De-mystifying the massage gun category: Percussive Therapy vs. Vibration Therapy
If you’ve been on social media or YouTube and looked up a fitness video over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed an explosion of hand-held massage gun devices intended to aid people in recovery from their day-to-day –
whether that be intense athletic training or just the stress and stiffness of working a 9 to 5.
Recovery as a category is one of the most overlooked practices that contribute to a happy and healthy life, both physically and mentally.
However, with so many massage gun products on the market–with more coming out every day–it can be confusing to determine which devices and what types of treatment will provide the most benefit and support your specific recovery goals.
It’s important to have as much information as possible when deciding what tools to use in your routine. We’ll take a look at percussive therapy massage guns compared to vibration therapy massage guns and break down the science to show you why percussive therapy massage gun devices are more effective and more beneficial to your recovery.
What is Vibration Therapy?
Vibration therapy is the application of vibration by a device to either the whole body or a localized part. For whole-body vibration therapy, the user will typically stand on a platform device that vibrates. In localized therapy, a hand-held device sends vibrations through the area of the body in need of treatment. Vibration therapy massage guns make contact with the skin and feels good on the surface of the body, creating a “global" experience as opposed to the more targeted treatment percussive therapy delivers.
Benefits of Vibration Therapy can include:
– Alleviating stress
– A moderate increase in blood flow
Vibration therapy stimulates the muscles causing them to contract and relax involuntarily. Vibration therapy can soothe the body from some pain and be a generally pleasant experience while providing some massage-like benefits to the user. The primary function is the contraction and release of muscles, which uses the body’s biomechanics to produce results.
What is Percussive Therapy?
Percussive therapy functions similarly to vibration therapy in that it applies force to the body part being treated. One significant difference between the two is that percussive therapy reaches 60% deeper into the muscle than consumer-grade vibration massagers, which produces deeper massage-like benefits. Percussive therapy targets treatment areas by reaching deep enough into the muscle to increase the amount of blood flow and oxygen needed for efficient treatment and recovery. Also, because percussive therapy devices touch the body and come off of it multiple times per second, the brain does not acclimate to the stimulation, making the therapy more effective. Think of it as the difference between Swedish massage and a targeted deep-tissue massage.
Theragun Percussive Therapy works because each device offers a unique combination of these three things:
- Amplitude (depth)
- Our 16 mm amplitude allows our Theragun devices to treat deep within the muscle to release tension.
- Frequency (speed)
- Our 2400 percussion per minute (40 per second) speed allows our devices to override the pain signals to your brain, making the treatment experience more comfortable than manual muscle therapy.
- Torque (no-stall force)
- Our devices can withstand up to an additional 60 pounds of applied pressure—without stalling—so you can most effectively treat the areas that need
Benefits of Percussive Therapy include those experienced from vibration therapy as well as:
- Decreasing muscle soreness and stiffness, particularly post-activity
- Decreasing lactic acid
- Improving range of motion
- Hydrating soft-tissue deep into the muscle
- Reducing pain in deep-tissue recovery
Knowing how your recovery treatment works can help you decide which devices to use. For example, you may need a massage gun device capable of providing both the gentle and relaxing benefits of vibration therapy as well as the targeted and effective ones associated with percussive therapy.
The Theragun G3PRO is equipped with a 16mm amplitude (depth), 2400 percussion per minute frequency (speed), and can deliver up to 60 pounds of applied pressure (torque) without stalling to:
- Maximize treatment effectiveness
- Interrupt pain signals sent through the nervous system using Gate Control Theory
- Reach deep into muscle and soft tissue, stimulating heat, blood flow, and oxygen circulation.
“I’m pushing pretty aggressively here, and it’s not slowing down at all. If getting after that aggressive massage is something you like, that stall force is going to be really important."
– Patrick on the Theragun G3PRO. Best Massage Tech. “The Ultimate Massage Gun Comparison Review." YouTube (11:46-11:55) 7 Mar 2019
With several other useful features, including an adjustable arm, TheragunTriangle ergonomic design, and an industrial-grade motor, Theragun–and its devices– is the industry leader in percussive therapy.