If you’re an avid gym-goer, odds are you might have seen a power drill-like gadget being passed around, especially after a strenuous workout session, and wondered about the hype surrounding the gizmo.
Known as a massage gun, it’s one of the “it” workout gadgets in recent years following the publicity from celebrities, athletes, and also therapists. But, what is it exactly and how does it work? Is it just something that only workout junkies need to have?
Keep reading as we give you the lowdown on massage guns, including options that you easily get in Singapore.
How does a massage gun work?
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Massage guns are generally a handheld device that has a handle and a pulsating head that delivers a rapid pummelling or oscillating action to provide percussive therapy and vibration therapy.
The gadget is available in a myriad of designs, depending on which brand you’re looking at, and comes with different attachment heads to target different muscle groups.
Most massage guns have different speed intensities as well, so you can pick a setting according to how sore or painful your muscles are. While some athletes and therapists use a massage gun to warm up stiff muscles before exercising, it is more commonly used to restore mobility and relieve post-workout soreness and pain.
According to Dr. Josh Jagoda, a sports chiropractor based in San Diego, California, some studies have even shown that massage guns can help increase blood flow which, in turn, promotes the healing of the injured area.
In addition, massage guns are said to help with the appearance of cellulite as rapid pulsating pressure from the device can supposedly break down the fat cells that accumulate around tissues.
Since massage guns are known for taking care of tension, tightness, and inflammation, they started gaining traction amongst urbanites and working professionals too. “Anyone can really benefit from a massage gun at some point,” says Dr. Jagoda.
“Whether you are someone who enjoys recreational exercise or someone who sits in front of a computer for long periods of time, you can get some pain and tension relief by properly using the massage gun.”
And with physical safe distancing being the new norm for us following the global pandemic, having a massage gun means you get to enjoy many of the benefits of massage right in the comfort of your own home without the expense or the hassle of a visit to the massage therapist.
6 things to note when using a massage gun
While massage guns bring a multitude of advantages and are generally safe and suitable for use without training, there are certain things that you should know before you start using a massage gun regularly.
- Use a massage gun in one area for a maximum of two or three minutes: A massage gun is not meant to be used on one area for a prolonged period of time as you may risk overstimulating your muscles. Move on to other areas when you see that your skin is getting red and flushed, and do not ever use a massage gun on bony areas.
- Don’t go too hard with a massage gun: ‘No pain, no gain’ doesn’t apply to massage guns, so don’t go trigger-happy with the device. It is meant to just float on your body, so applying too much pressure might be detrimental to muscle tissues.
- Maximise the benefits of massage guns with these steps: Be sure to stretch your limbs a little prior to using the device, and move the gadget in slow, circular motions so each part of the treated area gets the pulsating pressure.
- You might need someone to help you in some areas: A massage gun’s portable nature allows you to perform self-massage any time, but certain areas such as the back may be difficult to reach on your own.
- Having a massage gun does not replace a skilled therapist: As Dr. Jagoda puts it, the massage gun can help you in between treatment sessions and also recover from an injury, but it does not provide the type of stretch, rehabilitation or tension that is necessary when you are battling a real injury. It is also unable to tell the difference between bone, muscle, fascia, and nerve like an experienced therapist could, nor can it know if the tissue is too tight or too loose.
- Do not expect massage guns to be a miracle worker: Dr. Jagoda also wants you to know that you can’t just rely solely on massage guns to help you feel better from an injury. “You cannot just do a single thing and expect the body to heal permanently from pain or an injury. It’s a combination of pain relief, better nutrition, exercise as well as an understanding of the problem that will help you get better but you’ll need to put in the effort in the first place,” he says.
5 massage guns in Singapore that you can get your hands on
Therabody Theragun Pro
From the leading brand that arguably propelled massage guns into mainstream popularity, Theragun Pro is the one you should consider investing in if you’re looking for a massage gun with professional-grade performance.
It comes with six attachment heads and is powered by QuietForce Technology to deliver almost noiseless muscle relief. But, what sets the Theragun Pro apart is that it features four unique arm positions designed to create ideal angles to reach any area of the body, and is outfitted with the patented Theragun Triangle ergonomic handle design that allows you to hold the device in a number of ways while actively reducing strain on your hands, wrists, and arms.
