Athletics is so much tougher than people give it credit for. When watching events like the Olympics, or major sporting tournaments like Wimbledon or the World Cup, you’ll often hear armchair criticism from people who couldn’t possibly achieve the same things that athletes achieve on a daily basis. It’s a sad fact of life, but the reality is that athletics is incredibly difficult, whether it’s getting fit enough to compete, consistently achieving at a high level, or dealing with injuries, it’s hard to be a professional athlete.
With that in mind, if you are a professional athlete – or a sportsperson of any description – then it’s important for you to look after your body and make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximise your healing post-workout or post-game. Massage guns can be an excellent way of doing this. They target your muscles and provide spot relief for aches and pains; they can also speed up recovery so you’re ready to go for the next workout.
If you’ve never heard of massage guns, here’s a quick briefing on what exactly they are. In essence, a massage gun does what it says it does: it’s a device that resembles a drill, and it “hammers” (although that word is perhaps a little more aggressive than the actual action is) your muscles in order to relieve aches and pains. Most guns have varying speeds and settings to allow you to target your muscles in the most effective way possible.
Who are Massage Guns good for?
There’s a long list of professional athletes who are big fans of using massage guns. Professional basketballer Kyrie Irving is fond of using them during games to relieve momentary muscle pain, and it’s not just him. Fellow basketballers Blake Griffin and Rudy Gay are also massage gun converts, and although preferences regarding brand change (as they often will), many other NBA players are also keen on massage guns for the short-term health benefits they can provide.
The world of basketball isn’t the only world that favours the massage gun as a post-game relief method. Pro soccer players Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd swear by massage guns (or “percussion therapy guns”, as they’re sometimes referred to), and you’ll also find them in the health regimes of sportspeople as diverse as pro footballer Nick Foles, skier Lindsey Vonn, and track & field aficionado Lauren Collins. Massage guns aren’t just for sports, after all!
Did you also know that massage guns are used by many other people of great knowledge and understanding? It’s true – prominent producer and impresario DJ Khaled is a fan, as is Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. You may also see massage guns in the dressing rooms of actress Olivia Fox, model Ashley Graham, and rapper-come-mogul Diddy, among others. It’s fair to say that massage guns have their fair share of celebrity users, so you’re in good company if you decide to grab one!
How do Massage Guns work?
In essence, the methodology here is the same as you would see for a foam roller or a trigger point ball, if you’ve used those. They’re surfaces that roll over the muscle, helping to increase blood flow to an affected area and thus to relieve pressure and tension. You can use them either before your workout to promote blood flow, or afterwards to help you cool down. It all depends on what your particular need is!
The difference between massage guns and the aforementioned devices is that massage guns are great at targeting very small, very specific areas. If you know it’s a specific muscle that’s giving you grief, a massage gun can be excellent; you just switch the gun on, apply it to the affected area, and feel the pain dissipate. This is in contrast to foam rollers, which usually apply to wider areas and don’t necessarily have as effective a range when it comes to pressure relief.
Do massage Guns Work?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. Research has shown that using a massage gun to relieve muscle soreness is at least as effective as receiving a professional massage if it’s done right. This will come as especially good news if you’ve ever suffered from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which usually comes after a really solid workout and makes day-to-day activities significantly more difficult.
A massage gun therefore has the added benefit not only of improving your overall muscle health, but also of meaning you don’t need to go and visit a professional masseuse (depending on how bad the problem is, of course). This can be a significant expense, and in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting a professional therapist may not be a step you’re willing to take. If it’s not, just invest in a massage gun instead – you’ll be glad you did!
Time Limit with Massage Guns
There is one caveat to remember when it comes to massage guns, and that’s this: don’t use them for too long. A massage gun can be a powerful implement, and you don’t want to keep the pressure up on the affected area for too long, as you could start doing damage to your muscles. In addition, if you’ve recently undergone some serious surgery near that area or you’ve had an injury, you should talk to a medical professional before using a massage gun to make sure that it’s safe for you.
So, that’s the beauty and magic of massage guns – they’re safe, they’re effective, and they’re favoured by professional athletes, sportspeople, and even musicians and actresses alike! Are you using a massage gun? What’s your favourite brand?