if you're into fitness, you might have heard of percussion therapy by now. A new area of physical therapy, percussion therapy works by applying targeted amounts of pressure into the body, which can help increase blood flow and heal muscles faster after a tough workout, while also helping muscles warm up before your exercise gets going. This pressure hits both superficial muscle tissue and deeper tissue as well, which can reduce the chance of injury by ensuring muscles are fully warmed up before your workout starts.
Think of a deep tissue massage without all the hassle -- this is exactly what massage guns offer. These devices, which look almost like small handheld power drills, can be used both pre and post-workout. Their purpose is to stimulate blood flow to a targeted area. You always want to be sure your blood is flowing before your workout starts, as any area that you haven't warmed up can be more prone to injury. This is because stiff muscles aren't as flexible as those that have been stretched out properly, which makes them more likely to be pulled or torn. Massage guns used before a workout can increase your muscle's range of motion by up to 50-80%, making them a great way to enhance your pre-workout routine.
Massage guns act similarly to dynamic stretches, in the sense that they're fully activating your muscles when applied, and not simply pulling them or twisting them to get a workout started. As you've no doubt heard by now, static stretching is out, as it can actually increase your chance of injury by reducing muscle strength. Your pre-workout warm up should be fast and get your heart pumping. Holding static stretches for too long with cold muscles can excessively weaken them before you even get your workout going - especially if you're lifting.
Massage guns are also a great way to use percussion therapy to your advantage after a workout. Since they increase blood flow to an area, massage guns help increase the amount of oxygen your sore muscles are getting, which can speed up the healing process after a tough workout. They also stimulate the chromatin, which are cell nuclei that when affected by percussive therapy, send messages to the brain to provide pain relief. This can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout and make you feel less stiff and tired out.
While massage guns won't replace the work that massage therapists can do for your muscles, they're a great addition to any workout kit, and can be used whenever you workout. By making your warmups more effective and speeding up the muscle healing process after your workout is done, there's a lot to be said for the efficacy of massage guns and percussive therapy.