There’s been a lot of noise around massage guns in recent years. From plenty of research to athletes endorsing them, these odd-looking contraptions are slowly creeping into the market as must-have gadgets that can help speed up muscle recovery. So when we were offered the Core Balance Massage Gun to review, we decided to take a closer look to assess whether it’s good for home users like you and me.
What do massage guns do?
Resembling a hand drill, massage guns are designed to target muscle pain. It’s a common problem that can affect just about everyone, not just those who work out regularly. A handheld massage gun generates a surprising amount of power that, when applied to the skin helps, can help reduce inflammation, break up scar tissue, reduce muscle soreness, release tension and relax tight muscles.
These self-contained devices have a rechargeable inbuilt battery and often comes with a selection of different shaped massage heads that work in tandem with a selection of modes. The device is really easy to use on yourself. Just fit the correct massage head, and you’re good to go at the touch of a button.
What are the benefits of massage guns?
According to manufacturers, massage gun advocates, and experts, there are many benefits to be gained from using one of these handheld gizmos. Some of those include:
- Reduced inflammation
- Lowered effect of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Improved recovery
- Increased blood flow
- Higher levels of relaxation and lowered stress
- Increased range of motion
- Less muscle stiffness
Massage guns have been hailed as the must-have tool for anyone and everyone suffering from niggling muscle pain. From pro-athletes to office workers who spend hours sitting in front of a screen.
The Core Balance Massage Gun
The Core Balance comes in a plush padded zip-lock carry case in which you will find the gun, six interchangeable massage head attachments, a charger, a manual, and a bag of replacement seals that can be slipped over the pointy section of the head as they wear over time.
It features five-speed settings for the preferred intensity of your massage. The gun strikes the target area up to 2400 times per minute with an amplitude of 11mm to dig deep into the muscle tissue and loosen any tight knots. The brushless motor allows the head to move in and out with power and efficiency to maintain a steady rhythm and provide a soothing massage.
It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which has a six-hour battery life and rapidly charges in two hours. Priced at £44.99 at the time of writing, this particular massage gun is an entry-level one and comes in three shades (blue, grey and teal).
The Core Balance’s design and usability are really simple and have a smooth, ergonomically-friendly feel. And while it is light in weight, it’s steady enough not to jump around when in action. The power button on the back of the gun can be easily accessed with the thumb. A circle of lights indicates the amount of charge available.
Another set of lights indicates the intensity rate the device is emitting. The power button doubles up as the intensity setter enabling you to skip up to the fiver power settings. If you want to turn the setting to a lower level, you need to power off and start again. This can be annoying for some users.
Once I fully charged the Core Balance Massage Gun, I selected a head suitable for a soft tissue massage at a low setting. I didn’t want to go all guns blazing; excuse the pun. The oscillating head moves at up to 2,400 revolutions per minute at an amplitude of 11mm to offer a deep tissue massage. As I increased the speed, the power was delivered more vigorously as expected, and the pressure intensified. More speed equates to a deeper massage. First impressions of the gun in action, and I was impressed.
Changing the heads is a doddle. You just slot it in my place. But a couple of times, I did have to wriggle a couple of the heads around to ensure they were securely attached. The manual explains what each head attachment does. So, for example, the Large Ball head is ideal for massaging large and medium muscles, such as your glutes, thighs, abductors, obliques, and abdominals, while the Flat Head is suitable for massaging every muscle group.
Because it’s flat, it has a dampening effect, perfect for tender and bony areas. The sinister-looking Fork Head is ideal for massaging the Achilles, neck, and spinal area. Its fork shape allows it to bypass the bone by massaging the tissue on either side of it. The small ball is suited for small and medium muscles, the bullet head to tackle deep tissue areas, and the air cushion head for sensitive tissues and joints.
Depending on which area you are targeting, I found the Core Balance to do the job well. I particularly felt the Large Ball helped to ease tension in my shoulders from prolonged hours sitting at my laptop. According to my housemate Francesco who does long-distance running, it did help with his sore calf muscles after a workout.
My father often complains about tired feet, so I asked him to use it, and he told me it made a difference after two weeks of using it daily. However, he did point out that the gun switched off automatically after 10 minutes as he switched from one sole to the other, which is a good thing as you do not want to overdo it and cause any unnecessary injury.
Hygiene is paramount when using such devices, and we all made sure the gun was used on dry areas covered by clothing. A quick wipe of the heads with a damp cloth will give users an extra layer of protection.
I found the Core Balance good value for money for an entry-level massage gun. It helped with basic muscle fatigue and an array of aches and pains. I particularly liked the option to change heads to target specific areas and being in control of the speeds. But if you’re a pro who does a substantial amount of exercise, the massage gun may not be suitable for all your needs, and you may need to fork out more for a higher-priced tool.
It’s also not a substitute for a professional massage or physio and should be used as such. Overall it’s not a bad introductory into the world of massage guns and tackling those aches and pains of the daily grind.
Core Balance Massage Gun – Where and How?
The massage gun is available from corebalancefitness.co.uk for £44.99.
Read more health and fitness guides and features here.