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Many massage therapists believe that only their hands should be used during a massage session. Why, when so many tools can effect benefits for clients and also alleviate the therapist’s own work-related pain?

Many massage therapists believe that only their hands should be used during a massage session. Why, when so many tools can effect benefits for clients and also alleviate the therapist’s own work-related pain?

One such tool is the massage gun, a handheld percussive instrument that can be used for spot treatments and is especially effective for deeper work.

1. A Massage Gun Can Go Deep

Massage therapists we spoke to say they use a massage gun for spot treatments, on tissue that needs something extra.

“I use them only for deeper work and they are very effective when someone is extremely tight, like they have a muscle contracture that’s really tense,” said massage therapist Dee Edra Walker Vickers, LMT, BCTMB, M.Ed, adding, “it’s almost a deep vibration and it’s helpful to be able to get in there and release that deep, tense muscle.”

This deep, percussive effect is achieved because of the massage guns’ design: like a little jackhammer, it delivers bursts of vibration very rapidly.

2. Clients Love Massage Guns

A massage gun is a percussive instrument, meaning it puts vibration into the body. This vibration can help break up adhesions and simply feels great. For the bariatric client who may not be entirely satisfied with hands only, for example, a massage gun provides deep therapy, said Mack. Plus, massage guns generally don’t plug in—they use a rechargeable battery—so a cord won’t drag on the client.

“The customers really like it, they say good things about it,” said Vickers. The Hypervolt2 from Hyperice features QuietGlide technology that makes the gun what the company calls whisper quiet.

“The client will get so much more out of each treatment [when a massage gun is used],” said Timalee Snow, LMT, education manager at Therabody, maker of the Theragun. “We know through scientific research that percussive therapy provides a longer lasting, deeper treatment than manual therapy alone.

3. A Massage Gun Provides Self-Care

Do you ever experience pain or tightness in your own body? Have you developed trigger points in your shoulders, arms or back? Do your hands or forearms sometimes hurt?

A massage gun can address all such complaints. With multiple settings, a massage gun can be customized for your desired level of depth and vibration. It can reach any area of your body and provide pain relief and relaxation when you are between receiving massage sessions.

Massage guns come in various weights with various settings. The ergonomic design is typical, making a massage gun easy to hold and use on both clients and yourself.

4. A Massage Gun Can Save Your Hands

Using a massage gun alleviates stress on the massage therapist’s body, especially when clients ask you to go deeper.

“I’ve been a therapist for nearly 20 years and this is a good way to save your hands if you have some very dense tension going on,” said Vickers. “It’s a great way to save the stress on your own body.” The massage therapist can choose where, and for how long, to use the massage gun.

“There are multiple attachments and speeds to allow full control,” explained massage therapist Sarah Mack, LMT. “The gun can get on one area in 10 minutes versus 30 minutes of therapy.”

The PR Pro Advantage Percussion Massage Device sold by Infinity features a light, compact design—helpful for the onsite or mobile massage therapist.

“I have found through my own experience of more than 20 years, eventually our built-in “tools” start to break down,” said Theragun’s Snow. “Being a massage therapist is very physically demanding. By simply incorporating percussive therapy throughout my massages, I have had the opportunity to work in this field for much longer—and it allows me to be more effective for my clients.”

Karen Menehan

About the Author

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief—print and digital. Her recent articles include “Massage in the Hospital: At Work on the Pain-Care Team” and “Your Wellness Roadmap for the New Year: 2022 Trends.”

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