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Massage guns are super popular at the moment. They seem to be available to purchase everywhere and are a pretty cool gift for that person that is difficult to buy for.
With all their different heads, speeds and settings, they seem to be the answer to relieving our tired muscles but are they all that is cracked up to be?
We sat down with our in-house Massage Therapist Rebecca P. and asked her all our burning questions about massage and massage guns. Here is all the information we gathered but if you can think of any other questions, please let us know by giving us a call or booking in for a massage with Rebecca herself.
What are the benefits of Massage?
Rebecca says – ‘Massages reduce stress and increase relaxation which activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Have you ever wondered why your stomach gurgles during a massage – that’s the parasympathetic nervous system kicking in.’
The PSNS switches off in times of stress to ensure other more important body systems are ready to go in an emergency. It is not important to digest your food when you are escaping a sabre tooth tiger but more important for blood to be rushing to your muscles so you can sprint away. When the PSNS switches back on, the other systems (like digestion) can start up again.
Although in modern times, we aren’t having to run from sabre tooth tigers, our bodies are often on high alert in our fast paced world.
The other benefits of massage are: –
- Reduces pain and muscle soreness/tension
- Improves circulation and eliminates toxins and waste
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- Improves immune function
- Heightens mental alertness
- Stimulation of the lymphatic system
- Helps with Insomnia
Everyone loves a massage for tired muscles but particularly if we have an area of soreness or tension. We call this a knot. So what exactly is a knot?
Rebecca says – ‘It is essentially a small bundle of muscle fibres that are stuck in a contracted state. When this happens the nerves bundled within them send out pain signals to the central nervous system. A contracted muscle can be due to: a sedentary lifestyle, dehydration, over or incorrect use of a muscle, unhealthy eating habits, poor posture and anxiety.’
Massage guns are really popular at the moment. What are they?
Rebecca says – ‘A massage gun is a portable handheld device that uses vibration and oscillation to ‘massage’ muscles.’
We’ve found them available for purchase from $70 – $800 dollars online. A huge variation and there are huge differences in their settings between each device.
What is the purpose of using a massage gun?
Rebecca says – ‘When the gun is placed on a muscle it vibrates/oscillates at a high frequency, low amplitude which advocates claim promotes recovery from workouts and improves overall performance while reducing soreness. It is important to note that the pounding effect produced by a massage gun can cause damage to muscle fibres and connective tissue if used incorrectly. Areas that must be avoided when using a massage gun are: front of neck, spine, carotid artery (neck), kidneys, front of torso, knees, elbows and ankles.’
So even though a massage gun is great for getting into larger muscles, there are definitely smaller muscles and areas we should avoid.
Is a massage gun better than a massage?
Rebecca says – ‘A massage gun; when used correctly is an ok recovery tool/in between massage use, but won’t ever replace the skills of a qualified massage therapist. Massage involves applying specific techniques and pressure to target the inner layers of muscle and connective tissue to promote faster healing by increasing blood flow. A skilled massage therapist’s hands are able to reach deeper and more effectively into the muscle fibres, fascia, tendons and ligaments than a gun.
If someone was lucky enough to enjoy a massage by you or another therapist, what is the best home care post treatment?
Rebecca says – ‘Hydration is essential to flush toxins and waste from the body that are mobilised during a massage. Heat is also important to encourage further blood flow to areas of tension. Blood flow brings fresh oxygen = healing power. Nothing strenuous afterwards as you want to reap the benefits – a gentle walk is ok. Magnesium should be non-negotiable. It is essential for muscle and nerve function. Recommend orally in the form of Magnesium BiGlycinate – most bio available for our body. Topically/Bath Soak – Magnesium Chloride as it is better absorbed and retained by cells.’
How often should we be getting massages?
Rebecca says – ‘General recommendation is 1 massage every 4 weeks especially as a form of self care and even more so if there are any specific areas of strain/tension.’
We offer regular clients incentives when they book and continue enjoying treatments at Earth and Skin. Your self care is just as important to us as it is to you. Ask us how you can take advantage of savings and special offers from us.
What about taking care of ourselves in between massages?
Rebecca says – ‘We are creatures of our environment and lifestyle. It is important to be aware of our poor posture habits and mindful of our tension holding patterns. Recommend Pilates as a form of exercise. Pilates offers prescriptive lengthening and strengthening exercises to help attain and maintain optimal movement and muscle function. Often the pain we feel in our body is actually due to weakness not just tightness. Nourishing foods. Hydration. Sleep should be a priority. Mindfulness meditation. Nose/belly breathing. Daily stretch routine – including stretches that are opposite of our daily posture. (Daily posture is head down, shoulders forward, chest rounded – Opposite is head to the ceiling, chest arched)
If you think you need a massage, please reach out to us at Earth and Skin. We’d love to see you soon.
Earth and Skin is a Gold Coast organic day spa with a difference. We offer beauty treatments and products that are vegan, organic, chemical-free and free from animal cruelty. We have done the research into the safety and toxicity of common beauty rituals and have developed our menu based on the safest, most effective treatments available. If you’d love to experience beauty that cares for you and the Earth, we’d love to see you. Call now on 07 5530 7959 to book an appointment or book online.