Are Percussion Massagers Safe?

Whether you are a professional athlete or a 9-5 office worker, we have all at some point been burdened with stress and have looked for simple and quick ways to “destress”.

While some associate self-care with long epsom salt baths, others find relief in their post-workout routines such as cold baths or a visit to the sauna.

But anyone who has gone down the route of a massage knows that it is one of the simple pleasures of life and that it can quickly transform you into a relaxed state both mentally and physically.

Basically, It is your one-stop-shop for instant relaxation and with these popular percussion massage devices, you have it anywhere and anytime.

What is not to like?

Are They Actually Safe?

Percussion massagers seem to have no adverse effects as long as they are operated correctly. Luckily, they are easy to use.

So the answer you are looking for is: YES*

*There are some exceptions which I have mentioned just below.

The big upside to percussion massagers is that you can squeeze in a complete deep tissue massage session within 10 minutes, while a traditional massage would cost you from 30 minutes to an hour of your time.

Professional advice surrounding the use varies a little bit, but it is recommended that each area should not be massaged for longer than 2 minutes, and each massage session should not exceed the 15-minute mark.

However, depending on your needs, you can get 3-4 percussion massage sessions per day.

That being said, prolonged use of percussion massager on the affected area is not advised due to the high intensity of the activity.

It is always best to start off massage on a lower setting and slowly dial up the level as you start to get comfortable with the pressure.

When to Avoid Using Percussion Massagers

There certain regions of the body on which percussion massages will prove less effective, if not otherwise more harmful.

These include massaging directly on the bone and the sensitive tissue of the face and neck, and chest. You might get away with massaging some sensitive areas if you use the proper massage tip and low intensity.

Moreover, there are certain circumstances, such as some health conditions under which the use of percussion massagers should be avoided.

  • Patients of Cardiovascular issues such as blood clots or those who have pacemakers.
  • Patients with any other form of a medical device implanted.
  • If you are a diabetic.
  • If you have a history of chronic back pain.
  • If you have suffered from a lumbar disease in the past.
  • If you have suffered sprains or strained muscles such as a pulled hamstring.
  • If you have broken bones.
  • If you are experiencing abnormal inflammation due to an injury.

What is Percussion Massage Therapy Anyway?

There is a vast variety of massages that focus on diverse areas ranging from pain relief, muscle soreness issues, muscle health or organ tissue health to improved mood, detoxification, or just good old relaxation.

Percussion massage refers to the specific movement used which is sort of a rapid tapping or blows with high frequency.

Traditional percussion massage is conducted manually by making quick, soft, rhythmic blows to the affected area using the wrists.

The more popular solution today is using an electronic massage device that delivers the percussions and does so at a very rapid speed.

These devices have become very popular and are no longer just used by professionals such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors, but anyone who would appreciate the convenience and cost-effectiveness that a massage device has to offer.

In recent years the market demand has exploded and as a result of that, you can find countless similar products on the market today.

How Percussion Massagers Work and their Benefits

Here are a few examples of popular brands on the market:

They all more or less look like a repurposed power tool and can perform powerful massages that can penetrate deep into your muscle tissue.

It is like a point-and-shoot massage that you can use to target pretty much anywhere on the body, although you might need the assistance of someone else to hit some spots (or be very flexible). Typically, people use them to massage back, neck and shoulders.

A percussion massager works out the knots and softens muscle tissue, increases blood flow, reduces lactic acid in that region and can potentially ease the pain.

Percussion massagers are highly beneficial for anyone from athletes to fitness enthusiasts who are looking to improve performance and range of motion.

These electronic devices are also known to break up scar tissue, enhance body awareness, decrease muscle spasm and improve lymphatic flow.

Ways to Use a Percussion Massager

The percussion massager is favorite among therapists and personal trainers who have been using it in a clinical capacity and during workouts with clients for different reasons.

Clinical Use

Therapists use professional-grade percussion massagers during sessions to relieve pain, increase mobility and overall performance of their patients. It allows their clients to pursue a more physically intensive lifestyle with decreased physical restrictions.

Personal Trainers

Personal Trainers have been using the electronic massage gun to warm up their clients for workouts, during the workout to stimulate the target region and after a workout to relax the muscles.

Self-Treatment

Percussion massagers are often used by fitness enthusiasts at home to quickly and effectively relieve muscle soreness. Some people also keep them at the office.

Does it Actually work?

There is a common misconception that percussion massage will eliminate all muscle soreness.

Keep in mind that there rarely is a simple cure-all treatment, and percussion massage is not an exception.

Percussion massagers are designed to help with the muscle soreness by increasing the temperature and blood circulation to the area, break up “muscle knots”, reduce muscle inflammation and muscle tension.

There is vast inconclusive medical research conducted on the topic that suggests the most notable effects of a percussion massage as follows:

  • It is a great preventive tool for dealing with the delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which you may know as the slowly developing muscle soreness that buildups to extremely painful muscle cramps after workouts.
  • Percussion massages mimic the effects of myofascial-release to restore motion and speed up recovery time.
  • There is evidence to suggest that percussion massage can decrease the cortisol levels and increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine also known as the happy chemicals.

I dedicated a whole post on whether or not percussion massagers work, you can check it out here.

Conclusion

The advantages of percussion massagers are numerous, which is why they have become so popular.

From providing pain relief to improving athletic performance they have quickly become a symbol of the modern-day miracle, which attributes to their increased popularity.

While a percussion massager may be a bit on the expensive side, it pays for itself in the long-term.

Nonetheless, they should always be operated with great care and it is advised that you read through the manual that comes with your percussion massager.

My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to write about fitness and health and share what I have found “works” for people like YOU. If you want to know more about me and my vision for this website then you can click here.

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