After a long and strenuous day of hard work at your desk or hours of grinding at the gym, there’s no better way to recover and increase blood flow than a well-applied and targeted massage therapy session. By now you know all the benefits of massage, and the convenience that comes with at home massage guns. Here is a guide on how to use massage gun on yourself.

The growth in popularity of massage guns helps increase accessibility to the benefits of massage because let’s be honest, not everyone has the time or budget to afford a session with a massage therapist or physical therapist.

This begs the question: Can a handheld massage gun replace a professional?

In this guide, we’re going to answer that question once and for all. Let’s take a closer look.

Massage Guns 101

A massage gun is a powerful relaxation device that somewhat resembles a drill. It’s a fantastic investment for an exercise buff or someone whose work entails long sitting hours, resulting in tight muscles.

Most of the best massage guns come with a single-use button and a range of intensity settings that are easily adjustable as per the individual’s needs. They also come with different types of massage heads that you can remove and change depending on what you find comfortable.

A massage gun employs vibration or percussive therapy to target the affected areas, improving blood circulation and relieving the targeted areas of any tension or knot formation.

How to Use Massage Gun on Yourself

Massage guns are definitely quick and handy, but they’re not meant for prolonged use, nor should you handle them with immense pressure. If not used properly, massage guns will actually add to your injury rather than relieve your muscle pain.

We recommend using this step-by-step guide to help you use a massage gun safely:

1. Switch on the Device

As mentioned above, most massage guns come with a single-use button. You might have to hold this button and wait for a while until the device starts whirring. 

Make sure you have the desired muscle head attached. If it’s your first time using a massage gun, go with a massage head that’s on the softer and squishier side for a gentler impact.

2. Choose the Desired Intensity

It’s recommended that you start from the lowest intensity and gradually work your way up. Most devices start low enough, while others may have a higher percussion impact and speed settings. Check the massage gun’s intensity levels before purchase or use.

3. Target the Muscle

Next, rest the massage head on the targeted area and let it massage your pain points. There’s no need to apply deep pressure or force on the affected area. We recommend letting it rest for a while before you move on to other areas.

4. Gently Move Along the Muscle

After you’ve held the massage gun at the same place for a few minutes, start moving it along at a slow and steady pace. There’s no need to rush, and your speed should not be faster than about one inch per second. If you hit any knots or tight spots along the way, hover around that area for a bit before moving on.

Tend to the bigger muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, for up to two minutes. On the other hand, you shouldn’t spend longer than 30 seconds to one minute hovering around the smaller muscle groups, such as your wrists — simply brush past them. Don’t apply additional pressure in these areas, as you might cause yourself more pain.

Lastly, remember to relax and take calm and steady breaths. There’s no need to tense up. Just enjoy the process and let your muscles relax.

Why Should You Use a Massage Gun?

how to use massage gun on yourself

Using a massage gun goes beyond just pain relief and muscle relaxation. Here are three benefits of using a massage gun:

Improve blood circulation

A massage gun’s vibration therapy allows for improved blood and oxygen flow to the affected areas. It releases knots and tensions in the joints and muscles and relieves them of any pain and discomfort.

Relieve Stress and Relax Your Body

Do your tight muscles feel stiff from having sat around for too long? Are you aching after returning from long office hours? The good news is a massage gun can help ease the tension from your shoulders, back, and joints and leave you relaxed and well-rested.

Enhance Body Movements

With the constraints and discomfort of contracting muscles and joint pains lifted, you can get greater range of motion and act more freely without any fatigue or stress.

When and Where Should You Not Use a Massage Gun?

Knowing what not to do is often more important than knowing what to do! Though the benefits of a massage gun heavily outweigh its drawbacks, there are instances where it’s not the best choice for a massage or therapy.

Improper use of massage guns can injure muscle cells and blood vessels. Moreover, such carelessness can also damage the guns themselves. Always consult a health professional if you’re unsure about using a massage gun for specific aches and problems.

In addition to the most obvious precautions, you shouldn’t use a massage gun on:

  • Bony surfaces such as the forehead, face, or spine
  • Near open wounds and bruises
  • Musculoskeletal sprains and muscle strains (consult with your doctor)

Bottom Line

All in all, a massage gun is a simple device that works well when it comes to getting pain relief from knots, tension, etc. However, its primary function is percussion therapy, so if you’re looking for a tool that can give you a full-body massage, a massage gun is probably not the right choice.

You can incorporate a foam roller and trigger point ball along with your massage gun sessions for improved benefits and a wider area of coverage for your sore muscles and aching body. Remember to stretch and take some time out for movement and exercise in your daily routine.