Achy, breaky everything? I SO feel you on that.
And if you’re sick of poppin turmeric pills but not quite bougie enough for a weekly deep tissue massage, a percussion therapy massager might be the next best thing.
These devices — also called massage guns — are a portable way to deliver a deep tissue massage directly to the muscles that are giving you grief. I tried the Turonic GM5 massage gun(opens in a new tab), a mid-range percussion therapy device with some decent features for its price and here’s what I found.
The Turonic GM5 is a really straightforward, no-nonsense massage gun.
It has a single button that allows you to power on or power off the device and cycle through five intensity levels. According to Turonic, these intensity levels vary from 1,200 to 3,200 percussions per minute — allowing the gun to reach tissues up to 11 millimeters from the surface of your skin.
It also comes with seven different attachment heads, which serve various functions and can be used to target particular muscles or muscle groups. Here’s a quick rundown:
Ball: for large muscles
Flat: also for large muscles
Bullet: for targeting small, specific areas
Anti-cellulite (flat with bumps): for cellulite busting (supposedly… I’m pretty skeptical)
Fork: for muscles in bony areas (around the spine and neck, for example)
Stainless steel (2): for oil massage
These attachments swap easily in and out of the massager with just a firm push or pull.
Credit: SaVanna Shoemaker / Mashable
According to Turonic, it maxes out at an eight-hour battery life (on the lowest setting), and clocks in at a fairly quiet 45 decibels.
It comes nicely packaged in a zippered travel case with a charger, the user manual, and the seven attachment heads in their own inner storage bag to keep them contained within the case.
I recently suffered a knee injury (nothing cool or athletic in any way, just twisted my leg while trying to keep myself from tripping out of our van — as one does), so this ended up being the perfect time to test out some massage guns.
The Turonic’s five settings start out really gentle, which I love — but the highest setting is WAY intense, which my husband appreciates. It’s also more lightweight than other massage guns I’ve tried, but not in a cheap way. It feels very sturdy. It is also pretty quiet on the lower settings, but it gets loud quickly on the higher settings.
For my first test, I tried it out on my injured knee. My knee was feeling really sore and stiff the day after a lower body workout (approved — nay, insisted upon — by my physical therapist), but after finding a guided massage gun routine for knee pain on Youtube it was feeling really nice. I used the ball, and only got up to the third setting.
It was kind of annoying to have to cycle all the way through the settings to go from a higher intensity to a lower intensity, but ultimately not a huge deal.
I also used it on my traps (the muscles that attach your neck and shoulders), and it was bliss. When I’m working on my computer I tend to unconsciously hunch my shoulders and lower my neck, while keeping them both really tense — you know, the thoroughly modern blight of “tech neck.” A quick shoulder massage though? Instant tension reliever. (As of recently, this massager’s new home is my desk.)
This massager comes in handy for injuries, sore muscles, or just everyday use.
Credit: SaVanna Shoemaker / Mashable
The ball attachment is the most gentle because it’s a little softer than the others, and because it spreads the percussion out over a larger surface area. It’s by far my favorite attachment because I don’t really like super-intense percussion, and I don’t like it all concentrated in a smaller area either. However, I did test all of the other attachments as well.
I ended up really liking the anti-cellulite head on my calves. It kind of tickles, though. And though I’ve got cellulite in spades, I haven’t tried it on those areas yet because of the aforementioned tickling. In fact, my 6-year-old calls it a tickle machine.
The attachment I was most nervous about trying was the bullet attachment, but it ended up being just what I needed for getting to that one tiny spot on the back of my knee where most of the pain was coming from. Instead of being one solid piece, it’s hollow — which I think helps to bring the intensity down a few notches.
I also ended up really liking the round flat head. However, the Y-shaped attachment and the two metal ones were a little too intense for my liking — even at the lowest setting. (If you really want a muscle pummeling, though, they’re perfect.)
The battery life seems pretty solid, too. After several days of testing off and on I haven’t needed to recharge — although Turonic cautions that maxing it out will severely reduce battery life.
It’s also worthwhile to keep the user manual tucked inside of the case, rather than trashing it. It’s got a summary of all the different attachments and how to use them. The booklet also includes some ways that you can use the massage gun before and during workouts to warm up your muscles, along with instructions for pain relief and cellulite treatment.
Worth the price?
At $180, the Turonic GM5(opens in a new tab) falls firmly in the middle of the typical price range for percussion therapy devices.
For around $50, you can get a low-end massage gun on Amazon(opens in a new tab). Despite what may be promised on the sales page, most of these have significantly weaker motors and probably won’t last as long as others — not to mention quality control can be a huge issue.
They also land more on the vibration side of the spectrum, rather than delivering a true percussion massage that can reach deep into the tissues. I personally wouldn’t buy a $50 massage gun, BUT if you want to try a massage gun without a huge cost investment it may be an OK buy.
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On the other hand, premium percussion massagers like Theragun and Hypervolt can cost upwards of $500 — but they really have all the bells and whistles: Bluetooth, super high quality construction, and more powerful and quieter motors. These are probably best suited for really dedicated athletes or for people who know for certain they’ll get their money’s worth.
For the average massage gun user who wants one for occasional pain relief or post-workout recovery (but perhaps is not a pro athlete), I think the Turonic is a solid choice.