What A Percussion Massager Is & How It Works
Does your lifestyle cause a lot of muscle pain and fatigue? Does it also keep you away from massage therapy sessions a lot? That sounds like a job for a percussion massager.
Athletes, fitness communities, and lifestyle blogs are all raving about these devices. So what’s all the buzz about?
In this article, we’ll walk through what percussion massagers are all about, and what they do.
What is a Percussion Massager?
Percussion massagers are nifty devices that deliver rapid therapeutic strokes deep into your muscle tissue. And their design has ways to emulate the likes of deep tissue massage.
Also known as massage guns, they’re the ideal shape for targeted massages. They’re also battery-operated and lightweight so you can use them anywhere. On top of that, their form factor also reflects ergonomics, intuitiveness, and durability.
In their compact housing are powerful machinery that give you the right massage intensity and depth for your needs. And the best ones have safety and convenience features, too – like advanced cooling mechanisms and silent operation.
They’re also highly modular without being overwhelming. Every good percussion massager offers a variety of attachment heads for different muscle groups and intended results. And each session often involves swapping them out a few times.
How does it work?
A massage gun triggers a number of chain reactions that translate to an array of health benefits. From faster muscle recovery to significant stress release, they all start with the following:
Stretching your muscle fibers
A study shows that a percussion massager is capable of stimulating your muscle spindles. This gives you benefits similar to that of stretching.
Consequently, your muscles see a significant boost in flexibility, making you less prone to pain and injury. Along with that, the improved muscle performance lends you more power and finesse in your movements.
Increasing your blood flow
As it hammers at your muscles, the percussion massager also stimulates more blood flow. And as simple as that sounds, you’d actually notice what happens next right away.
More blood flow means more heat and oxygen to the muscles. This primes you for intense physical activity, which is good news if you’re just about to work out.
More blood flow also means more nutrient flow. These important nutrients allow your muscles to rebuild faster and suffer less from Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
Breaking up muscle tension
Muscle knots are painful, persistent, and physically small bouts of muscle tension. And percussion massagers are capable of targeting these areas and releasing the tension.
Eliminating muscle knots also unblocks the lymphatic passages that they might have pinched. And a smoother lymphatic flow actually improves both your metabolism and immune system.
Blocking pain signals to your brain
The percussive action of a massage gun temporarily desensitizes the muscles from soreness, lowering your stress hormone levels. This also allows your device to work on your muscles for long enough to stimulate recovery.
Consequently, any state of unrest or worry (which soreness also does to you) becomes a state of relaxation. This results in being less anxious and more rational – and sleeping better to boot.
Using your Percussion Massager
A few button presses gets you all set for a pro-level self-massage. Its operation looks fairly foolproof, but plenty can go wrong with how you apply it. That said, taking a mindful and informed approach is key to getting the most benefit out of it.
The Right Way
Select the appropriate attachment for your target muscle group to get started. And with subtle adjustments to your timing and technique, you could reap several benefits with your percussion massager:
- Warming up – “Float” the device around your target muscle group for 30 seconds or less. This, paired with your warm up routine, makes for a more fruitful workout.
- Preventing DOMS – Use this right after your workout and during active recovery days. Lightly massage each target muscle group for up to 2 minutes. You can also pair it with your cool down routine or even recovery workouts.
- Relieving muscle knots – A bullet attachment is your best bet here. This ought to help you with even the toughest spots. Give it 15 to 30 seconds to untangle the problem area.
- Relaxation and better sleep – There’s no need for speed and intensity here. While chilling before bedtime, gently go over your tired muscles for no more than 10 minutes.
The Wrong Way
The whole point of using a percussion massager is to feel better. And you should reconsider your approach if you feel genuine discomfort. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you could be risking serious damage.
For instance, using it on bones and small ligaments can cause fractures and tears. That’s because neither of these have the elasticity to handle such intensity.
This is also true with torn muscles. What any major injury needs most is a proper opportunity to heal. So spare your injuries from friendly fire by keeping your massage gun away from them.
While a percussion massager can be a lot of fun, it’s not a toy by any means. Its approachable and travel-friendly design packs years of professional massages at your beck and call.
And the secret behind that is simple: the percussion massager does a few things, but it does them well. The genius behind its therapeutic benefits is all down to its ability to influence our basic physiological processes. And that’s what makes it feel at home in just about any lifestyle.
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