How to use a percussion massager

How to use a percussion massager

Percussion massagers have increased in popularity over the last decade due to mainstream marketing and the endorsement of some of the most elite athletes. This article is going to go over important aspects to consider when using percussion massagers on your own.  

Benefits of using a percussion massager

  1. Decreases sensitivity over painful areas
  2. Increases blood flow to healing tissues
  3. Used lightly can decrease edema
  4. Relieves tension and pressure
  5. Stimulates the nervous system
  6. Enhances lymphatic circulation


How often should I use my percussion massager

For people with an active lifestyle, using a percussion massager both before and after exercise can help warm up muscles, prevent injury, and reduce muscular soreness.  If you experience any pain while using a percussion massager, stop using it and seek advice from a healthcare professional. Percussion massagers in most conditions are considered safe to be used daily, but it is a good idea to monitor how many times per day.  A good rule of thumb for usage would be up to 2-3x per day. Usage of more than 3x per day in rare instances can make tissues more sore and irritated, cause bruising and even increase inflammation. 

How long should I use my percussion massager

Using your percussion massager in short bursts is recommended. Keeping each session under one minute is the safest way to avoid over usage. You can also gauge how long to use percussion massagers based on size of the muscles being worked. Larger muscles such as quads and hamstrings are able to be worked longer than smaller muscles such as your suboccipital muscles or your wrist extensor tendons. 


When should you NOT use a percussion massager?

  • Over open or healing wounds
  • Directly over bone
  • If there is a healing fracture
  • Over cancerous or infectious lesions
  • On sprained or strained tissues
  • If you have deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis 
  • Over organs or arteries (example: over the stomach or front of the neck)
  • Increased risk during pregnancy in the lower legs, do not use percussion massager or stomach or middle- low back.
    • Stick to the upper back and shoulders during pregnancy

What speed should I use my percussion massager on?

 These devices are equipped with different speed settings, allowing you to adjust the intensity of the massage. Each speed setting has its own benefits:

  1. Low Speed: The low-speed setting provides a gentler massage with less intensity, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive areas or injuries. It can also promote relaxation.

  2. Medium Speed: The medium-speed setting offers a moderate level of intensity, making it suitable for general use. It can help target specific areas of tension and relieve muscle soreness.

  3. High Speed: The high-speed setting provides a deep tissue massage with the highest level of intensity. It is ideal for individuals who want to focus on trigger points or deep knots and can help improve circulation and promote faster recovery.

  4. Variable Speed: Some percussion massagers have variable speed settings that allow you to adjust the intensity of the massage to your desired level. This setting is suitable for individuals who want complete control over their massage experience and want to customize the intensity based on their specific needs.

It's essential to note that the benefits and effects of each speed may vary depending on the individual and the specific percussion massager being used. Always refer to the user manual or manufacturer's instructions for guidance on how to use your specific percussion massager and its speed settings. In general, lower speeds are best for sensitive areas or relaxation, while higher speeds are best for deep tissue work and promoting faster recovery.


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