As a professional and corporate warrior, stress and fatigue from the demands of work is inevitable. Prolong sitting itself, as body weight and vertical force, is a key culprit for stress in our body.
Physically, you get stiffness in your neck, muscle tension in your shoulders and the dreaded headaches. At times, the symptoms come all at once.
One sought after solution is to visit your massage therapists or perhaps chiropractors, if your symptoms are not treated early.
Visits to spas and massage parlors for relaxation and wellness are yearned for, when you can pull yourself out for some time.
Besides the periodic quick stretches and short breaks in between work to manage tightness in your muscle tissue, there may not be much general healthcare practitioners could further advise in what you may already know, after spending consultation fees.
Portable and mobile massage device may be the needed supplement to your well-being arsenal of tool kits.
Massage device or massager such as those which target the neck and shoulders are commonplace. This is because the upper body, especially the head, neck, shoulders and upper arms are the first casualties to sore muscles and fatigue.
But the effectiveness for muscle recovery from these ubiquitous massage devices, which you drape over your shoulders, wrap around or place at the back of your waist, in which you need to lean hard into the back of a chair, if you are using one when sitting down, may be disappointing.
Another achy location is the back. The lower back in particular, the areas around your waist and pelvis. This is due to prolong sitting postures when working on the computer.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), musculoskeletal health affects 1.7bil people around the world.
On 14th July 2022, WHO published an article and says that lower back pain is the leading cause of disability in 160 countries, among the various musculoskeletal conditions.
Musculoskeletal conditions and health refer to your body's locomotive system. They comprise of muscles, bones, joints and connective tissues.
If these condition are not optimal, mobility and dexterity would be significantly limited. Quality of life drops. Other health issues like depression and anxiety may set in. The price to pay for delay treatment can be high.
Singapore is also facing an ageing population challenge. Some professionals are staying longer in the workforce. People suffering from back pain is likely to go up.
The massage gun is an innovative technology which provides precision for deep tissue massage to ease muscle tension, aches and pain relief.
As the description suggests, massage guns are usually shaped like a gun. It is a handheld device which is designed to be portable and mobile. Battery life is also designed to give sufficient juice for users.
3 hours of battery life after a full charge are common for a quality massage gun.
From a distance, you may have thought that the massage gun is a power drill!
As massage guns are still fairly new in the market, there have always been curious looks on people's face when they see a massager in such a form factor.
If this massager has also taken you by surprise, the next immediate thought you might have in massage gun is, does this massager gadget really work?
You may then wonder:
Would massage guns replace massage therapists?
Are massage guns as wellness gadgets better than foam rollers or trigger balls commonly seen in gyms and health clubs?
How does massage guns compare to massage chairs?
We would come to these shortly in this article to share different settings and contexts.
The simple idea of massage guns is to give you the freedom as taking time out of your work schedules may be a luxury.
Massage guns usually work in pulsating or vibrating mode, with different settings in intensity and force, to provide deep tissue percussion for muscle and pain relief.
You may have seen a massager in action in social media platforms such as TikTok and Facebook.
The muscle massager gun with rich features pummels and delivers rapid-fire, short distance pounding of varying intensities on your body to ease pain and release tension in what is known as percussive therapy or deep tissue percussion massage.
There are also videos which show these muscle massage guns in action, where the massager creates rippling effects on the skin. These clips can be particularly soothing to watch when played in slow motion.
Ergonomics and ESG
Generally, the materials which go into producing a massage gun need to be high quality. We break the anatomy of a massage gun down into several pieces for a quick study along with its features.
Polyurethane is a form of plastic which is environmentally friendly, non-toxic to the skin when in contact, odourless and has no harmful substance.
It is commonly found in homes and offices in products like furniture, sports wear and electrical appliances.
Most quality massage guns in the market should have this basic material in their massager.
One of the metals which goes into manufacturing massage guns is aluminium.
It is light weight, durable and probably the most widely used metal in the world.
The aerospace industry is probably one of the largest consumer for aluminium. And now, quality massage gun manufacturers are putting aluminium in their massager.
Another key material is the ubiquitous silicon which goes into many of your electronics and everyday equipment.
Quality massage guns with ergonomic design in the handles are also coated with silicon to provide a comfortable and solid grip when the massager goes into action.
The ergonomic design of a quality massage gun usually comes with features of different massage heads or attachments which are interchangeable.
We also dive into massage heads with greater details in this write-up.
Working professionals like yourself may also be a recreational athlete.
Depending on your objectives, exercising in general gives you an outlet to release stress.
During exercise, you break your muscles down. Lactic acid builds up and you need to take short breaks in between.
