11 Reasons Why Athletes Should Use Massage Guns
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.
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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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.
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.