Everyone experiences sore and tight muscles from time to time.
Pain in the neck area, upper- and lower back, hamstrings, things, etc. call for our attention and you daydream about visiting your favorite massage place.
But if you don’t have time or money to go there, a lightweight and electronic massage device might do the trick.
Handheld percussion massagers are becoming increasingly popular and it is for a good reason. These machines work and can be a cost-effective alternative than going to a masseuse.
Handheld Massagers and Percussion Therapy
Percussion therapy is the principle behind a percussion massager. It is equivalent to tapotement derived from the French verb “tapoter” which literally means “to tap”.
The tapping movements are done on relatively short but even sequences over a specific area of the body. Usually on the “fleshier” parts of the body and not the bony parts.
When done by a massage therapist, the strokes are applied through a series of light and quick movements from the hands and wrists.
When done by an electronic massage device, the strokes are applied through a massage arm (similar to a jackhammer). But in this case, we are talking massaging/tapping movements of around 2.000 – 3.000 per minute.
It might sound scary, but these quick pulses are actually incredibly effective at getting through hard muscle tissue and reduces pain and improves blood flow.
Compared with human hands that cannot penetrate the deeper tissue, a percussion massager is able to reach deep into any muscle and make quick work of any issue.
The massager can be used on the whole body including the back, head, shoulder, neck, and foot. All you have to do is to locate the trigger point and place the massager in the area for a few minutes to feel the relief.
Benefits of Percussion Massager
Percussion massagers are very popular because of their ability to alleviate sore muscles. I can attest to that personally!
There is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that they can help speed up muscle recovery.
It is also often mentioned that the gentle stretching caused by the massage
improves physical response, flexibility, and performance.
They are used for both post-work-out management and as a pre-competition warm-up. The rapid movement delivered to the muscle fibers jumpstarts your warm-up, and some world-class trainers use them to deal with cramps and muscle fatigue.
With all that being said, it might come as a huge surprise to you that the scientific evidence is very vague (at best). In fact, it is not clear at all how any kind of massage “works” or why.
In my opinion, these are the most notable effects that evidence suggests:
- It could help alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Read more about it here (meta-analysis).
- Potentially speed up muscle recovery and performance due to the so-called myofascial-release. Read more about it here(meta-analysis).
- It could make you happier and more relaxed by decreasing cortisol and increasing the level of the two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Does this mean you should stay away from percussion massagers?
My answer would be an astounding NO!
But it is good to keep in mind that most of these claims lack evidence.
A percussion massager is for anyone who wants access to a nice massager 24/7. It could help you alleviate sore muscles or help manage chronic pain.
Athletes, professional trainers, gym-goers, and office workers can benefit from having this portable device.
Instead of paying a massage therapist, you can invest in a machine and get a similar outcome at a lower cost.
It is a great device to have at the office as well. The many hours we spend sitting in front of a computer does take its toll on our bodies, and a percussion massager can help alleviate that.
Popular Percussion Massagers
With the increasing popularity of these machines, the market is flooded with different brands and copycats.
There are many to choose from and the pricing can vary a lot. Below are three popular choices that all more or less offer the same and have a similar design.
Since an NBA sports star was seen using the Theragun at a match (back in 2017 I believe) all kinds of athletes, therapists and massage enthusiasts alike have been talking about this brand.
Compared to other percussion massagers, this is really the “Ferrari” and their pro version has its price set in that accordance. However, they also have other models that come at a more affordable price.
You can read more about their different models here.
The Hypervolt stands out with its long battery life and more quiet operation. However, it is not as easy to navigate around your body as the Theragun or Timtam.
You can check out this comparative review of the Hypervolt here.
If you like chocolate biscuits you might have heard of the Australian brand Timtam because they are awesome!
The TimTam Power massager is not a chocolate biscuit, but it is also awesome 🙂
It is the cheapest option of the three brands mentioned here. You can check out the TimTam power massager in this comparative review.
If you are looking for low-budget options, this list of Theragun alternatives should come in handy.
The cheaper options will not match the performance of these heavy-duty percussion massagers. However, they can be enough for many people.
Electronic percussion massagers are the latest technology when it comes to massage devices.
They are often used by professional athletes, gym buffs, coaches, office workers and anyone who is suffering from chronic body aches.
The rapid pulses penetrate deep into the muscle tissue and are very effective at alleviating soreness and stiffness.
With the many different brands available you can pick one that fits your needs and budget. There really is no reason why you should not also indulge in this new luxury.