Looking to use a percussion massager but still unsure of the potential dangers?
Yes, you read that right! Dangers!
Using a percussion massager can be a great way to reap the benefits of a massage without having to get it done by someone else.
These widely popular fitness tools make use of percussion therapy to release rapid bursts of gentle pressure that reach deep into your soft tissue for a massage-like experience.
They are highly convenient, relatively inexpensive, and widely used for different massage forms that include deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and even sports massage.
While many people look to percussive massagers as a safe way to improve blood flow and range of motion, there are some risks that need to be taken into consideration. In this post, we'll discuss the potential dangers of percussion massagers and steps you can take to avoid them.
Let's get started!
Identifying the Dangers of Percussion Massagers
Getting to grips with the potential risks of using percussion massagers is essential to ensuring that you don't experience any negative side effects.
Here are some of the risks to look out for:
Overstimulation and injury
One of the main dangers of using a percussion massager is overstimulation and injury.
This can occur when you use your massage device too frequently or for too long.
Using a percussion massager on sore muscles or joints can cause further irritation and inflammation, which can ultimately lead to more severe injuries if not treated properly. It's important to be mindful when using a percussion massager and only use it for short periods of time.
Another con of massage guns is intramuscular bleeding.
This occurs when the vibrations of the device cause too much vibration and pressure on your muscle tissue, resulting in tiny tears or bruises that can lead to internal bleeding. This is especially risky if used on areas that have existing injuries, as it can cause more muscle damage and increase your risk of infection.
To minimize any risk of intramuscular bleeding, make sure to use the massager only on healthy muscles and avoid any areas with existing injuries.
Perhaps one of the most serious risks of using a percussion massager is nerve damage.
We all know how massagers like massage guns can help relieve sciatica pain, but using them over prolonged periods can lead to nerve damage.
How this happens is that the vibrations of these percussive therapy devices can cause tiny tears and bruises on skeletal muscles, which then put pressure on nearby nerves, resulting in nerve damage.
In extreme cases, this can lead to paralysis, so it's important to take extra caution when using a percussion massager and understand the potential dangers.
To minimize your risk of nerve damage, make sure to use your massager only on healthy muscles and avoid any areas with existing injuries.
Scar tissue buildup
Are you a frequent massage gun user?
If yes, then you must be aware of their ability to reduce pain by breaking up scar tissue.
Scar tissue is the result of a previous injury or surgery that's been left untreated and can cause muscle stiffness and pain.
Massage guns help to break up this scar tissue and promote healing; however, overuse can lead to an accumulation of scar tissue in one area. This is especially dangerous if you use your massager on tender areas prone to common inflammation conditions.
Using a massager on the skin can lead to skin burns and inflammation.
Due to their intense vibrations, percussive therapy devices can heat up quickly, leading to burns and blisters on the skin if used too frequently or at high speeds. This can especially be a problem if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
For this reason, it's important to use your body massage gun gently and keep it away from any sensitive areas to avoid any potential skin damage.
Risk of aggravated health conditions
Using a percussion massager on areas of the body that have existing health conditions can cause further complications and should be avoided.
For instance, if you suffer from any heart condition or high blood pressure, using a massager on the chest can cause these conditions to worsen.
With a high heart rate, living with heart conditions can be made worse. Similarly, too much vibration in the body can lead to a decrease in the insulin sensitivity of your blood cells, slowing down the healing process while increasing the risk of chronic conditions.
That's why it's best to avoid using a percussion massager if you are dealing with any of these chronic pain conditions. Other examples of conditions that may be worsened by using a massage gun are strokes, blood clots, and infections.
The health benefits of using percussion massagers are undeniable, but it's important to remember that these devices also come with some potential risks and dangers. Some of them include intramuscular bleeding, nerve damage, accumulated scar tissue, skin burns, and worsening existing medical conditions.
To help you get the best out of your massage gun and minimize any potential risks, let's take a look at some safety tips.
How to Avoid Dangers of Percussion Massagers
While misusing a percussion massager can lead to some potentially dangerous consequences, there are ways to avoid these issues.
This starts with understanding how to properly use the device and taking safety precautions. That's what we'll discuss in this section.
Proper use of percussion massagers
Using a percussion massager is an effective way to relieve muscle soreness and pain, but it's important to ensure you use it correctly to minimize the risks. Here are some tips for proper use of your device:
Choose the right accessory
The first step in using a percussion massager is to choose the right accessories.
As we know, handheld massagers come with a wide range of accessories that can be used to target different areas. For example, massage guns are specially designed with a variety of massage gun heads that can be interchanged for a more targeted experience.
It's important to choose the right accessory for the area you want to target, as using the wrong one can lead to skin irritation and inflammation.
By using the right attachments, you can ensure that your percussion massage gun is targeting the correct points while avoiding any potential risks.
Select an appropriate intensity level
Once you have the right attachments, it's time to choose an appropriate intensity level.
Most percussive massage guns, like the FitGun Elite and Mini, come with multiple speed settings that allow you to control the intensity of the massage and customize it to suit your needs. You'll want to start at a low intensity level, as this will ensure that you don't overwork any muscle groups.
