If you’re suffering from general body aches and pain, you might visit a massage therapist. If, however, you’re an athlete, that trains regularly, and puts your body through stress and strain, there are many benefits a percussion massager may promote.
But, let’s start at the beginning. What is a percussion massager? A percussion massager is a handheld device that applies pressure to muscles and soft tissue. But, it’s not your traditional massage. Think of the pressure similar to that of a deep tissue massage.
The percussion massager applies concentrated pressure to areas where muscles are tight, soft tissue needs healing or areas where you have knots you need to remove. So, now that you know what these little handheld devices are, what are they used for, who will benefit from use, and what are the primary percussion massager benefits? Let’s delve in and answer these questions.
Percussion Massager Uses
There are several reasons one might choose to utilize the power of a percussion massager. Yes, the primary users are athletes; this, however, doesn’t mean average individuals who don’t put their bodies through extreme exercise, can’t benefit from using the massager. Anyone can use them, whether they exercise or not! So, what are some of the reasons to use a percussion massager?
A percussion massager can help you with general aches and body discomfort. The pulsating effect of the massager penetrates deep into soft tissue and works out knots, soreness, and pain you’re feeling. It’s important, however, to realize the difference between pain and an injury. A percussion massager shouldn’t be used to treat an injury. As it applies so much pressure, it can cause further aggravation. If you’re suffering from a sports injury, talk to your doctor or physical therapist first. But, if it is soreness, numbing, knots, and general body aches, dig away with your percussion massager.
If you’re rehabilitating after an injury, the percussion massager can help greatly. Some of the benefits here include
- Increasing/improving your range of motion and mobility
- Helps increase nerve stimulation and response
- Helps with circulation and blood flow to a region of the body you’re treating
- Increase muscle strength with the help of contractions by the percussion massager and continually targeting the same muscle group
- Prevent non-use atrophy and improve reflex response rates
After an injury, many people shy away from reintegrating the body part and working out again. A percussion massager will help you through the rehab process. Although it is painful, it will help you get back on your feet faster than if you weren’t utilizing this powerful piece of equipment.
Obviously, if you’re training hard and train regularly, your body takes a beating. Namely those athletes that put it all in each time they work out. The use of the percussion massager will help with general body and tissue repair after your workouts. It will help keep you nimble, loosen up tension, and help release lactic acid buildup after strenuous workouts. Enhanced muscle strength and recovery are achieved with the percussion massager, at a rate that’s far faster than traditional hand massage or stimulation will produce.
Some added percussion massager benefits for those who train regularly include:
- Relieve muscle tightness
- Alleviate stress placed on the bones and joints
- Help with blood circulation and flow
- Increase oxygen and nutrient levels in the muscles
- Reduce fatigue and soreness
All of this means you’re ready to go a little faster, stronger, and with a little less recovery, for your next intense workout or training session.
A percussion massage gun can be used to treat cellulite. Just move the massager in a rhythmic motion over problem areas on the body, which causes vibration and stimulates blood flow. This type of stimulation can help break down fat deposits while also helping with lymphatic drainage.
The technology behind a massage gun is not highly complex, but it is effective for treating cellulite-related problems. The vibrations created by the device have been found to have a stimulating effect on connective tissues, which can then help to tone and tighten them up. Some people find that they get better results after several weeks of daily treatments, but it will depend on each person’s unique body chemistry and biology. Some people unfortunately have worse cellulite than others.
Again, it’s not just the athlete who can benefit from the percussion massager. If you’re an overly stressed person, it is a great way to alleviate stress by releasing muscle knots. It can help with general wellness, and although painful, can help with relaxation (after the massager is used). It increases myofascial release by applying sustained pressure to connective tissues. This can help reduce knots, tightness, and general discomfort.
Yes, the percussion massager can be painful depending on what you’re treating (or if you use it incorrectly). But, it will greatly help improve general wellness and well-being if utilized properly.
Who Will Benefit from the use of a Percussion Massager?
