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Massage Guns: Are They Essential for Recovery

Massage Guns: Are They Essential for Recovery

After an intense workout, muscle pain, aches, or soreness are common. This post-workout tiredness can kill the motivation to continue the routine. So it is also important to work on your recovery so that you can continue your daily workout with renewed motivation.

Massage is considered an effective method for post-workout recovery. Everyone did not have time for a massage after a workout. So massage guns are helpful for those who want to continue their workout on a regular basis without getting gassed out.

Massage guns are handheld devices that can be carried easily. Massage guns are used before or after a workout to relax and recover muscles. These are popular due to their function in keeping your muscles active and working. 

Massage guns are easy to operate and effective to use. Just hold them in your hand, put on the targeted muscles, and press the button. Massage guns are useful for inflamed or injured muscles, they can enhance mobility by increasing the range of motion.

1. What is a Massage Gun?

What is a Massage Gun?

A massage gun, also known as a percussion massager is an easily portable device that is used to loosen the tightened muscles by doing massage just like the physical touch of the massage therapist. Massage guns are used for deep muscle massage.

Massage Guns are of different kinds and different sizes and shapes so that they can be applied to specific muscles.   

2. Percussion Therapy

Percussion therapy is a massage therapy that includes repetitive and quick pressure along with vibration. Percussion therapy is used to reduce the after-effects of a workout. Massage guns are the equipment used to do percussion therapy.

3. How Does the Massage Gun Work?

The massage Guns comprise a group of rollers that continually move up and down and exert pressure on your muscles. The pressure exerted by the massage gun causes contraction and relaxation of muscles and relaxes the targeted area.

All the muscles are wrapped in a connective tissue called fascia. Muscle fascia is responsible for the movement of muscles deliberately. If muscle fascia is healthy, it helps in the mobility of muscles. Poor, weak, or stiff muscle fascia is responsible for soreness, inflammation, pain, and tightness of muscles.   

Massage guns are helpful to lose muscle fascia and make it relaxed and more than ready for workouts. It can help you to keep your fascia healthier and your muscle strength and ensures mobility with ease.

Furthermore, massage guns are also associated with stimulating the nervous system and hormonal response. These influences on the nervous and hormonal systems reduce tiredness and pain, stimulate recovery, and ultimately level up motivation.

4. Massage Guns are Useful for Recovery

Massage Guns are Useful for Recovery

Massage guns are helpful in the recovery of post-workout muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness. Research shows that Massage gums are really beneficial in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Massage guns are more effective for DOMS as compared to traditional massage. Five-minute massage with a massage gun is equal to hours of traditional massage. Here we will discuss how massage guns increase recovery rate after work-out.

4.1. Reduce Soreness and Inflammation

Muscle soreness and inflammation can be treated easily with massage guns. Massage guns increase blood flow in the muscles. Post-workout soreness can be reduced by increasing the blood flow levels in the targeted muscles. 

4.2. Reduce Stiffness

Post-workout muscle stiffness causes pain. This stiffness in muscles makes them susceptible to injuries and fatigue. Furthermore, stiffness in muscles causes a feeling of tiredness and reduces mobility. 

Massage guns are very helpful to reduce stiffness in muscles even much better than a normal massage and soften the muscles. Relaxation of muscles prepares you for the next day's workout.  

4.3. Reduce Pain  

Aerobic conditioning takes time. Before aerobic conditioning, a hectic workout shifts aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration. In anaerobic respiration, the body produces lactic acid. This lactic acid accumulates in muscles. Lactic acid accumulation in muscles causes pain.

Massage guns help to release the accumulated lactic acid from muscles, reduce pain, and prepare you for the next day's workout routine. 

Reduce Pain 

5. Is Massage Gun Effective Before or After a Workout?

Many people use massage guns as pre and post-workout activities. Massage guns are beneficial both before and after a workout. These are helpful to increase mobility, prevent injuries, and speeding up recovery.

Let's discuss how massage guns are advantageous before and after exercise.

5.1. Use of Massage Gun Before a Workout

The use of massage guns before a workout helps to warm up the body and soften the stiff muscles. Stiff muscles reduce required fluid mobility and can get injured easily.

Furthermore, massage guns increase blood flow which is essential to increase oxygen and nutrients transport to working muscles. During workouts, the body needs oxygen, and nutrients to fulfill the energy needs of muscles.

