Best Massage Gun For The Money?
Massage Gun Reviews: Deep Tissue Massage Gun Cheap
Best Massage Gun That Wont Break The Bank That Actually Works!
What is a Massage Gun?
They are the hottest things in sports recovery right now. Made by brands such as TheraGun, Hyperice and TimTam, they are certainly gaining in popularity among professional athletes and celebrities. Whether you are an athlete or an avid sports fan, you’ve probably heard or come across the term “massage gun”. You may have thought to yourself, “what is a massage gun?”. The term itself sounds intimidating, however these devices have become a stable part of the warm-up and recovery repertoire of athletes, therapists, and chiropractors.
Massage guns, or handheld percussion massagers (terms which we will use interchangeably throughout this article), are designed to aid in the increase of blood flow and the myofascial release process. These handheld devices, use vibration and pulsation to apply concentrated pressure deep into your muscle tissue and promote recovery.
This form of deep-tissue massage can work out knots and tension out of the muscles, while also enhancing your range of motion and increasing blood flow. Percussion massagers, when used correctly, can help reduce your recovery time and help relieve pain, tension, and soreness.
How Do Massage Guns Work?
The massage guns, which are powered by removable lithium ion batteries, are equivalent in size to a handheld power tool (think power drill or reciprocating saw). The term “gun” is likely associated with the devices because they are handheld and are operated by a trigger mechanism. Most have a hardened plastic head on one end that pulsates in and out of the device.
The head, which is typically a ball shape, moves back and forth at a rate of 2,000-2,6000 percussions per minute at an amplitude of around 16 mm. This pulsation of the massage gun head is what creates the massage and vibration in your muscles, which helps to release the fascia and increase blood flow to the targeted area. All of the devices on the market come with varying heads that can be attached to target different areas. The different heads come in different size balls, wedges, cones, forks and cylinders and are interchangeable.
Do Massage Guns Help?
Percussion massagers apply repetitive pressure on the surface of your body, sending pulses of pressure deep into your muscle tissue. The repeated pulsations of pressure mimic the pressure that you would receive from the kneading hands of a professional deep-tissue massage therapist. Deep tissue massage is ideal for recovery after an intense workout because of the deep muscle penetration.
In practice, the rapid pulsations delivered from a massage gun will soften stiff muscle tissue, and you can target extremely sore muscles by working the surrounding tissue. Eventually, softening and soothing the surrounding tissue will have a relaxing, soothing impact on the sore, overworked muscle. Many professional athletes, therapists and chiropractors are using percussion massagers to minimize pain and discomfort for themselves or their patients, but you can buy your own massage gun to achieve the same results at the gym, office, or while recovering at home.
Additionally, the pulsations produce vibrations throughout your muscles which promote the blood flow in the targeted area. Vibration has also been shown to provide additional benefit in the form of increased range of motion and decreased delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
What Are The Benefits?
Outside of the general benefits of massage, there are many specific benefits that relate directly to using a massage gun as part of your warm-up or recovery routine. Deep muscle stimulation has been known to produce the following benefits:
- Release lactic acid
- Accelerate muscle recovery
- Enhance range of motion
- Improve blood circulation
- Ease soft tissue pain
- Stimulate muscle growth
- Improve muscle responsiveness
- Decreased DOMS
Who are Massage Guns For?
The great thing about massage guns is that they can really be used by anyone. Whether you are a very active individual that runs, bikes, lifts, plays sports, etc., or if you travel a lot, sit at a desk or are on your feet for long periods of time, a massage gun could benefit you. Due to their versatility, they allow you to target any muscle on your body and can be used in many different ways.
Due to their price point, they are more commonly used by serious athletes or those that often find themselves in discomfort. In addition to athletes and active individuals, many therapists and chiropractors use the devices on their patients as they can often do more work than a therapist in a shorter amount of time. Interestingly enough, the original TheraGun was actually invented by a chiropractor whom himself was looking for relief after herniating a disc in a motorcycle accident.
Main Massage Gun Features To Look For
Massage guns are fairly simple and, therefore, don’t require too deep of research in order to be able to separate the really good ones from the mediocre ones. Still, there are a few things that you should pay attention to when choosing your first massager, such as:
- Percussions (Speed)
- Head adjustability
- Ease of use and portability
- Noise levels
- Additional features and accessories
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of those features…
The percussions per minute are one of the most important metrics of all massage guns. It is their go-to characteristic when they are being compared side by side and there is a good reason behind that. The more percussions the gun has means it can go faster and deliver better speeds. Very low speeds aren’t ideal, the same way very high ones aren’t either, so try choosing a model that has at least a few speed options.
