massage gun

Massage Guns – Do They Work?

Massage guns are a tool I use regularly in my chiropractic practice. Below, I have included my responses to some questions frequently asked by my patients, as well as my recommendation for a product that you can order and use from home.

What is percussive therapy?

Percussive therapy is a treatment approach for muscle-, ligament- or myofascial-related problems. A percussive tool, often a handheld massage gun, delivers a rapid series of waves into the soft tissues and muscles in order to increase blood flow. Commonly treated areas include the neck, shoulders, back, quads and hamstrings.

What is the science behind percussive tools?

Percussive instruments use trigger point therapy to release fascial and muscle tightness. Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue beneath the skin that protects and holds together the entire body. When fascia is healthy, it is malleable enough for us to bend, twist and stretch to our full lengths, pain-free. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that our fascia constantly maintains its optimal flexibility due to factors such as poor posture, repetitive movements, injury and/or stress. A stiff fascia causes myofascial fibers to contract tightly, leading to adhesions or “knots” where blood flow becomes restricted. A percussive tool then transmits vibrations through these knots to stimulate circulation to the area and in turn, promote muscle relaxation and fascial release.

Do they actually work?

The quick answer is yes – the research is there to show that with the right features and proper use, they work! Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of percussive therapy and proved their benefits, such as increased range of motion and reduced posture-related pain and workout-related muscle soreness. However, when it comes to massage guns and other related percussive tools, incorrect or excessive use can create more pain and cause injury. There are also instances when the use of a percussion gun is contraindicated, such as in recently injured or inflamed areas.

What are the benefits?

Percussive tools are rapidly becoming one of the most popular tools for improved recovery, athletic performance and general wellness, and for good reason! Whether you are an office worker, recreational athlete or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, percussive tools will have something to offer you:

Relief from tension, soreness or body aches
Improved range of motion
Improved muscle recovery
Increased blood and lymphatic circulation
Enhanced athletic performance

Looking for a great massage gun? I love the Mini Massage Gun from Lotsfit. You can check out this post if you are interested in seeing why I love this model, and reading about the features and benefits of this product.