Whether you are a competitive athlete, outdoor enthusiast, or someone just getting started in the fitness world, you know that when you work your body, there are consequences. Soreness, fatigue, and muscle pain can hold you back from reaching your fitness goals. Thankfully, there is a way to avoid those issues. Percussive therapy, or percussion therapy, is a massage technique that helps people recover quicker. Keep reading to learn more about the science behind percussive therapy and how it can help you.
What Is Percussive Therapy?
Percussive therapy is used to treat soft tissue damage. Percussive therapy devices allow the user to penetrate deeper into the muscle than a regular massage can do.
It uses a massage gun to help stimulate blood flow. At this point, you may be wondering, "How does a massage gun work to help muscles?" The rapid movement of the massage gun relaxes the muscles, which helps them heal faster.
What Are the Benefits of Percussion Therapy?
There are several benefits of percussion therapy, and there are benefits to using a massage gun. Here are a few examples:
- relaxes tight muscles
- reduces inflammation
- minimizes muscle soreness
- improves flexibility and range of motion
- improves blood circulation
- encourages a better lymphatic flow
All these claims almost sound too good to be true. However, they are backed by scientific research.
The Science Behind Percussive Therapy
There are three major components of percussive therapy that make it effective: speed, force, and amplitude.
- Speed in percussive therapy is measured in repetitions per minute. The faster the massage gun, the more intense the therapy.
- Most percussion therapy devices have a faster speed setting for tough muscles and slower speed settings for sensitive muscles.
- Force is another important factor of percussive therapy. There are different pounds of force that can be applied to your muscles, depending on how sore you are.
Amplitude is the measurement of how deep into the tissue the massage gun reaches. Percussive therapy also affects specific systems in your body, such as the following:
- the circulatory and lymphatic system
- the musculoskeletal system
- the nervous system
The Circulatory and Lymphatic System
Percussive therapy affects the circulatory system, which the lymphatic system is a part of. Your circulatory system is responsible for the transportation of the oxygen, nutrients, and hormones that your body needs.
By relieving muscle knots, build-up, and tension, percussion therapy improves blood flow and the removal of metabolic byproducts that result from exercise.
The Musculoskeletal System
When you exercise, your musculoskeletal system gets hit hard. This system is made up of all of the joints, ligaments, cartilage, fascia, tendons, bones, and muscles in your body.
Percussive therapy works to effectively loosen muscle knots and to keep fascia supple by breaking up adhesions.
The Nervous System
Your body's nervous system contains your central nervous system and your peripheral nervous system. Your brain, spinal cord, and nerves that extend to all parts of your body are also affected by intense exercise sessions.
Percussive therapy is used to mask the pain signals sent out by the nervous system. It also helps decompress nerves from tight muscles. It also both stimulates and calms the nervous system.
Who Benefits from Percussive Therapy?
A simple answer to the question of who benefits from percussive therapy is almost everyone.
People of all types can find relief and relaxation when using percussive therapy, but it is especially popular among different types of athletes.
Endurance athletes like people who run marathons, triathlons, or ultramarathons, find that percussive therapy helps their bodies feel better and recover quicker during training and after the event.
Outdoor enthusiasts who hike long distances, rock climb, or do water sports also enjoy using percussion therapy devices. Percussive therapy helps them stay outside longer and enjoy their adventures more.
Anyone who frequents the gym would also benefit from percussive therapy. Relieving your muscles of pain and tension can help you work out harder and see results sooner.
Regardless of who you are, it is always best to check with your primary doctor before starting percussive therapy. Also, percussive therapy is not advised for people who are pregnant.
How and when to Use Percussion Therapy Devices
To use a massage gun, just turn it on and hold it about an inch away from the muscles you are targeting. Don't feel like you need to press down hard on the muscle because the pulses of the massage gun reach deep enough on their own.
- When you are exercising, you can use a massage gun before, during, and after any type of exertion.
- Doing percussive therapy before exercising can help warm up your muscles, get your blood flowing, and jump-start your nervous and circulatory systems.
- Percussive therapy during exercising can help you perform better on your next set. It can also give you the relief you need to keep exercising.
- Doing percussion therapy after exercising is a popular way to help your body relax and recover from your workout.
How to Get Started with Percussive Therapy
Now that you know what percussive therapy is and the science behind why it works, are you ready to start? Because percussive therapy is mainly done by yourself and in your own home, getting started is easy! You simply buy a massage gun and start massaging.
However, not all massage guns are created equally. We at Healthaholico understand how exercise affects the body. We are dedicated to helping you recover faster and perform better. Contact us today for more information on how percussive therapy can help you.