min read

Do Massage Guns Really Relieve Sore Muscles? Let's Dive In

Massage guns - do they do what what they claim? Read here!
Written by
Sean Hiller
Published on
Jun 4, 2024

Massage guns are all the rage these days, but do they actually deliver on their promises? Today, we're cutting through the marketing hype and diving into the research to see what these devices are capable of. We'll compare the claims of major massage gun companies with scientific studies and explore if there might be better options for muscle recovery, increasing range of motion, and reducing soreness.

I'm Dr. Sean Hiller, a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength conditioning specialist. Welcome to the Vulcan blog! Let's get started.

What Do Massage Gun Companies Claim?

Massage gun companies like Theragun, Hyperice, and Hydragun make bold claims about their products. They assert that their devices can relieve soreness, increase range of motion, decrease pain, help you recover faster, repair injured tissue, boost healing, and even enhance performance. Here’s a quick overview of what some of the most popular massage guns currently on the market promise to users:

  • Theragun Pro Plus: Claims to relieve pain, reduce tension and soreness, enhance performance, improve circulation, and prevent exercise-induced soreness
  • Hypervolt 2 Pro: Boasts deep tissue relief, reduces muscle fatigue and stiffness, provides full range of motion, and optimizes workouts
  • Hydragun: Promises to eliminate aches and pains silently, offering a variety of attachments for different needs

But do these devices live up to their marketing?

The Science Behind Massage Guns

To find out, we looked at two systematic reviews. Systematic reviews summarize multiple studies, providing a comprehensive overview of the existing research.

  1. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology: This review found that massage guns can improve short-term range of motion, flexibility, and recovery-related outcomes. However, they did not significantly enhance performance metrics like strength, balance, or agility.
  2. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy: This review noted that percussive therapy, such as that provided by massage guns, can promote acute improvements in muscle strength, flexibility, and pain reduction compared to placebos.

In summary, both reviews suggest that massage guns can help with short-term recovery, range of motion, and muscle soreness. But how do they achieve these effects?

How Do Massage Guns Work?

The primary benefits of massage guns come from increased blood flow and muscle activation. When you use a massage gun, the percussive action stimulates blood flow to the targeted area, delivering nutrients and facilitating healing. This increased circulation and muscle activation contribute to the temporary relief of muscle soreness and improved flexibility.

Are There Better Alternatives?

While massage guns can be effective, there are other methods that may offer better results for recovery, range of motion, and reducing soreness:

  • Blood Flow Restriction (BFR): BFR training is excellent for muscle recovery and soreness reduction due to its ability to naturally boost human growth hormone levels. (video below)
  • Active Range of Motion Exercises: Techniques like the Couch Stretch can significantly improve flexibility both in the short and long term.
  • Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim): Proven to enhance muscle activation and blood flow, E-Stim can be more effective than massage guns for recovery and soreness reduction.

The Unique Benefit of Massage Guns: Stress Relief

Where massage guns truly shine is in stress relief. Unlike BFR or E-Stim, using a massage gun can help you unwind and relax after a long day, making it a great tool for de-stressing. While BFR and E-Stim can lead to long term stress relief by giving you a greater muscular recovery, the acute effect of both of these treatments can actually add to your physical stress load.

Conclusion: Do Massage Guns Work?

Yes, massage guns do work. They can help with muscle recovery, increasing range of motion, and reducing soreness in the short term. However, there are often more effective methods available for these specific goals. The real value of massage guns lies in their ability to relieve stress, offering a portable and easy-to-use solution for relaxation.

If you’re considering a massage gun, be selective about how you use it. For optimal results, integrate it thoughtfully into your recovery routine, focusing on its unique stress-relief benefits.

Interested in learning more or getting a massage gun? Check out the links in the description for recommended products and additional resources.

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👉Great Massage Guns:
✅Theragun Pro Plus (Black): https://amzn.to/4be4ZW0
✅Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 (Black): https://collabs.shop/wubngr
✅Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 (White): https://collabs.shop/0trbkk
✅Theragun Prime Quite (Black): https://amzn.to/44gHI3m

👉Our Favorite Blood Flow Restriction Cuffs:
✅ SAGA BFR CUFFS: https://saga.fitness/?ref=0nsuo_kQCnxc5k------ Get 10% off using the code: VULCAN10
✅EDGE Mobility Cuffs: https://collabs.shop/y4kfaq
✅SMARTCUFFS by SMARTTOOLS: https://www.smarttoolsplus.com/detail...

👉E-Stim Options:
✅Compex Wireless: https://amzn.to/3WbwriL
✅PowerDot Wireless: https://amzn.to/3W6084P
✅Compex Wired: https://amzn.to/3Udo5ol

DISCLAIMER: I have to state that some of the links above are affiliate links which means by clicking on them and purchasing the items I get a small commission. I'm part of an Amazon Affiliate program and earn revenue from qualifying purchases. Using the provided links does NOT change the price for you.

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