In the world of therapeutic fitness tools, massage guns are creating a lot of buzz for their claims to relieve tension and soreness and help you relax. Athletes of all levels, as well as people who are just on their feet all day, are checking them out as a way to soothe tired muscles after a workout or a long day on the job.
And they can be effective. These handheld percussive devices vibrate at a predetermined frequency in varying intensities and rhythms. When properly used on fatigued muscles, a massage gun can help relieve tension, increase range of motion and prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.)
Massage guns can be a great addition to your wellness plan when used in combination with visits to a licensed massage therapist, but they simply are no substitute for a professional massage. That’s because even though these devices can work over a large group of tight muscles fairly effectively, it will never be able to differentiate between muscle, soft tissue, bone and nerve like a trained therapist can. And when used improperly (for too long a period or at too high a setting,) massage guns can actually overstimulate muscles or cause numbness or tingling in the extremities.
Hands-on massage therapy offers multiple benefits impossible to duplicate with a massage gun. Research shows that the human touch associated with massage actually stimulates the release of oxytocin, a natural relaxation hormone, providing an emotionally healing response, as well as a physical one. In the hands of a skilled therapist, the mobilization of the soft tissues under the muscles stimulates sensory receptors all over the body that not only offer immediate relief from mental stress and muscle tension, but can have long-term positive effects on depression and anxiety.
Licensed massage therapists are professionals who not only have specialized training in massage technique, but a broad knowledge of human anatomy. They understand that not all lower back pain (or neck pain, or knee pain, etc.) originates there, and they know how and where to look for muscle constrictions elsewhere in the body that might be causing the pain youare experiencing.
In addition, licensed massage therapists go to great lengths to ensure a relaxing experience — even during deep tissue work. The jolting vibrations and accompanying noise of most massage guns negate any essential oil diffusing and meditative music you may be streaming. Plus, it’s hard to completely relax when you’re both performing and receiving the massage.
During a professional massage session, you are encouraged to relax and give your muscles over to the hands of the therapist, allowing for deeper, more intense results.
A therapeutic massage leads to a physiological conversation between your muscles and your nervous system that can provide personalized relief from tension and pain.
The licensed massage therapists at Kalologie Medspa Austin are trained in a variety of specialized massage techniques, including relaxation, Swedish, sports, deep tissue, hot stone and prenatal massage. We are happy to discuss the proper use and potential risks of at-home tools such as massage guns, and how they can complement and enhance benefits of hands-on, restorative massage. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.