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  • Writer's pictureAriela Liberman

Techniques for a Speedy Recovery: Percussive Therapy

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

You may have seen these power-drill-looking devices around on social media, but instead of driving screws, these tools drive muscle recovery and pain relief.

Handheld massage devices, such as the Hypervolt, are the primary tool to deliver percussive therapy, which increases blood flow and reduces soreness.

percussive therapy
RU Clinic Director, Chris Giudicelli, using Hyperice's Hypervolt 2 on a physical therapy patient.

What is Percussive Therapy?

Percussive therapy is a technique that applies pressure and repetition on certain points of the body to stimulate nerve receptors, in turn reducing pain. Massage devices are not just for athletes, but for anyone who has aches, pains, or is in recovery from an injury.

The Hypervolt, a massage device we use here at Rehab United, was released in 2018 by the brand Hyperice, the leading company in movement and recovery technology. Founder Anthony Katz says that their brand's mission is to help both athletes and everyday people recover and move better by providing access to innovative tools and technology.

Handheld massage devices vibrate at a high-speed frequency to "punch" sore muscles, making it deeper than foam rollers or a masseuse's hands but not too intense to cause pain, giving quick and efficient relief for sore muscles.

What are the Benefits?

There are quite a few health benefits to percussive therapy; here are the most favorable:

1) Minimizes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

After a particularly grueling workout, you can feel stiff or sore a few days after due to microscopic fibrous damage. Using a massage device immediately after a workout can relax tight muscles to reduce soreness.

2) Increases blood flow

The vibrations from the frequencies can increase blood flow and capillary filtration rate, which in turn decreases inflammation and tension in the body.

3) Breaks down scar tissue

Massage devices work deep into the muscles to break up fibrous tissue that will speed up your recovery and improve flexibility.

4) Reduces pain

High-frequency stimulation in the brain can mask or even block pain. The amplitude of the massage device frequencies sends signals to your brain that can override pain signals.

5) Improves range of motion

Massage devices have been shown to increase flexibility by stretching out the muscles, and are more efficient than foam rollers.

Is Percussive Therapy Right For You?

Anyone living an active lifestyle or in recovery from an injury understands how pain can hinder the quality of life, but percussive therapy can help you recover faster. Percussive therapy can benefit you if you experience issues including, but not limited to:

  • Muscle soreness

  • Muscle cramps and spasms

  • Sciatica

  • Shin splints

  • Herniated discs

  • Carpal tunnel

  • TMJ

However, there are circumstances in which this treatment may not be the best option.

*You should not receive this treatment if any of these apply:

  • You have inflammation-related injuries

  • You take blood thinners

  • You suffer from muscle strain, sprain, fractures, varicose veins, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions that affect the blood vessels.

Always check with your physical therapist or certified physician before performing percussive therapy on yourself, as it's not for everyone. For the safest care, receive percussive therapy from a professional.


How We Utilize Percussive Therapy at Rehab United

Here's a video of one of our Clinic Directors, Chris Giudicelli, using Hyperice's Hypervolt 2 on one of our physical therapy patients. This patient had a knee replacement and currently deals with range of motion restrictions. This massage device allows for repetitive pressure without being too intense in order to minimize muscle soreness after the session and aid in recovery.

Looking for more recovery methods? Check out our other blog on Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)!

Schedule the Care You Need!

If you're wondering if physical therapy is right for you, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (858)-279-5570. We have helped hundreds of thousands of people get back to doing the things they love, and even feel better than before. Don't wait for the pain to get worse, come see us today!


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Ariela Liberman is a Marketing Associate and a staff writer for Rehab United, with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, she is a Southern California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.

Dr. Valle is a Physical Therapist, Clinic Director of Rehab United in Escondido, and Director of Rehab United’s Quality Assurance Program. As a graduate of USC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Dr. Valle has always emphasized the implementation of Evidence-Based Practice into all plans of care. Throughout his 12 years of experience, Dr. Valle has treated thousands of orthopedic-related and sports injuries and mentored countless Physical Therapists and Students of Physical Therapy.

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