While this isn’t a mandatory feature, it sure it convenient to have it. Most massage guns have a fixed head position which is usually at 90-degrees compared to the gun itself. However, there are some models out there that can rotate that head 90-degrees up and have a few stops on the way up. These additional head angles will allow you to target some muscle groups of your body better and easier.
The pressure, also called torque, is yet another essential feature of these guns. The industry standard nowadays is anywhere between 50 and 80 pounds of toque. The amount of pressure a massager has is directly proportional to how deep it will be able to penetrate and how deep will its effects be felt by your body.
Pay special attention to this metric, since some companies primarily focus their marketing on the speed of their gun throwing the torque under the run and hoping you don’t notice that while it is fast, it has nowhere near the necessary pressure to help you relax your bigger muscle groups. Also, the lower the pressure the easier it is to bring the gun to a full stop after you apply a bit more pressure, practically rendering it useless for more intensive massages.
Ease of use and Portability
The features that directly affect how easy the massager is to use and how portable it is are the weight of the model, its handles’ comfort and how many of them there are. The adjustable massage head also adds to the ease of use, since it helps you reach awkward spots, as I already mentioned.
Portability benefits a lot from a smaller form-factor, reduced weight, and a case that lets you travel with it easily. Most guns can fit into your training sack if you want to take them to your gym and use them after the workout.
While this might seem like nitpicking, these massage guns aren’t exactly quiet tools. Imagine you are in your office and you want to relax during a heavy shift or have sore muscles from the run last night. In these situations, having a low-noise massage gun can be of great use. The TimTam Power massager pro is one of the most powerful yet super quiet models out there but it comes at a very high price.
Even though I briefly touched on the design already, it still is an essential feature. The ergonomics of the massage gun will determine how easy it is to use and how well you can use it against your muscles.
While some guns feature a cross shape with the head being perpendicular to the handle, others have a “jigsaw” approach with the head being down from the handle allow you to push a little bit easier. Multi-way multi-handle guns are the way to go and are the easiest to use both by you or someone that is massaging you.
If you plan on using this gun on the go or at other locations where you don’t have quick and easy access to an outlet, then you should really look for a model with decent battery life. Moreover, look for battery lives that do not hinder the performance of the head if the levels start bottoming out.
Lithium-ion batteries are standard in the niche nowadays and they all generally last up to a few hours. The higher the speed of the gun, the less on-time you will get from the battery, so pay close attention to how powerful the gun is since that will be reversely proportional to how long it holds its charge. Bonus points if the battery is removable since that will allow you to carry extra battery packs along with you.
Lastly, don’t ignore the price tag, as some feature-rich models can easily throw you way outside your initially set budget. Make a list of all the features that you want to have and stick to it otherwise this might be one expensive experience.
Massaging is a must-have part of your weekly training routine, the same way warm-ups are part of your everyday practice. In fact, I’ve dedicated a whole article on how to warm up properly in order to get the most out of your training session. Now, let’s answer a few more questions…
Frequently Asked Questions
How often can you use massage guns?
Massage guns can be used every time after a workout since they aren’t as intensive as a regular full-body massage. Still, they are not a suitable replacement for a good recovery stretch, so try to combine both for optimal results.
Are massage guns effective?
Depending on your needs, massage guns can be extremely effective as well as quite ineffective. If your body is in need of a good recovery massage, then maybe a massage gun isn’t the right tool. Still, if you have a specific muscle group that got overworked, this might be the best alternative the market currently offers.
Do massage guns release lactic acid stored in the muscles?
Yes, they do. Any form of pressure put on the muscles will increase their lymphatic and blood flow, which, in turn, reduces the lactic acid buildup that happens there after a heavy workout.
Do vibrating massagers help with sore muscles?
Vibration is always welcome when it comes to massaging your muscles. The more vibrations, the deeper can the head penetrate, making the massage more effective. While not all massage guns have a vibration mode, they utilize another method which is based on very fast hits of the target area with the head.
Knowing which are the best massage guns in today’s market will be valuable when you start shopping for one. Being able to identify the features that define a good model will allow you to quickly identify the right models and narrow down your choice.
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