Doctors have extolled the benefits of massage therapy for many years now. They say that by improving the blood flow in your muscles, you can help to prevent muscle soreness.
But what if you can’t afford a massage therapist or the one you can afford is too brutal for you?
Well, you could look at a massage gun.
But do massage guns really work or are they a bit of a con? We asked a physical therapist and this is what we learned.
What Is A Massage Gun?
A massage gun is simply a product that uses vibrations or percussion to mimic the effects of massage on the human body.
It’s worth noting that we don’t know, exactly, how this works or how it might help when it comes to soothing a muscle group that you’ve strained during some sports for seniors or intensive yoga sessions.
And it’s called a massage gun because it looks something like a gun but it doesn’t fire any bullets when you use a massage gun.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
One best guess is that massage guns may prevent soreness in your muscles by increasing blood flow into the muscle by stimulating your GTO (Golgi Tendon Organ) which is a part of the muscle that can help prevent contraction.
However, we tend to agree with doctors that think that the reality is that it feels nice and when we feel nice, we relax and that helps the muscle relax.
Vibration Therapy Vs Percussive Therapy
Most of the old school massage guns work on a vibration therapy basis but the new ones incorporate percussive therapy too and they aren’t just using foam rolling but pulling at and pushing your body, to give your muscles a tough workout that ought to relieve muscle stiffness and muscle tightness when it’s over.
What Massage Guns Really Do
We have to stress again that nobody knows how much massage guns are worth in reducing muscle stiffness. There is some evidence that vibrations can prevent soreness in untrained masseurs (female ones) but that’s not much to go on when it comes to conclusive evidence.
Massage does seem to relieve some muscle tension and increased blood flow is known to help with chronic pain and aid muscle recovery.
But is this the case with say percussive massage treatment? There’s no research to draw any conclusive evidence from.
So, we’d say that using a massage gun then, simply, becomes a matter of choice.
If you find that it helps increase blood flow and reduces muscle knots, pain in connective tissue, and muscle groups? Then keep using it.
If, on the other hand, you find it irritates your soft tissue? Stop using it.
What Not To Do When Using Your Massage Gun
One thing we do know won’t work, however, is trying to take a “no pain, no gain” attitude into your use of this gun.
Sports medicine is quite clear – while a masseuse can tell when a bit of pain might be necessary to get rid of a particularly stubborn knot in your muscles, you can’t and nor can your gun.
If it hurts, stop doing what you’re doing. You can damage your bones and larger muscle groups if you put them through too much pain.
Final Thoughts On Massage Guns For Seniors
So, there you have it a massage gun may or may not work for you – while some people who use a massage gun report that it prevents muscle pain and sore muscles, some don’t.
And as we don’t understand how these products help with reducing muscle soreness, there’s really only one way to decide if it works for you – try it and see.
You may also find that a relaxing foot spa can help with muscle pain too.