Do you remember a time when handheld massage devices were almost the size of tennis racquets, and even made a racket while they bounced about your body like a jackrabbit? Thankfully, those days are over. Today we have access to percussive therapy by using a massage gun at home, or at a professional medical specialist. Percussive therapy provides deep relief from muscle tension, and stress and is used for physical restoration. In this Longevity product review, we took the Ekrin B37 massage gun for percussive therapy through our paces.
Before we go further together, I need to declare that Longevity has not been paid to write content.
Naturally, we were provided an Ekrin B37 to review. I also asked a friend of mine, Sash, who is a long-time rower, wellness coach, and healthy lifestyle advocate to help me out with this review. We have different needs and compared notes. Neither of us is a technical device expert, nor do we review massage guns for a living. However, we are fit, working women with a passion for helping people find products with clear wellness advantages. Wellness brands that are cost-efficient, good quality, and deliver on their promises. I, for one, was curious to see if the product really lives up to the hype. Did you know it is the top-rated massage gun choice by The New York Times, Entrepreneur, and CNET?
The Longevity Ekrin B37 Review
We spent the last five months and two seasons reviewing Ekrin B37. But before we share our experience, let’s talk about percussive massage therapy and why it’s helpful to our well-being.
Percussive therapy using a massage gun is a much healthier alternative to using anti-inflammatories or painkillers to relieve muscle tension. And of course, reducing stress is very important. We know that excess stress leads to depression, weight gain or loss, sleep disorders and even disease.
What is percussive massage therapy?
According to UCLA Health, “percussive (also called percussion) massage uses rapid and repetitive pressure combined with vibration therapy. The massage head moves quickly and forcefully. By applying pressure directly to your soft tissue, while the vibrations engage the outer layer of skin.”
A good massage can reduce stress, ease pain and improve circulation. But getting professional massages on a regular basis can be time-consuming and expensive.
There is a proliferation of choices out there
The massage gun market is becoming a bun fight. The growth of this market segment is pretty astounding. According to a Technavio report, the global massage guns market size is expected to grow by USD 230.07 million between 2021 and 2026.
Massage guns are used to alleviate pain and stress and this is driving the massage guns market growth
“The use of massage guns to alleviate pain and stress is one of the key drivers supporting the massage guns market growth. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in demand for massage guns to control muscle pain and various other health issues. Moreover, different vendors operating in the global massage guns market are extensively investing in innovative massage guns, which aim to serve multiple purposes.” – Technavio Report
Furthermore, their use prevents the formation of toxins such as lactic acid. They also help to increase blood circulation and their use helps control severe body pain, thereby eliminating the need for the user to take painkillers. These major health benefits will drive market growth during the forecast period.
Interestingly, the growing prominence of online shopping is one of the key massage guns market trends contributing to market growth.”
During COVID, online platforms showed exponential growth. In turn this encouraged customers to understand how easy it is to buy online. We learned how to choose from a range of products under distinct categories, price ranges, and brands.
Why you would use a massive gun for percussive therapy
Massage guns are neat hand-held devices that deliver percussive therapy. They offer features that vary according to brand and model.
Before you purchase a device, check off the following list: Especially if you are someone (like me) who has never owned one before. I like these simple key pointers courtesy of UCLA Health:
- Speeds, because more options and speeds give the gun versatility.
- Weight, since you might be holding the gun for 10 minutes or more (choose a massager in the 2- to 4-pound range).
- Noise, which might affect where you use the gun and how relaxing the experience is.
- Battery, so that the massage gun is ready when you need it.
Force, Speed, and Amplitude
According to Ekrin Athletic’s specialists, to understand how massage guns work, you first have to know the primary components of percussive therapy. These are force, speed, and amplitude. So here is the technospeak, which will help you choose the best massage gun for your needs.
Percussive therapy is measured in pounds of force. You need the perfect amount of percussive force to help you feel better on your sorest days and your best days.
Generally defined as repetitions per minute, the speed of a percussive massage gun indicates how efficient the device is. The faster the speed, the more intense the treatment. A good massage gun has slow speeds for sensitive muscles and fast speeds for hardy ones.
Amplitude refers to how deeply a massage gun penetrates the soft tissue. Your massage gun should reach past the surface of the skin, effectively loosening fascia and muscle fibers.
Percussive Therapy on Performance
Ekrin believes, “If you are an athlete, what happens during training is less than half the battle. The other 22 hours of your day define how you perform as an athlete — as a human. Percussive therapy helps you make the most of your other 22 hours.”
- Using a massage gun before a workout on the muscles you intend to use may reduce fatigue (or at least your perception of fatigue) during your workout. This is especially true for workouts that isolate muscle groups.
