Of all the qualities that a percussion gun should have, power and stroke length are the most important because the success of the percussion massage therapy will depend on them. And even if you do not use this product professionally, they are important features to know if you want to have a quality and long-lasting piece of equipment.
For example, the different stroke lengths of a massage gun define the depth of the massage, whether or not its benefits reach the muscles closest to the bone structure. If you are a physiotherapist or a professional athlete, you will need a gun that offers a higher amplitude.
What does power and stroke length mean in a massage gun?
Both power and stroke length are two concepts that you need to master perfectly before massaging with this product, which uses percussion therapy to stimulate both superficial and deep tissues for a variety of physical benefits.
Percussion massage involves the use of tiny, rhythmic, dry, deep strokes to block signals emitted by nociceptors, which are nerve endings located throughout the body and are linked to the brain and spinal column.
When the body has a wound or injury, these pain receptors are activated and warn the body that there is a painful process developing. The massage gun acts on the injured tissues with specific powers and amplitudes.
The power in a gun is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), which is the number of times the heads move in the space of 60 seconds. New models offer various intensities and range from 1200 RPM to 3500 RPM. Depending on the part of the body you are going to stimulate, you will define this rhythm in the stimulations.
At the same time, you should be aware of the depth of the strokes. As there are more superficial lesions than others, the massages should not be “equal” in each muscle group. More depth will certainly be required on the latissimus dorsi, teres major and teres minor. On the other hand, you will need less depth on the lumbar and oblique muscles.
How are massage guns classified according to their range and what are the uses of each one?
Although a good gun should have several specific characteristics, in this section we concentrate on detailing the benefits of guns with different amplitudes.
|Stroke length rating (mm)|
|8-12 mm||13-16 mm||17-20 mm|
|Soft tissue massage||Deep tissue massage
|Very good, but rare|
Massage gun: 8-12 mm
A greater amplitude is not synonymous with greater or lesser quality in the product, it simply responds to a need to perform superficial massages on the tissues as a routine myofascial release.
To achieve myofascial stress release, you can use 8mm and 12mm stroke lengths but with higher revolutions per minute, this will prevent adhesions in the connective tissues and eliminate tensions in the fascia that limit the range of mobility of people.
Use a round head or a flat head to achieve relief from minor aches and pains that are related to muscle fatigue and stress from a hard day’s work.
Massage gun: 13-16 mm
A quality product should also give you an intermediate amplitudewith which you can stimulate dense muscles such as the quads, hamstrings and glutes without damaging the skin, but reach these deeper tissues.
These stroke lengths range from 12mm to 14mm, but you will require fewer revolutions per minute to avoid bruising of the skin and over stimulation of the muscles leading to fatigue and cramps later on. Remember that the use of the gun is equivalent to physical activity and, although it is not a substitute, it also requires a significant muscular effort.
At this range you can use the same rounded heads, although from this frequency range you can use a harder head to start stimulating trigger points on parts of the body such as arms and calves.
Massage gun: +16 mm
This is a dedicated range for physiotherapists who will use the gun as a working tool and for sportsmen and women who constantly need to deactivate trigger points on any part of the body.
This is an amplitude that is often used in crossfit, weightlifting and professional team sports, which are physical activities of great strength and there is usually a lot of muscle hypertrophy, then there is a need to use stroke lengths of more than 16mm, and with fewer revolutions per minute, so that there is a correct stimulation in really dense and resistant tissues.
It is an stroke length where you have to be careful with the bullet-tipped head, because the excess pressure causes bruising of the skin, which is basically haemorrhaging in the dermis that can last for a couple of weeks.
What are the benefits of using massage guns in massage therapy?
If you haven’t had experience with a percussion gun, then you don’t know all the potential you have at your fingertips. That’s why we’ve listed the main health benefits of stimulation guns.
- Serves as a natural analgesic: it is considered a natural form of pain relief because it does not require the use of drugs, allowing the body to soothe minor muscle aches with a little help from this product. It has been proven that turning to chemical painkillers can create dangerous dependencies that threaten mental and physical health.
- Improves joint function: it does this by protecting the integrity of muscle fibres and myofascial tissue, which can easily affect the natural movement of the human body when these tissues are tight and injured. Protecting the musculature is synonymous with protecting the tendons and ligaments that are going to be limited when a greater workload is placed on them to compensate for the muscular deficit.
- Useful for rehabilitation: whether by controlling pain, inflammation and stiffness, or by accelerating cell regeneration, this gun is a formidable ally for people who need to overcome a physical injury as quickly as possible. But only a sports doctor or physiotherapist can tell you when it is best to use this product during rehabilitation.
- Regulates blood flow: this is a localised benefit that brings more oxygen and nutrients to the parts of the body where the gun has an effect, this allows for better cell regeneration and the body responds better to rest during a good recovery.
- Stimulates the nervous system: this gun has an inhibitory effect on nerve endings, but also works the central nervous system. This system allows to control the coordination and movements that the body requires for different physical and sporting activities.
- It favours the elimination of toxins: in each agitation activity, the muscles emit a series of compounds that must be expelled from the body and that leave a feeling of tiredness and muscular fatigue. In addition, this product ensures better reabsorption of fluids in the body such as synovial sacs.
- It regulates metabolism: it conditions the work of catabolites, which are responsible for breaking down nutrients and reusing them for better muscle function. It is important for the body to better process the energy that enters the body through food, and the gun makes this process better in the tissues where it comes into contact with stimulation.