No matter what level or type of exercise you take part in, the occasional muscle aches is almost unavoidable. What’s most important is how you deal with those muscle aches afterwards, so that you can continue to exercise in the way that you want to. One way you can do this is by using a massage gun. In this article I’m going to explore what massage guns are, how they can benefit us, and then follow it up with a more detailed look at a massage gun with my review of the Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun.
What Are Massage Guns?
Massage guns are handheld devices that use deep percussive vibration to massage targeted areas of the body. Bearing much resemblance to a power tool, you’d be excused for feeling somewhat daunted upon first impression. I mean, let’s be honest here, they look as though they could inflict a great degree of pain if they wanted to. However, these electronic devices are often used by massage therapists to help their clients with a variety of issues, which we’re going to explore further in a moment, and can be hugely beneficial to pretty much everyone.
Now, here’s the exciting thing. Massage guns aren’t solely for use by the professionals. Sure, you need to have read the instructions and have a bit of an idea about what you’re doing – knowing certain muscle groups would be a start as would knowing your reasons for needing/wanting a massage – but basically massage guns can be bought by anyone, and that is incredibly exciting. And I’ll tell you why. How lovely it would be to a) have the money to visit a massage therapist whenever we wanted and b) to have the time, but of course most of us don’t have the luxury of either. So, having access to a device that we can use in our own homes, whenever we want to, is a massive deal.
I’m going to talk more about the benefits of using a massage gun in a little bit, but for now let me continue with explaining more about the device itself. Most massage guns come with detachable heads and different speed settings so that the massage can effectively be personalised for your needs. I like to think of them as being the next level up from using a foam roller. Foam rollers are great and everything, but they can only do so much. Massage guns on the other hand go much deeper and aside from anything else they’re a lot less bulky to lug around with you too!
So, now we know what a massage gun is, it begs the question…
Why Not Just Go For A Regular Massage?
OK, so I’ve kind of covered a couple of points about this already. Firstly, regular massage appointments are costly, and secondly, it’s the convenience factor of being able to use a massage gun whenever you feel you need it, rather than having to wait to get yourself booked in with someone. Aside from these two reasons however, there are other benefits to be had from having your own massage gun at home versus going to see a professional.
One of the major benefits of owning a massage gun is that because they promote recovery after exercise (especially intense exercise such as running, weight training, fast paced team sports etc.) you can use it as soon as you have finished exercising. This means there is far less likelihood of injury, as you can massage deep into the muscle tissues and increase blood flow (a very important part of recovery), pretty much immediately. And by working on the muscles while they are still warm from your workout, you are preventing them from tightening up and causing future soreness.
Here are all the other benefits to be had from owning a massage gun:
- Self-Care – Massage guns aren’t just for after exercise. They can be great at relieving stress after a hard day at work too. Just choose the right massage head, set to a gentle level and then you can have a wellness massage to unknot all those tense areas.
- Portable – Massage guns can be easily carried around, especially if like the Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun they come with their own handy carry case. Can’t really carry a massage therapist around with you everywhere you go, can you?!?
- Improved Wellness – Use of a massage gun can simulate production of those lovely feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine. And when we have higher levels of those bad boys, we can expect sharper focus and a more elevated mood.
- Improved Circulation – Better blood circulation allows nutrients and oxygen to travel around the body more efficiently. Both of these things are needed for muscle repair and optimal body function. A massage gun can improve blood circulation and therefore stimulate recovery.
- Increased Flexibility – Regular use of a massage gun can help improve tissue health and over time this can increase flexibility. You can also work much deeper into the muscle with a massage gun and this will also help improve muscle and joint flexibility.
- Decreases Accumulation Of Lactic Acid – When you’ve trained hard, there is often not enough oxygen to reach the muscles and what happens is that lactic acid begins to build up quicker than the body can get rid of it. The effect of this is extended muscle pain and soreness. Use of a massage gun can help dispel excess lactic acid into the circulatory system and get the blood pumping more efficiently again. Which not only feels better, but also speeds up recovery and allows you to continue with your training without being in pain.
- Self-Awareness – When you massage yourself, as opposed to someone else massaging you, you become much more aware of your own body. You’ll learn what hurts and what doesn’t, where your tender areas are, your problem muscles, the curves and contours of your body. It is literally direct feedback about your body from your body.
- It Feels Good – Using a massage gun on tired, sore muscles just feels good. And I’m not sure you really need any more reason than that!
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to be had, no matter who you are and no matter what you do. So, now we’ve seen just how useful massage guns are, I want to focus on one particular massage gun, so that we can really get down to the nitty gritty of what these machines can do.
Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun
The Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun is just one of the massage guns from the Bob And Brad range. The owners of the company, Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck (hence the name Bob And Brad) are both trained physical therapists and so come equipped with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pain relief. Their aim is to help as many people as possible lead a pain free life, which in part comes from using a massage gun to aid this process.
We are constantly told how important eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise is for our health, however less of us are aware of how important the recovery process is after we have exercised. The rest days in between workouts allows the microscopic tears in our muscle tissues to heal and grow back stronger, and this is all part of the process of developing stronger, bigger muscles. If we don’t allow those muscles to repair themselves it can lead to injury. Using a massage gun helps with this recovery.
The Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun comes in a handy, stylish carry case, which not only provides great storage for the gun but also allows you to take it with you. Even better, the massage gun itself is a lot lighter than other guns on the market (it weighs just 1.5lbs/0.68kg) meaning there’s no concerns about lugging around weighty, cumbersome equipment. This is super convenient, portable, and easy to use.
