For as fantastic a machine as the human body is, like all machines, it requires a little maintenance now and then to keep it firing in tip-top condition.
The home health care industry is an embarrassment of riches in terms of finding products to help soothe away the aches and pains of everyday life, and one such innovation – the massage gun – has fast been gaining traction among those in need of unkinking a few muscle knots.
Previously only found in therapy clinics or in the locker rooms of world-class athletes due to exorbitant prices, many manufacturers have risen to the occasion of filling a void in the health care market by producing options that are not only versatile and durable but budget friendly.
A quick online search will unearth a trove of massage guns, but with so many available, how do you know that you’re getting exactly what your sore muscles desire?
Who Should Consider Buying a Massage Gun?
The short and sweet answer to that question is this: you. Me. Our friends, family, and neighbors as well. People are made of a lot of muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and sometimes those structures develop taught bands within them, aka the dreaded “knot.” These nasty little lumps of unpleasantness often foreshadow a cascade of problems to come.
Muscle restrictions, reduced range of motion, chronic pain, among others, are just a few of the issues that can arise when excessive muscular tension isn’t disrupted through a plan of care designed to reduced and eliminate overworked soft tissue.
For the athlete that introduces a massage gun into their training regimen, muscles repair faster and injuries may be prevented. The weekend warrior with an amassed collection of sprains, strains, and tears can help reduce pain and inflammation prior to engaging in their favorite activities.
And the on-to-go working parent juggling jobs, kids, and responsibilities can melt away days’ worth of stress in just a few minutes, and finally enjoy some important relaxation time.
Have we convinced you of the need to add a massage gun into YOUR life yet?
Things to Consider
Your hunt for a massage gun is going to turn up a lot of contenders, all vying for your hard-earned cash. A little research is warranted before committing to any one particular model, and a few things worth pondering would be:
Is the gun something that you can pick up and use, or is there a steep learning curve involved? More functions can sometimes mean more buttons or knobs to tinker with, thus increasing the steps you’ll need to navigate before jumping into the fun stuff.
Some products are garden-variety models; others imbue the massage head with the knot-melting capabilities of heat. There are products that provide twenty different speed settings, and some with just two or three.
Prioritize your “must-haves,” but also consider some of the extra bells and whistles that you feel could enhance your massage experience. With so many guns readily available, finding one that checks off all the boxes on your list shouldn’t be too difficult.
Number of Attachments
The massage gun itself delivers transmits a reverberating effect through an interchangeable head. Thus, the availability and design of the heads themselves should be worth considering. A few non-negotiables would be:
- A large ball type – works well for nearly any location including soles of the feet and broad muscles such as the glutes or hamstrings.
- A small, narrow head – usually about the width of an index finger, this attachment is a must for blasting out those tiny little knots that like to hide alongside the medial border of the shoulder blades and deep in the upper traps.
- A C-shaped design – Along either side of your spine are muscles, called paraspinals, used in nearly every motion you put your body through on a daily basis. Therefore, these muscles are a good place to focus some attention when attempting to alleviate back pain. A massage head with an open channel allows you to cradle the spine while using the gun.
Are you planning on delivering care to just yourself and your family, or are you an athletic trainer in need of tending to an entire football team? Commercial products are built to sustain the wear and tear incurred with daily use for multiple users, and if that’s what you’re after, a $100 gun off of Amazon isn’t going to cut it.
You’re better off looking at medical supply retailers or companies that service the athletic and therapy industries. Note that for the sake of this guide, we’ve narrowed our focus down to just products aimed at the home consumer.
While the above points are a good outline for guiding you towards the massage gun best suited for you individual needs, it should in no manner be considered exhaustive. There are literally hundreds of different head designs, and some may be better suited for a condition exclusive to you.
Also, as is the case with any health care product, seek out the advice of a medical professional should you have any questions or concerns. There are a handful of scenarios in which massage is not recommended, especially if combined with the effects of heat or ice.
