Are Massage Guns Dangerous? Not If You Use Them Correctly!

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are massage guns dangerous

When it comes to muscle pain and soreness, most people will either turn to a massage therapist or use a massage gun. They’re very popular right now, but are these devices actually safe? Some experts say that using a massage gun can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know how to use it properly. So before you start using one of these guns, make sure you understand the risks involved. Let’s take a closer look at the question are massage guns dangerous?

How does a massage gun work?

A massage gun is designed to mimic the effects that a massage therapist can provide using their hands and fingers to apply pressure and help soothe sore, tired muscles. They work in a different way though, by using vibration and deep oscillation to massage the muscles. This can help to increase circulation and relieve tension in your muscles. Most are battery-operated, with many using batteries that are rechargeable. That means you can use them anywhere and they are easier to take along with you on the go too.

Does using a massage gun hurt?

Some people report feeling discomfort when they first start using their massage gun, but most find it provides relief from muscle pain and soreness. Of course, each person will have a different level of tolerance as well as how severe their pain is and where they are experiencing it.

Here’s how to use a massage gun:

  • First, press the switch to turn it on (before you put it on your body). Start with a low speed.
  • Massage guns are battery operated and come equipped with a speed control so that you can choose how fast you want it to vibrate. Increase the speed to your preferred level once you get used to the feel of the vibration therapy on your muscles.
  • It usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cover your entire body. Glide it along the muscle, and spend no longer than 2-3 minutes on any particular muscle group.
  • Once you are finished, clean the device with an alcohol based disinfectant wipe. You should not submerge any part of your massage gun in water, since it is designed to be used externally only.

Who is the typical massage gun user?

Massage guns are often used by people who are completing intense workouts. They are also popular with athletes, dancers, and even office workers who are concerned about building up muscle tension throughout the day. Many people are turning to these devices because they are easy to use and are non-invasive. They are suitable for the majority of people as anyone can have muscle stiffness or soreness, no matter how fit or strong we are.

When it comes to your health, are massage guns dangerous or safe? Here are some things to consider when you are thinking about using a massage gun at home.

Professional grade massage guns can cause discomfort

Better-quality models are designed for professional use. While they are constructed with consumers in mind, they can give a very intense massage and can cause muscle damage if used improperly. For example, the Theragun PRO, with a stall force of 60 lbs and a 16 mm amplitude, is a popular choice with sports professionals and athletes. They are generally used to receiving very deep tissue massage and often have dense muscle that needs a more powerful treatment.

For the average person, the Theragun at higher levels can feel uncomfortable and even painful. Theragun does have 4 different models to choose from though, so you don’t have to opt for the most expensive PRO model unless you need it. Take a look at the Theragun Elite or Prime or even the Mini instead.

Not as good as a massage therapist for muscle related injuries

Many people think that these guns are suitable substitutes for massages given by massage therapists. A massage gun is perfectly adequate for normal, day-to-day massage. But what if you’ve got a muscle-related injury?

massage therapist giving a massage

A massage therapist or physical therapist are the best people to treat this kind of problem. So if you are using a gun and notice an injury or inflammation, stop using it immediately and make sure that you are only using it on healthy muscles. Using a massage gun on an injured part of the body can exacerbate the problem and possibly even cause more damage.

Massage guns are suitable for some, but not all muscles

Third, massage guns are better suited to certain muscle groups than others. If you are thinking about buying one of these devices but are unsure which muscle group is best treated with them, you should consider the following:

  • The upper body – including the shoulders, back and arms are well suited to this type of device.
  • The lower body – including the buttocks, thighs and calves are also good areas for a massage gun.
  • It is not recommended to use massage guns on the abdomen, chest or neck as these are less dense muscle groups requiring lighter pressure. You should avoid bony areas such as the spine, head and the pelvis.

Not all are made equal

Not all massage guns are the same. The truth is that there are cheap models available for as little as $50, and expensive professional-grade devices worth over $600. They are often very different in the quality of massage they can provide. The cheap ones of course are always less powerful so are less likely to cause any damage. Expensive, top-of-the-range massage guns have the power to give a great deep tissue massage, but also are more capable of causing damage if used incorrectly. For the average users, it’s usually best to invest in a mid-priced middle-of-the-range model.

Massage gun safety tips

  1. Start slow when using a professional grade device so that you are able to adjust the level of pressure before it becomes uncomfortable.
  2. Keep your sessions brief – between five and ten minutes is plenty long enough for a massage gun session. 15-20 minutes max if you’re going all-in for a full body massage.
  3. This device can be dangerous if used on injured muscles or incorrect areas of the body, so make sure you are only using it where it’s safe to do so. If you’ve got a suspected sprained muscle or pulled ligament, don’t use a massage gun without consulting a professional.
  4. Always check with a professional to see if you are eligible for massage therapy and get their advice before using these devices. It’s also a good idea to ask around your friends and acquaintances for recommendations of certified therapists in your area.
  5. Use your massage gun with care and follow all safety instructions in the manual to avoid any mishaps.

So are massage guns dangerous?

In many respects, they are very safe when used correctly on healthy muscle groups. However, some can be pretty powerful so of course, it’s possible to do damage with a massage gun if used incorrectly. If you are unsure how to use it or are in any pain, you should stop making this device your go-to self treatment option and instead contact a professional. A professional will not only have the experience to treat your problem correctly, but they are also qualified to give you advice on how best to use a massage gun at home.

About James Hall

James H is the main author of Handheld Massager Guide. He is a self-confessed "fitness freak", currently spending his time blogging and training for a marathon. He is passionate about the benefits of massage for muscle recovery and loves testing & reviewing gadgets to improve performance.

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