This is where massage gun comes in handy to facilitate muscle recovery.
Besides having sufficient rest, elite sportsmen and professional athletes have long known the secrets to keeping sore muscles out of the way.
Many if not all have personal trainers, physiotherapists, wellness specialists and experts in all domains of the human body to keep them in top forms.
With a quality muscle massage gun as a supplement, these elite sportsmen know the exact muscle groups, muscles and muscle tissue to target pre- and post workout for blood flow and muscle recovery.
Now, one of these well-guarded secrets have been exposed.
Accessing and using a massage gun have come to the common folks and recreational athletes like yourself and no longer reserved for the elite.
A percussive massager gun allows you to zoom in on muscle soreness and knots for pain relief, in addition to enhance your range of motion, dexterity and blood flow.
Percussive therapy has been touted to reduce muscle pain, lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue.
To be clear, massage guns are different from other massagers you see in the market.
As an innovative technology wellness tool for stress relief, massage guns together with different head attachments are shaped for ease of use.
They are generally smaller, lighter at around 3 pounds, which in many cases, lighter than a handbag and are portable.
Gym goers can rejoice from not lugging too many gears in their gym bag.
If you already have a massage chair, should you go for a massage gun? The quick answer is why not?
Massage chairs and massage guns are two different products.
For one, massage chairs are not portable. Secondly, they cater to different general wellness requirements as compared to targeted muscle relief.
A massage gun can be packed with features which not only provides you therapeutic percussive massages for recovery, but also functions as your personal wellness advisor when use with their respective fitness app.
When a right one is chosen, a massage gun is designed to target areas of your body in need of immediate pain relief compared to traditional massagers.
In addition, a massage gun can also help you in pre-workout routines. Such as warming up of your muscles.
Do note that however, a massage gun despite its features and ratings, is not a replacement for warm-ups.
Stretching is still recommended for many exercises and activities.
Can you replace your massage therapists with a massage gun?
The quick answer is no.
While massage guns with good ratings have greatly help users to ease knots with the right massage head amongst the attachments to access hard to reach areas, the hands of massage therapists cannot be discounted.
The key difference is that most users do not have the luxury, and have masseur tag along them.
How about foam rollers and trigger balls?
These two devices are commonly seen in gyms.
You lay on them on a flat ground, or stand against a flat surface with them in between you and the wall.
Your body, such as your back, hamstrings and buttocks start rolling to help with muscle soreness.
For recovery, foam roller may be useful for large muscle groups.
Nevertheless, they are less precise and are hard to use when you need to go deeper into the crevices, with the right force for deep tissue massage and muscle knots.
Only with the fingers of a masseur or the right attachments to a massage gun can do the job.
How do I use a massage gun?
Quite simply, point the massage gun at the areas of your body and press the trigger for a percussive therapy to get relief.
Move slowly over the area of the muscles for around 30 seconds – if there is a particularly pain area (a trigger point), extend the percussive massage on those muscles for several more minutes.
Make sure your massage gun stays away from your head and any splinters.
Start with the smallest settings or ratings to build up until the basic massage strengths become clear to you. Do this slowly and do it for a while to ease muscle stiffness.
If the percussive massage gun you bought comes with different massage heads or attachments, change them to get a better feel and find the best massage head for different parts of your body.
Quality massage guns with strong ratings come with narrow massage head surface for deep tissue massage option, and wider surface area massage heads cover broader areas of large muscles.
The number of features in a massage gun can overwhelm at times.
How we tested massage guns
Our testers reviewed one of the best massage guns (as touted by some of our industry associates) from Hyperice.
Hyperice is a US based tech company founded in 2011.
The model we tested is Hypervolt 2 Pro. Other than its ergonomic design, the massage gun also comes with rich features for percussive therapy.
Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun comes with five levels of vibration and pulsation intensity in percussive therapy for soothing muscle tension and pain relief.
Testers started with the lowest level of speed settings for percussive massage.
Once they are comfortable with the speed settings, they can increase the intensity for their percussive therapy such as in deep tissue percussion massage.
Changing the intensity is easy by rotation of the speed settings which is designed as a radial on the massage gun.
Lights indicating speed settings elegantly dotted the surface of the circular dial for each deep tissue and percussive massage depth.
Battery life and power lights line up horizontal at the bottom of the dial.
The massage gun was tested on five individuals all of whom are professionals with various levels of physical activity and sports participation.
One thing in common is that all testers work with computers throughout the day with different levels of ache, fatigue, stress and pain intensity.
Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun comes with five different massage heads.
With so many features packed into a massage gun, you may already find it value for money. And you are right.
