Electric Massage Guns for Improved Blood Circulation

What is an Electric Massage Gun?

A massage gun is a portable device that looks like an electric drill. It has a handle that you grip with one hand and a massage head, and different replaceable attachments thump swiftly against your skin, striking the muscle beneath and offering percussive treatment. Percussive treatment is a form of physical therapy that employs rapid bursts of pressure to massage muscles [1].

Massage therapists frequently use electric massage guns to treat pain and improve blood circulation. Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your joints and muscles, can become inflamed and painful. Tight fascia may also limit your range of movement. Furthermore, when one muscle group stiffens and restricts the range of motion of a certain portion of your body, other muscles overcompensate. This puts you in danger of serious injury [2].

Percussive therapy massage guns, unlike vibration treatment and foam rolling, penetrate up to an inch into your soft tissue (deep tissue), activating your muscles and helping your brain in releasing stress. It aims to prevent tightness, improve range of motion, and expedite muscle healing.

When to Use an Electric Massage Gun

Percussive treatment can be given before or after a workout using a massage gun. Percussive therapy before an exercise can help avoid future pain and improve the range of motion. Post-workout percussive treatment aids in muscle rehabilitation by removing waste products such as lactic acid, which cause pain and stiffness. It is preferable to do percussive therapy on yourself with a massage gun. That way, you will know precisely how much pressure to use and how deeply to massage.

Benefits of Electric Massage Guns

Early research has found numerous significant advantages to employing massage guns for percussive therapy in both pre-and post-workout routines [1]. Below are some potential benefits of using an electric massage:

  • Reduced soreness, muscle tension, and pain: Percussive massage therapy can momentarily relieve pain and relax muscle tension. It can also help to lessen delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is what makes you feel sore a day or two after doing exercise. DOMS is a common side effect of intense exercise; it indicates that your activity has injured muscle fibers, and your muscles are now responding to that new tension. Unfortunately, DOMS is a typical reason for missing exercises. If you’re too tired to exercise, the relaxation provided by a massage gun may be just what you need to get back into shape.
  • Increased blood circulation: Massage gun stimulation of muscle tissue increases blood flow, sending more critical nutrients into your circulation to help in recovery. Improved circulation helps in the removal of lactic acid (one of the key causes of muscular pain) and the reduction of inflammation in the muscles. Massage gun treatment can also aid in the stimulation of spinal functions and the oxygenation of muscles.
  • Improved range of motion: Massage guns have been demonstrated to improve mobility and range of motion after just two five-minute sessions.
  • Improved relaxation: You could find that a session of percussion massage after your workout is precisely what you need to relax and feel more at peace. Sit down on a chair or a yoga mat and use the massage gun to work out the knots in your muscles when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workout.


  1. Konrad A, Glashüttner C, Reiner MM, Bernsteiner D, Tilp M. The acute effects of a percussive massage treatment with a hypervolt device on plantar flexor muscles’ range of motion and performance. J Sports Sci Med. 2020;19(4):690-694.
  2. Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Strength and hypertrophy adaptations between low- vs. high-load resistance training: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(12):3508-3523.
Topicals for Pain Relief and Recovery

Topicals for Pain Relief and Recovery

Professional gaming and esports require rapid, repetitive movements that put extra strain on the neck, back, wrists, fingers, and lower arms. Many professional gamers may notice that they begin experiencing more pain in these areas due to muscle injury, nerve compression, and tendon damage (known as tendinopathy). Over time, this pain can hinder gaming performance, making it more difficult to continue training and performing at a high level [1-3]. 

Many people think of oral analgesics (pain relievers) to help alleviate their pain and inflammation. However, these medications can have systemic (body-wide) side effects that may be undesirable when used in the long term [4]. Fortunately, topical analgesics are also available, which can be applied directly to the painful area for quick relief. These creams, lotions, sprays, gels, or patches can be used to deliver several types of medication to the skin and affected muscles or tendons. Topicals may also be combined with other support methods for ultimate pain relief and recovery. 

Ingredients Found In Topicals

Topicals are available with a variety of ingredients, all with pain-relieving effects. Some may create a cooling sensation, while others are warming to help promote blood flow to the area. Applying topical analgesics during or after a gaming session can help keep pain at bay during intense training or competitions.

Counter-irritants are ingredients that interfere with the body’s sensation of pain by creating tingling, hot, or cold sensations. One example of a counter-irritant is capsaicin, which is made from capsicum chili peppers. Capsaicin is responsible for the spiciness of peppers — interestingly, it can also be used as an effective pain reliever. It can be found over-the-counter in creams and patches in stores [5]. Another type of counter-irritant is menthol (mint camphor), which helps decrease blood flow in the skin. It also creates a cooling effect, which can be soothing to sore muscles. Menthol works by activating and then desensitizing pain receptors in the skin, alleviating discomfort [6].

Rubefacients are also found in topical analgesics to help relieve pain. These work by dilating (opening) the blood vessels in the skin, creating redness and a warming sensation. Methyl salicylate, also known as wintergreen oil, is a chemical compound similar to salicylic acid—the active ingredient in aspirin. Methyl salicylate is a rubefacient that has been shown to provide pain relief for muscle strains [7].

