The latest trend in the sports medicine and general fitness world appears to be massage guns. Maybe you have seen your favorite pro athlete use these on the sideline or you have seen it at the gym. We all know how good a massage feels and now this feeling is even easier to achieve. A massage gun is a hand-held device that looks like a power tool. The gadget is placed on the skin and uses battery power to apply a percussive or vibrating force. Many of the newer models even come with various attachments to better address your massage needs.
There has been minimal research into vibration therapy and massage guns at this time. A massage gun can be used before or after exercise but most of the research focuses on post-workout. The few studies that have been published appear to be positive and look specifically at the relationship between vibration and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the generalized soreness and fatigue that generally follows a work-out 24-72 hours later. Research is suggestive that vibration can reduce pain and improve flexibility in the first 72 hours after exercise. It is generally agreed that vibration improves blood flow and tissue temperature which limits the accumulation of lactic acid.
Currently, no articles have concluded any negative or harmful results from vibration therapy but do keep in mind that this is still an emerging trend that will continue to benefit from further research.
If you want to find a quality product, be prepared to spend at least $250. Other factors that are important to consider are battery life, power, and noise. Some of the most popular models are Theragun, Kraftgun, and Hypervolt Plus. If these exceed your personal budget, speak to your physical therapist to see if vibration therapy or massage guns are included in their services.