With the onset of the pandemic, life changes and everything else going on, it’s safe to say many people have been feeling stressed. People are constantly looking for ways to get rid of worry, which can also manifest as tension in the body. Enter: massage guns. A popular trend, massage gun ads, videos and informational posts have been sprouting up all over the internet. The question is: do they actually work? Our very own Ashley Rozek, PT, DPT, CSCS, and Clinical Director of our Grand Central – 3rd Ave clinic, and Donald Zerio, PT, DPT, TPI LII, is here to help bring some truth to light, recently contributing her knowledge to a CNN article exploring this very topic!
While massage therapy often noted to be very beneficial for recovery, it’s not always an accessible option for all. Especially during the middle of the pandemic, where social distancing was necessary, many people turned to other options to be able to alleviate those tight knots and pains in their muscles. Naturally, handheld massage guns became a easy solution.
Donald says these popular massage guns work just like a foam roller: “They do work in the same sense that foam rolling works. It is another method of soft tissue mobilization that provides the benefit of loosening up tight muscle tissue, which provides a feeling of relief and provides a short-term improvement in flexibility.” Donald also points out that you can easily injure yourself with a massage gun if not used correctly, which can worsen your situation. His advice? Talk to your PT! “We tell our patients to bring in their massage guns to a physical therapist so we can demonstrate how to use the different percussion heads and vary the depth and speed for specific muscle groups.”
While Ashley also believes these massage guns are good for recovery and pre-workout, she stresses: “it is important to come see a physical therapist and learn how to safely and correctly use the gun on your body so you can effectively use it at home.” It’s always best to get professional advice from a physical therapist to ensure you’re occupying the right tool for your specific needs.