More and more people are experiencing the benefits of the Pro Massage Gun, such as preventing injury, increasing flexibility, and speeding up recovery.
This is because massage guns are incredibly convenient. You can take them anywhere and use them on yourself whenever you need to.
But can a massage gun replace physiotherapy? The short answer is: ‘no’. A massage gun cannot identify an injury, and while it has many benefits, it should not be used on an injury unless instructed by a professional.
If you’re a regular gym-goer looking for ways to enhance your performance, then a massage gun could be the answer. However, if you have an injury that needs professional assessment, you should consult a physiotherapist.
One can also complement the other - a massage gun can be used alongside physiotherapy when used correctly.
But which is right for you, physiotherapy or a massage gun? Let’s break down some of the common reasons you might be looking for some assistance and discuss which tool is best.
When used correctly, massage guns are great for preventing injury. You can use a massage gun to warm up your muscles before exercise and increase flexibility, thus helping to prevent injury. (1)
To use your massage gun for a warm-up, run it over any muscles you plan on using for 30-40 seconds over each muscle group.
You can also run your percussion massager across muscle groups for up to two minutes post-workout to shift lactic acid build-up and quicken muscle recovery.
Although a massage gun can help prevent injury, so too can a physiotherapist. If you have any areas where you commonly feel pain or become easily injured, then a physiotherapist can best advise you on injury prevention.
Injury prevention may involve adjusting your posture or sleeping position. It may be that an area of your body is weakened from a previous injury, and a physiotherapist can give you some exercises to strengthen that particular area of your body.
Your physiotherapist may also be able to advise you on how best to use a massage gun for injury prevention. For example, you can use your massage gun on tight areas in your neck and back to help improve your posture.
Stretching and Flexibility
Improving your mobility can massively increase your overall health and wellness, reduce body aches and pains, and make various exercises easier.
A massage gun can improve your flexibility when used consistently; this is because massage guns improve blood flow and increase range of motion. (1)
If you’re just looking to improve your overall flexibility and finally reach a target you’ve been aiming for, such as a split, then a massage gun could be a great investment. With a massage gun, you can give yourself frequent, deep tissue massages without having to pay for a professional each time.
One effective method is to use a massage gun on an area you want to stretch for 30-40 seconds before extending. You’ll find that you can go deeper than before, thus making your movement more effective.
Of course, a physiotherapist can also help improve your flexibility. They will usually work out a routine tailored to your needs, and you will need to stretch from home. If you have a particular area you’re concerned about that often feels tight, then a physiotherapist might be best.
It’s important to be aware that, if stretching does not relieve a feeling of tightness, it could be a sign of hypermobility, which is where the muscles are too flexible. You should speak with a physiotherapist if you think you might have hypermobility, as stretching might worsen your condition.
Healing From an Injury
If you have suffered a serious injury, you might be eager to get back in the gym. However, it’s important to take time to recover so that you don’t injure yourself further.
Any severe injury, such as one requiring surgery, should be overseen by a professional such as a physiotherapist. You may have been unable to exercise for some time, and your muscles could be weak and unbalanced.
A physio will work with you through a post-surgical rehabilitation program to help you regain your strength safely. Many physiotherapists work with massage guns, and they may show you how to use one safely with your injuries in mind, but you should get the all-clear with them first before you start using one.
Managing a Physical Limitation
Whether you were born with a limitation or a limitation was caused by a traumatic event or disease, it can be very frustrating when you can’t perform to the degree that you want to.
If you have a physical limitation, a physiotherapist can help you to better manage your condition. They’re professionals in advising you on the best tools to use to make your daily life easier to manage, which might include the use of a massage gun.
Having a baby puts a lot of stress on the mind and body. Many doctors recommend postpartum massage to relieve pain, inflammation, stress, and lack of sleep.
However, it may be impossible to find the time and money for frequent professional massages as a new mum.
With a massage gun, you can give yourself massages from the comfort of your home. For example, you can gently massage your legs and hips to relieve pain. You can also ask your partner to massage your back.
For safety, don’t run a percussive massager over the spine, and do not stay on any muscle group for more than 2 minutes. Keep your massage gun on a low setting, and stop if you feel any pain.
When used correctly, your massage gun can make a big difference to your recovery and even your mood. Studies have even shown that having a back massage in the days following pregnancy can significantly reduce anxiety and stress! (2)
Physiotherapists also work with postpartum women to strengthen areas that may have been stretched or weakened during pregnancy.
If you have a pelvic floor, bladder, or bowel problem, or anything else that you may be concerned about, then you should seek a physiotherapist with experience working with new mums.
If you don’t have any specific concerns but are looking for ways to aid your recovery, then a massage gun could be a great tool for you.
Tech Neck Relief
If you’re constantly suffering from a sore neck and back due to looking at your computer or phone all day, then a percussion massager is a great way to find some relief.
For neck relief, run your massage gun around your neck, back and shoulders without staying on any muscle group for longer than a minute. Move it slowly across your body while breathing deeply, and stop for a few seconds anywhere you feel a knot.
Not only will this help relieve tension from your muscles, it’s also a great way to relax at the end of the day and switch off from work.
If you’re looking for a way to recover faster after working out so you can get back in the gym and keep taking your fitness to the next level, then a massage gun could quickly become your new best friend.
For faster recovery, use the massage gun on any muscle you worked out for no longer than two minutes each. This will help bring your muscles back to a resting state while keeping blood circulation strong to send oxygen-rich blood to your fatigued muscles. (3)
Massage guns and physiotherapy each have a host of incredible benefits. Which one is right for you depends on your individual needs, and while using both together may be best, massage guns tend to be more convenient.
If you’re concerned about an injury or an area of tightness in your body, it’s best to seek professional advice. Your physiotherapist may recommend a massage gun, and they will show you how to use it with your injury in mind.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to improve your flexibility, prevent future injuries, and enhance gym performance, then you should incorporate a massage gun into your routine.
- Lyu, B. J., Lee, C. L., Chang, W. D., & Chang, N. J. (2020). Effects of Vibration Rolling with and without Dynamic Muscle Contraction on Ankle Range of Motion, Proprioception, Muscle Strength and Agility in Young Adults: A Crossover Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(1), 354.
- Jahdi, F., Mehrabadi, M., Mortazavi, F., & Haghani, H. (2016). The Effect of Slow-Stroke Back Massage on the Anxiety Levels of Iranian Women on the First Postpartum Day. Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 18(8), e34270.
- Imtiyaz, S., Veqar, Z., & Shareef, M. Y. (2014). To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 8(1), 133–136.