When using topicals, it’s essential to use them as recommended by the manufacturer or a doctor. Avoid heat on the affected area once a topical analgesic is applied, because it can interfere with how well it’s absorbed into the skin [8].

Topicals and Other Support Methods

For ultimate pain relief and recovery, topical analgesics can be combined with other support methods such as bracing, compression, and massage. Braces are used to stabilize areas of the body that are commonly strained or overworked during gaming, including the wrists, neck, and back. Braces can also help take extra pressure off nerves to relieve pain [9,10].

Overall, topicals provide pain relief directly to the affected areas, helping professional gamers get back to what they love doing. Using topicals in addition to other support methods such as bracing and compression offers stabilization and can prevent further injury. 

  1. Andres BM, Murrell GAC. Treatment of tendinopathy: What works, what does not, and what is on the horizon. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008;466(7):1539-1554. 
  2. Helliwell PS, Taylor WJ. Repetitive strain injury. Postgrad Med J. 2004;80(946):438-43. 
  3. van Tulder M, Malmivaara A, Koes B. Repetitive strain injury. Lancet. 2007;369(9575):1815-1822. 
  4. Barkin RL. The pharmacology of topical analgesics. Postgrad Med. 2013;125(4 Suppl 1):7-18. 
  5. Chung M, Campbell JN. Use of capsaicin to treat pain: mechanistic and therapeutic considerations. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016;9(4):66. 
  6. Pergolizzi JV Jr, Taylor R Jr, LeQuang J-A, Raffa RB. The role and mechanism of action of menthol in topical analgesic products. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2018;43(3):313-319. 
  7. Higashi Y, Kiuchi T, Furuta K. Efficacy of safety profile of a topical menthol salicylate and menthol patch in adult patients with mild to moderate muscle strain: A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, multicenter study. Clin Ther. 2010;32(1):34-43. 
  8. Thomas S, Shin SH, Hammell DC, Hassan HE, Stinchcomb AL. Effect of controlled heat application on topical diclofenac formulations evaluated by in vitro permeation tests (IVPT) using porcine and human skin. Pharm Res. 2020;37(3):49. 
  9. Fernandez-de-Las-Penas C, Alonso-Blanco C, Cuadrado ML, Pareja JA. Forward head posture and neck mobility in chronic tension-type headache: A blinded, controlled study. Cephalalgia. 2006;26(3):314-319.
  10. Schott C, Zirke S, Schmelzle JM, Kaiser C, Fernandez LAI. Effectiveness of lumbar orthoses in low back pain: Review of the literature and our results. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2018;10(4): 7791.
Cupping for Gamers

Cupping for Gamers

Depending on your setup, you have probably felt aches and pains after a long session of gaming. Many gamers, professional or casual, experience significant pain in their wrists, shoulders, and back[1]. This is due to the long periods gamers spend sitting in sometimes uncomfortable positions that strain key muscle groups, nerves, and the spine.

While the best method to help reduce pain is to take regular breaks and limit gaming sessions, this is not always feasible when one is training for competitive play or seriously invested in an engrossing quest line[1]. Painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are helpful for muscle pains caused by extended gaming, but they adversely affect the body if used in excess[2]. As a result, many gamers look for alternative options to help safely manage gaming-related pains and aches. One such option is cupping.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a treatment practiced in many cultures since antiquity, wherein a person applies cups to the surface of the skin using suction[3, 4].  Egyptian papyrus texts from 1500 BC describe the technique. Other records show that cupping was commonly used in ancient Greece, China, and Western Europe [4]. The technique flourished particularly during the Islamic Golden Age. Many people in Asia and the Middle East currently use cupping for pain relief and other health problems. The practice has become popular with many high-performing athletes in recent years. 

How Does Cupping Work?

During cupping, a person places cups on the skin and applies negative pressure to the tissue and underlying muscle. This sticks the cups to the skin, where they remain for 3 – 5 minutes[4-6]. Pressure is usually applied via mechanical pumping.

What are the Effects of Cupping?

Cupping opens up tiny blood vessels in the area, increasing blood flow[4, 6]. As a result of the increased blood flow, cupping therapy can reduce local pains and muscular tension in the areas it is applied to. In addition, cupping targets myofascial adhesions, “knots” or “trigger points” that limit soft tissue flexibility, negatively impacting muscle control and performance [7]. Myofascial adhesions form through microscopic damage caused by exercise, injury, repetitive strain, and normal wear and tear on the body, resulting in pain and tension.

Does Cupping Therapy Have Risks?

By and large, cupping is safe, but there are some inherent risks with the procedure[8]. Cupping therapy can cause large darkened regions of skin due to broken blood vessels, especially when cups are left on too long. However, proper technique and short treatment durations can largely prevent this risk.

Is Cupping Backed by Science?

There have not been many large randomized controlled trials to examine whether cupping is effective for pain management. However, the current body of research suggests cupping treatment can help provide some degree of pain relief, especially when used in conjunction with other pain management strategies[9]. More research is needed to help determine the best methods of cupping therapy moving forward.

