11 Benefits of Massage Gun Therapy
Nearly one in four Americans enjoyed massage therapy between 2018 and 2019. While this form of physical therapy was once considered a fringe or niche practice, it has risen to prominence due to increased awareness of its potential benefits. Modern massage equipment, like massage guns, may provide distinct benefits for massage therapy patients.
Massage gun therapy poses several potential benefits, including reduced muscle recovery time, decreased stress levels, and increased circulation. This type of therapy may also stimulate the lymphatic system and the nervous system. Massage guns could also help relieve pain and reduce scar tissue.
In this article, we’ll discuss what massage guns are and explore all of the potential benefits of massage gun therapy. We’ll also examine the various benefits that massage therapy offers and how they relate to massage guns. This information could help you choose the best massage treatments for your bodily needs.
What Are Massage Guns?
Massage guns are electronic devices often used by massage therapists to aid in providing pain-relieving, circulation-increasing massage. These gadgets produce vibrations that are applied to a patient’s skin, usually via a soft-tipped applicator.
When a therapist combines firm pressure with a fast-vibrating massage gun, they could treat sore and tense muscle tissue more quickly and effectively. While a pair of hands can only move so quickly and produce so much pressure, a massage gun can be adjusted to multiple speeds and vibration settings to produce a specific, desired effect.
In many ways, massage guns offer the same range of benefits as standard massage therapies. However, the effects are often more intense and targeted, allowing for a heightened level of treatment. For this reason, massage guns are often used to treat athletic injuries and areas of chronic pain and discomfort.
However, pain relief isn’t the only potential advantage gained by using a massage gun. Without further ado, let’s explore the benefits of massage therapy and discover how worthwhile such treatments might be. After all, an exceptional massage could be healing for both the body and mind.
One of the most notable benefits of massage gun therapy is increased circulation. While a massage gun may only increase blood flow within a localized area, it can promote whole-body circulation when used in conjunction with a full-body massage.
Because massage guns can expedite the massage process by providing rapid, percussive vibrations, patients may experience a greater increase in overall circulation than with standard massage therapies. When proper use of massage gun therapy is paired with healthy nutrition and daily exercise, the body’s blood vessels and arteries have the greatest chance of becoming stronger.
Dangers of Poor Circulation
Poor circulation can be detrimental to every biological system. Our bodies depend on freshly-oxygenated blood to properly function, and sluggish circulation has been associated with a wide variety of health conditions and illnesses, including:
- Painful muscle cramps
- Constant fatigue
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Difficulty focusing or thinking
- Chronic joint pain
- Varicose veins
- Cold feet or fingers
Maintaining excellent circulation is vital to enjoying a healthier life. Blood helps our bodies rid themselves of toxins, transport infection-fighting white blood cells to trouble areas, and keep oxygen levels high. When our blood, arteries, or blood vessels suffer long-term damage, our major organs quickly follow suit.
Massage Gun Therapy for Heart Health
Improving your cardiovascular health is often crucial for enjoying a longer and healthier life. While intense aerobic exercise, including running or jogging, can potentially place excessive strain on your joints, bones, and heart tissue, massage gun therapy is gentle enough for most patients.
Massage therapists often consult with their clients before beginning therapy to determine their level of sensitivity and pain. After a quick diagnostic pressure-point check, the professional massage therapist can customize their massage gun’s level of intensity and vibration to match the client’s comfort level without sacrificing the therapy’s effectiveness.
It’s also worth noting that one of the potential positive consequences of improved circulation is improved muscle recovery. Fitness enthusiasts and athletes may be particularly drawn to this therapeutic advantage.
Improved Muscle Recovery
Fitness gains often require a little extra exertion. Challenging yourself to lift heavier weights, do more reps, or incorporate more trying exercises into your routine often results in a stronger, healthier, and fitter body. However, pushing the envelope often means suffering the delayed consequences, namely muscle soreness.
