Practising sports and leading an active lifestyle have so many benefits. But there are also a couple of drawbacks. One of these is muscle soreness, pain, and long recovery times, which can affect your performance, are not addressed. A massage gun is a great option to reduce pain and promote recovery, allowing you to get back on track in no time; but can you use it every day?
You can use a massage gun every day, but for no longer than two minutes on a muscle group. Since massage guns already boast a degree of penetration, avoid added pressure and continue gliding it over the muscles. Don’t use it on injured joints, sprained muscles, inflamed areas.
So, a massage gun can be your best friend when it comes down to recovering after a workout. Below, you will find out all you need to use this device correctly and with the best results.
What Is a Massage Gun?
A massage gun is a simple handheld device that provides massage therapy known as percussion or vibration therapy. You might have experienced this feeling when a professional masseur applies light strikes to a specific muscle group.
Percussive massagers such as massage guns create rhythmic bursts of pressure. As they oscillate at a backward and forward movement they apply pressure to the body’s muscle tissue. This can yield several benefits for individuals suffering from chronic muscle pain.
Massage Guns as a Self-Myofascial Release Therapy
Massage guns are also a tool used as a self-myofascial release therapy. These treatments belong to the category of alternative medicine. Myofascial massaging tools have been seen to be effective in relieving muscle pain and soreness. Indeed, in medical fields such as osteopathy and chiropractic, muscle soreness is believed to be connected to the fascia.
The fascia is a thin layer of elastic connective tissue that has the main task of protecting the underneath body structures, such as muscles, joints, and ligaments. The fascia can lose its elasticity and become tight, sore, and harder due to factors such as:
- Sport and intense physical activity
- Limited stretching
- Bad posture
- Sedentary life
- Limited movement
Massage guns, just like other tools such as foam rollers, can treat the fascia, allowing it to stretch and regain its elasticity. However, unlike foam rollers, massage guns are much easier to operate. This makes them the preferred choice for athletes and individuals with reduced mobility.
What Is a Massage Gun For?
Massage guns are primarily used to relieve muscle knots that might form due to intense physical activity. These devices can reduce muscle soreness and pain, enhancing sports performance and allowing you to carry on with your daily activities.
However, the effects of massage guns go beyond that:
- They can effectively increase the blood flow in a specific area, which can help speed up recovery.
- They can reduce muscle tension and inflammation, which can be the consequence of intense physical activity or high stress levels.
- If used before a workout, massage guns can increase the muscles’ range of motion, improving performance.
- By decreasing inflammation, they might also be able to reduce the symptoms of chronic pain.
Depending on the results you are hoping to see from using a massage gun, there are different guidelines to follow.
How To Use a Massage Gun for Best Results
Using a massage gun is much easier than rolling on foam rolling to target a specific muscle group in the body. At the same time, massage guns apply powerful bursts of pressure on the body. It may be too intense at first - especially if this is your first time using a massage gun.
Massage guns are generally safe for everybody, but you should speak to your doctor if you believe you are pregnant. And, you should avoid using these guns on areas of your body that are injured or inflamed.
A massage gun can yield all the benefits you wish to see, but it is crucial to follow the proper instructions to avoid bruises and get the best massage.
In the video below, you can find an example of how to use your massage gun correctly to treat some hard-to-reach areas of your body. However, keep reading to find the tips you need for safe, prolonged use:
How Long To Use a Massage Gun
Depending on whether you are using a massage gun to relieve soreness or trying to reduce the symptoms of chronic pain, there will be different guidelines to follow.
You should generally use your massage gun following the manufacturer’s instructions, as each gun might have different settings and strengths. For example, for Theragun, you should treat each muscle group for a minimum of 15 second. But you should not exceed more than two minutes on them.
If you are giving yourself a full-body massage, this should not last longer than 15 minutes. However, you can repeat the massage up to three times per day. It is worth noting that if you have been experiencing pain in an injured area, you should avoid using the massage gun on it.
Some simple guidelines are the following ones:
Activate your muscles before a workout
Massaging your muscle groups for 30 seconds before a workout will activate your muscles and increase their range of motion. This characteristic can improve performance.
Energise your muscles during a workout
If your training is suffering because you feel fatigued, you can energise your muscles by massaging them with a gun for up to 15 seconds. While this is a short session, it can prevent spasms, cramps, and fatigue.
Speed up recovery after a workout
Treating your muscles for up to 2 minutes after a workout can reduce the recovery time and prevent soreness and pain.
If you are treating chronic muscle pain, you should speak to your doctor to identify what is the best solution for your needs.
Can You Use a Massage Gun Daily?
If you are using your massage gun correctly you can use your massage gun every day or multiple times in a day. However, if you are looking to treat a painful area, you might allow it to recover before a massage session and another.
A massage gun is a more accessible alternative than a traditional massage, so you should feel free to use it whenever you need it the most. Of course, it is essential to understand whether it is right for your body to do so.
