage gun will depend on the reason why you’re using it in the first place. For example, I’ve used it on very tight muscles which required deep tissue therapy, and I’ve also used it daily just as a “warm-up” before a workout.
Whenever I did deep tissue therapy using the Theragun, there would often be some soreness and on occasion some bruising a day or two afterwards. If this was the case, I wouldn’t use it again on that specific area for at least 3 days.
When it came to a “warm-up” or “warm down”, I’d use the Theragun with less pressure, and for a shorter duration, in combination with stretching. the aim was just to get the blood flowing and loosen up the muscles before or after a workout.
My Experience After 30 Days
My initial reason for trying massage gun therapy was because I was suffering from a mild discomfort in my groin whenever lifting heavy in the gym. I instantly panicked and thought it could have possibly been an early sign of a hernia.
After getting check out, my doctor couldn’t see signs of it being a hernia, and suggested the discomfort could be caused by tight muscles, specifically my hip flexors and adductors. Which made sense, because at that time I was terrible with stretching, I sit down everyday for long hours working, and I’d then go and put 150kg on my back.
Which led to me trying a combination of percussion therapy and stretching everyday for 30 days. I used the Theragun mostly on my leg muscles, and only used two of the attachments during that time:
- The standard ball attachment for general use
- The ‘thumb’ attachment for whenever I came across a problem area
It became pretty easy to identify problem areas as you’d experience more discomfort than anywhere else you were gliding over with the massage gun. Once I’d spotted a problem area, I switched to that ‘thumb’ attachment, and applied more pressure to that spot.
Afterwards, I’d do some light stretching for 10-15 minutes.
Within 3 weeks of doing this everyday, the discomfort had disappeared, and my overall flexibility in my hips and my lower back was significantly improved.
Where to Buy the Theragun?
You can buy the Theragun direct on the company’s website, or on Amazon. There are several options available, but it’s probably going to cost you a minimum of $350.
After owning a massage gun for roughly 1 year now, I can safely say it works, and it works well. It won’t replace stretching, so be prepared to still do both. However, 5-10 minutes a day of using this thing has dramatically improved my flexibility and alleviated any minor injuries I’ve had.
The Theragun is my personal recommendation, and I’ll be upgraded to their new model soon; however if you’re looking for an alternative the Hypervolt might be a cheaper option.