Trainers, PT’s, fitness pros, and athletes have long used percussive massage for all of its valuable recovery benefits.

Most of us have heard of percussive massage and probably seen the gun-like looking instruments advertised or in use. In fact the equipment is often referred to as a muscle gun or muscle massage gun. But exactly what it is and how does it work?

 Here, we’ll take a look at what percussive massage is, how it aids in recovery and muscle soreness, how to effectively use it, and how to integrate it as a service within your club or studio.

What is Percussive Massage?

Percussive massage is a type of deep tissue massage that delivers a series of rapid blows or pulses that penetrate deep into the soft tissue to promote pain-relief, relaxation, and tissue repair. This type of massage also improves blood flow and range-of-motion of the muscle. When done by a massage therapist, the percussion strokes are applied through a series of quick, light, strikes from the hands and wrist. The more popular option is to use a handheld percussion massager.

Percussion therapy works to reduce pain and activate muscles in the following ways: 

  • Improves Blood Flow: Fresh blood and oxygen are the ingredients to muscle recovery. Percussive therapy takes these vital nutrients quickly and directly to the effected muscles and surrounding tissues to speed up healing.
  • Stimulates Muscle Fibers: Percussive massage activates muscles and effectively warms them up pre-exercise to decrease the risk of injury.

The Benefits of Percussive Massage

First, percussive massage is particularly effective in the relief of Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Trigger Points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. The spots are painful on compression and can become difficult to stretch. This can affect blood flow and even cause motor dysfunction. Percussive massage offers highly targeted treatment to these Trigger Point areas to loosen the tautness and restore much needed blood flow to the affected area(s) and alleviate Trigger Points. 

Several other benefits of percussive massage include:

  • Accelerates Overall Recovery by increasing circulation and the distribution of oxygen.
  • Reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) by breaking up fibrous adhesions, relaxing tight muscles, and significantly lessening soreness.
  • Increases Range of Motion and Flexibility by keeping muscle tissue loose, hydrated, and healthy.
  • Helps Breakdown Scar Tissue by working deeper into the muscles, breaking down the collagen fibers that can cause restricted movement.
  • Aids in Recovery from Injury Contractions or “pulses” that come from percussive massage force your muscles to react and “work” even when you are not working them. This can prevent muscle atrophy during injuries and speed up recover
  • Helps Prevent Injury by keeping muscles oxygenated and supple for movement.

How to Use a Handheld Percussive Massager

  • Choose the Desired Intensity - You should typically start with the lowest speed and gradually increase the level as you go. For a lighter massage, if you just want to relax and get the blood moving within the muscle, remain on the first or second speed. To treat pain and trigger points or specific muscle areas, increase the intensity slowly.
  • Point the Head at the Muscle and let the gun do its thing. It should feel intense but not overly painful.
  • Let it Float. Do not press the gun down hard.
  • Move the Head Along the Muscle Slowly. Do not rush through the massage but conversely do not let the gun rest on one spot for too long. If you encounter an area of pain, hover around that part a little longer.
  • Start with Larger Muscles. until you get the feel of it and can make your way to smaller more sensitive muscle groups.
  • Skip Bony Areas!
  • Use in Small Doses. It’s recommended that you use the percussion massager on a particular muscle for 1-2 minutes. For smaller muscle groups, aim for one minute. You may massage larger muscle groups for 2 minutes. More isn’t better. Be kind to your body.

Integrating Percussive Massage Sessions and Services

Percussive massage can easily stand on its own as a valuable service, or align with and enhance other recovery equipment, making it easy to integrate into any environment.

It’s also in high demand, so it commands attention, is easily monetized, and is a great differentiator in your marketing messaging.

  • Consider building it into PT session packages for added value, and/or to increase package costs and expand your offering.
  • Create a stand-alone “Express Massage” service to generate a new line of revenue with little overhead.
  • Integrate it into a Recovery Zone with other equipment to enhance the experience.

As always, Power Plate is here to help you seamlessly integrate percussive massage into your club, Recovery Zone, or studio. Contact us here to inquire about wholesale pricing and reseller opportunities, or with any questions you may have!