Feeling sore and achy the day after a particularly challenging exercise routine is perfectly normal. However, that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, better known by its acronym DOMS, affects millions of people. It typically kicks-in around seven hours after a rigorous workout and can last up to 48 hours.
Intensely painful muscle soreness or an ache that lasts for several days may signify significant muscle or ligament tearing, resulting in a sprain. In this case, massage therapy may not be the appropriate response. Still, the majority of individuals who experience post-workout pain will notice a decrease in severity within a day or so.
This period of rest and recovery could be shortened or reduced with the help of massage therapy. A massage gun can provide targeted relief to localized areas, ensuring that only the most damaged muscles receive immediate and intense care. The sudden increase in circulation across treated regions could encourage rapid muscle repair that occurs on a cellular level.
Once these microscopic muscle tears have healed, you can get back to challenging your body with regular exercise. Always allow yourself plenty of recovery time after experiencing DOMS. Otherwise, you could do greater damage to your body and prolong your overall recovery time.
Lower Stress Levels
Another potential positive effect of massage gun therapy is a reduced stress level. More than 50% of US adults experience moderate to severe stress on a day-to-day basis. As such, stress management has never been more crucial or beneficial. Additionally, excess stress has been associated with everything from cardiovascular disease to a massively shortened lifespan.
But to understand how massage gun therapy could help reduce feelings of stress, you must first understand the human stress response. Fortunately, it’s a relatively primal and instinctual biological response that exhibits two primary calls to action:
- A feeling of rage, anger, or unearned confidence that accompanied by a burst of energy and desire to attack, or
- Sudden and intense feelings of mortal fear, often accompanied by anti-social feelings and behaviors
This is often called the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. It’s most likely a genetic leftover from our earlier, more primitive days. The earliest humans encountered considerable threats in the form of treacherous terrains, unexpected poisonings, and vicious natural predators.
When forced to confront these threats, we had two options. We could either fight back against the threat, or we could run away. Hence, fight or flight.
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Understanding the Stress Response
When our senses perceive an oncoming threat, they send alerts along nerve endings that travel to the hypothalamus. Once these messages are received, the hypothalamus quickly sends out a series of commands.
These instructions also travel along the body’s nerve endings, but rather than heading in a single direction, these orders scatter all across the body. During the stress response, an individual’s hypothalamus is likely to send biological directions that impact:
- Heart rate
- Rate of respiration (breathing)
- Body-wide circulation
- Oxygen intake
- Hormone production and release
- Sensory awareness
- Blood sugar levels
While these reactions can help us escape life-threatening situations, they can also become destructive, harmful responses to everyday stress. An overstimulated fight-or-flight response can result in an overabundance of adrenaline and cortisol throughout the bloodstream.
High cortisol levels have been associated with various health conditions, and may even lead to Cushing syndrome. That’s why it’s crucial to do everything within your power to keep stress levels (and consequently, cortisol and adrenaline levels) low and well-managed.
How Can Massage Gun Therapy Lower Stress Levels?
Massage therapists are familiar with the body’s pressure points and the autonomic nervous system. As such, they’re well-equipped to target precise areas around the body to stimulate this system and help the body release stress-reducing dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are often associated with feelings of happiness and relaxation.
By triggering the release of these all-natural feel-good hormones, patients could potentially combat high levels of adrenaline or cortisol and find a greater sense of calm and balance. When stress levels begin to plummet and taper off, you can enjoy your life more fully and with a greater sense of presence.
And just as a massage therapist may use a massage gun to stimulate specific hormone-releasing areas, they can also use this tool for lymphatic stimulation. While this might not sound like the most pleasant exercise, it can be rejuvenating when performed correctly.
The Theragun Pro, arguably the “Gold Standard” in massage guns, is packed with therapeutic goodness. With QuietForce technology, this powerful took promises to be as quiet as your average massage device. This tool is perfect for the professional therapist, as it includes 2 rechargeable lithium batteries for a total of 300 minutes of treatment time. Six attachments and a travel pouch are also included.