Anyone can benefit from using the percussion massager, as it helps with general body discomfort, pain, and tension relief. However, those who are most likely to benefit from the use of a percussion massager include
- Athletes who perform strenuous exercise and place high levels of stress on bones, joints, and tendons
- Individuals who are in rehab and recovering from an injury (often sports injury)
- Individuals who want to speed up the recovery process (again, usually athletes)
- Those with tension, soreness, and body aches from sitting at a desk all day or doing a sedentary job
As you can see, the individual who will use the percussion massager varies. And, the areas which they’ll treat, are also going to vary, based upon the pain and discomfort they’re suffering from. But, there’s no single individual who the massager is geared towards. Anyone can use it, and benefit from the intense pressure it produces, as long as they understand it’s not a Sunday spa day massage they’re going to get from these powerful machines!
Primary Percussion Massager Benefits
Several percussion massager benefits exist for those who harness the power of these powerful massagers. Some of the primary benefits users will instantly experience include
- Myofascial release, helps with eliminating tight knots, body tightness, and general soreness of the connective tissues
- Increase blood flow and circulation
- Alleviate body aches, pain, and discomfort
- Faster recovery from workouts
- Improve your range of motion in areas where tightness exists
- Relieve stress and tension
It can also be used after surgical procedures or medical treatment to help break down scar tissue formation. Wellness benefits include better sleep, improving digestion, eliminating toxins, enhancing the immune system, and improving organ/tissue repair, among others. Due to the relaxation and stretching of the muscle, tissue, and fascia, the percussion massager can also help increase range, flexibility, and overall body motion.
It can even help in treating certain conditions including
- TMJ/facial soreness
- Shin splints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle cramps
Remember, as noted above, it shouldn’t be used as a treatment for major injuries. Things like lumbar injuries, cardiovascular disease, certain types of (and chronic) back pain, pregnancy, and other medical conditions, should be discussed with your doctor, to set up a viable treatment plan. However, if you suffer from certain pain, discomfort, or tightness (and some of the conditions listed above), the percussion massager benefits are going to be felt instantly, with routine use of this powerful massaging device.
How to use the Percussion Massager
Okay, you’re obviously intrigued by the many percussion massager benefits and uses, but how exactly is it used? A percussion massager typically has a rotating head, with adjustable cones or balls you attach to the end of it. It’s important to note that most percussion massagers are noisy, and can deliver 2400 percussions per minute (or more). So, make sure you are properly prepared for this level of pressure, which is far greater than any traditional massage will produce.
With the handheld device in hand, you’ll simply
- Push the on/off switch
- Utilize the attachment head to dig into the area of the body you’re treating
- Adjust the speed settings (for more/less pressure)
- Move the percussion massager to different areas of the body you want to treat
It’s a handheld device, so you have a great degree of range and control as to where you’ll apply the pressure. It’s fairly straightforward with most massagers, and you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of uses. Again, depending on the areas you’re treating, the amount of time, pressure, and attachment head you’ll use will vary for each individual who is using the percussion massager for pain relief, or to treat an injury they’re nursing.
And the Verdict… Is a Percussion Massager Right for you?
It depends! It’s important to note that there are several different percussion massagers available. Pressure, noise levels, and different attachments (usability features) are going to vary with each model. So, the first thing you’ll want to do if you want to experience percussion massager benefits is to find the right model for your intended purpose.
Let’s start by saying who the percussion massager ISN’T for. If you are sensitive to any small amount of pressure, don’t like loud noise, and prefer a Sunday spa day over working out, you’re probably not going to benefit from the percussion massager.
Who is it for?
- Individuals who want quick recovery
- Individuals who want improved body motion and range
- Those who are in rehab or recovering from injuries
- Individuals who want general wellness and well-being improvements felt instantaneously throughout their bodies.
- Anyone needing a portable massager (they’re light and easy to carry around – some are even TSA-approved to carry on a plane)
It’s important to remember, that athletes are the primary users of the percussion massager, but anyone can use and benefit from it. You must be willing to accept it can be painful, and it will dig deep into troubled areas to remove knots and compression. This is the purpose of the massager!
So, as long as you’re willing to allow the deep tissue massager to work its magic, you are someone who might benefit from using it.
See our top percussion massager picks here