Trying to find the right massage gun can be a pain in the backside, or shoulder, or leg….
If you're having difficulty with muscle soreness or mobility, it may be that you are considering a massage gun.
They’ve quickly become popular in the health and fitness world, and the market has many options, which can be a bit overwhelming.
But what exactly do massage guns actually do? Do they really work? Can you relieve muscle tension from the palm of your hand? Are massage guns worth it?
We’ve picked out three of the best massage guns on the market to help you decide, so you don’t get rubbed up the wrong way.
What is a massage gun?
A massage gun, muscle gun, massage muscle gun or any other name it may go by, is a small handheld device that has the look of a drill.
Often massage guns will come with a variety of attachments and a selection of speeds that can be used for different types of muscle pain.
There’s a huge market for them, and so prices range from as little as £15 to around £200 plus.
They work as a percussion massager, using vibration through the massage gun to target a specific area where muscles may be impacted, which may help reduce soreness and muscle tension.1
Muscle guns are often used by endurance athletes who use them to loosen up tight and sore muscles after a workout, but they can be used by anyone.
They can be used before or after a workout, depending on your preference.
Usually, each massage gun will come with different attachments that are designed to directly target specific parts of the body.
Benefits of a massage gun
Massage guns are relatively new to the health and fitness world, so science-backed research is still a bit thin on the ground.
However, there are some noted benefits on the market, which include:2
May relieve stress
Using a muscle gun may relieve stress and relax the body by releasing tension and fluid which is buried deep in the muscles to increase tissue metabolism.
Supports blood circulation
The use of a massage gun may support blood and lymphatic circulation, which may allow for more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.
It is thought that massage guns may encourage the healing of weakened muscles by “waking them up” to encourage faster healing.
Release lactic acid
The vibration of the massage gun may release lactic acid buildup in the body, which often occurs as a result of intense exercise.
Muscle massagers are thought to help stimulate muscle movement which may help with your mobility.
By deeply massaging collagen fibres in your muscles it is thought that you can help reduce the discomfort you might experience from muscle soreness.
Reduce the risk of strains and sprains
You may reduce the risk of strains and sprains by improving the range of motion that your muscles have.
Improve your overall wellbeing
Regularly using your massage gun may improve sleep, which will in turn improve your sleep.
Do massage guns really work?
Research shows that massage guns may be effective when helping the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).3
DOMS can cause muscle soreness for 24 to 72 hours after an intense workout.
So, it is thought by using your massage gun regularly may aid muscle recovery.4
However, there is little research into the improvement of speed or endurance. Therefore, the use of percussive therapy may not directly improve athletic performance.
So, it entirely depends on what your goal is with the massage gun.
If you are looking for light muscle relief, then yes they may work. If you are expecting huge results it may not be as effective.
Do massage guns help muscle growth?
No, massage guns don’t help or enhance muscle growth. As above, they’re more useful to relieve muscle soreness or any tight areas you have after intense exercise.
Three of the best massage guns 2021
Below are three of our most popular massage guns, along with what our customers have to say about them.
Beurer PhysioLine Trigger Point Massage is a great entry-level device for those wanting to try a percussion massager.
The handheld massage ball vibrates with a two-vibration intensity setting, which is designed to target muscle knots and soreness.
This trigger point massage ball from Beurer uses a combination of moulded nodules and vibration to target tense muscle groups for activation and regeneration.
It’s really easy to use and is a great size, which means you can take it anywhere.
Here’s what our customers think:
Shaleha - Beurer massage ball - 5/5 stars
"This is truly a god send. Helped me out so much with my training. Absolutely amazing with tight muscles. If like me I always get problems with my back and legs. This has two settings one more fast and second a bit slower. Does not switch off on its own. Very easy to work you just need to press the green button and press again should you want it to work slower. Just twist to open for the batteries to go in. Really does its job and help with all those tight muscles. Can’t fault it at all. Very pleased strongly recommend."
r.smith07 - Great for muscle knots - 5/5 stars
"The Beurer MG10 Massage Ball comes complete with batteries and is so simple to use. You press the button once for a harder vibration, twice for a softer one and three times to turn it off. It's great for getting rid of muscle knots and it's so small that you can take it anywhere with you."
There can’t be many more conveniences in life than having access to a Shiatsu massager wherever you travel, but HoMedics have found the perfect solution with the Handheld Shiatsu Body Massager.
Offering deep, penetrating techniques, you can use this handheld massager to soothe those stiff muscles giving you instant stress relief when you’re at work, home or even in the car.
It works by recreating the famous Japanese Shiatsu technique, giving smooth, invigorating or deep tissue massage – whichever you prefer!
The interchangeable massage heads allow you to mix and match your massage techniques, each helping you to feel relaxed, recharged and fully refreshed.
It is also equipped with a soft cover allowing you to give yourself a facial massage.
The HoMedics physio massage gun uses a high-frequency pulse action to penetrate deep into the muscle tissue.
It’s ideal for use both before and after exercise - before to warm up your muscles and post to help ease soreness.
It’s designed to provide you with a deep tissue percussion massage, helping to release tight sore muscles.
It’s really easy to use, simply choose your desired massage head and intensity level and gently move the massager over the part of your body you wish to massage.
Here's what our customers think:
Diva13 - Perfect - 5/5 stars
" I am a huge massagers junkie,have a few at home,so I was really excited to try this one.I saw this device as being a new addition on the market and I also so that is very fancy as well, all my gym teachers had it.It looks very functional,works pretty well on my shoulder and arrived in perfect time for this crazy and stressful period.I like ti use it very much."
Juejue - Amazing - 5/5 stars
"This has been a lifesaver this past few weeks. My neck and shoulders are always knotted from sitting at a desk all day. I'd come home use it along my shoulders and neck and the tension just melted away.. its really amazing. I also used it before and after a run. It's great at massaging your leg muscles to relieve the tightness works great alongside stretches. I couldn't be without it now. There a setting for gentle massage or a good strong one which I found great for my thighs."
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Last updated: 20 September 2021