How To Use Your Massage Gun: Pro Tips From PT’s

Dr. Chloe demonstrating how to use a massage gun on Dr. John's forearm

You invested in a massage gun or percussion therapy instrument?  We can totally understand the excitement you feel while unboxing!  Then that sinking realization hits… what do you do with all those attachments?  Feeling overwhelmed, did you stick with the original one that it came with?  Don’t feel bad.  Many people do, but we’re here to demystify how to use all those other attachments.  You’re missing out on major recovery benefits, so let’s get into best practices on massage guns and what exactly all those heads are for.

Which Head Do I Use?

 diffused head for less pressureThis is our “go to” favorite way to start.  This plunger style soft head allows you to get a wider surface area without too much pressure to warm up your muscles.   

ball attachment for massage gunHaving a slightly less wide surface area, the ball is a harder head.  You can still use this for your initial warm up and search.  Be prepared, it is more intense. We recommend using lighter pressure to start.  This is really good for bigger muscles and areas that need a little extra umpf.

The more focused pressure massage gun attachment

This is for focused pressure after you’ve completed your scan and search.  You can also use this in smaller areas that the other larger heads just don’t fit.  Places like the hand and when you want to get into the connective tissue next to the bone.  (Make sure you look at the Don’ts section about bone!!!)  No matter if you’re just starting on a new body area or the muscle has already been warmed up, use light pressure and a low setting when you start with this one.  It can be very intense!

The forked head for for the spine

This attachment is very specialized!  Use this one to alleviate tension in the spine.  It’s so important not to go directly on the bones themselves, so this attachment was created to go perfectly around.  Use your other hand as a guide to make sure you’re not hitting your vertebrae. (There is an amazing demonstration of this in our video below!)

How Much Pressure?

Most people fit into 2 different types of recovery while using the percussion therapy instrument.  You’re either recovering from a workout or an injury.  You’re going to want to approach these differently.

If you’re experiencing muscle fatigue and soreness post exercise, it’s safe to say you can start with light to medium pressure with your massage gun on level 2-3.  If you’re coming back post injury we suggest you start with more caution.  Begin with very light pressure and the tool on it’s lowest setting (1).  It’s extremely important to start here because you never know how your body is going to react.  You don’t want to aggravate it.  As a rule of thumb we say start with light pressure to see how your body will react.  You can always go up from there!

Most Effective Way To Use The Massage Gun

When talking about using a massage gun, we have similar principles to foam rolling.  (I can hear you groaning, but don’t!)  It’s really good to do this work in 2 parts.  First, we like to scan or search the area.  What that means is warming up the entire muscle mass first. Move slowly back and forth on the entire muscle searching for hot spots that feel painful or tight.  Don’t go directly to those pain spots!  Warming up the whole area first usually decreases the point tenderness of those problem areas.  Our favorite head to use for bigger muscles is the diffused pressure head.  This is a nice way to warm up that muscle and get ready for a more pointed pressure.

After scanning for about 1-2 minutes you can get more fine tuned with what you’re trying to achieve.  Now you can go to those more focused areas that are tighter and experiencing pain.  At this point we like to change to the pointed head or even just a harder head.  When you’re doing this, you want to move back and forth in smaller increments.  You’ll pay attention to a 1-2 inch area.  This allows you to really get in there.  You still want to start with light pressure!  This more pointed head can be much more intense on those sensitive areas.


Some of these are more obvious than others, but either way, it’s important to make sure you rule these things out and pay attention to how your body feels when using your massage gun.


  • Use this on hot/red/irritated skin
  • Use this on an open wound
  • Use this on a recent trauma or broken bone 
  • Use this over exposed nerves
  • Use this not on BONE

We’ll elaborate a little more on the last one.  When you use the massage or percussion therapy tool on bone you’re not going to be doing anything good for yourself.  The gun will actually kick back in your hand (use this as an indication you’re not where you’re supposed to be).  You want to stay away from pointy places like your elbow, hip bones, and the tips of shoulder blades.  Stay in the belly of the muscle where your knots and adhesions are.  That is where the vibration of the massage gun will do it’s best work for you!

If you have any doubts that you should or shouldn’t be using your massage gun on a specific area, ASK.  Talk to a trusted professional before you use your tool so you can move forward with confidence. 

Watch Our How To Use Your Massage Gun Video

There’s so much more to go over and this video is packed with even more helpful tips and information on how to use your massage gun.  We cover many different areas of the body so make sure you watch it!  If you have any questions please reach out to us on our social media or contact us page.  We’d love to help you with whatever you’re dealing with. 


If you’re looking for information on a specific injury, let us know.  We will do our best to answer your questions and might feature it in our blog!

Ready To Get Your Own?

We carry the Hyperice line of percussion therapy tools in store.  There are 3 different levels offered all that pack a sizable punch.  For the quality of product and the price offered, Hyperice is worth it!  Reach out and ask us if you have any questions or to purchase yours today!  


Call/Text us at 610-726-1569 (all puchases are pick up in store only)

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Dr. Chloe and John