A massage gun is an effective self-myofascial release therapy. Other techniques can help relieve the tension in your muscles, extend the fascia, and reduce muscle soreness. These might include dynamic stretching and foam rolling, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), and, to an extent, meditation.
So, instead of opting for a single approach every day, it is recommendable to combine the different techniques.
Who Should Use a Massage Gun Every Day?
Massage guns can be used by athletes and gym-goers alike. However, if you are thinking about using it every day, it is crucial to do so correctly and for short time-frames. Generally, the use of massage guns every day should be suitable for those who practice intense physical activity multiple times a week.
If you are not so active but you are still looking at a way to improve the flexibility, elasticity, and mobility of your muscles, there are some techniques that you can employ instead of a massage gun. These include foam rolling as well as other practices, including yoga and tai chi.
Can You Overuse a Massage Gun?
Among gym-goers, it is common to think that if a type of therapy or exercise produces discomfort or pain, it must be more effective. While this might be true for some aspects, it is not for massage guns.
Indeed, when gliding over a muscle group with your massage gun, you should not take pain as a hint to dwell more in that area. Indeed, by doing so, you might be adding unnecessary pressure to a bone or nerve bundle.
Unlike muscles, these areas don’t require this type of stimulation. When subjected to it, you might experience severe health consequences such as numbness of some areas of the body or neuropathy.
Can A Massage Gun Replace Expert Masseur?
If you are new to massage guns, you should also keep in mind that these devices cannot replace an expert masseur, masseuse, or osteopath. Unlike these skilled professionals, your massage gun won’t know whether the pressure is applied to the correct area or potentially ruining a vital nerve bundle.
Therefore, primarily if you practice sport at high levels, you should consider combining the use of your massage gun with the guidance of an expert masseur.
If you are using the gun on your own and without guidance, you should opt to only use it briefly after a workout or, if you don’t feel confident doing so, just on your rest days.
When using the massage gun on your muscle groups, you should only glide over them for up to two minutes and avoid all too sensitive or painful areas. Below, you will find some extra tips to use your massage gun safely and with the best results.
Extra Tips for Using a Massage Gun
Now that you have a clear idea, it is time to find out how to properly use your massage gun to obtain the results you want. Depending on your needs, you can achieve an endless range of benefits, from decreased pain to reduced inflammation to better sleep quality.
While a massage gun might not replace a masseur, it can be beneficial if you are looking for an effective, accessible, and affordable option to treat your muscles. The tips below can help you get started in all safety.
Find the Right Head
Firstly, it is essential to pick the right head for your massage gun. Depending on the area you are treating and the kind of massage you wish to enjoy, there is an array of options that you could choose from.
Below, we’ll explore the most common options that generally come with a massage gun. You can also learn more about how to pick the right massage gun head in the video below:
The Flat Massage Gun Head
If you have to pick one head to bring with you to the gym, the flat gun head is the right one for you. This attachment is suitable to treat all parts of the body, from quads to pecs. While it does not boast sharp edges that might cause you to feel pain when gliding over bones, it is sharper than the ball.
The ball is one of the most common attachments for massage guns because of its high versatility. The ball is the perfect attachment to treat various muscle groups, from the next to shoulders, quads, or hamstrings. It is ideal for soles’ massage!
The Bullet-Shaped Head
If you are looking for a more intense massage, this head is the right one for you. It is recommendable to use this head if you are already comfortable operating a massage gun and you know what your body can tolerate. This head is perfect for focusing on one aspect of the body and treating knots.
This head might not be as versatile as the ones seen above, but it is the preferred one if you are looking to get a spine massage. Indeed, it can add extra comfort by not touching the bones and targeting the surrounding muscles. Since many athletes will end up suffering from back pain at some point, this is a must-have!
Turn On the Gun on Its Lowest Setting
Once you have chosen the head according to the area of your body you are trying to treat, it is time to turn your massage gun on. When doing so, it is essential to keep the gun away from your body. Indeed, if it is set on higher settings and you are not prepared for it, it might cause pain and bruises.
You can avoid all this by switching the gun on while pointing it away from you. Once it is on, set it at its lowest or most gentle setting. Even if you are not new to massages, it is crucial to keep in mind that massage guns are potent devices that will apply much greater strength to your skin.
Massage guns are rechargeable devices that can thump on the muscles up to 2500 times a minute. Make sure you find a device that has a setting suitable for your pain tolerance and body composition.
Continue Moving the Gun Over the Muscles
Once you have found the right setting, you can operate the gun towards your muscles. When doing so, make sure you are not adding any extra pressure. While a masseur might add more pressure to their movements because they work without assistance, your massage gun already boasts all the power it needs.
Therefore, once you have started to treat your muscles, make sure you continue moving the massage gun over the area gently and without dwelling in an area for more than a few seconds. You can always come back to it later.
