What Is A Massage Gun And Why Is It So Popular?
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What Is A Massage Gun And Why Is It So Popular?

Massage therapy is a popular form of complementary and alternative medicine in Australia. And so, it is no surprise that using a self-massage device is a current fitness trend. But what is a massage gun exactly?

Massage gun refers to a percussive therapy device designed to stimulate deep tissue recovery and improve blood circulation. But percussive therapy is not a new concept and has been around since the 1800s.

Its performance is also on equal footing with a traditional massage. Still, it’s intriguing what makes it popular. So, let’s learn more about this device and discover what the buzz is all about.

Why Is Massage Gun so Popular in the Fitness Industry?

After the massage gun was made available to the public, it became a hit with the fitness crowd. It’s an expected response.

After all, everyone nowadays prefers convenient tools and equipment, especially those that encourage good health.

But other factors contributed to its growing popularity, too. Here are some of them.

1. A Great Alternative to Foam Rollers

When the massage gun first came out, many considered it an ideal and practical alternative to foam rollers.

Athletes at that time used these devices for muscle pain management. These specifically target sore muscles and relieve tension.

foam roller is a cylinder that an athlete lays on in different positions to apply pressure on affected muscles. Foam rollers cannot provide relief to athletes fast enough, though.

And so, when the portable and easy-to-use massage gun became available, it quickly became a favourite.

2. An Effective Tool in Pain Relief and Recovery

Massage guns are a go-to recovery tool. People can use them before or after a workout or even at home. This device also provides quick muscle recovery and relief.

Studies have indicated that localised vibration therapy from massage guns provides several benefits. Applying this type of therapy, for instance, can result in early pain reduction after an intense workout. It can also reduce injury risks during multiple training sessions.

A massage gun can also improve your ankle’s range of motion. Likewise, this device provides deep tissue massage, depending on the model. The pleasurable and therapeutic experience also explains why massage guns have remained very popular.

To learn more, you can also read this article discussing why massage guns are worth the investment.

3. Widespread Use of Massage Therapy

According to June 2020 data from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 63% of consumers used massage for health or medical purpose. 

It also showed that 75% received a massage for health and stress-related reasons. Meanwhile, 29% had a massage for pain relief or management.

The survey also revealed that 36% discussed injury recovery or rehabilitation with their doctor. 

These findings explain why massage will remain a vital aspect of the fitness industry. They also suggest that users will keep using massage guns as well.

Who Created the Massage Gun?

The concept of percussive massage and the massage gun did not turn up recently. The beginnings of percussive therapy started several centuries ago. Its techniques stayed on and continue today. Here’s a brief historical overview.


Massage Therapy in the 1800s

Dr Mikao Usui, a Japanese philosopher and educator, discovered massage in the 1800s. The therapy is believed to date back to early Tibetan healing practices.

One of the techniques used is tapotement, or percussion, which refers to a fast and rhythmic tapping on the skin.

Percussive Massager in the 1970s

The modernisation of percussive massage therapy started during the 1970s when portable devices became common. The first percussive massage tool, patented in 1974, was among these devices.

At that time, clinics and professional sports teams used this bulky machine to help athletes get sore muscle relief.

Modern Percussive Therapy Device

In 2008, experts developed the massage gun out of the need for a commercial product that helped cope with severe pain.

Dr Jason Wersland, an American chiropractor, had a motorcycle accident, causing him severe pain and atrophy. At that time, he found no product that can help him manage his condition.

So, he researched percussive therapy and consequently invented the massage gun that could help him.

In 2016, after several years of research and prototype development, Wersland came out with his powerful invention: the TheraGun G1 professional massager. It was the first of its kind and the first one made available commercially.

Dr Wersland created the massage gun to provide users with an easy-to-use, portable device for self-massage and muscle pain relief.

In addition, the invention aimed to help athletes accelerate recovery and enhance their performance. It took over a decade of research and development to create the massage gun we now know today.

When Did Massage Guns Gain Popularity?

Through Dr Wersland’s efforts, the world got to know a self-massage device that combined healing and ease of use.

Massage has always been the manner of treatment for people who experience pain after exercising. It’s also helpful for recovery and improvement of athletic performance.

But with handheld devices made for quick relief, the popularity of massage guns naturally skyrocketed. People also like how convenient they are to use.

They are lightweight, simple to operate and portable — features that make new products an instant hit.

These paved the way for the massage gun’s popularity and wide market acceptance. Several people wanted to use it, particularly those in the fitness industry.

It is also extensively used in the sports sector, where massage is necessary for recovery and injury rehabilitation.

What’s more, the popularity of these tools also soared after several celebrities endorsed them.

Some are regular users of the device because of their constant exposure to potential injuries. Others promote it by emphasising the quick relaxation and relief it provides.


Who Are Some of the Celebrities Who Use Massage Guns?

1. LeBron James

Basketball superstar LeBron James is among many celebrities who uses percussion massage therapy. He uses a massage gun to help loosen up his muscles and recover from intense game schedules. He is also one of the earliest users of the device.

2. Blake Griffin

Another NBA player who uses a massage gun is Blake Griffin. He experienced positive effects through the device while recovering from an injury.

This power forward also uses percussive therapy to recover from gruelling playoffs and improve performance.

3. Naomi Osaka

Tennis player Naomi Osaka is yet another sports celebrity using a massage gun. The Open champion uses the device for warm-up and recovery. She also uses it for performance and overall health improvement.

4. PGA Tour Players

PGA Tour players also use massage guns during play on the course and in training. These help them with recovery, health protection and optimal performance.

The golfers also use them for a quick remedy to a potential injury that may result in them dropping out of an event.


The massage gun is an effective device for quick and easy relief, be it for medical reasons or relaxation. It is, however, crucial that you use it correctly for safety and optimum benefits.

Massage therapy is a widely used alternative treatment in Australia, contributing to massage guns’ popularity. And given their user-friendly features and positive effects, these devices are likely to stay in demand.

Keen to try this at home? My massage gun buying guide and reviews can help you find the perfect device.

Informative Q&A

1. Do massage guns hurt?

Massage guns do not hurt as long as you use them properly and safely.

Experts advise that the massage gun should never be used on a painful area or aimed at vulnerable spots to avoid conditions like neuropathy.

When used correctly, massage guns should alleviate pain and soreness, relieve tight muscles, and increase blood flow.

2. Are massage guns healthy?

Massage guns help improve a person’s overall health. Through percussion therapy or deep vibrations, these devices encourage blood circulation to the different parts of the body and enhance mobility.

In addition, they improve sleep and immunity. These help deal with anxiety and stress, too.

Danielle Edenworth
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