Anyone who has benefitted from sports massage therapy knows the kind of pressure that needs to be applied to muscles and pressure points to feel a benefit.
Even though you can be left squirming and gripping the massage table for dear life, 24 hours later when your original injury or niggle is gone you’ll feel like a reinvigorated athlete.
The only problem is being unable to apply adequate pressure to elicit the same response with self-massage tools such as foam rollers or pressure point balls.
That’s when you can be tempted into purchasing more expensive weapons for your rehab arsenal, such as a massage gun.
But do massage guns really work? Built for Athletes takes a look.
What Does A Massage Gun Do?
Massage guns offer a method known as vibration therapy or percussive therapy.
Essentially, the vibrations make muscles contract which increases blood flow to specific areas, providing more oxygen and suppressing the build up of lactic acid.
The idea is that this relieves muscle pain and improves mobility.
Do Massage Guns Work?
The problem is that there’s a very limited amount of research into the effectiveness of vibration therapy. Moreover, different types of massage guns apply different levels of force and create different types of vibrations.
Some initial research has shown it has a similar effect in relieving delayed onset muscle soreness as massage therapy [Hyperlink: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3939523/], although a small sample size of just 45 participants was used.
There is certainly a convenience benefit to amateur athletes, as many of us struggle to get to see a massage therapist regularly, so having a tool sitting at home that’s easy to use seems attractive.
But like everything, some individuals will find massage guns more helpful than others and it certainly isn’t going to be the answer to all your problems.
Many sports shops are now allowing customers to try before they buy, so if you’re wary about making a big investment but want to find out more, that could be your next course of action.