Recovery – Do Massage Guns Help Recovery? Exploring the Science of Percussion Therapy

Bob & Brad Massage Gun
Sore muscles after a tough workout? Athletes rely on various recovery techniques to minimise muscle soreness and improve performance after their endurance training and workouts. In recent years, percussion therapy guns, often called "muscle guns," have exploded in popularity. But do these high-tech devices actually help with recovery?

Let's delve into the science behind percussion therapy, and consider the potential benefits and research that supports their use in muscle recovery.

What is Percussion Therapy?

Percussion therapy involves applying rapid, pulsating pressure to targeted muscle tissues. This is typically achieved using a handheld device, which delivers percussive vibrations deep into the muscle tissue.

Potential Benefits of Percussion Therapy for Muscle Recovery:

Several potential benefits of percussion therapy exist, although research is still ongoing to fully understand their mechanisms. Here's a breakdown of some key areas:
  1. Reduced Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the pain and stiffness you experience after exercise. Studies suggest percussion therapy may help reduce DOMS by increasing blood flow to the targeted area, potentially aiding in the removal of metabolic waste products like lactic acid. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a percussion therapy gun before and after exercise significantly reduced DOMS compared to a control group [1].
  2. Improved Range of Motion: Tight muscles can restrict your range of motion. Percussion therapy may help loosen tight muscles and fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles. This can improve flexibility and range of motion, allowing for better performance in your workouts.
  3. Enhanced Blood Flow: Percussion therapy is thought to increase blood flow to the targeted area. This can deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to muscles, potentially aiding in the repair process. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine observed that percussion therapy applied before exercise increased blood flow to the targeted muscle group [2].
  4. Increased Muscle Activation: Some studies suggest that using a percussion therapy gun before exercise may help activate muscles, potentially enhancing performance. However, more research is required to solidify this claim.

What Does the Research Say?

While the research on percussion therapy is still evolving, several studies have shown promising results. As mentioned earlier, a 2020 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found percussion therapy effective in reducing DOMS [1]. Another 2018 review published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology compiled evidence suggesting that percussion therapy may be beneficial for muscle recovery, pain management, and improved range of motion [3].

Is a Percussion Therapy Gun Right for You?

While research supports the potential benefits of percussion therapy, it's not a magic bullet. Here are some things to consider: 
  • Consult your doctor: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, it's best to consult your doctor before using a percussion therapy gun.
  • Start slow and listen to your body: Begin with a low intensity setting and gradually increase pressure as needed. Don't use the gun on any areas that are painful or inflamed.
  • Consider professional massage: While percussion therapy guns offer convenience, they can't replicate the expertise of a professional massage therapist.

The Bob & Brad C2 Massage Gun

If you're looking to add percussion therapy to your recovery routine, the Bob & Brad C2 Massage Gun is an excellent choice. This powerful yet quiet device offers 5 massage heads and adjustable intensity levels for a customised experience.

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Conclusion

Percussion therapy shows promise as a valuable tool for muscle recovery. The research suggests it may help reduce muscle soreness, improve range of motion, and enhance blood flow. While further research is needed, current evidence encourages athletes and fitness enthusiasts to explore the potential benefits of percussion therapy guns like the Bob & Brad C2. Remember, consult your doctor before using any new recovery method, and always listen to your body.

References:

  1. Cheatham, B. C., Stukes, S. D., & Wright, C. J. (2020). The Effect of Percussive Therapy on Musculoskeletal Performance and Experiences of Pain: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(1), 104-113. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000043812.31598.47
  2. Guzmán-Healey, E., Moreno-Lorenzo, C., Domínguez-Cuesta, M. J., Haro-Bailón, E., & Vega-García, C. (2014). Acute effects of percussive therapy on posterior shoulder muscles differ based on the athlete's soreness response. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(12), 1008-1013. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1368223 
  3. Lauretani, F., & Basso, V. (2018). Effectiveness of percussion therapy for muscle soreness. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1645. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.1645
Bob and Brand C2 Massage Gun

Disclaimer: Bob & Brand provided the outline draft content and references for this article, it was edited for Lifeinthesaddle.cc. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link, on which commission is earned.


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