The massage gun has 5 different speed settings (starting at the lowest setting of 2000 RPMs right through to the highest setting of 3200 RPM’s), which is easily changed with a push of a button. If you are a beginner, make sure you start on the lowest setting and only increase it when you have got used to the massage gun and how it feels on your muscles. If at any point you feel pain, you should either lower the intensity or stop.
What makes this massage gun stand out from many others is its low noise level. Massage guns are generally very, very noisy. This high-calibre C2 Massage Gun however, is ultra-quiet. Through the use of the latest noise reduction technology, it operates at a noise level of less than 60dB even at the highest setting. To give you some context, a whisper is about 30dB and normal conversation is around about the 60dB mark. It also has a handy 10-Minute Timer Auto-Off Protection built into it, which automatically switches the device off after 10 minutes of use, as a reminder that you shouldn’t be overusing it and potentially risk injury.
It is lightweight, easy to hold, offers good grip on the silicone handle and the shape of the handle fits really well into the hand – it’s exactly the right size to hold comfortably and because it’s lightweight it doesn’t make your hand or arms ache when you use it for a stretch of time. The battery life is also pretty good. In fact, a full charge will get you 180 minutes of continuous use. And when it does start to run out of charge the 4 battery indicator LED lights let you know when it’s on 100%, 75%, 50%, 25% and then one of the lights starts flashing when it’s down to 10% of charge left in the battery. When the massage gun does need charging, you simply use a standard USB charger, which it comes with, although regular phone adapters also work too.
The Bob And Brad C2 Massage Gun comes with 5 different massage heads, each with their own function and benefits. Let’s take a look at them:
Ball Head – This massage head is a lot softer than the other ones and is a good one to start with if you are new to this form of massage. It is particularly good for the larger muscle groups because the wide shape of the head can cover a larger surface area. However, it is also gentle enough, especially if set on a slower speed, to be used on more delicate areas, such as around the neck. A versatile, multi-functional head that’s great for beginners.
Flat Head – The flathead attachment has a firm, smooth, flat surface, which makes it ideal for use on the larger muscle groups such as the lower back (quadratus lumborum), thighs (quads), bottom (glutes), chest (pecs) and calves (gastrocnemius). Because the massage will be a lot firmer than the one you get from using the ball head, it is advisable to start off on a low setting and then gradually build up as you get used to it. This head is especially good for injury prevention and dealing with muscle tightness.
Bullet Head – This massage head means serious business and should only be used when you’re more experienced with using the massage gun and once you have read up on how to use it properly. It’s solid, tapered surface allows massage impulses to concentrate on very small areas, such as the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. The massage from this type of massage head goes deep and can really pinpoint those smaller muscle groups.
Fork Head – This two headed U-shaped massage head offers two points of targeted massage. It’s not one you are likely to use that often as really it should only be used on areas like the spine, where the two prongs of the fork can sit either side of the spine and help relax the muscles on either side. It can also be used on the muscles that sit either side of the Achilles tendon of the heel, but use with caution.
Air Cushion Head – This head can be used in a similar way to the ball and flat head attachments, however due to its pneumatic folds it can fit around the shape of the area it is treating better. This makes it a great option for use on the more sensitive muscle groups and those that are positioned near bones or ligaments. It is the most flexible of the heads included with this massage gun and therefore can be used on most muscle groups and is great for soft tissue relaxation.
Most of the massage techniques listed in the instruction manual that comes with the massage gun make use of the ball head. There are a couple in there that use the flat head, but I would suggest doing a bit more research before using some of the other heads if you’re unsure where to start.
This massage gun is great at relieving muscle tension whilst also feeling gentle. I certainly didn’t feel as though I was going to do myself any damage, but I did make sure I read the instruction manual from cover to cover before first using it and I did start off on the slowest setting just to get used to how it felt.
What Do We Think Of It?
As a runner myself, I have had many an aching muscle. I often get tight calves if I’ve done a longer or harder run and this can sometimes result in me getting cramp overnight. I do stretch after I’ve run, but there are times when I have forgotten, or I may not have stretched out my muscles as fully as I should have done. In those instances, this massage gun would definitely have helped. And since using this massage gun after my runs, I have felt less achy and just generally as though my range of motion is a lot less stiff, whereas before I may have felt it for a couple of days afterwards. I have used a foam roller in the past, but honestly I just couldn’t get to grips with it. I worried I wasn’t pressing hard enough/I was pressing too hard/I wasn’t doing it right etc. But with this massage gun I can tell straight away whether I’m hitting the right spot.
My teenage son plays football twice a week and goes to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, so as soon as I told him I had this massage gun to review his eyes lit up – I’ve already found it stashed away in his room, which is high praise indeed from a teenager! Between the both of us, we regularly experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from pushing ourselves slightly too hard and then not stretching properly or for long enough afterwards. Through use of this massage gun we have been able to help relieve tight muscles, reduce the DOMS, and I think most beneficially of all we have been able to continue exercising to the level we want to. You see, regular use of a massage gun allows you to train better and more consistently. By giving you the ability to recover quickly, you can continue to train hard and therefore progress faster, which always feels good, right?
All in all, I think this is a great product. Reasonably priced (you’re looking at about the £70 mark, which is about the price of 2 or 3 massages from a therapist so you’ll be saving a tonne of money in the long run), easy to use, convenient, portable, lightweight, and effective, it’s a wellness device that will be used time and time again… if I can manage to get it back off my son!
*Product gifted for review