Massage Gun Pros and Cons – Should You Buy One?

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If you’re a fitness enthusiast, then you know that massage is key for keeping your muscles healthy and functioning properly. But what if you don’t have a lot of time to spare for traditional massages? Or what if you’re recovering from an injury and need regular massages to help speed up the healing process? In cases like these, a massage gun may be the perfect solution. These handy little devices offer all the benefits of traditional massages, but with much less time (and money) commitments. Sounds great, right? Well, before you run out and buy one, there are some things you should know about massage guns. Let’s take a look at massage gun pros and cons before you try one for yourself.

Massage Gun Pros

Massage guns are portable

Whether you want to use it at home, at the gym, or at work, massage guns are small enough to fit into a backpack or briefcase and light enough to carry wherever you go. Throw it in the trunk of your car, or if you’re traveling abroad some are even TSA approved so you can bring it on a plane.

They can be used on most areas of the body

You can massage many different areas of the body using a massage gun, even your feet! The device is designed for massaging areas of muscle, so keep it away from bony parts of the body, particularly the head and face. Also, avoid the spinal area. There are different massage gun heads available for different parts of the body.

The gun’s vibrations help break down knots in muscles

If you suffer from muscle knots you’ll know how painful these can be. A muscle knot is an area of tense, contracted muscle fibers that can occur in any muscle, but most often in the back, neck or legs. Also known as a myofascial trigger point, this “knot like” tightness or contraction in the muscle needs to be released to feel relief from the pain it causes. The vibration of a massage gun can help to reduce knots and tightness in the muscle.

You can use a massage gun before or after exercising to relieve soreness

A massage gun is a great way to warm up the muscles before exercise, but can also be used after working out to help prevent DOMs. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the soreness you feel in muscles a day or two after a hard workout. While you can’t prevent it completely, using a massage gun can lessen the effects of DOMs and help muscles to recover quicker after working out.

It is easy to find an ergonomic design that will fit your hand comfortably

Most massage guns are the “gun grip” type shape that fit comfortably in your hand and can easily be used to target any muscle. There are other ergonomic designs like that of the Theragun’s triangle multi grip ergonomic handle. Because you can grip the device in different ways, you can hold it easily without added strain to your arms or hands.

You can use it while you’re watching TV, reading a book, or anything else you’re doing at home

Massage guns are easy to use, with no need for oil or lotions. You can apply the gun to bare skin or over clothing, and you can use it anywhere. A massage gun doesn’t require any special skills so you can easily use it while doing something else.

Massage guns are easy to control

You can control the speed of the massage with a simple turn of a dial, or press of a button. Most massage guns come with a number of different speeds. Just start off slow and build up to the speed you require. Most people never use the top speeds of a massage gun (unless they need to) as the vibration can be quite intense. It’s easy to control the pressure of a massage gun too – just press harder with the massage gun for a deeper massage, or ease off for a lighter massage. A good-quality massage gun can have a stall force of up to 60 lbs (this is the weight of force you can apply using the massager before it stalls).

Cheaper than a massage therapist

Deep tissue massage therapy can be costly and averages about $100 per session. If you need regular massage, this is classed almost as a luxury because it can get so expensive. However, massage is such an effective and natural treatment it should be available to everyone. Luckily, it IS in the form of the many massage devices available. From massage guns, to massage mats, to chair pads, to foot massagers – there’s something for everyone. While these do come at a cost, this is just a one-time cost and is an investment that will save you many hundreds of dollars in the long run. A massage gun typically costs about $200-$300 for a good quality device that will last, but there are cheap massage guns available too.

As you can see, there are a lot of pros to investing in a massage gun, however, there are a few cons to take into consideration too. Take a look at the following:

Massage Gun Cons

Massage guns are not as effective as a professional massage if treating an injury

If you’re treating a particular muscle issue or injury it’s best to consult a physical therapist or massage therapist before you use a massage gun. They can show you exactly how (and where) to use it on your body to get the best results.

They can be dangerous if used incorrectly

If you buy a massage gun make sure to read the manual! Yes, the device is very easy to use – usually, you just charge it, switch it on, choose a speed and start using it. However, there are certain parts of the body you should NOT use a massage gun on. Don’t apply it to bony areas, and keep it away from the head, face and neck. If treating an injury you must consult a professional first, as a massage gun incorrectly applied to the wrong place could end up causing more harm than good.

It’s hard to reach some areas of your back with the gun

Most people won’t have a problem reaching around and using a massage gun on the upper and lower back. However, for those with less mobility or flexibility, it can be difficult to target the lower back properly (unless you have a friend or family member to help). You also have less control over how much pressure you’re applying when using a gun on difficult to reach places versus someone else doing it for you manually.

The following is a great video that gives some tips on how best to reach the lower back when massaging yourself:

Not everyone likes the sensation of a massage gun

A massage gun can be difficult to use for people with sensitive skin and who don’t enjoy the vibration. There are different heads you can try, but ultimately for those with sensitive skin, a device like this probably isn’t suitable. The vibration from the massager can be too intense, even at lower levels.

A good massage gun is quite expensive

For a good massage gun you can expect to pay $200-300. If you really want to go high-end and get the best of the best, you can pay up to $600. There are cheaper massage guns available (Amazon is full of massage guns with sub $100 prices). Unfortunately, a lot of these unknown Chinese brand models lack customer service and warranty information like you would find with more well-known massagers. Often, they end up with problems quite early on e.g. massage gun not turning on, battery not holding charge etc.

Massage Gun Pros and Cons – Should You Buy One?

If you’ve been considering purchasing a massage gun, in our opinion they are a great purchase for most people. We’ve taken a detailed look at the pros and cons of massage gun devices, and found that the pros far outweigh the cons. Research shows that a massage gun can provide relief from muscle spasms and pain as well as improve blood circulation which helps with detoxification. It is also very easy to use because all you have to do is plug in the power cord, adjust your settings for desired speed, and away you go!

We’ve reviewed the best massage guns on the market here – check it out before making your purchase decision.

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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