Percussion massagers are becoming more and more popular for myofascial release of muscles. When you have knotted muscles from tension, overwork, or injury, myofascial release is a great way to feel better. Apply the massager to your knot, and the stress melts away, leaving only relief.
Myofascial release first became popular using hard foam rollers and tennis or lacrosse balls. Users would sit or lay on the roller (or ball) to put pressure on the knot. Then, they would move back and forth to grind the knot out of the muscle. This process works, but it takes considerable acrobatic skills to engage some muscles. It can also be painful as your full weight rests on a ball or roller.
Deep tissue percussion massagers are a new development that is supposed to replace balls and rollers. Instead, there is a device that repeatedly pulses to massage the tissue and release the tension. You rub the pulsing head of the device over your muscle, and it works out the knot.
Percussion massagers are different from traditional vibrating massagers, too. Traditional massagers move very fast, but not very far. They don’t work the muscle intensely unless you dig them into the knot. With percussion massagers, the motion is slower (though still pretty fast) and much more prominent.
These devices promise relief from soreness and tension while also increasing flexibility. One such tool is the Hypervolt percussion massager from Hyperice. How well does it stack up?
The Hypervolt is the entry-level massager from Hyperice. It is a rechargeable cordless device with an ergonomic design. Five different heads come with the massager so that you can target different muscles. It is an adjustable-speed device that was designed to be quiet.
- Multiple massage heads, including a two-pronged head and a bullet tip for pinpoint targeting
- Long battery life
- Quiet operation – unusual for percussion massagers
- Unique shape – almost a cross – gives you lots of ways to hold it to reach any muscle
- Expensive – costs more than twice as much as similar models on Amazon
- Doesn’t come with a case
- No swappable batteries. When the charge runs down, you have to stop and recharge
The Hypervolt is from Hyperice, a company that specializes in deep massagers for myofascial release. In addition to the percussion massage gun, they also make massagers in a variety of shapes to help athletes recover. They have vibrating rollers, balls, and ice compression wraps for most major joints.
Hyperice is dedicated to helping athletes recover from workouts. The Hypervolt – and all their other products – are designed to help your body get back to normal after hard workouts. Their website has a full page of video tutorials that show you how to get the most out of the massagers.
How Percussion Massagers Work
Percussion massagers push deep into the muscle, then release the pressure almost instantly. The deep vibrations work tight muscles loose, improve blood flow, and help reduce swelling. They also expand the range of motion by letting muscles extend to their fullest.
This process is called myofascial release. It’s named for the fascia, tough connective tissue that holds muscles together. When muscles are worked too hard, or when they are held tense under stress, the fascia bunches up. This bunching shows up as knots in the tissue.
Deep tissue massage and foam rolling cause the fascia to stretch and release. When done for long enough, the fascia releases completely, and the muscle returns to a full range of motion. Deep percussion massagers work the same way, but faster. Because they oscillate in and out so many times each second, these massagers get the fascia to release much quicker.
Deep percussion massagers are safe for treating sore muscles, knots from tension, knots from overwork, and scarring. They should not be used to treat real injuries – torn muscles or joints require a doctor.
Deep percussion massagers may not be safe if you are pregnant or taking blood thinners. If these apply to you, talk to a doctor before using a deep tissue massager.
Where to Buy the Hypervolt
Hypervolt deep tissue massagers are available online directly from Hyperice. The cost is $349. They are also available from brick-and-mortar retailers like REI and Best Buy for the same price.
Is Hypervolt Worth the Money?
It is tough to say whether an expensive massager is worth it. If you are a pro athlete, or if you are always pushing your body to the limits, the Hypervolt probably is worth it. You can use the deep percussion massager to recover from your workouts faster and get back out for the next game.
It’s also worth it if you suffer from chronic muscle pain. Many people with severe and ongoing muscle aches find relief from a massager like the Hypervolt. It is quicker and more comfortable than a foam roller. It also does a better job with some problems that a foam roller, just because it’s able to work the muscle over and over in a short time.
Finally, the Hypervolt is worth checking out if you suffer from chronic tension knots. It is the fastest, easiest way to work them out. You should also check out our Chirp Wheel review for a cheaper product designed specifically for back pain.
If you occasionally use a foam roller to release tension, the Hypervolt probably isn’t right for you. It is a costly solution to an occasional problem.