Percussion massagers are a new hit in the fitness industry, only really being popular in the last couple of years.
A lot of professional athletes use them, but plenty of normal people do as well. There are a variety of different brands, price ranges, functions, and more.
You might be confused if you’re a layperson to these kinds of devices or this industry. We’ll go over some of the options, whether or not they deliver some of the results they say they do, and ultimately if they work and which one to buy.
So, What Are They?
So, what are percussion massagers, exactly? It’s simple: they’re an instrument that percusses (taps, over and over again, quickly, in a rhythm) your muscles in order to massage them, relieve pain and soreness, and speed up muscle recovery.
That’s the pitch you’ll hear from any of the people who sell them. Do I, or a lot of other people who have a healthy bit of skepticism, believe they do? Well, not without a little bit of proof.
There are studies that prove massage, in general, can assist and speed up recovery. It makes no distinction between percussion massage and massage in general. This study found no difference between using a percussion massager and not for recovery, while this study reported the opposite.
For the record, and as a side note, some of these devices can retail up to several hundreds of dollars. Not exactly affordable to those of us with not much disposable income. There are, however, cheaper alternatives that retail for much less.
With the studies linked above, it’s obvious that while a massage, in general, helps sore muscles and muscle recovery, there’s no strong side of the evidence (for or against) to prove that percussion massage in specific actually works well.
So, in other words: business as usual for a lot of contested medicines, products, and other things that aren’t 100% proven. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless, and that doesn’t mean they’re a godsend, either.
What about some of the alternatives, though?
A Smorgasbord of Devices
The Theragun is one of the more costlier devices, and it’s probably the most well-known percussion massager, but it’s not the only one. There are other brands like TimTam, Exerscribe, Hypervolt, and others.
So what’s the difference between all of these? It’s almost like buying a phone or any other kind of electrical device: from battery life, features, to just plain brand name, there’s a lot of different options at different price ranges.
The Theragun, which has several different versions at lower price ranges, seems to be the most popular and generally the most well-reviewed. It’s known for a decent battery, speed, lightweight, travel-friendly, and having a variety of features that scale upwards as you look at the more expensive models.
Some of the older models of the Theragun tend to be loud, however, and this is reflected in the reviews.
The more recent TimTam models are more fully comparable to those of Theragun. The TimTam Pro has more advanced capabilities and more power than the G3Pro from Theragun. Pricing is similar: however, the main downside is fewer attachments are included in the purchase.
Exerscribe has its models too, of course. They’re more midrange and the newer models tend to be quiet and have features such as nine different speeds.
However, some of the buyers online also complain about the quality of the device itself, along with some of the mechanics of switching out the massager’s heads.
Which to Pick?
There are a variety of reasons to pick between the different brands. Perhaps you’re someone with sports-related aches and pains, or maybe you’re someone who exercises a lot and pulls muscles too often.
Whatever your reasons, you have a lot to choose from. Whether it’s Theragun, TimTam, VYBE from Exerscribe, Hypervolt or others, there’s a case to be made for all of them.
There are plenty of other models and brands that I haven’t even mentioned, so it’s best to explore your options a bit before you choose.
Ultimately, Theragun is the most well-known brand, TimTam is more affordable but with fewer extras included, and Exerscribe is more mid-range but can come with some minor technical issues. The other brands have similar issues and upsides. There’s no true ‘reigning champion’ here in this industry.
What you purchase will depend on what you value in a product like this: battery life, consistency, durability, product lifespan, so on and so forth.
Many people swear by them, and they can be useful at the end of a hard day. Percussion massagers have their place in the health and fitness market. For a lot of people, they help encourage blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness and fatigue, and speed up soreness recovery time.
There’s no concrete evidence backing up the use of percussion massagers, however: only personal testimonies and a lot of them can be expensive.
If you’re looking for an option to help you with muscle pain, or speed up post-workout recovery, though, they’re a good possibility to look into. Just look through the brands and examine what you want before you order.
That’s the best way to guarantee your satisfaction: and that’s what these devices are supposed to do.