5.2. Use of Massage Guns After a Workout

Massage guns are extensively recommended and used after workouts to recover from the tiring effects of exercise. It will reduce lactic acid accumulation to reduce pain and increase blood flow to reduce soreness. Massage guns relax you by softening tight muscles. 

6. Massage Guns Benefits

Massage guns are widely used by a lot of people, especially by martial artists and athletes before and after the activity to reduce the after-effects of workouts and quick recovery. Let's have a look at the benefits of massage guns.

6.1. Injury Prevention for Athletes

During workouts, athletes have to put on heavy weights and perform a lot of movements and positions. Tight and stiff muscles cannot be easily rotated due to reduced mobility. Such muscles can be exposed to injuries easily. 

Massage guns help to reduce stiffness in muscles and increase flexibility and help in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. In this way, massage guns are used for injury prevention.  

6.2. Stimulates the Nervous System

Massage guns to stimulate the nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for the normal functioning of muscles and the homeostasis of the whole body.

Furthermore, massage guns are also helpful to activate the sympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for emergency situations and increases blood flow levels to the required area.

As a counter to the sympathetic system, the parasympathetic system is also activated which relaxes body muscles and reduces muscle tension. Massage guns also help to release any pinched nerve during a workout.

6.3. Hormonal Changes

Massage guns are responsible for hormonal changes which cause feelings of relaxation and happiness. Percussive therapy activates the production of serotonin and dopamine.

6.4. Improves Lymphatic and Circulatory System

Increased blood flow and removal of waste from muscles are associated with muscle- health, mobility, and strength. 

Massage guns are helpful to stimulate nerves which are responsible to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing toxins and degraded materials from the body. Muscle contraction controls the lymphatic system. 

6.5. Lactic Acid Release

Massage guns remove accumulated lactic acid from muscles which is produced as a result of anaerobic respiration during a heavy workout. Massage guns stimulate the process of accumulation of lactic acid from muscles to blood.

The human body has its natural phenomenon to remove any extra chemicals from the blood by cleaning it in the kidneys and urination.

6.6. Quick Recovery

After working out in a daily routine, complete rest is essential to take a new start and continue your working out activity. Quick recovery is necessary to be motivated and focus on your exercise routine.

Massage Guns Benefits

7. Drawbacks of Massage Guns

Massage guns have a lot of benefits when used before or after a workout. To get these benefits an important thing about massage guns that needs attention is the intensity and stimulation levels.

If you use them aggressively, you can find soreness or also it can reduce the normal recovery rate. High-intensity vibrations or high pressure can cause muscle damage.

Furthermore, it can also cause soreness if you are not used to it. In the beginning, do not overuse it. To get the benefits of a massage gun, be careful with its pressure and intensity.

8. Scientific Research About Massage Gun

Researchers claim that massage guns are effective for -pain reduction after workouts or sports activities and reduce the risk of further muscle damage. Inflamed muscles can be recovered before the next day's workout by percussion therapy or massage guns.

A meta-analysis of 10 pieces of research explained that people who use massage gums feel a reduction in pain after 24 or 48 hours of workout as compared to those who did not do any massage or vibration therapy.

In this meta-analysis, it is also explained that an indicator of muscle damage, named creatine kinase (CK) is also reduced after 24 to 48 hours of vibrating therapy. (Leu et al., 2019).

Other studies explained that massage guns reduce pain sensation after a hectic workout and reduce the chances of injury in succeeding workout sessions (Iodice et al., 2019; Imtiyaz et al 2014).

Benito et al, 2019 explained that massage guns increased blood flow in the damaged areas. Increased blood flow takes many nutrients and removes waste materials which stimulates quick recovery.

9. When is the Time to Meet a Physiotherapist?

Massage guns are very good handheld devices to reduce your workout pain and speed up recovery. But if you feel pain in any bony area, a massage gun cannot help you to reduce pain. Now it is time you should visit your physiotherapist.

If you feel severe pain or aches or you are exposed to a tear, do not be in a hurry to use a massage gun to reduce pain. Take advice from your doctor before applying massage gun therapy.

10. Takeaways

Massage guns are very effective to reduce pain, and soreness and speeding up recovery after a workout. Massage guns increase blood flow in the targeted area and reduce tightness in muscles. You can also use massage guns before workouts to avoid any injury and to increase the mobility of muscles. 

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