Percussion massagers & where to put them
Growing up playing with my mother’s two-knob back thumper massager, I have discovered a new love and respect for percussion massage over my journey with anxiety and drawing attention to the mind-body connection. For me, it truly helps ease and prevent tension headaches, hormonal back pain, and even sleep problems (as well as just daily stresses).
You can find many top-notch percussion massagers online, and even in most pharmacies in New York City, for $40 or less. My current favorite is a Wahl deep-tissue percussion massager, which you can find here on Amazon. Depending on where your body holds tension, here are some of my other top picks and variations: this classic two-knob thumper-esque massager, this cordless variety with 6 percussion settings, and this under-$25 winner.
More importantly, here are some of the wellness benefits I’ve learned through my own use and research:
- Vibration spot massage causes your body to release endorphins and other pain-reducing neurochemicals, which gives your body more fuel to fight pain throughout your body.
- The frequency and vibration create numbness in the area, which is especially useful for deep tension, so it dulls any pain of deep spot-work.
- Percussion massagers also relax muscles surrounding the tension point, which helps quickly reduce pain and allow for deep work. If it is too sensitive and raw to work in any one area right away, try using it along the lines of the muscle above or below to build up release.
- Percussion massage releases a burst of serotonin and dopamine, which help reduce immediate aches and tension, but more importantly are key hormones in reducing anxiety and depression as well as chronic pain.
- Engages the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems - lowering blood pressure, eliminating toxins, and balancing your autonomic nervous response.
Overall, I’m completely hooked on using percussion massage on myself (or better yet, trading with friends) and truly believe it is one of the most innovative massage tools for home healing. Before knowing any of the research, I truly feel I found many of these benefits through my learned-experience.
To sum up: the deep, spot-specific vibrations work deep in the muscle and stimulate blood flow and lymph circulation, bringing nutrients and oxygen to muscle and fascial tissues, thus reducing pain and allowing powerful whole-body healing.
Coming soon… a map of trigger points and more notes on how to use on self or others. If you’re anything like my friends who have become hooked on percussion massagers themselves and gift it to family and friends - I’m truly hoping this post and map will alleviate any doubts about how and where to put it, to put it delicately.