Percussive Therapy Overview
Percussive therapy uses repeated quick pulses to access deep tissues and provide multiple health benefits. There are limited risks to the therapy and its use is growing.
- Percussive therapy is a type of massage that uses repeated quick pulses that penetrate deep into tissues. The result is increased blood flow to the area being treated which can reduce pain and speed healing.
- Percussive massage can be done by a massage therapist, but it is more common to use handheld devices and do self-treatment.
- The handheld devices are often known as massage guns and have a foam ball that moves back and forth at a very rapid rate. The continued stimulation of the muscle cause it to relax, which allows access to the tissues below.
- Extensive research found general agreement there is little to no risk associated with using percussive therapy. Multiple sources were examined including Tech Times, Sports Illustrated, and My Fitness Pal.
- One warning for using specifically the percussive massagers was to follow the directions and avoid using the device on major arteries and internal organs.
- The only other possible risk mentioned was "excessive activation of muscle." There was no indication that this could cause harm.
- There were, however, conditions where percussive therapy is not recommended, including lumbar injuries, pregnancy, advanced diabetes, and when taking blood thinners.
Multiple sources listed multiple benefits of percussive massage including:
- Relax fascia
- Relax muscles and reduce pain
- Improve blood flow
- Decrease soreness from workouts, including delayed onset muscle soreness
- Improves muscle strength and reduces recovery time
- Provides general relaxation and stress relief
- Breaks down internal scar tissue
- Relieves stiff joints and increases range of motion
- Elongates muscle fiber
- Percussive massage is used for post-surgery treatment. Its ability to reduce scar tissue and increase circulation can reduce healing time.
- The treatment is becoming more pervasive in the sports arena. Trainers use the treatment on athletes to reduce pain, treat cramps, and loosen up stiff joints and muscles before a competition.
- When people have medical issues that do not allow them to participate in physical therapy, percussive massage can be used as part of the rehabilitation process. For patients with full or partial paralysis, the therapy can help prevent muscle atrophy.
- To determine what people think of percussive massagers, we utilized the Amazon website. This allowed for examination of a wide range of products and gave an overall view of whether these devices are popular and how customers review them.
- A search for percussive massagers on the Amazon site provided over 500 results, with 48 on the first page. Thousands of people had reviewed the various massagers.
- The number of reviews show that the devices are popular and people are buying them. Additionally, none of the products on the first page had less than a 4 star rating, which indicates that people are overwhelmingly happy with their purchases.
- The creator of the Theragun stated that over 100 professional sports teams and athletes are using Theragun products. This seems to be further proof that people believe the devices are effective and worthwhile.
Percussive Therapy Brands
- TimTam produces a variety of percussive massagers that are used by professional athletes as well as everyday people.
- Hyperice is another brand that offers a variety of massage products, including percussive massagers. Their product line also has rollers with vibration technology, and massagers for specific body parts such as the knee, back, or upper arm.
- Achedaway only offers a single product, the Percussion and Vibration Massager.
- Sportneer is a fitness, sports and outdoors company that has a wider product line. They do offer a percussive massage gun at a lower price point than many other companies although they don't appear to specialize in the technology like the other companies mentioned do.