Cupping Therapy for Gamers

Cupping therapy has shown mild-to-moderate benefits for aches and pains, many of which are common in dedicated gamers. If you have pain issues from gaming, cupping may be a helpful addition to your wellness strategies.


1. Tholl, C., et al., Musculoskeletal disorders in video gamers – A systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2022. 23(1): p. 678.

2. Gerriets, V., J. Anderson, and T.M. Nappe, Acetaminophen, in StatPearls. 2022: Treasure Island (FL).

3. Mehta, P. and V. Dhapte, Cupping therapy: A prudent remedy for a plethora of medical ailments. J Tradit Complement Med, 2015. 5(3): p. 127-134.

4. Furhad, S. and A.A. Bokhari, Cupping therapy, in StatPearls. 2022: Treasure Island (FL).

5. Bridgett, R., et al., Effects of cupping therapy in amateur and professional athletes: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med, 2018. 24(3): p. 208-219.

6. Al-Bedah, A.M.N., et al., The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action. J Tradit Complement Med, 2019. 9(2): p. 90-97. 

7. Bordoni, B., K. Sugumar, and Varacallo M., Myofascial Pain, in StatPearls. 2022: Treasure Island (FL).

8. Aboushanab, T.S. and S. AlSanad, Cupping therapy: An overview from a modern medicine perspective. J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 2018. 11(3): p. 83-87.9. Kim, J.I., et al., Cupping for treating pain: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2011. 2011: p. 467014.

Myofascial Release Can Relieve Muscle Tension

Repetitive actions and prolonged sitting can lead to muscle strains and aches in gamers and esports professionals. The most common injury sites are in the neck, wrist, fingers, forearms, elbows, and back [1]. Like other athletes, gamers should address these injuries as soon as they occur to avoid long-term problems that can reduce mobility and performance. Especially since playing video games for even just three hours a day is correlated with muscular dysfunction and injuries [2].

While it’s common knowledge that you should take breaks, drink plenty of water, and stretch after playing video games, there are other activities that might help you get rid of muscle tightness and knots. Myofascial release, a type of massage, is an effective way to relieve pain and muscle aches [3, 4]. Myofascial release is a therapy technique that involves applying deep pressure to the muscle and fascia (the connective tissue in your muscles). After prolonged sitting or in response to recurrent small movements, muscle fascia can become excessively stiff and cause pain in particular areas.

You can greatly reduce tightness and discomfort in these painful pressure points by using items like foam rollers for your back and major muscles, or even lacrosse balls or harder handheld objects for smaller areas like your neck and forearms. More frequent esports-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, and tennis elbow can be treated with myofascial release therapy. Performing myofascial release therapy on your forearms has been demonstrated to significantly relieve pain and help prevent both carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow [5, 6]. Myofascial release has also been shown to help alleviate back pain [7].

Evidence suggests that myofascial release therapy can increase range of motion, muscle recovery, and even blood flow [4]. Incorporating myofascial release therapy into your daily routine can greatly reduce pain and tension in your muscles when gaming. It can be useful to spend 5-10 minutes gently working your muscles all throughout your body. This enables you to locate pressure and pain sites so that you can spend more time exerting sustained pressure on those areas to loosen them.

Myofascial release therapy can be painful at first. For long-term relief, pressing through the pain is crucial. However, when the pain is too severe and not being reduced by the therapy, it’s essential to back off. After your muscles have had time to recover from your previous session, take a break and return to the area. If myofascial release therapy does not relieve your muscle discomfort and sprains, there may be a more serious injury at hand that requires medical attention to maintain your best gaming performance.

Overall, myofascial release treatment can be a fantastic tool for esports players to keep their muscle strains at bay and maintain optimal performance. Best of all, myofascial release is a beneficial habit that can be easily added to your daily routine.

  1. McGee, C., et al., More Than a Game: Musculoskeletal Injuries and a Key Role for the Physical Therapist in Esports. 2021, JOSPT, Inc. JOSPT, 1033 North Fairfax Street, Suite 304, Alexandria, VA …. p. 415-417.
  2. Tholl, C., et al., Musculoskeletal disorders in video gamers–a systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2022. 23(1): p. 1-16.
  3. Emara, A.K., et al., Gamer’s health guide: optimizing performance, recognizing hazards, and promoting wellness in esports. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2020. 19(12): p. 537-545.
  4. Beardsley, C. and J. Škarabot, Effects of self-myofascial release: a systematic review. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 2015. 19(4): p. 747-758.
  5. Kazantzidou, V., et al., The efficacy of manual techniques in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms: A narrative review. Int. J Orthop Sci, 2021. 7(2): p. 423-427.
  6. Ajimsha, M., S. Chithra, and R.P. Thulasyammal, Effectiveness of myofascial release in the management of lateral epicondylitis in computer professionals. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 2012. 93(4): p. 604-609.
  7. Wu, Z., et al., Myofascial release for chronic low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in medicine, 2021. 8: p. 697986.