A massage gun can greatly boost your fitness journey

Experts say the massage gun should only be used on big muscle groups such as the back. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Many use it after exercise to prevent soreness or cure soreness, the reason some gyms buy them as part of the required gym equipment. 

A massage gun is a hand-held device that can be used to self-massage. It is almost always wireless, relying on a rechargeable battery to power it and comes with interchangeable attachments for different situations and needs. 

It can also be used for percussive therapy or percussion massage which is the use of rapid and repetitive pressure combined with vibration to relax muscles, increase blood flow and promote pain relief and muscle recovery. The massage head punches quickly and forcefully into your muscles, creating vibrations.

Massage guns are slowly becoming a popular gadget in the fitness world because of its many uses. Some people use it to warm their muscles before a workout. Others use them to relax muscles that are stiff and increase blood flow for better results during exercise. Many use it after exercise to prevent soreness or cure soreness, the reason some gyms buy them as part of the required gym equipment. 

To use the gun effectively, press the device head on a stiff or sore muscle group and move back and forth, applying endurable pressure. Just like is the case of hairdryers, there is a switch to increase and decrease pressure, which in the case of the hairdryer is the hot air. Experts advise one to stay in one spot for not more than 15 seconds. 

Expert’s take
Lubega Stanley, a physiotherapist based in Kampala, says massage guns are very critical in the fitness world because they are used by many to relieve sore muscles after a heavy workout. Post-workout soreness is caused by lactic acid build-up in muscles. It is the build-up that often causes the deep tissue pain or soreness. The massage gun’s vibrations forces muscle fibers to release the lactic acid, resulting in relief.

“Massage guns are used globally to relieve pain in muscles caused by soreness. It is an effective way to help muscles heal after a workout without visiting a masseur. It can also be used by an individual to massage oneself,” he says.

Lubega adds that while a massage gun affords you the perks of massaging yourself, like privacy and personal space, it is more effective when another person massages you. 

“While it is possible to massage oneself with a massage gun, it is sometimes not as effective at affecting the muscle fiber because one of the conditions that must be present for it to be effective is muscle relaxation. Doing it yourself means that it is possible that the muscles you are trying to massage are tense rather than relaxed,” he advises. 

Restrict use to muscle
Lubega says the massage gun should strictly be used on big muscle groups such as the glutes, shoulders, back, chest if it is built, calf muscles and thighs, among others. He advises that using it on areas with very little muscle such as the back of the neck, shins, wrists or ribs, any boney area of the body is a bad idea since it causes a grinding effect between the skin and the born, causing pain, discomfort or even inflamation. 

He also advises that a massage gun should not be used close to tendons since the pressure and vibration can inflame the tendon or even tear it.

Other experts assert that using a massage gun right after a workout can prevent soreness in your muscles, not to mention their ability to relax muscles and take away stiffness pre-workout. It appears that this device could be a trusted friend to anyone that wants the best out of their workout routine. 
Not only does the massage gun treat sore muscles, it can also promote pain relief in situations where muscle tightness or spasms are problematic. 

Lubega says the price of speed guns is determined by such variables as brand, size and specifications. In Uganda, prices range between Shs450,000 andShs1m. 

When buying a massage gun
According to everydayhealth.com, because massage guns come in different sizes, consider your own comfort when it comes to how heavy and how large you want it to be and which muscles you will want to use it on.

Some come with adjustable heads and handles (making it easier to reach certain body parts). Think, too, if you want to take your device on the go; if so, mini massage guns might be an excellent option, as they can easily fit into a backpack.

No matter the size, check that the massage gun comes with different attachments to help you hit hard-to-reach or difficult spots. It should also have different settings so that you can choose more gentle or more intense percussive movements. Also, pay attention to how loud or intense the gun is, as that will also affect your enjoyment.