The lymphatic system doesn’t get a lot of press. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t crucial to our continued well-being and health. In fact, the lymphatic system is one of the primary systems involved in the body’s immune response. Just as the nervous system extends from our brains to our fingers and toes, the lymphatic system is spread throughout the human body.
The typical human adult has about 600 lymph nodes scattered throughout their soft tissue. These hidden nodes act as tiny bunkers or protective forts, sending out disease-fighting lymphocytes at the first sign of danger. Lymph nodes are crucial to the whole body’s ability to fight infection.
Consequently, they can be found deep within the body, cushioned against organs, and just underneath the surface of the skin. When a person is ill, they may experience swelling or tenderness near the lymph nodes beneath their arms or by their vocal cords. This sign is indicative of a lymphatic fluid build-up, which is itself a symptom of infection.
Massage gun therapy can stimulate many of the body’s subdermal and visceral lymph nodes. During a period of optimal health and wellness, this gentle stimulation could help trigger the passage of lymphatic fluid throughout the body, helping to transport healing lymphocytes to sites where they may be needed.
Alternatively, such stimulation may help reduce swelling in ill patients, particularly around the lymph nodes. Massage gun therapy may also expedite recovery in those with bacterial and viral infections, especially those with infections that have triggered a widespread lymphatic response.
Drug-free pain relief can be difficult to come by, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Massage gun therapy may be an excellent source of safe and relatively natural pain relief, especially for individuals suffering from chronic pain. The gentle vibrations of the massage gun can help to loosen stiff joints and increase localized circulation.
This could cause initial pinpricks of pain as the surrounding muscle tissue contracts and expands around swollen joints. However, after several minutes of targeted treatment, that same muscle tissue may relax and become flushed with fresh, oxygenated blood.
When there is less pressure being placed on pain-producing nerve endings, fewer pain signals are being sent to the brain. All-natural pain relief doesn’t have to involve needles, excessive dietary supplementation, or dangerous prescription pain relievers.
The right massage gun and massage therapist could make a significant difference in your pain management plan. Getting rid of pain may be as simple as reducing your body’s ability to send agonizing and immediate pain signals. For this reason, many individuals may decide to combine massage therapy with TENS unit treatments.
Still, standard massage and high-pressure massage administered with massage guns could help accelerate the muscle-relaxation process that can result in lowered pain levels. When muscles are relaxed, individuals may also experience a boost in flexibility.
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Stiff muscles and joints can make it nearly impossible to bend your knees or elbows. Intense stiffness or arthritis could even prevent you from being about to bend down and tie your shoes or pick something up off the floor. Unfortunately, this loss in overall flexibility is a common sign of aging.
While many parts of our bodies are capable of healing and regenerating themselves, others are not. To make matters slightly more complicated, our bodies tend to stop repairing themselves as effectively or efficiently once we reach our thirties. Working a stressful job, eating an unhealthy diet, or suffering from chronic illnesses contribute to lasting physical damage.
At a certain point, the soft cartilage between our joints wears thin, allowing our bones to scrape against one another painfully. The lubricating fluid that once helped keep our knees and hips in excellent shape might be nothing more than a trickle during our senior years, making every movement a lesson in agony.
Because our bodies provide a limited store of resources, many fitness enthusiasts have started shying away from exercises that cause excess stress around joints. Daily running or jogging, for example, is an excellent aerobic exercise. But runners have been known to suffer from heart damage and accelerated cartilage loss.
While this isn’t true of everyone who runs (part of the cause may be in poor running practices or pre-existing conditions), it’s crucial to avoid as many activities or pursuits that could cause you severe pain in your later years. You could also choose to cool-down from aerobic pursuits with the help of massage gun therapy. Doing so may increase your flexibility.
How Can Massage Gun Therapy Increase Flexibility?
Massage gun therapy provides localized relief to muscles, skin tissues, and joints. By stimulating the circulatory system, massage guns can help bring healing blood cells to areas that need them most. They can also help muscles relax.
