For those of us who have aches and muscle pains, any kind of massage or therapy is a godsend. After a while, having the same hurt going on in your feet, arms, back, or really anywhere is going to get old for anyone.
Paid massages or physical therapy is one way to help, but having your own personal solution can sometimes be better.
If you know what a Theragun is, then you should know what a percussion massage gun is: a rapid-massage handheld machine that can hit deeper areas of muscle.
For many people, this can have benefits such as promoting blood flow, reducing muscle soreness, and speeding up muscle recovery.
Percussion massage guns can be very effective at doing their job. But what about other devices or products like foam rollers.
What Are Foam Rollers?
Foam rollers are a self-massage tool that have a nice niche in the health and fitness industry. Most often they are cylindrical, but some of them come in different shapes and sizes.
Either way, they’re used to roll out aches and muscle pains, improve range of motion, and hit very deep muscle spots while providing a manual way of stretching and releasing tension. It also tends to improve flexibility in some people that use it.
There are a myriad of different kinds of foam rollers. There are two main kinds, however: manual and vibrating foam rollers.
Manual foam rollers rely totally on the user’s physical movements to assist in stretching and hitting the deeper muscle tissues, while the vibrating foam rollers use the aspect of vibration to assist in massages.
As you might expect, the manual foam rollers are much cheaper, and they don’t require electricity, either. Vibrating foam rollers are a bit more expensive, but are generally more effective than their manual counterparts.
To add on to this dichotomy of manual/vibrating foam rollers, there are also a variety of densities: three common ones, as well as specialized foam rollers for different uses, different sizes, and more.
The standard densities are standard, soft, and firm, all with their own benefits and purposes attached to them. There’s even specialized length and textures available, along with exercises that go well with these products, and more. What I’ve mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg.
Theragun vs Foam Roller
So, which is better? Well, of course, the case isn’t so clear-cut and will take a bit of examining.
Right off the bat, we can see that the two products are really designed to do similar things, just in different ways.
The Theragun (in this case, I am referring to the G3PRO) is honestly a feat of human engineering, and certainly something worthy of respect. It has feats I could spend paragraphs listing: its speed, power, and so on. I will start with something very simple, however: the price.
Even the cheapest model of the Theragun is far more expensive than even more expensive vibrating foam rollers, let alone the manual ones.
It has some better utilities, sure, and some interesting features, but at the end of the day, the core idea of the product is the same.
One massive edge that any foam roller has over the Theragun is simply being much cheaper and much more affordable to the average person, while still doing the same thing, more or less.
Then there’s the fact that foam rollers can be used to aid other stretching exercises than just the rolling itself, and you will often find these stretches explained in some bonus e-book included in the purchase. Moreover, with the cheap and non-vibrating foam roller, you won’t have to worry about battery life.
One final edge the foam roller will be given before we move onto the Theragun’s side of this discussion: the vibrating foam rollers add in the vibration edge to the massage that seems to assist in muscle recovery, while still maintaining a rather moderate price. You don’t have to fully engage in manual stretching–the product helps you along on that end.
Of course, the Theragun, despite its price, does have some upsides. It has far better use in terms of flexibility when it comes to customer-per-customer: some people, for example, might struggle with the exercises or stretching.
There may be physical flexibility issues, pain related to not being able to complete said exercises, or just general physical incompatibilities, which ironically would be more common in a field like fitness and health.
It is much easier to just target something with a Theragun than deal with everything I just listed above. So, for that reason, many people may, in fact, prefer a massage gun.
People often buy products like this to relieve pain, muscle or bone or otherwise, and so it wouldn’t really help if the product can’t actually do its job, would it?
Then there’s the speed, the percussing aspect, and the difference in the kind of massage it is. That’s worth mentioning in this discussion. They both hit deep muscle tissues but do so through a different, albeit similar, manner. Read more here on that.
To get to the point, however, some people simply may prefer the way a massage gun handles and works on them than a foam roller.
Finally, due to a variety of different heads, settings, and speeds, the Theragun can change up its experience to suit the person using it. Vibrating foam rollers generally have multiple settings, but that doesn’t quite compare to all of the different things a Theragun can do overall.
It’s hard to say exactly whether someone should buy a foam roller or a Theragun for their muscle woes. Ultimately, it comes down to the customer and what they’re looking for in a product. Price, usability, convenience, features: there are all things we look at when we examine and buy products every day, and this situation is no different.
Here’s what I’d advise to those reading: for basic muscle massaging and relaxation, a normal foam roller may suit you (and your wallet) much better. It can get the job done without needing anything fancy or extra.
The vibrating foam roller (or a cheaper massage gun) is a good middle point. It has a bit more punch to it, perhaps for those with chronic muscle pain or another issue, and most vibrating foam rollers have different vibration frequencies.
On the other hand, the Theragun, while being more expensive, is powerful, has many different speeds and settings, heads, and features, and is a well-engineered product that is almost certain to get the job done.
Some may prefer to go for the ‘sure thing’ and buy the more expensive product, rather than buy one thing and then have to buy another later on. It’s also easier to use than most foam rollers, being more conveniently applied.
Mull it over before you “pull the trigger”, but whatever you pick, I hope it eases your aches and pains.