You're wrong about "Theragunning": 7 things to stop doing with your percussion massager

You’re wrong about “Theragunning”: 7 things to stop doing with your percussion massager

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From running displays to physiotherapy desks, sports training tables and even drugstore shelves, percussive massagers seem to be popping up everywhere these days. With a wide range of styles, sizes, settings, and prices, navigating the ins and outs of what these massage guns are, how they work, and when and why they should be used can be confusing. When used correctly, however, percussion massagers are invaluable tools for pre- and post-workout routines.

What are percussion massagers?

Percussion massagers (or, more commonly, percussion or massage guns) are handheld devices with an oscillating end that deliver rapid, jackhammer-like pressure pulses to muscles. Percussion guns essentially provide a more focused and deeper form of self-massage or myofascial release than foam rolling plates or vibration plates. Features of percussion guns include:

  • The torque, which is a lot of pressure is applied in pounds
  • Frequency, which is the number of percussions per second or minute, and
  • Amplitude, which is the tissue depth that the percussive treatment can reach.

Percussion guns can come with a variety of attachments (or “heads”) aimed at different parts of the body and the comfort level of the user. The science behind the treatment is consistent across brands, but different prices can come with differences in overall quality, customization (including head shapes and treatment frequencies), and ease of use. use, including longevity. Percussion guns are commonly incorporated into warm-up routines, post-workout recovery, and soft tissue treatments.

RELATED: Which percussion massager is best for you?

How do percussion massagers work?

Percussion massagers are offered to relax tight muscles, improve myofascial mobility, increase range of motiondecrease pain and muscle soreness and improve blood and lymph circulation, helping with both pre-workout preparation and post-workout recovery. Although specific research on percussion guns is still in its infancy, the mechanisms of action are believed to be similar to vibration and massage therapies, with a combination of mechanical and neuromuscular effects. Percussion guns target both muscle and fascia. The fascia is a fibrous network connective tissue that wraps the soft tissues of the body and plays a role in the transmission of force and responsiveness. Adhesions or scars in the fascia lead to loss of normal tissue “slip and slip”, decreased mobility and range of motion, soft tissue “knots”, pain, dysfunction and potentially injuries. Myofascial release aims to counteract this by targeting restricted areas, traditionally through manual techniques, and restoring normal movement. Percussion massagers are considered a form of myofascial release without the need for a therapist.

Similar to some massage techniques and vibration therapy, from a neuromuscular perspective, percussion guns are also believed to alter reflex activity in the spine without affecting muscle strength, allowing for increased range of motion without loss of performance. This was perceived to be the case in a study of ankle movement and muscle strength after several minutes of use on the calf muscles. Although some research suggests that vibration therapy can increase muscle activation when used before exercise, further investigation is needed to see if this applies to percussion guns.

After exercise, percussive therapy can reduce delayed onset muscle pain, pain and perceptions of muscle stiffness. Percussion guns may even have the edge over other therapies, as they have been proven improve muscle recovery values at higher degrees than foam rolling and vibration, and in less time (two minutes versus 15 minutes) than manual therapy. Improved local blood flow and lymphatic drainage also helps eliminate waste, leading to faster recovery and happier legs.

RELATED: Ask a trainer: how do I deal with pain until I can see a doctor?

What are percussion massagers used for?

It follows that percussion guns are useful tools both before and after training, as well as in rehabilitation settings. Because they can improve mobility and range of motion without negatively impacting muscle strength, impact guns are a useful addition to a dynamic warm-up routine, helping the body settle into a movement more quickly. fluid. Athletes attempting to treat chronically tight and restricted areas should use them for myofascial release and neuromuscular benefits prior to targeted rehabilitation or mobility work to maximize benefits. Take, for example, a calf squeeze releasing soft tissue adhesions with a percussion gun before stretching is equivalent to untying a knot in a rope before pulling the ends. Post-workout percussive therapy’s proven benefits on pain and soreness make it a useful addition to any recovery routine – and, let’s face it, it feels great on tired muscles, so pound! With, of course, a certain impunity. Here’s what you need to know about using your new massage gun.

6 Things to Avoid When Using Your Percussion Massage Gun

Do not use too long.

The magic numbers to remember: no more than 2 minutes per muscle group before exercise and 2-5 minutes after exercise. Although research has yet to establish an “ideal” duration for the use of a percussive massager, the clinical consensus tends to agree that this is an adequate (but not excessive) duration to maximize benefits. We recommend setting a timer on your phone to ensure you stay within the set time slot.

Do not rush.

Slowly cover the entire muscle in a relaxed state, paying particular attention to tight or tender areas. Different manufacturers have different recommendations on how to move percussion massagers over different muscle groups (side to side, up and down) before and after exercise, so refer to websites or apps for details. However, after exercise, a slow up and down motion, with pauses in particularly narrow areas, is generally recommended.

Do not use directly on bony prominences, the front of the neck or abdomen, or on acute wounds.

Percussion guns work on soft and contractile tissue. Use on bones, sensitive areas, vital organs or already inflamed areas will not only be ineffective, it will hurt. So stay away from this patella and definitely avoid new breakouts.

Do not use the same head accessory for each treatment area.

Select a head accessory that suits the treatment area and your comfort level. Different manufacturers may suggest specific attachments for different areas of the body, based on size and muscle characteristics. In the end, also use your judgment and choose a comfortable head.

Don’t assume that high frequency is better.

Use a comfortable frequency and pressure. Again, this is an area that needs further research for optimization, but percussion guns are made to be within the therapeutic frequency ranges through their velocities, so use whatever works best for you.

Don’t overdo it.

Remember, exercise induces muscle damage. We want our recovery methods to promote recovery and not further damage the muscles. Hammering a sore quad at full power won’t help. In an extreme case report, an episode of acute rhabdomyolysis following prolonged use of an impact gun occurred in a cyclist. Very rarely in triathlon excessive amounts of anything helps, and this is one of them – so don’t crush your calves for an hour.

Don’t forget the rest of your recovery protocol.

Using a massage gun should be part of your recovery routine, but it shouldn’t be your only recovery modality. Don’t forget to pay attention to basic things like nutrition, sleep, and stress management. And once in a while, replace the massage gun with a human massager – it’s a good addition to your percussive massage routine.

RELATED: How do I know if my recovery is zero?

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