This combination of effects helps to encourage greater flexibility in both muscle and skeletal tissue. When paired with diets high in collagen and exercises that put little strain on the joints (such as water aerobics), this type of massage therapy can increase an individual’s overall mobility and flexibility.
Yoga and massage, paired together, may prove particularly beneficial for those seeking improved flexibility. The gradual strengthening of muscles and ligaments that yoga provides is supported by the health-boosting effects of massage gun therapy.
Nervous System Stimulation
Our bodies are controlled by an unending series of electrical impulses. These impulses travel along the central nervous system. The spine acts as a superhighway of sorts, collecting vast amounts of electrical data and spiriting them directly to the control center: The brain.
Everything that we experience, sense, think, or feel is a direct response to our brain’s commands and controls. Our very heartbeats depend on constant electrical impulses sent from the brain. For this reason, individuals who are declared legally brain-dead have no chance of surviving without medical intervention.
Keeping the nervous system in tip-top shape is crucial to enjoying a long and healthy life. Fortunately, massage therapy could help stimulate the nervous system, resulting in more efficient nerve function. This stimulation is directly responsible for the body’s release of several feel-good hormones and chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine.
Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun – Provides deep tissue massage for tired and sore muscles. Includes 5 massage heads and 5 speed, high intensity vibration.
Reduced Scar Tissue
There is some evidence to support the idea that massage gun therapy may help lessen the thickness and appearance of scar tissue. It could potentially also help lessen pain originating from the area surrounding that tissue.
While more research is necessary to fully prove or disprove this notion, anecdotal evidence is overwhelmingly positive. Anyone with an abundance of scar tissue can attest to how challenging it is to find treatment options. Due to massage gun therapy’s few potential side effects, it might be the most painless and risk-free option.
Another notable side effect of massage gun therapy is improved immunity. Many patients report a boost in their natural immune function after experiencing a quality massage. While more research is needed to confirm how massage helps support the immune system, several possibilities are worth discussing.
We know that massage often helps strengthen the circulatory system. The dilation of arteries and blood vessels could help white blood cells and bacteria-fighting lymphocytes rush to areas where they’re needed most. However, massage gun therapy also stimulates the nervous system, helping the brain to release relaxation-inducing chemicals.
When stress levels begin to decrease, immunity naturally rebounds. As such, it seems that the two most likely culprits behind massage’s immune-boosting effects are improved circulation and increased levels of serotonin.
One of the unexpected benefits of high-quality massage gun therapy is better sleep. About 70% of American adults don’t get enough sleep, and that number only reflects the portion of the population who were willing to be completely honest about their sleeping habits. The actual number may be far higher.
Many people choose to diminish their sleep needs, preferring to focus on diet and exercise for improved health. But restful sleep is just as vital as nutrition, hydration, and regular exercise. Without it, you could begin to experience a significant decline in:
- Cognitive function
- Cardiovascular health
A consistent lack of sleep can also cause premature aging, feelings of depression, and unwanted weight gain. Getting an inadequate amount of sleep each night can significantly shorten your lifespan, resulting in early death, most likely from heart disease.
To give yourself a fighting chance at living a long, healthy, and enjoyable life, you’ll need to get at least eight hours of restful sleep each night. While this can be challenging, particularly for those who work multiple jobs, have young children, or suffer from insomnia, massage gun therapy may be able to help.
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Dangerous Sleep Debts
Because a majority of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep each night, millions of people out there are dealing with a massive sleep debt. These folks are out driving cars, working their jobs, or tending to their families and home. What they’re not doing is getting enough rest, which is only worsening that debt.
It may help for you to think about sleep as an account that you pay into each day. To stay alive and fit, your body charges you for eight hours of sleep every day. When you’re able to rest for these hours and achieve peaceful, high-quality sleep, your account stays open and functional.
However, let’s say that you struggle to fall asleep after work and your commute ensures that you have to be out of the house before the sun rises. You may only get an average of five or so hours of sleep each night. At the end of the week, you’ve accrued a sleep debt of at least twenty-one hours.