Benefits of Using a Massage Gun
As we have seen, a massage gun needs to be used correctly and with the right frequency to obtain the results you have wanted to see. However, o a massage gun can be one of the best must-haves in your gym bag.
Whether you are looking to speed up recovery or improve your performance by reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, a massage gun is a great choice. Learn about the different benefits of using a massage gun every day below.
Alternative Myofascial Release Therapies
Using a massage gun every day is possible and can yield some incredible benefits. Because they are easy to use and transport, these devices are one of the most popular self-myofascial release therapies.
At the same time, massage guns are not the only option for athletes or gym-goers. Indeed, other ways can help you release tension in the muscle and prevent soreness after a workout.
Foam rolling is one of the most common types of self-myofascial release therapies. While foam rollers are not as easy to operate as massage guns, they can help you work through entire muscle groups simultaneously. Additionally, foam rollers are a great alternative to massage guns for individuals on a tight budget.
Foam rolling is also a great activity to incorporate into your current gym routine. You can practice it after completing your daily stretching practice.
Yoga and Other Mindful Practices
However, self-myofascial release therapies are not the only option when it comes down to increase the elasticity and mobility of your muscles. For example, mindful practices such as Yoga and Tai Chi have been seen to help reduce the tension in the muscles, thus reducing fatigue and improving mobility.
Practices such as yoga incorporate various stretches that allow you to go further and increase your mobility and flexibility. One of the unique benefits of yoga is that it combines stretching exercises with relaxation techniques.
Therefore, alongside increasing the range of motion of your joints and muscles, you will also relieve the tension that naturally accumulates in certain muscle groups and increase stiffness and fatigue.
Stretching is an important aspect that you should not underestimate, especially when looking at reducing recovery times and increasing performance. Stretching should be part of every gym goer’s routine, but it is often undervalued.
Indeed, while expert athletes might have had the chance to appreciate the benefits of stretching truly, beginners and new gym-goers tend to underestimate this part of their training routine.
Ensuring that the muscle can move through the entire range of motion is crucial to enhance performance. However, specific stretching exercises can also improve the elasticity of the fascia.
Types of stretching to incorporate into your routine include:
- Static stretch: involves taking a position when one of the muscles or a muscle group is in extension. Once you have reached a mild discomfort point, you need to hold that position for at least 30 seconds.
- Dynamic stretch: involves practising gentle movements in which some muscles are extended and stretching.
- Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF): This kind of stretching merges static stretching techniques while also contracting and releasing the muscle simultaneously.
Some other kinds of stretching, such as bouncing stretching, involve getting in and out of a position repetitively. Each of these methods might be extremely beneficial, but it is also worth trying different ones to find out that truly meets your needs.
Practices such as yoga are particularly suitable for this because they allow you to merge several stretching techniques, such as static and dynamic. Additionally, yoga and other practices can yield substantial results while also being accessible by beginners.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Body Scans
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and some meditation techniques such as body scans are excellent options to prevent fatigue and soreness.
PMR involves contracting and relaxing every muscle of the body, starting from the head and moving towards the toes. This technique is accessible everywhere, and you can practice it whenever you need it the most. Body scans are also extremely accessible alternatives, but you might consider finding a suitable, comfortable location where you won’t be disturbed.
One of the unique benefits of meditative practices to reduce muscle tension is that they can significantly decrease cortisol levels - the stress hormone. As the cortisol decreases, inflammation will also, and your body has a chance to heal. Therefore, something simple as reducing stress levels can substantially speed up recovery, reduce fatigue, and improve performance.
Combining Myofascial Release Techniques
Using a massage gun every day might be suitable for athletes and gym-goers that workout every day and practice intense physical activity. However, if you only workout a few times a week and your movement is only limited to gentle walks, you might decide to combine the use of a massage gun with alternative techniques.
Firstly, this choice allows you to stimulate your muscles in different aspects. Additionally, if your exercise is currently limited to one of two sessions per week, practising activities such as yoga and meditation help complete your workout.
Oppositely, suppose you conduct a more sedentary lifestyle. In that case, you might use self-myofascial release techniques such as foam rolling and massage guns to encourage circulation. It will also help your fascia become more elastic and flexible.
After all, even when used every day, you should only use a massage gun on your muscles for a few minutes. While this is incredibly effective, it might not be everything your muscles need to fight soreness, inflammation, and tightness. A combination of the techniques seen above, practised every day, can offer you the benefits you are looking for in flexibility, mobility, and health.
A massage gun is a must-have for gym-goers and professional athletes alike. When used correctly, it can help you reduce muscle soreness, speed up recovery, and decrease inflammation. However, it is essential to learn how to use it before using it every day safely.
Start by using the lowest, least-powerful setting to avoid injuries. Additionally, you should only glide over a muscle group for short time-frames, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. A full-body massage should not last more than 15 minutes. With these directions, you can use a massage gun every day.