Find the Best Massage Gun for Your Muscle Recovery Needs

By Karla Walsh


If your muscles are tight, tense, or full of knots (been there, felt that!), you probably want to relieve that tension ASAP. But how?

Massage has been shown to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by 30%,” says Lauren Lobert, DPT, owner of APEX Physical Therapy in Brighton, Mich. “Both massages and massage guns increase blood flow, improve range of motion, and decrease pain and tenderness.”

The massage guns she speaks of have become all the rage everywhere from pro sports locker rooms to Hollywood movie sets, and offer a handheld, cord-free shakeout for your tight muscles.

Science backs up Lobert’s premise: Massage and “vibration therapy” from a massage gun were equally effective in preventing muscle soreness, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. In addition to reducing post-exercise soreness and returning stressed muscles to normal functioning, massage guns (and massages!) can also boost blood flow to a specific area.

RELATED: A Master SoulCycle Instructor’s Guide to Workout Recovery

Muscles are encapsulated by a lining called fascia, which can get stuck to the muscle fibers,” says Theresa Marko, DPT, a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy and owner of Marko Physical Therapy in New York City. “Massage—by hands or a massage gun—releases this, helping the muscle fibers glide better and perform properly.”

It makes even more sense if you think about your natural reaction to muscle pain: applying pressure to the spot that’s causing trouble. “The pressure from the massage gun can desensitize the nervous system in that area, which then decreases the sensation of pain,” adds Nina Geromel, DPT, owner of Geromove Physical Therapy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “This is why we’re inclined to rub a painful area after we bumped it on something.” 

Legions of celebrities and athletes (and likely someone you know or follow on Instagram) are obsessed with massage guns, quite possibly because:

  •     One investment offers years of use.
  •     Your “appointment” can be any time you like.
  •     It’s simple to use before or after a workout.
  •     It’s a nice massage alternative if you don’t like being touched by strangers.

“If you’re looking to warm up an area in a short amount of time, I typically recommend massage guns as the best option,” says Kellen Scantlebury, DPT, a physical therapist and the CEO of Fit Club in New York City. “But if your goal is to reduce as much muscular stress and tension as possible, I recommend a massage therapist or physical therapist. Having someone work on you helps increase your state of relaxation more than using a massage gun on yourself.”

If you’re interested in giving one of these massage guns a shot, here are some options at different price points for different fitness goals.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

About Karla Walsh
Health, Food, Wine and Relationship Writer + Cooking and Wine Event Host

Interested in joining our wellness community and becoming a Nutritious Life Master Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach?

Enter your info, get free access now to a sample class!

Inside Articles page - take a free class form

"*" indicates required fields

I agree*
I would like to receive text messages, and agree to the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Msg & data rates may apply. Msg frequency varies.