Have you ever had a rough day at work and come home wishing that you could get a massage right there? Well, now you can. It is easier than ever to work on the knots in your muscles. The popular new handheld massagers are selling like crazy and it begs the question, “Are handheld massagers any good?” Let’s talk about these machines and learn if they are worth your money and find out which ones are the best handheld massagers.
How Do They Work?
The handheld massage guns are a great way to warm up your muscles and increase the blood flow to that area. They use the vibrations from the gun to work the ball like a hammer that is hitting the soft tissue over and over. The vibrations loosen up your muscles, soften scar tissue, and help in lengthening the muscles for more relaxation and comfort. The best places to use the handheld massagers include areas that often carry the weight of stress like the shoulders, neck, and lower back.
A lot of athletes like to use the guns on their legs to warm them up before going to do any workout or activity. This is a great practice to warm up, but they are also a great tool to use when trying to cool down from an exercise because it will break up anything tight from the workout.
The best practice for a muscle warm-up is using the gun on a low setting on a major muscle group for about six to ten minutes per muscle group. This makes sure that they are ready for whatever activity you are going to tackle. This makes it less likely that you will injure something during the workout. A smart thing to do is use the gun if you plan on just working out a certain muscle group. However, if you are doing a full-body workout then a more common warm-up like jogging, stretching, and jumping jacks will probably be the smart thing to do.
One of the main reasons that you are sore after a workout is because of the build-up of the lactic acid in your muscles. To deter or delay muscle soreness you should hit the areas that you worked out after working out and that will decrease the muscle fibers’ ability to hold onto that lactic acid.
Features to Look For in Your Massager
There are many different options out there in the market so it is important to pay attention to certain things that some options will come with and some will not. There are many options of styles, sizes, prices, and colors. Whether you want to focus on one particular muscle or an entire muscle group, there is going to be an option for you. Regarding price, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$500. When thinking about features to look into these 4 should be somewhere on your list…
- Battery: Batteries in these machines can vary tremendously. Some options can last for 3 straight hours on a single charge while other options need to be plugged back in after a mere 90 minutes. Some products have replaceable and rechargeable batteries but those cost a little more than some of the others. The issue with the cheaper, built-in batteries is if they go bad, then the whole machine is useless. It might be worthwhile to go with the more expensive interchangeable battery.
- Weight: A major thing to think about is the size/weight of the machine. You want to be able to use the product with one hand easily for up to 10 minutes as suggested earlier. A good weight for a massager is around 3-4 lbs.
- Attachments and Features: Many of these products come with different heads that you can attach to where the actual message is happening. For instance, some come with a fork-looking attachment that is meant to straddle your spine or skinnier muscles. You also want to look into ones with different speed settings because sometimes the fastest speeds are too much for smaller muscles.
- Sound/Noise: You don’t want to get a machine that is incredibly noisy when on because it is supposed to be a relaxing practice. We suggest looking into a quieter model so that you can focus on what you are doing without detracting from the experience with a noisy device. A machine with a brushless motor might be the right product for you.
It is important to remember that while yes, these are great therapeutic and efficient machines to work on muscles with, they will not make you any better at a given activity. They are made to be a recovery aid, and not give you a boost in performance (like speed or endurance).
So to answer the original question “Are handheld massagers any good?”, we would say yes. They are great products for rehab or to warm up muscles before the workout. They are not “over-hyped” and they are very much worth the money if you are athletic and like to work out a lot. We hope that we have answered your questions – Good luck with your search for the right one for you!