VYBE Percussion Massage Gun
If you’re looking for a great tool that won’t break the bank, this one has a sufficient number of attachments and options, and also embodies a user-friend approach, then the VYBE Percussion Massage Gun is worth a look.
For further read, check this guide.
- Four interchangeable massage heads and five speeds
- Carrying case that also organizes and stores everything away when not in use
- Single button on/off control and speed adjustment
- Quiet, yet powerful, motor
ROLAZ Massage Gun with Heat and Cold
The benefits of massage far exceed that of relaxation and pain relief; they include improved circulation which can be a boon to healing certain musculoskeletal conditions.
The ROLAZ Massage Gun with Heat and Cold kicks this up a degree by infusing the massage heads with the additional therapeutic qualities of warm and cold temperatures. Heat is a great way to further power through those stubborn knots, while cold can reduce inflammation in acute injuries.
- Provides five heads with three speed settings
- Offers the options for warmth and cool, all at the push of a button
- Compact design
Beloman Deep Tissue Massage Gun
An unconventional design makes for a massage gun that performs in ways that its competitors simply can’t match. A pivoting massage head and u-shaped handle allow users to apply more pressure secondary to better leverage. There’s also an LCD touchscreen on board with a bright, digital display.
- Comes with five interchangeable heads and offers six different speeds
- Ergonomic handle allows variable grips, which could be beneficial for those with wrist issues
- Pivoting massage head allows versatility and makes it easier to hit hard to reach places
- Easy to read LCD display with touchscreen functionality
OLsky Deep Tissue Massage Gun
First glances of the OLsky Deep Tissue Massage Gun may seem less than remarkable, as this model resembles most other guns at similar price point. However, with nine individual speed settings and whopping twelve individual heads, there’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to find a combination that fits your situation.
- Nine varying degrees of speed and twelve heads – far more than other similar models
- Six-hour battery life on a single charge
- LCD display with speed setting and battery life indicator
Now That You Know
“I enjoy being in pain!” said no one. Ever. And the home health industry has answered the call of the tense, tight, and broken down, by creating throngs of devices whose sole purpose it is to help us melt away the ills of our stressful lives and get back to a state of optimal health.
The massage gun is one such tool, and a welcome one at that. For all the health-boosting qualities that a massage can infuse into our daily lives, trying to actually get one can be difficult, and oftentimes expensive.
By creating a handy little device with such adaptability, never again should you have to forego all the wonderful relief that a massage can provide.
Figure out what matters most to you in terms of features, settle on a top-out budget mark, and spend a little time researching. You’re bound to find a product that you – and your muscles – will love.
Answer: You shouldn’t. A massage gun is a great addendum to any self-care routine and can be a solution to working out some of those kinks that we all develop from time to time. For that reason, massage guns have earned their rightful place alongside foam rollers, inversion tables, and other devices used for pain relief.
However, a massage gun simply can’t replicate the long, soothing strokes or the customized experience of a professional massage. Do what feels good to you, while accepting that a multi-faceted approach to pain relief can sometimes yield additional benefits.
Answer: Before digging into this, it’s worth reiterating – be sure to discuss any questions about your specific situation with a trusted healthcare provider. With that being said, any massage gun you purchase will come with an instruction manual (or at least it should).
Within it, you’ll find best practices for enjoying your experience, as well as recommendations as to how often and how long you can use their product. In general, for most healthy adults, consistent use several days throughout the week poses no problems, with massage sessions lasting a few minutes at a time.
Answer: A percussion massage with a massage gun will differ from that a professional massage in a few ways, one of which is that you won’t need any skin lubricants. Massage guns deliver a percussion massage – a method achieved by the massage head vibrating.
It’s a therapeutic modality, but not quite in the same way that the trained hands of a masseuse can lull you to sleep. Massage guns are generally used over the clothes, for matters of user comfort.