It's also important to be mindful of the time you spend using your massage gun, as using it for too long can strain your tight muscles. So, make sure to take breaks every few minutes and use the device for no more than 5–10 minutes at a time.
Move the device slowly and gradually increase the intensity
Now that you've chosen the right attachments and intensity level, it's time to start your massage therapy.
Where possible, aim to move the massager slowly while increasing the intensity of the massage over time. This will help you avoid any potential skin damage and ensure that you're getting the most out of your massage gun.
If at any point you experience chronic muscle pain or discomfort, turn down the intensity level or take a break from using your massager.
Now that you know what steps to take to enjoy the benefits of massage, let's explore what safety precautions to keep in mind when using a percussion massager.
Safety measures to consider
Along with using your massage gun correctly, it's also important to take safety precautions to ensure you're minimizing the risks of using a percussion massager.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Read and follow the user manual carefully
The first and most important safety precaution is to read your user manual carefully and follow all instructions.
Modern massage guns like the FitGun Elite and Mini come with a detailed user manual that outlines how to use your handheld device safely. So, make sure to read this thoroughly before using your massager so you understand how it works and what precautions you need to take.
If you have any concerns when using your massage gun, turn it off immediately.
Don't use the device if you are feeling weak, dizzy, or lightheaded
Are you feeling weak, dizzy, or lightheaded?
If so, avoid using a percussive massager until you feel better. Using a massage gun when you're feeling unwell can lead to further injury, so always make sure you're feeling your best before using it.
This way, you can ensure that your massage session is as safe and effective as possible.
Stay away from injured areas
Are you looking to use a percussion massager over a recently injured area?
If yes, then you must resist the temptation.
Percussion massage devices can cause further damage to injured areas and should only be used on healthy muscle fibers. If you have an existing injury, make sure to take a few weeks off before using a percussion massager. This is especially important if your injury is still healing or you have recently had surgery.
Only use the device on healthy muscles, and you'll be able to avoid any potential dangers.
Avoid using a massage gun in areas close to vulnerable organs
It is important to be mindful of the areas you massage with your percussion massager.
Avoid using a massage gun in areas close to vulnerable organs such as your eyes, ears, and throat. These areas are particularly sensitive and can easily be injured if the device is used too aggressively.
When massaging these areas, use a lower intensity setting and move slowly to ensure that you don't cause any harm. Following these safety tips will help you get the most out of your massage gun without taking any risks.
Use your percussion massager for short periods
How long you use your handheld massager plays a vital role in avoiding any potential risks.
Since these devices vibrate at high frequencies, it's essential to limit your usage to short periods of time only. Popular percussive massagers like massage guns can be used 2-3 times daily for no more than 10 minutes per session, while more powerful devices like sonic massagers should only be used for shorter periods of time.
This will help reduce your risk of overstimulation and injury.
Don't share your massager
While it can be tempting to share your massage gun with friends and family, it is important to remember that these devices are personal-use items.
Sharing your massage gun not only increases the risk of spreading germs and illnesses, but it can also increase your chances of getting infected with contagious diseases or viruses. That's why it's best to keep your massage gun for personal use only and avoid sharing it with anyone else.
So, make sure that you keep your device for personal use only and avoid sharing it with anyone else.
While percussion massagers like the FitGun Elite are incredibly useful, it's important to give your tired muscles time to rest.
It's best to take regular breaks from using these electronic devices when you start to feel tired or sore. Taking breaks will help reduce the risk of overstimulation as well as potential nerve damage or intramuscular bleeding.
Experts recommend taking 1- to 2-minute breaks every session, especially if the massager is being used on more sensitive areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about the potential dangers of percussion massagers? Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions we get.
Are percussion massagers dangers limited to just incorrect usage?
No, percussion massagers can be dangerous even when used correctly.
While the risks are greatly reduced with proper usage and maintenance, it is still important to use caution and take breaks when using these devices.
Overstimulation can occur if the device is used for too long or at too high an intensity, leading to potential nerve damage or intramuscular bleeding. What's more, it is important to make sure that you are using the device on healthy tissue and avoiding any areas close to vulnerable organs.
Are the dangers of using a percussion massager higher for certain individuals?
While percussive massage can be incredibly beneficial, individuals with high pain thresholds or any of the medical conditions we've outlined above should be especially careful.
That's why you should always consult a medical professional, massage therapist, or physical therapist before using a massage gun. This way, you can make sure that you are enjoying the benefits of a massage gun without taking any risks.
Hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of the potential dangers of using percussion massagers.
While these fitness recovery tools can be great for muscular recovery, increased blood circulation, and tissue repair, it is important to use caution and follow safety guidelines when using them.
Widely known dangers of using a percussion massager include further injury to existing conditions, scar tissue buildup, intramuscular bleeding, and nerve damage. To avoid such risks, make sure to follow the instructions outlined in this article for an optimal and safe experience.
This includes staying within the recommended usage time, taking breaks, and starting at a lower intensity level before gradually increasing it. If you are unsure of how to use a percussion massager properly, consult your instruction manual or a massage therapist.
Feel free to reach out to us with any other questions or concerns about percussion massagers.