In today’s high-stress world, we all tend to get tense and sore. The best way to alleviate the stress of your day to day life is a good workout, but that can just intensify the soreness you are already feeling. Whether you sit at a desk all day or work on your feet, you probably don’t have a job that takes that stiffness away.
In a perfect world, you would end each day with a visit to your massage therapist, who would be able to work that tension away. Unfortunately, most folks don’t have the time or money to get a daily deep tissue massage.
Fortunately, technology has given us some solutions that can rival having a professional massage therapist work on your problem areas. The most important thing for the average user is to know how to choose between the myriad massager options out there.
You Have to Find the Right Tool for the Job
Everyone has used one of those old fashioned electric massagers that vibrates a big flat paddle to massage you. Aside from the obvious limitation of having to get a second person to help you reach your back (unless you are a lot more flexible than most folks), these machines are only able to really work large muscle groups, and can’t provide any deep tissue focus.
Another popular option for casual users is a long-handled percussion massager. While these are functional for getting out light knots and kinks, the biggest advantages of this type of massager are the relatively low cost, and the ease of using one alone- you can reach your back without help. Unfortunately, if you need actual deep tissue work due to work strain, injury, or exercise, these massagers still won’t really get in deep and do the job.
Fortunately, there is a relatively new massage tool that is extremely functional for deep tissue work. Massage guns (not to be confused with a chiropractic adjusting gun) are relatively small handheld tools specifically designed for a single user to get a functional and effective deep tissue massage on themselves.
As with any relatively new technology in the internet shopping era, there are a ton of massage gun options out there. Since they are typically more expensive than many other consumer-level massager options on the market (Starting at around $100 for a fairly low-cost model) it is important to know what you are getting and how it will be used.
This will help you avoid having buyer’s remorse from a poor decision down the road. It isn’t really saving you any money if you buy a budget option, only to figure out that it doesn’t meet your needs.
How Can a Massage Gun Help Massage Your Tight Spots?
One of the most important reasons to use a massager of some kind is post-workout muscle recovery.
Deep tissue massage helps move fluids like lymphatic fluid, blood, and lactic acid out of those muscle groups, allowing the muscle to heal and repair. A massage needs to get deep into the muscle tissue, or it isn’t really going to do much for your recovery or for the next day soreness that can keep you out of the gym.
Massage guns are definitely not the only game in town when it comes to deep tissue massage for recovery. There are a million manual massagers out there that can help massage all of your hard to reach muscle groups, and in the right hands, they can be just as effective as an electric massager for that. The efficacy of these devices varies greatly, but the one thing they all have in common is that they need your muscle work in order to work.
If you don’t put the right amount of pressure into a manual massager, you will not get a true deep tissue massage.
The beauty of a massage gun for a workout recovery massage is that the only real hand power it requires of the user is the ability to hold it. You don’t have to push down into the muscle with a ton of force, because the massage gun vibrates at the frequency needed to work itself down into the muscle. A quality massage gun, like the Theragun G3 Pro, will have multiple speed settings to help it get just the right amount of impact for the specific muscle group you are working with.
Another benefit of a massage gun on those hard to reach spots is that it can apply consistent pressure, regardless of angle and fatigue. If you’ve ever tried to massage the back of a shoulder muscle after a hard workout, you understand where the problem comes in.
You are reaching for a muscle that you barely can reach, while your muscles are crampy and fatigued, and trying to massage it with a hand that is tired and cramping as well. It’s really no wonder that type of massage isn’t terribly effective.
Massage those same awkward angles with a massage gun, and you will understand the difference. The massager is doing the work, so you simply have to get it onto the muscle and hold it in place. The high speed and concentrated oscillation will handle the rest.
Not All Massage Guns Are Equal
Once you decide that a massage gun is the solution you need, you have to begin the process of deciding on which of the many massage guns available is right for you. While a budget massage gun is still going to outshine most other personal massager solutions on the market for most people, failing to consider certain factors can lead to disappointment.
Massage guns resemble a power tool in form and function (in many ways, it’s just a mini jackhammer with a drill handle). Having said that, many massage guns on the market can also sound like a jackhammer. If you are one of the users who doesn’t think a post-workout or end of day massage will be terribly relaxing while listening to something resembling a power hammer, you may want to consider a quieter model like the Theragun Elite.
These quieter models usually have a larger price tag, but most people, when comparing head to head, find the cost worth it.
Speaking of “head to head”, another important consideration is the number of massage heads available (or if the head can be changed at all). Different shaped heads have very different functions, so the more heads available, generally the better. Having a wedge-shaped head for flushing lactic acid out of a muscle post-workout can be very helpful, but you will need a different head shape for massaging a shoulder or a hand.
Lower-cost models will often have a single head that can’t be changed. If you are purchasing your massage gun for working a specific muscle, and nothing else, this may be adequate. Otherwise, you will probably need to invest in something with a bit more flexibility.
You should also be aware of how much use your massager will get each day. Since massage guns are designed to be flexible and versatile at getting into tight spaces, they typically are cordless. This means that battery life is important. If you are the only user of your device, and you plan to charge it after every use, a massager with a one-hour battery life may be adequate for you.
If you are sharing the device with a partner, or just want to know you can massage as long as you feel you might need, battery life comes into play a bit more. While an entry-level massage gun will last for about an hour before it turns into a less effective version of a manual massager, a higher quality model like the Hyperice Hypervolt plus will run for two hours or so.
Best of the pack, the Theragun Pro comes with two 150 minute batteries. This lets you charge while the other is in use, meaning you could literally run it non stop all day, perfect if the massage gun is shared. This feature is also super handy if you are the type who forgets to charge things since you can always have a charged back up ready to go in your gym bag.
In summary, regardless of why you need a deep tissue solution, a high-quality massage gun is a good option. Their smaller form function allows them to reach hard to reach places on your body. The cordless functionality allows you to carry it with you, and use it virtually anywhere, including your car or the locker room. The interchangeable heads allow you to focus a massage to any particular muscle needed.
All in all, a massage gun is the perfect tool for a home user to get a deep tissue massage on their tight spots.