A customer bought a massage gun and was soon convinced, and bought a few more as gifts to his relatives.
What we also want to do is deep dive and dissect into some of the features to bring out the key points which are likely to be of relevance to you.
Massage heads and attachments
Each of them comes with a name! Fork, Ball, Cushion, Flat and Bullet. There is no massage gun rules and you can use them whichever way you want.
Based on our beta testers, however, there are certain techniques and it would good for you to know how to choose the right one among so many massage heads and attachments to give you correct muscles and pain treatments.
First off the bat, a two-prong design attachment among the massage heads.
We think that this is best for large muscles, deep tissue massage and with semi-precision to targeted muscles.
For instance, your upper and lower back and shoulder blades.
These muscles are one of the largest in a human body with high amount of soreness accumulation.
These parts of your body is also where stubborn pains and aches reside. These achy areas also known as knots, which hide several layers down the surface of your muscles and are hard to reach.
The tips of the fork massage head attachment thus provide the dexterity to access the areas where the knots are to relieve pain and sore muscles.
Ball is round. It is apt to say that it is an all rounder.
It is the best attachment among the massage heads for all muscle groups. And more so for sensitive areas.
Chests, calves and thighs.
As the ball is round with a broader surface, you can rotate as you hold the massage gun with a slight tilt for a smooth massage as you manoeuvre around sore and pain points.
Best for bony and sensitive areas.
Your wrists, elbows, shoulders, feet and spine.
The Cushion massage head attachment is uniquely designed as an air pad, which takes in surrounding air as the massage gun pulsates around your fatigue zones.
It is also suitable for upper neck area and at the base of your skull.
These are two areas most proned to "text neck" muscle stiffness, the result of using the phone or computer with your head tilted downwards for prolong periods of time.
Best for medium and large muscle groups, like hamstrings, forearms, chests, glutes and both sides of your back.
This attachment allows the pulsating force to be distributed evenly for a quick vibration therapy and recovery.
After exercising, a post workout routine with the massage gun using the flat massage head gives immediate tension release as you cool off.
With the flat massage head and low-to-medium strength of speed settings, you can worry less about sensitive areas as you sooth out sore muscle tissue with your massager.
Best for extremely sore muscles, knots, precision targeting and hard-to-reach zones.
The edges along and beneath your shoulder blades right down to the middle of your back.
The groove edges of the collar bones at both sides of your neck.
This bullet attachment is by far, the best amongst the massage attachments for in-depth muscle recovery, percussive therapy and deep tissue massage.
Knots is probably the highest level in aches and pains which can occur after exceedingly long periods of time in bad postures.
As a working professional, the stress you accumulate over time morphs into pain. If left untreated, these pains become stubborn and seep deeper into your muscle tissue.
The key difference between the Bullet and the Fork attachments is that the former provides a single targeted point for deep tissue therapy with pinpointed accuracy.
Interchanging the massage heads was a cinch.
Simply pull out one massage head to swop for another. All massage heads also fit snugly into the massage gun.
Heal your muscles faster by using the correct massage heads
While healing and recovery are important, it is equally crucial to know when to avoid using a massage gun.
Massage guns are powerful and self-administered massagers.
A muscle massage gun needs to be used with care. Do not use on areas where you have injuries!
This is similar to going to a massage therapist or even using any massagers.
Avoid areas where there are ligament sprains, inflammatory-related injuries such as tendonitis, and also areas which may affect blood flow.
There are different kinds of pains.
While you may use a massage gun for neck and shoulders fatigue and muscles pain, acute pain is different.
Acute pain is usually caused by acute injuries. And massage gun does not help and may even make the injuries worst.
Last but not least, do not use massage gun on ultra-sensitive areas of your body, such as the groin. More often than not, a little common sense goes a long way.
Bluetooth and Hyperice App
Some of our users were initially baffled why a massage gun needs a mobile app.
Kudos to the Hyperice development team, the Apple and Android supported mobile app comes with a plethora of features for users to learn more about their wellness.
Besides the ability in speed settings and control of the massage gun, Hyperice App is powered by HyperSmart, the company's proprietary tech invention.
For those uninitiated, the Hyperice App is also your personal trainer!
According to Hyperice, the app is aimed to help you get the most out of the massage guns or any of the selected Hyperice products.
It comes with personal and expert guidance, customised and personalisable routines, and added motivation to bring out the best of you.
The HyperSmart technology syncs your physical and digital activities so that you can assess your wellness and health metrics.
These metrics culminate into the HyperSmart Score system. And can be further evaluated for best recommendations to find the best massage gun for you.
