The general trend in physical therapy is that everything now has to be some form of functional movement. So as a profession seems to be trending away from this type of thing, why am I here talking about it?
I have a colleague that I was helping out and saw his massage gun. I gave him a bit of a hard time and he told me I had to try it before badmouthing it. So I did… and LOVED it. It felt great. I grabbed my phone and bought one and haven’t looked back.
Now for the most important question, what does it actually do? A lot of claims have been made about what these tools do, but here are 3 things it does really well.
Massage tools of all kinds work to calm the nervous system by decreasing its sensitivity. In other words, it allows the muscles and tendons to relax and move more comfortably. This calming of the nervous system will also lead to decreased pain. This effect is usually short-term but it allows you to do more things to get at the root problem.
Sometimes you just need to do something that feels good. So many claims have been made that massage tools like this do things like “break up fascia” and things of that nature. I do not think that is possible, but I do not think it really matters. If you are feeling tight or have some pain and this helps it, then use it! It is OK to do things that just feel good whether you are in the fitness or rehab world. At the end of the day, our goal is to make people feel better and this tool does a great job of that.
One of the things we are always trying to do in physical therapy is to figure out how to send the patient home with all the skills and tools they will need to take care of themselves. One of the problems has always been trying to “send your hands home” with the patient. Massage guns are a great way to do that. Sometimes the exercises can be uncomfortable and/or difficult. A lot of patients just need a few minutes of relaxing/warming-up. This tool does a great job at just that.
With all the tools out there, why the Hydragun? For me, it is all about comfort and noise. The Hydragun is very quiet which is important in a clinic environment, especially when we are using it to calm muscle down. No one relaxes to the sound of a jackhammer. The Hydragun has some nice weight to it giving it a nice pressure for the massage. It feels more fluid and less like someone is smacking you. It is easy to use, it feels great, and all my patients love it. To me, there is only one option.