I've been talking about using a hand-held percussion massager to help break up fibrotic tissue for a while now. I started in March of this year when I purchased the Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager and I mostly use the 4-finger attachment, to replicate fingers from a Massage Therapist.
The PROS of Wahl Massager:
- Inexpensive ($27.99 on Amazon)
- Long Handle = Long reach capabilities (bottoms of feet, and can work on my back easily)
- 4-Finger Attachment helps with Self Myofascial Release (SMR)
- Long 9Ft. Cord - no running out of power
- Light weight, only 1.6lbs.
- One dial to adjust the power (2000-4000 pulses per minute)
I use mine about 5 minutes per lower leg/foot each morning before applying my lotion and compression socks.
I immediately started to notice my lower legs not being so hard. Typically with Lipedema the lower leg can feel tight, and hard (more like one solid piece of rubber); the massager began to change the pliability of my lower leg. My leg went from feeling like rubber to being able to feel my actual calf muscle (which is huge for someone with late stage Lipolymphedema); I really noticed the difference after the Lipedema Triathlon in June, usually I cannot distinguish the discomfort in the days to follow, but this year I could feel the calf muscle, I could stretch it out and feel it release and heal from all I asked of it during the triathlon. It was pretty amazing really.
There were other things I added to my self care routine this summer.
In June I started using the Lympha Press Optimal Plus Compression Pump,
and I believe this helped with the positive leg changes I have been experiencing.
In October Amazon had the Opove M3 Pro Percussion Massage Gun
on sale, and lots of members in my group have been using these Gun style massagers for breaking up fibrotic tissue, and having a lot of success, so I wanted to compare to see how it would work vs. the Wahl.
Some examples of higher end Gun style massagers include: TheraGun
- and I am a huge Kelly Starrett fan, so almost went with this one.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links (at not additional cost to you). As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The PROS of the Opove massager:
- POWERFUL - goes from 1800 - 3200 RPM (30 pounds of force)
- Changes power with the press of a button, and the button is in a place I don't accidentally turn it higher.
- Carrying Case for it, and all the attachments, which is great for travel.
- Cordless, as it has a rechargeable battery
Let's start by saying my husband LOVES this massager, it is powerful and he has been able to workout some knots that he has had for years. He uses this every day, and I'll repeat it, he absolutely loves it.
There really are no CONS for either of these massagers, I think it just depends on your personal needs. The Wahl does have a plastic connector piece where the attachments screw in and out, and other reviewers had that plastic area break. I do hear a very tiny piece of what I assume is plastic rattling around at times. I’m mindful not to put too much of an angle on the attachment but so far I have not had any issues. I did opt for the extra warranty from Amazon just in case, and it was only a few dollars.
For me the Opove is really powerful, actually a little too painful on some of my Lipedema tissue, but I have experimented with using the massager at an angle, and that seems to help ease the pain. Lipedema is known as the painful fat disorder, and someone without Lipedema should not experience the level of pain that I do when using it.
Other things to consider - it is 2.5lb. and while the extra pound doesn't seem like a lot, after a while it does make my hand sore. But I do not have good grip strength, so again, that could be something with me only. The other thing that comes to mind is the shorter handle limits my ability to use on my back, but does an awesome job on my tight trap muscles after a hard workout.
I have been using the Opove a lot less, since it now resides on my husband's nightstand, but hope to try it some more and see if I can continue to break up the fibrotic tissue and improve the pliability of my legs. This will in turn help me gain more range of motion and improve my mobility.
I still use the Wahl massager every morning as part of my self care routine. I even took it on vacation to the beach. Great to use after a long car ride!
I’m beginning to now feel similar pliability in my thighs, which is pretty amazing in my book.
My morning routine: gentle ankle pumps, rotations, etc, followed by some stretching and yoga poses, ten minutes sitting on my WBV machine, then ten minutes standing on it (with more stretching and self MLD to keep the lymph moving); followed by an hour in the Optimal plus pump, and then I use the massager and then lotion my legs before putting on my Juzo graduated compression knee highs to start my day.
What are your favorite self care tips?
Here is a link
to an earlier blog post on using an orbital buffer as a massager, did you know athletes have been doing that for years?