Fans of the American football league NFL are already accustomed to seeing some players in game time-outs applying strange drill-shaped guns with a round tip to their extremities, shoulders, arms, etc.
Also those who practice amateur or professional sports, have these strange devices in gyms or even at home, now that their prices are much more affordable than a few years ago.
For the rest of humanity, the term “massage guns” (in English massage guns) or also the terms “percussion therapy” and “deep muscle massage” will sound totally new if not, according to the popular expression, “Chinese”.
Indeed, they are a device that is still very little known outside the strictly professional sphere, since to date its price was far from being affordable for any pocket, around 600 euros and thought. exclusively for physiotherapy professionals.
In fact, its creator is an American physiotherapist who, after a motorcycle accident, devised a device that he initially called Theragun – the first massage gun on the market – to treat himself.
However, at present, and as is often the case, its price has run in the opposite direction to its popularity and nowadays perfectly useful pistols for a professional athlete can be found for less than 100 euros.
What is a massage gun?
Coming to the point, a massage gun is nothing more than a massage device in the form of a gun or drill with an interchangeable head made of rubber or other soft material that acts as a hammer on the surface of a muscle.
In this way, hammering with the head at variable frequency and intensity depending on the muscle, it seeks to stimulate it to a depth of 16 millimeters, so that circulation is increased, contractures and neuralgic pain knots (trigger points) are undone and avoiding the accumulation of lactic acid both before and after exercises.
The gun acts on three variables. principles to execute the massage:
- Amplitude of head movement: that is, the depth to which these “bumps” reach (about 16 millimeters)
- knocking frequency: The number of hits per minute that the pistol can achieve. For example, in the most advanced Theragun models, 2400 percussions per minute are reached.
- force or torque: the amount of pressure that can be reached. We are talking about more than 20kg of force in the most powerful modes.
What benefits does the massage gun have?
The main benefits include muscle stimulation at a deep level, so that both blood and lymphatic circulation are mobilized, favoring the removal of lactic acid (soreness) and other metabolites, both before and after intense exercise.
It also has functions of neuromuscular stimulation that eliminates pain and unblocks stressed and painful fibers, as well as warming the muscle and tendons, thus favoring both the necessary muscle elasticity prior to exercise and recovery after it and the prevention of injuries.
In other words, the percussive therapy of massage guns is not far from the benefits that a therapeutic massage can provide us. However, it has the window of being able to provide it to us without the need to hire a professional.
What risks do massage guns have?
Notwithstanding what was said above, or perhaps precisely because it is a therapeutic therapy, it entails certain risks if it is not applied well, in the right areas. and on people without previous problems that the gun could make worse.
From the specialist manufacturer Axion propose a series of guidelines for prevention and application:
- The massage gun should not be used in the head and neck/larynx area.
- You should only use the massager on muscle-bearing parts of the body, never directly on the bones or spine.
- Do not massage the same area for too long, but move the device slowly over the area.
- Massaging a group of muscles shouldn’t take more than a minute.
- If you want to use the massage gun on painful parts of the body, you should first consult a doctor.
- Make sure that hair and fingers do not come near the opening of the massage head connections.
- The device should not be used on damp, wet, dirty skin or on open wounds.
As for contraindications, they recommend consulting. See a doctor before using the gun if any of the following situations occur:
- Recent pregnancy or childbirth.
- Heart disease or pacemaker.
- Fractures, osteoporosis, or an abnormal spine or joint.
- Presence of a malignant tumor or treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
- Propensity to thrombosis, you should always consult your doctor before using the device.
- Avoid massaging areas with local skin infections, deep bruises, or varicose veins.
- If we have suffered bruising or feel pain and discomfort, we should not use the device.
When to use massage gun?
Percussive therapy is not designed for recreational use or long-lasting massages, but for application to specific muscle pain, whether caused by poor posture or sports efforts.
Also as prior to the practice of a sport. It must be taken into account that its tapping application on the muscle, given its force and frequency, must last a few seconds. It should also not be used in rheumatic or joint pain, since it is not an anti-inflammatory treatment and its application on joints can worsen the pain.
As for the range of sports, there is room for all those that involve a great muscular and tendinous effort, from running to soccer, basketball, handball, cycling, crossfit, etc.
Three models of massage gun
A device for less than 100 euros that presents almost professional conditions, with a striking frequency range of 1,800 to 3,200 percussions per minute and up to five different speed levels, which allows the frequency to be modulated according to each muscle and need.
In addition, it has five different and interchangeable heads that can be mounted on the gun, which makes it easy to adapt the massage to the area, with one indicated for the lower extremities, another for the back, etc.
- Spherical head for massages, both relaxing and activating and heating, in areas such as the legs, buttocks, abdomen, etc.
- Conical-shaped head focused on percussion in areas such as the soles of the feet, back areas, Achilles tendon, arms, etc.
- Head with a slightly curved flatter finish for large muscles of the legs, chest, back, etc.
- U-shaped head to percuss two simultaneous points, with the exact same pressure between them.
- Taco head.
As to. The battery lasts for four hours.
Very similar in ranges and applications to the previous one, it exceeds it in terms of battery, reaching up to six hours, and in percussive frequency, reaching a maximum of 3,300 percussions per minute. As for the number of heads, there are also five and they have identical functions. Its price, however, is ten euros higher.
It stands out for having up to six interchangeable heads and a percussion frequency range very similar to the previous ones, but with 30 speeds, which allows greater modulation. The duration of the. battery is six hours. It presents an LCD screen to decide the speed and intensity of application.
*ConsumoClaro’s team of journalists and experts rigorously and independently recommend products and services for our readers. Every time you buy through some links added to this text, eldiario.es receives a commission.
If you don’t want to miss any of our articles, subscribe to our newsletters