Massage guns - Do they really work?

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Massage Guns – Do they really work?

Seen as an advancement from the classic foam roller, Massage Guns have gained popularity over the past couple of years, but are they worth the hype? Are they just a fad?

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It’s important o fist establish why we are using the massage gun. What is our desired outcome? This will ultimately play a role in whether or not Massage Guns are seen as successful tool to use.

What are Massage guns?

Massage Guns are considered a form of ‘self-myofascial’ release and are often used for both therapeutic use and in sports practice. The general aim of the massage gun is to reduce muscular tension, increase flexibility in musculoskeletal tissues, reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and accelerate recovery.

The typical Massage gun vibrates at different speeds and intensities with various soft attachment ‘heads’ to use, all depending on the area of use. Due to this, they can target specific muscle areas and be used on smaller structures compared to foam rollers; making it the more favourable tool.

Do Massage Guns really work?

Due to the Massage Gun being a fairly recent invention, research around its use is limited somewhat. The massage tool has been previously promoted as an aid to activate muscles in a warm-up before exercise. Through the limited research for this claim, the overall conclusion of this investigation found that the device, when used as part of a warm-up before maximal jumping, did not increase muscle activation and therefore has no effect on jump performance.

Researchers did find when considering the use of a Massage Gun to improve flexibility and reduce tightness, that the results were a little more positive. It was found that it reduced muscle stiffness and general muscle tightness and therefore increased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Furthermore, it has been reported that after one week of a single 5-minute daily hamstring and lower back massage using the massage gun, participants’ lower back flexibility improved.

The problem with this finding is, as it is a self-used tool; trying to reach the hamstrings and your lower back by yourself may be slightly challenging! So, if you have somebody that can help you, you may find it more beneficial.

Should we buy a Massage Gun?

To conclude, it is found that Massage Guns are helpful in reducing muscular tightness but are not particularly beneficial in improving performance. Using the massage gun alongside regular stretching, deep tissue massages and the regular use of foam rollers is the most favourable option. If you are looking to specifically improve your performance, we wouldn’t rely on a Massage Gun for this purpose.

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