Thursday 13th July, 2023

How NOT to use a massage gun- bad advice given by YouTube gurus

There are several common mistakes people make when using a massage gun. However, by far the biggest mistake that dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the treatment and increases the risk of injury is using techniques appropriate for conventional massage rather than for vibration. Most professionals even do this.

Axe vs chainsaw

It is like swinging a chainsaw like an axe

When lumberjacks started using chainsaws they needed different techniques. It would not be very effective swinging a chainsaw like an axe. However, when using vibration massagers too many people (including professionals and “experts" who demonstrate on YouTube) still use their conventional techniques such as pressing in and rubbing rather than those appropriate for vibration, and therefore only get a fraction of the benefits they should be getting and potentially causing harm.

In the video and article we discuss why these techniques are inappropriate, then show you the appropriate safe and effective way to use a vibration massager.


Video version

Video: How NOT to use a massage gun

Article: How Not to use a massage gun

Axe vs chainsaw

Why most massage gun advice is wrong

Vibration massage can be an excellent therapy, but not if you follow the advice like shown on the video from the YouTube gurus. The problem is they’re using a machine with a motor that vibrates, but use their old hand massage techniques.

It’s like going from an axe to a chainsaw, but still swinging it like an axe. To get the good results with a vibrating massager you need to use proper vibration massager techniques, and that’s what I’ll show you today.

The scientific effects of vibration massage
It is the vibrations that penetrate and have the therapeutic effects

The difference when using a vibration massager

The main thing you need to know when using a vibration massager is that it’s the vibrations that do the work. For a complete set of instructions with hints and precautions see our vibration massage usage guide , but basically it’s like using the chain saw. You just sit the machine on and let it do the work. The vibrations will penetrate right through your body without any need to press in, and when they do they have a host of wonderful effects on your muscles. What you do is put the machine on, let the vibrations soak in, when that part is done move onto the next spot. It’s really that simple.

Incorrect techniques demonstrated on YouTube

Looking at our YouTube Gurus on our video you can see they’re using hand massage techniques. The trouble is that by moving their machines around the vibrations don’t get a chance to soak in and do some good, and the bit of rubbing they do is practically useless.

Your massager, and how to set it up properly

The other thing you need to look at is your machine and how to set it up. The first thing we need to look at is percussion massagers. They’re a marketing gimmick that claim to combine vibration and conventional massage. The reality is that percussion massage is a bit like making a chainsaw you can swing like an axe. Percussion massage reduces the effectiveness of the vibration, while adding very little benefits.

Percussion vs vibration massage

Percussion massage explained

To explain the difference I like to use the analogy of these two machines that most people will be familiar with. Genuine vibration massagers are like these construction compactors. They’re designed to send strong vibrations deep into the ground without harming the surface. By trying to add conventional massage percussion massagers are like jack hammers. Instead, their vibrations are used to smash the surface. One machine pummels the surface and can feel like it’s doing something, while the other just sends in deep soothing vibrations that relax the muscles, increase blood flow, and a host of other good things.

For the best results get a genuine vibration massager

For the best results you need to get yourself a genuine vibration massager. We discuss how to do this in our article How to choose a massager , but if you’ve already fallen for the marketing hype and got a massage gun all is not lost.

Modifying massage guns for trials
To get half decent trials in trials massage guns are modified to be more like genuine vibration massagers

How to get (half) decent results with a massage gun

If you have brought a massage gun you can do what the scientists do to get half decent results when they trial percussion massagers. They know that driving the heads in like a jackhammer trying to add the benefits of conventional massage is a stupid idea, so what they do is use special soft or damper heads so they don’t drive in and behave more like vibration massagers, ,, and of course they use proper techniques.

So, if you’ve got a massage gun chuck the jackhammer heads in the bin, use the flattest, softest head you’ve got, then use proper techniques like I show you our article How to use a hand held massager .

Get yourself a proper vibration massager

If you haven’t got a massage gun that’s great. You can get the most effective gear. What you’re going to find though is that proper vibration massagers are not that common and most are built for professionals like myself to use rather than self use. I’ll picture some machines made for professional use here. You will see that they look more like the vibration machine than a jackhammer.

Because of that we built our own personal use vibration massagers.

Our General Purpose Massager

This is our General Purpose Massager . The business end delivers copious amounts of therapeutic vibrations. It’s got a proper ergonomically designed handle so it’s easy to use anywhere on your body, and it has very easy to use controls. The on/off switch is underneath and it has a sliding variable speed control under your thumb.

Over the years we’ve sold over 100,000 of these without any advertising, mainly though professionals like chiropractors, osteopaths and physical therapists using them and recommending them to their patients.

Get a DrGraeme massager

The DrGraeme Ultimate Quad Head Massager

Our Ultimate Quad Head Massager

More recently we’ve developed our Ultimate Quad Head Massager that has all the good things the General Purpose Massager has, but can do a much greater area at once and because the front part is larger and flatter you can easily use it like a cushion or chair massager.

It took us a while to build a machine to do a large area. The laws of physics say if you have a machine with a really large head it will vibrate a lot, and it will need to weigh a lot to get it to send the vibrations in. That’s why if you’ve ever tried to put one of these machines in the back of a trailer they are really heavy. The way we solved that was to have a special mechanism that has four heads work independently. While some are going down others are going up, so the vibrations tend to cancel each other out. We can have a light machine that’s easy to use, but still sends in copious amounts of strong vibration.

Get a DrGraeme massager

Professional at desk


DrGraeme massagers were originally built by Dr Graeme for use in his clinic, and to prescribe to his patients for additional self use at home. Now these are used by colleagues and other professionals for similar purposes. If you are a professional and wish to know more about this therapy, or possibly get a sample massager to trial please check out our practitioner page .

We are continually adding more information on research and uses. Subscribe below to have us email them to you "hot off the press".

Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

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