You would need to spend almost an entire day in bed asleep to pay this sleep debt. Unfortunately, this can be an impossible feat. Not only are we poorly designed for extended hibernation, but our social and economic obligations can make all-day rest an unaffordable luxury.
Without quick and careful remediation, a person can accrue a sleep debt that spans years, or potentially decades. It takes constant care and self-maintenance to take back these hours and begin improving your metaphorical sleep account. However, by adding an hour or two to your sleep each night, or at each opportunity, you can begin to see real progress toward a healthier sleep cycle.
Getting Quality Rest
There are quite a few things you could do to improve your overall sleep quality and enjoy better, higher quality rest. Massage therapy is one of them. That’s because massage therapy can encourage the body to release serotonin, a chemical that can help you feel relaxed and calm.
Regular massage may also help correct problems with your circadian rhythm, ensuring that your body releases the right amount of melatonin each night just before bedtime. In general, holding to a specific routine can help you feel calmer and more prepared for sleep each night.
It’s also vital to get plenty of exercise and eat lots of fresh, nutritious vegetables and fruits. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and meditating to keep stress levels low is also a fantastic way to improve your sleep quality.
Still, massage gun therapy can be particularly helpful, especially when administered regularly. You could even schedule your sessions before work and enjoy a boost in focus.
Along with better sleep, massage gun therapy could help you experience a surge in focus. Of course, the most noticeable peak in focus levels tends to occur within the 12 hours immediately following a massage session. That’s most likely because the body is still humming with various forms of stimulation.
Massage gently urges your body’s blood vessels to widen. It also gives your lymphatic system’s immune-boosting cells a pass to travel the express lane around the body. Not only does this help life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients reach every part of the body more quickly, but it could also help your brain experience a breath of fresh air.
Oxygen is crucial to brain function. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can fail to send the necessary electric signals to keep the body alive. An increase in oxygen throughout the body results in an increase in oxygen in the brain, which may result in improved cognitive function and a heightened sense of focus.
Though oxygen bars are not as popular as they were in the early 2000s, oxygen therapy is still a viable treatment option for those with respiratory illnesses or academic-related anxiety disorders. Oxygen supplementation is a fantastic alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals, especially for those with sensitive kidneys or chronic liver disorders.
But keeping oxygen tanks in your home can be dangerous and expensive. Massage gun therapy could offer an immediate and noticeable boost in blood-level oxygen ratings, helping to save patients a little time and peril. The next time you’re feeling stressed-out before work, imagine how much calmer you’d feel after some massage gun therapy.
Scheduling your massage sessions before triggering activities like important work meetings, awkward family dinners, or crowded commutes may help you handle the day with more vigor and confidence. Tap into your unlocked focus potential by using massage to your advantage.
Several potential benefits are associated with massage gun therapy. These include increased circulation, reduced muscle recovery time, and lowered stress levels. Lymphatic and nervous system stimulation is another widely-reported side-effect of massage gun therapy.
Some patients may also experience localized pain relief, increased flexibility, and reduced scar tissue thickness. Additionally, massage gun therapy may help improve joint mobility, heighten the body’s immune response, and result in better nightly rest.
Somewhat conversely, this type of therapy could also result in an immediate sensation of increased focus and energy. Still, results are bound to vary from person to person. The best way to find out how effective this type of massage therapy might be for you is to consult with your physician or professional massage therapist.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
Compliment Your Body, LLC
1441 Broadway #6087
New York, NY. 10018
Compliment Your Body has been providing corporate chair massage and in-home massage therapy to New York City and the surrounding boroughs since 2004. We are local to New York City and pride ourselves on our team of local therapists. All of our therapists are hand-picked and thoroughly vetted. We don’t hire over the phone, we meet our team on the field.
Compliment Your Body believes that care is a circle. We care for our team, our team cares for the participants, and we all care for the community!
For every single in-home or chair massage, Compliment donates three meals to a New Yorker in need through our relationship with Food Bank For New York City.
Commitment – Compassion – Connection – Charity
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