I first went shopping for a massage gun while training for my first marathon.
If you’ve trained for a marathon before, you’ll know – the training gives your legs, thighs and knees a serious beating. I had been foam rolling and self-massaging daily, getting weekly massages, but after several months of hard training it was starting to take its toll.
I’d seen massage guns mentioned in several marathon blogs and forums and decided to check them out.
Most reviews said the Theragun Pro was the best massage gun in the UK. I didn’t think twice and was ready to order one that day, but quickly learned it was a whopping £549!
That would have more than doubled the cost of my marathon. My running shoes, running belt, clothes and marathon entry fee combined didn’t add up to anywhere near that.
That’s when I started shopping for a better alternative, and here’s what I realised:
The Theragun isn’t a super complicated piece of equipment.
What’s a Theragun?
The Theragun is probably the most prominent brand of massage guns – you could think of it like the Nike of the percussion massage gun industry.
But really all it is: It’s a massage ball attached to a plastic gun that goes up and down really fast.
There are items in my kitchen that move just like that and they cost about £50.
Surely there’s a company out there that can turn that into a massage gun for far less than £500! Less than £400 even. Or even £300. Or even £200? £100?
I was right. There are lots of alternative models on the market between £100 and £200.
Here’s the model I eventually bought and have been using for well over a year now:
The M3 Pro by Opove
The price was £220 when I purchased it, but it’s even cheaper now!
And what’s the verdict?
I love it. Here’s why:
- I’ve literally charged the battery three times in a year. It lasts forever.
- I use it after every workout, for around 5-10 minutes. Works like a charm. No issues at all.
- Comes with a carry case with lots of different massage heads (I only use 2 of them, but the variety is nice to have).
- It’s super quiet!!
However, I know when buying things like these (that aren’t exactly cheap!) it’s hard to be sure without seeing what’s inside the box. So let me show you.
Unboxing the M3 Pro
The M3Pro comes in a high quality, hard top carry case.
Inside you can find all the components it comes with – charger, 4 different massage heads and the gun itself:
Let’s take a look at the 4 massager heads. There are four:
- The standard massage ball, which is great for all round massage on any muscle (I use this one the most).
- The sharper massage thumb, which is good for getting pinpointing deeper spots (I use this around my knees).
- The flat head, which is better for gentle massage (I rarely use).
- The twin needle, which is great for your neck and other inline areas like your spine and achilles.
Let’s take a look at the gun itself.
It’s pretty large, about the size of a standard hairdryer, though it’s not super heavy, maybe around 1kg or just under.
Of course you need to charge it before using. Mine took around an hour or less.
Once you’re ready to go, the on/off switch is located under the bottom of the handle:
The M3 Pro has 3 speed settings.
When I used it for the first time the lowest setting was already hard enough for me. But after a few weeks I got used to it, and now I’m usually on Level 2 or 3 for most muscle groups.
But even on the first setting, you get a pretty firm massage. It’s great!
And does it work? Certainly does – check out the beating I lay on my legs with it each night! (this is the lowest level).
What does a massage gun actually do?
When you exercise, your muscles get worked. That’s the whole point, right?
But most of us forget to stretch, or simply don’t have time, or can’t be bothered.
We also rarely warm up or warm down as much as we should.
We also spend far too much time sitting, and slouching, and hunched over our desks and phones.
Did you know that nearly all pain starts with tightness/stickiness in the muscles and fascia?
When you spend too long sitting, or you don’t stretch, or you have bad posture, your muscles tend to start sticking in bad positions. That leads to impingement, pulling and inflexibility. Which leads to pain and inflammation, and then eventually injury.
But you can prevent those injuries by releasing and loosening all those muscles, via stretching, and via massage. Good ol’ hard, focused massage.
That also means if you’re one of those people that has a chronic sore knee or back or shoulder, it’s likely not your actual knee or shoulder that’s the problem. It’s the soft tissue around it that is tight, inflamed, strained, or damaged.
Your fascia is particularly important to massage. Your fascia is the soft muscular tissue that sits directly under your skin and covers your entire body. Without good stretching and maintenance, it’s very easy for our fascia to get tight and even stick to joints, causing chronic problems. All of us have fascia that could benefit from being released, loosened and “unstuck”.
The best way to do that?
Foam rolling and massage.
Unfortunately most of us can’t afford the time or money to get or bodies massaged every day to keep our fascia loose and supple. However, with a massage gun, you can. You can release all the tight muscles in your body and keep your fascia loose and flexible, just like it’s supposed to be!
Me personally, I’ve seen a huge improvement in both my tight knees from running and tight shoulders from years of doing silly amounts of pushups.
Now I just run the M3 Pro over my problem areas for around 10-15 minutes per day, usually while watching TV. It’s been a game changer.
How to use an M3 Pro massage gun
It’s as simple as using a massage ball.
Start by choosing your massage head, depending on how deep you want the massage to go. If you want to really dig into a muscle, choose the sharp head. If you want a regular massage, choose the standard massage ball. And if you want something softer, go with the flat head.
Then turn the gun on and simply hold it against your body wherever you feel tight. It will achieve the same thing a masseuse does when they dig their thumbs into your muscles. The difference is the gun will do it faster and harder and for as long as you want without getting tired. And you can do it in the comfort of your home, in your pyjamas, while watching Netflix!
How often do you need to use a massage gun?
After every workout is ideal, but of course it is up to you.
That’s the best thing about owning one though, even if you don’t have time for a 30 minute massage, you can just turn it on for 5 minutes and get some maintenance in.
Or if you’re that busy, you can just leave it for the weekend, which is still worthwhile. Any maintenance you do on your body is worthwhile, even five minutes a day or every few days could help prevent an injury and a trip to the physio.
Keep it by your bed and get a few minutes in before you sleep. Or keep it in the kitchen and do a few minutes while waiting for the water to boil. Even a minute or two is better than nothing!
Is it better than the Theragun UK?
I’ve never owned a Theragun (I have used one, my physio has the Theragun Pro), and I’m going to say the Theragun Pro is probably better.
It has a cleverly designed handle which makes it a bit easier to hold, hits fast and hard, and it’s also got more settings.
However, I definitely don’t think it’s worth the extra £350.
The M3 Pro is currently priced at £190, which means you can almost get three M3 Pro’s for the price of a Theragun Pro. Even the cheaper Theragun model is close to £300.
And in all honesty, the M3 Pro does its job just as well.
If you were a pro athlete and had a massage therapist using this gun on you every day, perhaps then it would make sense to invest in a top of the line massage gun like the Theragun Pro.
However for most of us, I’m reasonably sure you won’t find it worth the extra £350. The M3 Pro or something similar should be more than enough for most people.
Is a M3 Pro massage gun worth the investment?
To be honest, getting a massage gun has been one of the best investments in my fitness I’ve made since I can remember.
I work out around 4-5 times a week and that meant I would get massages at least once every weekend.
My M3 Pro has saved me hundreds (thousands?) of pounds in sports massage, and paid for itself after just a couple of months.
Sometimes I still get massages, but now it’s more like once every 1-2 months. And I get them to focus mostly on my back, which I can’t massage that well on my own with the M3 Pro.
So for us, our recommendation here is two big thumbs up. One of the best investments in your fitness you could make. A hundred five star reviews on Amazon seems a lot of people agree as well.
Where to get the M3 Pro
Shipping is fast and ours arrived within a week.
If you end up getting one, let us know what you think!