Omron O2 Muscle Massage Gun
Need a little help massaging 'the guns' pre/post workout?
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Omron O2 Muscle Massage Gun
What is the Omron O2 Muscle Massage Gun?
These muscle massage guns are all the rage lately for their ability to allow pro and amateur athletes alike to do a little self-therapy on sore muscles and stiff joints. They get their name from the pistol grip handles splitting into a quasi battering ram on one end and a control/charging unit on the other. The therapeutic qualities come from the jack-hammer-like head that is meant to pound into your flesh, relieving tension and knotted muscles as well as breaking up any lingering muscular scar-tissue.
I first became aware of them a few years ago when one of the guys in our fight camp brought one from China and spent literally hours a day after his jiu jitsu rolls smashing himself with this thing. He swore by it. In the interim, I didn’t see too many more, but to be fair, the two lost years to Covid pretty much had us believing on Koh Tao that time was standing still with few customers rolling through and literally zero access to anything new or modern (save for the pop-up industry of hand sanitizers/masks, etc created by the pandemic). But lately, it seems that virtually everyone has access to one of these and uses them with some regularity.
Why do Muay Thai competitors use a massage gun?
The main benefit to using one of these is that it helps to loosen up muscles quicker than letting them recover naturally after a workout. Doing this helps to speed up the muscle recovery process and allows you to get back to training and building muscles or practicing your art quicker.
How do I use a massage gun?
It’s not rocket science. They are designed for you to use to massage sore or damaged muscles whether they be in your back, shoulders, glutes, calves, thighs, even your feet- great for runners. Pretty much anywhere you can imagine there may be a muscle, you can use this gun to help its recovery. You may find that having a workout partner or some other type of partner may be useful and more pleasurable in administering it to some areas of your body. But for the most part, you can get by with self-care.
Is it safe to use a massage gun after Muay Thai boxing?
When used as intended, i.e., on muscles, it is safe. For large muscle groupings such as those in the quads, hamstrings, illiotibial (IT) bands, you can apply significant pressure as the muscles loosen with little risk of causing damage. That is, supposing you have normal pain tolerances. Always listen to your body and know the difference between good and bad pain.
However, you do want to make sure that you are careful when using the massage gun on areas with bones nearby- especially smaller ones around the spinal column. I would think that it would be uncommon, but possible, that fractures or micro-fractures could result.
Why I tried using it for Muay Thai training?
A ridiculous injury was all the impetus that I needed to give one of these suddenly ubiquitous massage guns a try. Stuck on a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand with few medical facilities, I often relied on various therapists to help me deal with my occasional injuries. I used to have a weekly standing appointment with a chiropractor who gave me preventive stretching exercises and adjustments to keep things in order. I also had a friend who used to practice something called Zero Balancing, which upon hearing its description seems like a load of crap, but was one of the best therapies I’ve ever had. For nagging injuries, I also periodically saw another friend who was an amazing sports physio. Apparently, she had once treated the Celtic Football team in her native Scotland.
But all of these people, and many more, have long since left the island. And over the last month or so, as the island is starting to see some new visitors, we have yet to replace our talented and varied healers. So, when I had an incredibly stupid injury while tidying up in the weight training gym, I was left with no choice but to try out the massage gun.
This time the injury was to the lower back on the left side and it seemed pretty severe. It left me unable to stand, walk, ride my motorbike (my only means of transportation on Koh Tao) or even sit. The slight adjustments needed to do mundane chores like, fix a cup of coffee, take a shower or even dress myself often left me stricken with pain and emptied of my will to live.
Of course, my first order of business was to take anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers and to schedule a massage with the one massage therapist on the island who I do trust. The pills helped, the massage did little. I think I tried the massage on 3 consecutive days. By day four, I started using the massage gun.
The one I accessed from my business partner was the Omron O2 Muscle Massage Gun which I have found at the online shops for between 35-45 USD, not a bad price, I guess. This is at the low-end of the pricing spectrum for massage guns, but I honestly can’t imagine that there would be a huge difference. Some guns out there actually have heating mechanisms in the various attachments so that you can apply heat and pressure. This one did not.
The Omron O2 has a rechargeable battery with a pretty good life. I would say you should be able to get at least 30-45 minutes on a full charge. There is an indicator that tells you exactly how much battery life you have left at any given time. You can also use it while plugged into an outlet. This is fine if you are concentrating on a single area, but the power cord is fairly short, so it is not convenient to do general, all-over body maintenance.
The gun seems well constructed and solid. It has some weight to it. To be honest, at this price point, I expected it to be cheap Chinese crap. It is probably cheap and Chinese, but definitely not crap! The attachments also seem that they are made of a quality hard plastic that will stand the test of time. It comes in a handy briefcase-like carrier that opens up with a zip and has specific places for the various attachments, main unit and charger.
You can also adjust the speed of the in-out action of the business end of the gun. It also comes with 5 different exchangeable heads allowing you to match your injured muscle with an appropriately designed tool. Due to the nature of my injury, I found the most helpful one to be the one that looked to be the gentlest- the foam ball. But I did try one which was more-or-less shaped like a plastic bullet. That proved to be a bit too painful. I was intrigued by one which was shaped like a divining rod and seemed suitable to attack the muscle grouping that runs down either side of the spine. I would soon learn that these are referred to as the erector spinae. Because of the awkward placement of these muscles and the uncomfortable sensation resulting when the gun pounds on the spinal column, I was unable to do this on myself and had to recruit my wife into the process.
Back to the foam ball… What I did experience was instantaneous relief when the foam ball was placed in contact with the damaged area of my lower back. It was immediate and complete relief while the foam ball was hammering away at the afflicted muscles. For the first time in 4 days I felt as if I didn’t want to cry out in pain. All of the sudden, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. I found that I could hold the gun by the barrel with one hand and reach behind me to apply it to my sore spot (S-spot?) and actual walk around the gym, speak to customers, sign people in and generally, take care of business. It was a revelation.
I don’t think this is the most typical use for this type of gadget, but it certainly has been a game-changer considering the relative lack of qualified therapists on the island at the moment.
By dumb luck one of our Muay Thai students at the gym happened to see me hobbling around in my pained state and introduced himself as a sports physio. He offered to exchange some treatments for some free training and has proven to be a godsend! After four treatments from him, many more hours stretching and countless hours with the Omron O2 Massage Gun, I am finally on the road to recovery.
I can’t say definitively that the gun did anything to help aid in the effort, but I can say that without a doubt it has been instrumental in helping to relieve my pain. When I am not using it myself, I have lent it out to numerous people to use post-workout on muscle aches and, more specifically bruises from Muay Thai sparring. They have all been impressed with this unit in particular.
And because I am using it in public I have encountered many people recently who are huge advocates of massage guns in general. I think they will not replace the experienced sports physio, sports masseuse or the various other healing practitioners out there that deal with injury and pain management, but the massage gun is undoubtedly a useful piece of equipment to have in the toolbox for anyone who is training on a regular basis whether a professional athlete or otherwise. And for the price that you pay for one of these, there’s no reason not to have one!