Besides providing in-app science-based health guidance from Hyperice's scientific team of advisors, the app also works with fitness data from other vendors, such as Apple Health and Garmin.
By analysing your fitness data from different data sources and wearable devices, HyperSmart can evaluate and find the best massage therapy in different contexts for your wellness.
Pairing your smartphone's bluetooth feature with Hypervolt 2 Pro massage gun is effortless.
Start a routine from a list of curated routines within the app.
Choose the different types of therapy sessions and match with automated speed settings control.
There are also different routine dimensions in massage therapy such as Warm-up, Maintenance and Recovery.
Whether you are a working professional, a recreational sportsman or an elite athlete, the HyperSmart technology in the app takes your wellness up the notches and provides step-by-step guidance.
These guidance are input from therapists, medical and healthcare professionals, and elite sports trainers, with the designs to help your body and mind be at its optimum.
Pill-shaped massage gun in Hypervolt 2 Pro
As you can see, the area where you would hold the massager is known as Pill.
The bottom of the pill-shaped handle comes with LED light encircling the base providing visual of battery life and power.
Battery life with portable rechargeable battery bar
The handle is also where the rechargeable lithium ion battery resides.
With a 3800mAh lithium ion battery powering the massage gun, the lasting battery life can save you some hassles.
The battery life is approximately 3 hours on a full charge. You can buy additional battery if you want the device to go longer.
Removing and replacing the battery bar is simply with a slide of a silver key latch located horizontally at the base of the massage gun.
A slight push inwards to release the catchment mechanism.
When replacing a fully charged battery, slide the battery bar in until the end and hear a soft click to lock the battery bar in place with the massage gun.
The battery life status is shown on the flat surface of the speed dial of the massage gun with three horizontal dots. Very similar to other mobile device.
Motor and Pressure Sensor
The Hypervolt 2 Pro is powered by a brushless high-torque 90W motor.
The patented pressure sensor technology is designed with the ability to showcase how much pressure is exerted when using the massage gun.
Percussion per minute (PPM) is the common measurement used to evaluate massage guns.
Common pulse speed range is between 2000 to 3200 beatings per minute.
Noise level from the massager tends to be high.
As this is a middle-to-high end device, we were wondering why noise reduction technology was absent.
Nonetheless, noise level from Hypervolt 2 Pro is not a deal breaker.
Though not as quiet, you would still be able to talk to someone several metres away without raising your voice when the massager is in action.
Massage guns in Singapore
Despite the small geographical footprint of the island, there are plenty of choices if you are hunting for a massage gun.
Brands like Theragun, Osim, Hydragun and Hyperice, the one which we have written quite extensively in this blog, line up online shelves and emarketplaces.
Like Hyperice, Theragun is by Therabody based in the U.S.
Theragun is one of the product families to Theragun Elite, Theragun Mini massage gun and Theragun Pro.
Therabody also produces a plethora of wellness related products such as TheraCup, a heat and vibration device inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, and TheraBody Lounger, a vibration therapy massage chair.
Speaking of massage chairs, Osim is a home-grown titan which needs no introduction.
Their (quiet) entry into the massage gun market didn't come as a surprise.
But you need to test it for yourself to see if Osim's uZap is good.
For Hydragun, we were surprised by the lasting battery life of their massage gun. At least in theory.
It claims to last 6 hours in one single charge! This is some battery life power and value!
When it comes to battery life, 2 hours is somewhat average range for massage guns.
Hydragun also claims that their massage gun is the most quiet in the market.
Prices for best massage guns
Hyperice average price is around S$600.00 in Singapore. With rich features, generous accessories, decent battery life and speed. Noise level settings can be rather high.
Hydragun with S$399.00 price point, is considered a steal amongst top rate massage guns.
Osim uZap sells at the price of S$279.00 each. A mini massage gun, with weight around 1.4kg, is one of the lightest among the best massage guns.
Theragun massage guns start from the price of US$179.00 to around US$1,000.00 each. Battery life for entry models tends to be short, at around 30 minutes to an hour. Some of their massage guns comes with 6 massage heads.
Generally, all massagers come with the typical one year warranty. But warranty for battery is shorter for some manufacturers. This is reasonable as for any consumer electronics, the battery life depends on how you use the device.
As a customer, do ask in details before you buy.
Some brands are generous with accessories as well.
Whether you are a professional, a weekend warrior or an elite sports person, you need to restore your energy from your activities.
Sitting down working on the computer itself accumulates stress.
A massage gun for muscles and knots relief effectiveness is one way to go.
If you do not know whether you need a massage gun, you can consult your medical doctors or healthcare professionals.
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