By now many of us know what a massage gun is but do you know how a massage gun came about and what is the reason behind this innovative device?

Let’s dive right in as we summarise the history in detail so you don’t have to read through hundreds of pages to find the answer.

While the very first modern percussive therapy device was developed in 1974, the method of percussive therapy can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century in 1868. Percussive therapy is used by chiropractors on patients with muscle tension. In 2008, a chiropractor modernised the recovery tool and named it the handheld percussion device, which became a global sensation in recent years.

Now that we briefly know that the massage gun was developed based on percussive therapy, allow me to explain what percussive therapy is.

What Exactly is Percussive Therapy?

Percussive therapy makes use of rapid repetitive, tapping motion of applied pressure perpendicular to the target area. It is believed the motion of intentional pressure and vibration will help stimulate the nervous system to release lymphatic build up.

To understand the history of how percussive therapy came about, we should look at the history of massage. It started in India few thousand years ago as a way of natural healing. From there, it spread to Egypt, where reflexology was born as the Egyptians developed the idea of applying pressure to target areas. In the 1800s, a type of massage that uses percussion is the tapotement, also known as the Swedish massage is made popular.

Meanwhile in Ancient Greek, doctors use vibration technology to help soldiers recover from injuries. Also in the 1800s, a doctor from Sweden found that vibration therapy helps his patients with muscle gains. So in the 1960s, researchers began to study the effect of local vibration on muscles and tissues.

From 1980s up until now, many recovery products and services have been developed using the application of pressure and local vibration. However, none like the percussion handheld device (massage gun), which was developed as a recovery tool that makes use of the benefits of both pressure and vibration simultaneously.

The attachment head of a massage gun comes in different forms, shapes and sizes. Combined with the frequency, amplitude and torque of the motor, the massage gun becomes a powerful percussive device for muscle recovery and relaxation.

Who is the Inventor of the Massage Gun?

The inventor of the massage gun that made headlines all over the world is Dr Jason Wersland, who is a chiropractor. He is the founder and creator of the Theragun (now known as Therabody) massage gun.

He invented the Theragun after a motorcycle accident in 2007 that left him with intense pain and atrophy. With that, he explored percussive therapy to help deal with his pain as he could not find any product on the market that could help him manage his pain.

Dt Jason Wersland then found that larger amplitude can create a deeper muscle treatment, which is more effective in stimulating the muscles.

So after 8 years of development and many prototypes later, he created the Theragun handheld percussive therapy device. The Theragun device is able to stimulate deep tissue recovery and improving blood circulation, which also helps athletes who want to boost muscle recovery.

How Did it Become a Trend in the Fitness Industry?

The first Theragun was launched in 2016 with Theragun G1 as the first handheld percussive therapy device. It proved to be one of its kind as it offers a much quicker solution to foam rollers.

Many athletes were using foam rollers to massage their sore muscles, which is a great tool by the way. However, athletes would usually need to spend a lot more time using the foam roller to achieve the same result as compared to using the G1. Since then, Theragun has been working with the development and improvement of each new model released.

Picking up the rising popularity, many other manufacturers in the US and Australia like Hyperice, Healsage, Hydragun, Renpho also jumped into the trend to produce their own design and features of massage guns for the market.

Therabody’s products are known to be premium (costing around AUD800 to AUD1000 for newer models) but there are other manufacturers that offer more affordable solutions for the rest of us. Price points for the more affordable and good quality massage guns in Australia can range anywhere from AUD200 to AUD400.

Popular athletes like Christiano Ronaldo is the brand ambassador for Therabody, who helped to boost the popularity of the device. With the more affordable options available and increased brand awareness, many fitness enthusiasts started picking up one for themselves.

The massage gun is not just a hype because it does work and you don’t have to be a hardcore gym goer to own one. The percussive therapy device provides many benefits with muscle recovery for delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) being one of them.

Want to find out which are the most recommended massage guns in Australia? Check out this article.

Emma Pyke
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