It may look like a power drill at first, but the massage gun has created a lot of “buzz” in the fitness world and is quickly becoming one of the most popular muscle recovery tools available. Their reputation has been boosted by professional athletes and influencers that demonstrate the gun’s rubber mallet sending a mesmerizing ripple across the skin’s surface.
With that said there is a somewhat steep barrier to entry when it comes to these devices which is their price. Not to mention the many skeptics out there who question the true efficacy of the product.
So are massage guns worth it? Read on to find out!
What Does Science Say About Massage Guns?
After a long and grueling search on Google Scholar, I couldn’t find any relevant peer reviewed studies investigating the effects of massage guns specifically. Somebody really has got to get on this…
That being said, other forms of vibration therapy similar to the massage gun, including TENS, vertical and elliptical vibration have been suggested to enhance muscle and tissue recovery via:
- Increasing blood and lymphatic flow
- Decreasing muscle spasms and stiffness
- Breaking up of scar tissue
- Improving lactic acid clearance
- Activating the nervous system and muscles
There is some evidence supporting these claims, but I wouldn’t call it “rock solid.”
The Placebo Effect
Believe or not, your mind has a very powerful influence on your body; in some cases, it can trick you into believing that a fake treatment has real therapeutic results! A phenomenon that is known as the placebo effect.
This effect has made its presence known across several scientific studies and has debunked hundreds of thousands of “miracle” therapeutic techniques.
Am I suggesting that massage gun therapy will fall victim to the placebo effect? Not necessarily.
I’m just saying that if you see companies out there guaranteeing that their gun will enhance recovery and strength, I would at the very least take what they say with a grain of salt. There isn’t any concrete scientific evidence backing up that claim.
At least not right now…
My Personal Experience With A Massage Gun
I did try using a massage gun several times following workouts on various body parts and did notice a reduction in my levels of soreness. Would these soreness levels be any better or worse if I just did more foam rolling, or mobility drills instead? Hard to say…
But fact of the matter is I have to give credit where it is due and report a small difference. I won’t say any more until new peer reviewed science comes out.
When you factor in the price of the gun, efficacy of the treatment, and convenience/fun of using it compared to other techniques, it is worth at the very least trying out.
It did not disappoint, but at the same time did not overly impress.