On top of five built-in speeds (1,750, 1,900, 2,100, 2,200, and 2,400 percussions per minute), the Theragun Pro lets you customise your preferred intensity within the 1,750 and 2,400 PPM range too which can be controlled via the Therabody app.
What’s more, it’s also fitted with an OLED screen to conveniently display your current speed and a responsive force meter. The Theragun Pro comes with interchangeable batteries and is wireless charging-enabled (though a wireless charging stand is sold separately).
Therabody Theragun Mini
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If you’re looking for an ultra-portable device for on-the-go deep muscle treatment, you may want to consider Therabody’s Theragun Mini instead. On top of being lightweight, it comes with three different speed settings (1,750, 2,100, and 2,400 percussions per minute) and up to 150 minutes of run-time per charge so you can carry it around with you to enjoy quality relief wherever you go.
AVENUE ONE had the opportunity to give this a try and we were pleasantly surprised that the Theragun Mini was very ergonomic to grip despite its appearance. Its speed intensities were more than enough for us to choose from, and we liked that it remained fairly quiet even when we used the device at the highest setting thanks to the same QuietForce Technology found in all Theragun devices.
As per instructions, we did not use it on a specific area for more than three minutes and in just that small window of time, it delivered enough pressure to help loosen our stiff shoulders which made it a welcoming respite after a long day of being in front of the laptop.
It’s specifically designed to be a convenient, portable gadget so don’t expect it to come with any additional attachment heads that you can switch out to. However, it does come with a sturdy pouch that the Theragun Mini sits perfectly in, which we really appreciated as it was easy to pack into our gym bags.
Hyperice Hypervolt with Bluetooth
Besides Therabody, you’ll also find Hyperice in the massage gun market, and the brand’s products are priced on the higher end of the spectrum. If you’re willing to splurge though, opt for the Hypervolt, a solidly built, three-speed massage gun that delivers up to 3,200 percussions per minute with five interchangeable attachment heads.
Thanks to its patented QuietGlide technology, noise levels are kept rather low so you won’t have any issues using it even with family members around you. On top of that, Hypervolt is also Bluetooth-enabled so it’s capable of connecting to your mobile phone via the Hyperice app, allowing for automated operation via guided routines.
Made by the eponymous startup in Singapore, Hydragun is said to be loved by Olympians and pro athletes from around the world as well as local celebrities and personalities like Angela Lee, Fandi Ahmad, and Zoe Tay. Based on its official website, it’s even raked in a five-star rating from almost 300 customers.
The Hydragun lets you change it up with six attachment heads (including two metal-tipped ones) and offers six different speeds for you to pick from, but its uniqueness lies in its SmoothDrive Motor Technology which lets the gizmo deliver a vigorous massage between 30 and 50 decibels – that’s merely as loud as a human whisper which measures in at 25 decibels.
We took the Hydragun for a spin as well, and were impressed at just how silent the gadget was even at the highest setting of 3,200 RPM (revolutions per minute) – we whipped it out to unknot our tight neck and shoulders while watching Netflix and it didn’t affect our TV session at all.
Relieving sore or aching muscles in any part of the body wasn’t an issue for the device as well, since it’s equipped with six different attachment heads that can be swapped out easily.
Weighing just slightly over a kilogramme courtesy of its aerospace-grade aluminium body, the Hydragun was easy on the hands and wrists. It provided us with a comfortable grip too as it is fitted with a silicone handle that is sweat-resistant. Plus, it comes in a protective hard case which made storage really easy.
What we really like about Hydragun though is the price point – it pretty much offers all the technologies that are typically only found in top-of-the-line products but at half the price with its promotional price tag.
Retails for S$599 online but it is currently going for only S$399 at the time of writing.
Xiaomi Merach Nano Pro
Weighing in at just 360 grams, this gadget is definitely one of the smallest massage guns you’ll ever come across.
Thanks to its ultra-compact size, the Merach Nano Pro is ideal for those who want the option to treat muscle soreness on the go minus the bulkiness that conventional massage guns come in – you can simply throw this into your gym bag, handbag or briefcase, and it’ll fit perfectly!
This tiny gizmo might be lightweight but don’t be fooled by its size – its battery can last up to 12 hours of runtime, which means you can use it plenty of times before needing a charge. It also offers three intensity settings, which lets you soothe multiple areas even when you’re on the move.
Retails for S$137 on Shopee but it is currently on sale for only S$99 at the time of writing.