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Percussive Therapy: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

When browsing the internet or social media platforms you must have come across high-intensity massagers that pound muscles. But do you know what exactly they are meant for?

They are used for percussive therapy providing rapid bursts of pressure on body tissue. 

The therapy is widely popular across the globe especially amongst athletes. However, besides athletes, the therapy is beneficial for the masses as well. You may apply it at home using intense massagers that essentially offer mechanical high-intensive powered massage. 

What is Percussive Therapy?

A very recent discovery, Percussive therapy is highly-effective for sports recovery. Accelerated bursts from a massage gun puts pressure on the body tissues to release muscle knots (primary reasons behind back or shoulder pain). Additionally, this therapy reaches deeper layers of your muscles as compared to human hands or the foam rollers. 

Contrary to traditional massage, percussion therapy desensitizes the surrounding area near the aching muscle till the pulse penetrates the target area. The process reduces the unbearable pain experienced when too much pressure is applied by a therapist on the sore muscles. 

How does it work?

Percussion therapy utilizes targeted pulses of concentrated pressure on the muscle tissues. The therapy is often compared to the soft-tissue massage techniques that are utilized by massage therapists. These are consistent and rapid-thumping movements that stimulate the muscles. 

Although the massage gun used for this therapy works great for athletes, office goers or people who sit for long hours on their computers can benefit from the quick massage at home. 

Benefits of Percussive Therapy 

There are many health benefits but some of the most popular benefits of using a Percussion massage device have been discussed below:

Eases muscle tension 

The therapy eases muscle out of tension by helping in addressing the muscle in a better way. It eventually offers relief from both superficial and deep muscle fibers. 

Self-Massage Therapy 

Although professionals administer the therapy, you may also use it in form of self-massage. People have also compared it to the foam rolling therapy that works on the same principle to offer muscle relief. 

Low Health Risk Devices 

The best thing about Percussion massager is that these are low risk devices and provide you with great benefits without any side effects at all. 

Prevents DOMS 

‍Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness results due to engaging in physical activities that stresses your muscles beyond the regular limits. Percussive therapy helps in preventing DOMS or offer quick remedy if suffering from the pain. 

Improves Body Flexibility 

Besides reducing pain, this gun’s vibration facilitates better body flexibility. It synchronizes the muscle spindles resulting in better range of motion. As your muscles become flexible, you are less prone to injuries or pains. Improved flexibility also helps in improving body balance and posture. 

‍Increases Blood circulation 

Muscle pain is often caused due to overtraining, but do you know that the pain is because lactic acid builds in the muscles when you do intense workout. Percussive therapy would help in increasing blood flow facilitating sports recovery by minimizing muscle inflammation and tension. 

Supports better lymphatic flow 

Enhanced lymphatic flow means fewer muscle knots and tightness that supports better drainage in your lymphatic system. As the lymph moves freely, you body effectively excretes waste and toxins. Having a strong lymphatic system means you have a better metabolism and healthier immune system. 

Provides Quick Relief To Sore Muscles 

One of the most important benefits of this therapy is that it is not only effective but offers fast relief. A study comparing effectiveness of vibration therapy and massage suggests the difference in execution time of a treatment plays an important role. When you have limited time, vibration therapy works the best. 


Being portable makes massage guns easier as they can be offered wherever you want. It could be a gym after you work-out or at your home late night. You just need to turn the gun on and target the sore area. 

Other Benefits 

Besides the above-mentioned benefits, this therapy is effective in improving muscle strength in adults, activating bone formation, enhancing bone strength, and decreasing muscle tremors (useful to treat people with Parkinson’s disease). ‍The therapy can expedite the rehab process of your muscles that might have suffered from a disease, surgery, or trauma. A massage gun is also considered effective in treating insomnia, reducing cellulite, and curtailing stress. 

Is Percussion Therapy Right For Me?

This therapy is best suited to people with active lifestyle such as professional athletes, gymnasts, crossfitters, or people pushing themselves beyond their limits by recovering fast. Massage guns are great if you are experiencing an of the following injuries:

  • Muscle Soreness
  • Herniated or Bulging Discs
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Shin Splints
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Muscle cramps & spasms

‍The therapy is also used by athletes to warm-up their muscles or prepare their body before work-out. However, like any other treatment, its better to consult a doctor before you start using a percussive therapy gun. This becomes more important if you are already suffering from existing medical conditions. 

Using a Massage Gun for Percussion Therapy 

As a massage is very user-friendly, it will take you minutes to get used to them. Turn it on and point on the target areas is all you need to do. The following tips would help you in maximizing its potential and reaping the best benefits. 

‍Start Slow & Low

You need to be cautious as these are powerful devices. It can be fatal if you start on high without assessing your tolerance levels. You should know that high pressure doesn’t result in better massage. Hence, to get the best benefits, you need to apply adequate pressure at the right place. Starting in the lowest setting and gradually increasing from there is recommended. 

Allow it to float 

Irrespective of the preferred pressure, its best to let the massage gun float on the muscle area. You need not force the massage head on your body but glide it over the sore muscles and move slowly. 

  1. Yes, move it. Orendorf advises, “Make sure you’re not pressing too hard or staying in one spot for too long.“ You can easily create more harm than good. Keep the gun moving for the best results.”

While moving it, make a conscious effort to steer clear of the bone. Start on the larger muscle groups until you get used to the device.

Dr. John Rusin, a physical therapist and performance coach, explains, “People find areas that hurt and think that means they need to stay on them. They may be running over a bony prominence or a vein-artery nerve bundle.” And like other overdone massages, this could be damaging in the long run.

  1. Relax. It’s a therapy, remember? Being too tense will make your muscles reject the device and hamper the effectiveness of the treatment. Just take deep breaths and feel your muscle pain go away.

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