There’s been a lot of buzz about massage guns lately. The odd-looking contraptions - which are like power drills with a ball on the end - had a surge in popularity in 2020 after lockdowns forced us to get creative in lieu of regular, face-to-face massage treatments.
Once the domain of professional athletes, massage guns have been marching their way into the homes of us mere mortals, and everyone from gym junkies to nine-to-fivers and stay at home mums, seem to be singing their praises.
Even Kmart are selling them, much to the delight of one shopper who recently had a Kmart Facebook group in stitches with this hilarious comment
“Just got my hands on the new $89 Massage Gun after eying them off for a while, hopefully it helps my back,” the person wrote, before adding, “If not I’m going to have a very happy wife.”
So what exactly do they do?
You don’t need a lot of imagination to understand how these beauties work.
Massage guns use something called percussive therapy which basically uses strong pulses or vibrations to work muscle tissue, increasing blood flow to the area and helping to reduce tension and inflammation.
They’re especially great at targeting a specific problem area, and some people use them to relieve aches and pains, while others incorporate them into their workout routines, using them to warm up muscles pre-workout, or to help with recovery afterwards.
The best massage guns on the market offer a range of different attachment heads so you can pick the one that works best for you.
Price points vary widely from under $100 to up to $2,000 so there’s lots to choose from.
The best on Amazon
The RENPHO Massage Gun is the best selling one on Amazon Australia and at $160 comes with six different heads, 20 speeds and an 8-hour battery life on a rechargeable battery.
It’s not short on glowing reviews either, with one person saying: “I usually use this after my workouts to aid in muscle recovery. It does a great job in reducing muscle soreness especially after intense workouts. I have noticed that I’m not as sore or tense in the following days.”
“I do a lot of running and sports and this massage gun works very well to relieve my muscle tension and aches very quickly,” said another shopper who uses it as part of their workout.
Others commented on its good battery life and being “super reasonably priced in comparison to others”, while one person compared it to the much more upmarket Theragun.
“I'm glad I watched some YouTube videos on the Renpho because I do agree that this massage gun is essentially the same as the Theragun,” they wrote.
Celeb cult buy
Closer to the top end of the scale, Theraguns have proven popular with celebs including model Miranda Kerr who recently used one on Instagram as part of her self-care routine.
The Elite model retails for $649 and comes with five different heads, makes minimal noise, and can be connected up to an app for personalised wellness routines.
“Great for sore tight muscles,” one shopper said in a review of the product, “Enough attachments to use on trigger points and an intense deep tissue massage or for a more gentle and pleasant massage”
“Great massager,” another wrote, “Works a treat on knots and sore muscles post exercise. I also like how there is an app which helps guide you through some routines.”
For a much cheaper $89, Kmart’s Anko Massage Gun has surprisingly good reviews.
“Works really well, a charge lasts for 1-2 weeks of use,” one person said, “Only downside is it can lack power if you really push it into your quads, but that's something you can still use a lacrosse ball for.”
Other people called it a “solid durable tool [that] does the job,” and praised it as “great value and works well”.
The no-nonsense design includes four attachment heads and five speed settings, and can run for up to three hours before needing a charge.
A word of warning
It’s always recommended that you use a massage gun on yourself - as opposed to having someone else use it on you - because you’re the best person to judge how the pressure is feeling and exactly where you need to focus.
Unlike massage therapists, most of us don’t have a background in anatomy, so it’s worthwhile speaking to a professional to make sure you get the most out of the device and don’t get yourself into trouble.
Also, a massage gun shouldn’t hurt, so definitely stop using it if it does, and it can be very dangerous if used on your neck or in combination with some medications.
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