11 Reasons Why Athletes Should Use Massage Guns

11 Reasons Why Athletes Should Use Massage Guns


Harry Deol

29th April 2021

Massage guns are fairly modern tools. The first was created by Theragun founder Dr Jason Wersland in 2008 to treat pain and soreness he incurred from a motorcycle accident.


As knowledge and research around these devices has developed, we now know that the benefits go far beyond just dealing with fatigued and stiff muscles. 

In light of all the advantages that these dynamic devices offer, it’s not surprising why they have become so popular.


Percussive Therapy massage guns are more powerful than Vibration Therapy massage guns, due to a larger amplitude of up to 16mm (depth the massage head travels). This brings greater circulatory benefits and improved muscle tissue health.


It is thought that these devices will improve range of motion and release tension from your muscles more effectively. This is because it provides deeper pressure, penetrating further into your muscle fibres providing more powerful stimulation.

To find out more about this read our blog on Percussive Therapy.

1. Speeds up and improves recovery

By increasing blood and lymph circulation massage guns increase nutrient and oxygen supply to the muscles and the movement of waste products away from them. This includes swelling, excess tissue fluid and cellular waste which allows you to recover better. Massage guns also reduce muscle tension and cause your muscles to relax by positively stimulating them.

This means that pain, soreness and stiffness is reduced along with improved circulation. Therefore you can hit that next session stronger, feeling fresher in less time.  

2. Improves performance

By improving muscle recovery and decreasing your sense of discomfort and stiffness, massage guns help you perform better in that next workout. 

They decrease your recovery time so you can train more often to further improve fitness and sport specific skills. The ability of massage guns to stimulate muscle fibres also increases activation which improves your power output. 

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What's the Difference Between Percussive Therapy and Vibration Therapy Massage Guns?

Massage guns are generally similar in torque and frequency unless they are knock off devices. However, it is the amplitude which separates Percussive Therapy from Vibration Therapy devices.



Percussive Therapy devices have a higher amplitude of up to 16 mm which delivers deep tissue therapy to maximise your therapeutic benefits. It reaches 60% deeper into your muscle then consumer-grade vibration massagers. This produces deeper massage-like benefits. (Source)


As we have said before, Percussive Therapy combines pressure with vibration therapy. 


Vibration Therapy massage guns are higher in frequency and lower in amplitude which provide a more constant less powerful stimulus. They have similar benefits to Percussive Therapy devices, mainly reducing pain and increase circulation. 


The more continuous (high frequency) and shallow pressure (low amplitude) the massage gun the more the device leans towards Vibrational Therapy benefits. By keeping in constant or close contact with skin, vibration tools provide a constant stimulus. This has the effect of numbing the area under treatment as the nervous system adapts by ignoring this constant stimulus.


Percussive Therapy with its larger amplitude punches deeper into the muscle and then withdraws from it. Your body cannot adapt to this on-off stimulus, so your nervous system is constantly stimulated.


Percussive Therapy is therefore considered to reduce pain and increase circulation more effectively due to its deeper penetration. Rather than numbing an area, the constant stimulation of your sensory (sensing) nerves overrides pain in that area. This gives you the potential to increase your mobility by being able to move your muscles more freely through their range of motion.


More powerful Percussive Therapy devices with their higher amplitudes have been shown to have larger and more long term blood circulation benefits. These devices altered fluid distribution within the muscles while less powerful devices did not.


This suggests that larger amplitude devices provide greater muscular benefits due to their deeper penetration.

3. Enhances your warm-up

Massage guns can also assist your warm up routine to improve your readiness for exercise. Use the device for 30 seconds per muscle group moving the muscle quickly. This activates your sympathetic nervous system which is the ‘fight or flight’ part of your nervous system. 

This has the effect of increasing blood flow to the working muscles and increases muscle activation. A decrease in muscle tension and soreness improves your range of motion and readiness for exercise.

4. Reactivates & prepare muscles during exercise

Massage guns increase muscle fibre activity by causing involuntary muscle contractions. This increases the excitability of your muscles to fire so you are more easily utilise fatigued muscles for that next set. This can also be used to activate muscles yet to be used for a new exercise.

Improvement in blood and lymph flow also increases recovery and readiness for that next working set.

5. Reduces injury risk

Improving circulation to and from the muscles allows them to recover better for that next workout, reducing muscle fatigue and therefore injury potential. A decrease in stiffness and soreness also allows you to move more freely.

Fatigued and sore muscles can result in poor technique as we instinctively compensate by protect ing these muscles, using other muscles instead. This leads to using muscles which are not supposed to be used for a specific movement which results in injury or the fatigued muscle being strained. 

6. Helps rehabilitation and injury treatment

Massage guns improve tissue health and function. When combined with its pain relieving effects this can create new improvement in your range of motion. 

An increase in circulation caused by these devices can also improve recovery time and help prevent muscle loss by enhancing nutrient supply and stimulating muscle contractions.

7. Improves your sleep quality

By spending 2 minutes on each muscles group, giving them a relaxing and gradual massage you can turn on the parasympathetic or rest and digest part of your nervous system. This decreases breathing and heart rate which improves relaxation. 

A reduction in soreness, muscle tension and the release of feel good chemicals will also contribute to improved sleep.

Sleep is the number one recovery tool at our disposal, allowing our cells, muscles and organs to recover effectively as well as our brain to reset mentally. Anything that can help improve our sleep will have a significant impact on performance.

8. Increases mobility and flexibility 

Improvements in muscle tissue health, a reduction in pain and stiffness along with relaxation of muscles allows you to improve your range of motion.

This is helpful before your workout when looking to loosen up your muscles or when recovering to prepare stiff muscles for training. 

Massage guns can also be used as part of mobility sessions to help correct muscle imbalances by using the effects of the device to help retrain movement patterns. 

9. Cheaper than a regular massage

Massage guns do require a bigger payment up front but quite quickly you can start saving money with massages costing £50 a session. 

High end massage guns like the Theragun Prime have specific programmes based on your activity data, injuries, ailments and specific body parts to provide tailored therapy.

Click this link to check out the Theragun Prime.

10. Improves mood and decreases stress

Like a traditional massage, these devices cause your body to release happy chemicals such as serotonin which improves your mood. There is also a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol which means your feel less fatigued, more relaxed and content.

Improvement in mental health means you feel more motivated to continue training and are more relaxed around pushing your limits.

11. Provides pin-point therapy

Massage guns allow you to treat even the smallest area of the body due to the small surface area of the massage gun heads. Percussive Therapy devices specifically deliver high pressure to relieve stress deep within the muscle. 

A variety of massage gun heads suited to different body areas and pressure intensities give you the relief and stimulation you need.

Check out our Massage gun range here to take your training and recovery up a level!



Bibliography

https://www.theragun.com/us/en-us/therabody-university/

https://www.theragun.com/us/en-us/faq/theragun-devices/faq-devices-7.html?fdid=faq-theragun-devices&csortb1=sortOrder&csortd1=1



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