Massage Guns: Are They Worthy of the Hype?

I am incredibly frugal, possibly a full blown cheapskate. Despite the expense, I used to get deep tissue massages on a regular basis. It helped a great deal with my pain and reduced my muscle spasms. Since I can no longer stand after my last pregnancy, I can’t get on the table without assistance. My husband has positioned me a few times, but it was rather awkward for the massage therapist.

I have been looking for an alternative, but it’s harder than I thought it would be. The first problem is that most things that are labeled “massagers” are actually “marital aids”. There’s nothing wrong with those, but I am already well stocked in that department. Others were weak and practically useless. Some were dangerous for someone with limited sensation. In particular, the shiatsu style mats can dig into sensitive areas like the spine or pinch nerves.

I have read rave reviews about the new massage guns, but I was concerned about the price. I found a very good deal, but for the regular price of this one I could buy four mid range massagers. Could it really be worth it? I’m thrilled to report that it is.

Even before I used it, I was impressed by the case. It’s an expensive piece of equipment so I like that the designers recognized right away that it needed a case. It’s handy for keeping the attachments and charger together, but it is also well cushioned. On the off chance that you drop it, it will be as good as new. I think the case is a must if you plan to travel with it.

It comes with 5 different attachments and they all have a specific purpose. My husband’s favorite is the 2 pronged one that is designed to go down the spinal column. It’s not appropriate for me around and below my injury level, but most people would not have this problem.

This accordion looking attachment is my favorite. The bouncy texture of the silicone seems to cushion the gun a bit more than the other ones. I found it particularly helpful in areas that I couldn’t see like my lower back (hypermoblity comes in handy sometimes, but it still doesn’t give me eyes in the back of my head). It also ensured that it wasn’t too intense on areas that I couldn’t feel.

This firm, yet not too dense ball is amazing on large muscle groups. The percussion action gets into the deep muscles like the many layers of the glutes.

The flat headed attachment works well on any area except the spine. It would be nice for an allover massage or on a lower setting, it would be perfect for a light vibration for a more sensitive patient.
This works best on pressure points or targeted therapy around a joint. It penetrates pretty deep which is great for a more muscular body type, but caution should be used on a new injury or if you have decreased sensation. I would advise starting on a low level and going slow at first.

I think that where this particular brand shines is in the multiple levels of power. Most of the brands that I researched had 5 speed levels. This one has 30! This might sound like overkill, but I found it very helpful. My husband is a big man and used a moderately high level on most areas, but there’s still quite a few levels that he could grow into at some point.

Excuse my hairy bear of a husband, but this really shows how powerful the percussion can get.

I needed the lower levels at first, but I was quickly able to tolerate a little more. For those of us with limited sensation, it’s incredibly important to start off slow so our bodies can adjust. This is not available in most massagers so it was great to see such a wide range in this one.

Some various odds and ends that weren’t crucial, but still nice include the long battery life, the ability to recharge it fairly quickly, and the easy to read LED display.

Closing thoughts:

Does it completely replace the skin to skin contact and human connection that a traditional massage delivers? No, but it’s a very close second. It’s also a lot easier for someone with mobility problems to manage on a regular basis. For the price of one deep tissue massage, this provides hours of easily accessible massage therapy in the privacy of your home.

Sunba Youth was kind enough to give me a sample to use for this post, but I was not paid for the review or influenced in any way. If you would like to purchase your own, here is a link to the product listing on Amazon.

SUNBA YOUTH Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massager, Handheld Massager with Carrying Case Massage Gun for Athletes, Ultra-Quiet 30 Speed Levels Electric Massager for Sore Muscle and Stiffness

Gimp My Furniture

If you are a part time wheelchair user, then this might not be a problem for you, but I have lost all of my butt muscles. This creates some problems, mainly pressure sores and pain. I have an incredibly heavy and expensive cushion in my wheelchair, but I’m not always in my wheelchair. Rather than spend a fortune on cushions, I found a low cost way to convert my normal chairs into butt friendly furniture and I thought I would share.

Supplies needed:

Memory foam mattress topper

Hot knife

Upholstery fabric

Upholstery tacks



Open the mattress topper and lay it out flat. It’s going to arrive vacuum sealed and tightly rolled. Use caution when removing the plastic. You don’t want to accidentally cut the foam.

At first, the topper will appear flat. It can take up to a hour to fully expand. Once it reaches its full 3 inch height, unzip the cover and set aside.

Measure the width and length of the inside of the chair. If you are using a regular straight back chair, then you may want to only upholster the seat. Since I was covering a very uncomfortable recliner/ lift chair, I decided to cover the back with one piece of foam and the seat and leg rest with another.

Add 1 inch to the measurements. This insures a tight fit so it doesn’t slide around. You can trim it down later if needed, but you can’t add to it if you cut it too small.

Measure the correct amount of foam and mark where you should cut. Again, it’s better to be too big and need to be trimmed than it is to be too small.

It’s time to cut. You could try a regular knife or very sharp scissors, but I highly recommend using a hot knife tool. Since the foam is so dense, it will take a lot of strength to cut through it, even if the knife is sharp. It’s also more dangerous, because the knife can slip. God knows how clumsy I am and I would never hear the end of it from my husband if I cut myself while playing Macgyver.

The hot knife is perfect for this. Instead of slicing it, it basically cauterizes a path wherever it goes. It is incredibly hot so use caution, but it works well for this project.

After cutting out the foam, it’s time to put it on the furniture. At first I was concerned that it would be too stiff to work with a recliner, but it bends with the chair in an position. This is when you can trim it down if needed, but a snug fit will help to keep it in place.

Now you can cover it with upholstery fabric. Cut it to size with a half inch seam allowance. Cover the entire chair, fold under the ends, and use the tacks to hold down the edges. Now your gimped out chair looks just like a normal chair, but it’s suitable for a pressure sore prone butt.

You could also use the lazy, although comfortable, method. Skip the upholstery fabric. Cover it with a Jersey knit sheet and pin it into place. Right now I just have the sheet on mine. I like the feel of the soft cotton and it can be removed easily and washed on a regular basis.

Estimated Cost:

Mattress topper, twin size– $80 (I only used about 1/3)

Hot knife— $24

Upholstery fabric— $17

Upholstery tacks — $9

Total cost— $130 with enough left over for at least one more chair, possibly two.

That’s a far cry from this $515 seat cushion.