Massage is one of the most effective workout recovery tools in your arsenal. Sadly, most of us don’t have the time or the resources to keep a massage therapist on speed dial.
The next best thing? A massage gun.
A massage gun works similarly to traditional massage therapy in that it sends more blood to target areas, which helps tame swelling and may stimulate tissue repair, according to Matthew Cowling, DO, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Madison, Wisconsin. It uses percussive therapy (also known as vibration therapy) to deliver rapid vibrations that soften tight muscles. Past research shows that vibration therapy can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), or that achy, burning feeling you get in your muscles a day or two after a new or intense workout (1).
If you’re interested in adding a massage gun to your recovery routine, keep reading. We’ve ranked 12 of the best massage guns on the market.
Which Massage Gun Works Best?
There are many effective, five-star massage guns out there. Each offers unique benefits to address a wide range of must-haves, from portable design to ultra-dynamic percussive power to a battery that won’t quit. As such, it’s tough to ID a single massage gun that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. However, rest assured that every recommendation on our list is highly rated. You’re sure to find something that works best for you.
Is a Massage Gun Really Worth It?
Massage guns are only one recovery tool, albeit an effective one. They can improve blood flow, reduce pain and swelling, and may kickstart muscle recovery, according to Dr. Cowling. But there are other recovery methods you can use, too, including ice baths, foam rollers, and compression gear.
If you’re still on the fence, consider trying a smaller, less expensive massage gun first (you’ll find a few on our list). You can always upgrade later.
Do Doctors Recommend Massage Guns?
As with many therapies, medical opinions on massage guns run the gamut. Some doctors believe massage guns are unnecessary, whereas others recommend them to active patients to promote muscle recovery. Dr. Cowling, for example, suggests using a massage gun for five to ten minutes post-workout. Sweep the gun over the areas you worked, making sure to avoid bones, joints, and open wounds. If you’re recovering from an injury, check with your doctor or physical therapist before using a massage gun.
The Best Massage Guns on the Market
- Veqar, Zubia, and Shagufta Imtiyaz. “Vibration Therapy in Management of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR vol. 8,6 (2014): LE01-4. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2014/7323.4434