- Research shows pre-workout percussive therapy increases range of motion, muscle strength, and agility during exercise.
- When you work out, your muscles endure microscopic tears in response to the duress they’re under. Using a massage device before your workout may reduce the volume of muscle damage without affecting post-workout muscular adaptation (a.k.a. the gains).
Percussive Therapy for Recovery
The combination of increased blood flow, expedited metabolic waste removal, and muscle relaxation make percussive therapy one of the most efficient and effective methods for augmenting the body’s recovery process.
- Traditional massage therapy is the gold standard in soft tissue manipulation, and research suggests vibration therapy is just as effective as massage at reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Soft tissue therapies, including vibration therapy, can reduce postural misalignments that occur during post-workout muscle soreness phases (think: shoulders hunched up or back arched due to soreness).
- Vibrating foam rollers, which use a technique similar to percussive massage guns, are thought to improve the range of motion and reduce pain following exercise.
- Research suggests massage guns are particularly effective at combatting DOMS (which peaks around 48 hours after exercise) over other types of soreness, especially when used immediately after a workout.
Do you have massage gun FOMO yet?
A simple online search makes it clear that there are many choices out there. It can be confusing.
How do we rate the Ekrin B37?
The Ekrin B37 is a relative newcomer to the scene. The product was developed by Ekrin Athletics. Two former student-athletes founded the US company in 2019.
The founders wanted to create products based on their own experience and understanding of what is needed when you are actively fit, to ensure muscle recovery and prevent injury.
The Ekrin B37 percussion massager was the first product they launched. Since then they have introduced a newer B37s, later on, the mini-sized Bantam. Their third full-size massager is the 365 model.
The pros of the product
It looks and feels substantial. You can see this before you have touched or used it. I was a little concerned at first sight that it would be too heavy. However, it has a great design. Both Sash and I had no challenges working the device in both hands.
This massage gun is easy to set up, use and store. Ekrin Athletics has made sure the B37’s carrying case looks good and is practical. It stores the product tightly, so there’s little chance of it getting damaged during storage or when it is transported. It’s well organized. You can identify the parts easily, retrieve them and place them back with ease. They also provide a brochure that plots the experience in a very easy-to-understand manner. I for one liked the simplicity of the booklet.
It has high-quality components. Both Sash and I agreed it feels good on the skin. The device is easy to move around in our hands, although the handle is quite thick.
This brand offers long battery life for a massage gun. You can use the device for up to 8 hours. It is also easy to know how much power is left as there are 4 LEDs below the power button that indicate the charge level.
It is both powerful and quiet enough for our use.
The B37 is simple to switch on and off. It is also easy to moderate the speed and and change the heads. This is a deal-maker for me. I do not like over-engineered devices. If it’s too complicated to use, I switch it off myself. Sash is a little more patient than I am.
The B37 has four components. This includes A bullet head, ball head, spine/forkhead, and flat head. These 4 different attachments come with 5 speeds. The attachments are all made of materials that are smooth and easy on the flesh.
Each component has a different use for the body
We used the ball head to get more of a general massage. The fork or spine head is used around the spine. Sash is the rower and was very happy with the relief she gained from this massage gun.
We also both sit a lot at our desks in front of computers during the day. I personally found it really useful to use it once a day for just ten minutes.
Then there is the flat head. The attachment is a multi-purpose head. It works on diverse sets of muscles. But we love using it for our larger muscles. In case you are wondering, those are the pecs, the glutes, and the calves. We enjoyed using it around the calves as well.
The bullet head is the focus head. You use it specifically when you experience pain in certain muscles.
The Ekrin B37 doesn’t shake or rattle much when pressed to the body. Also, the vibrations don’t transfer to the handle.
The 15-degree angled handle makes for great ergonomics on the B37. It allows you to reach almost 90% of the body muscles without having to work your arm into difficult positions.
What don’t we like about the Ekrin B37?
We were really working hard to find problems over the past several months of review. Would something break, wear down or the battery fail us? Surely, there must be a downside?
The handle: Perhaps the one concern we both have as slight women with small hands is the handle. It’s a bit on the thicker side for us – especially me, as I have really small hands. Weight is not an issue, it’s more the handle.
For those with smaller hands like us, I was pleased to know that Ekrin released the entry-level 365 model. It is lighter and slimmer, but not as powerful as the B37. For athletes and professionals, power is important. Therefore, I would still opt for the Ekrin B37.
Non-removable batteries: The product does not have the option of removable batteries. This may be an issue for professional medical use.
The product is a premium-priced product: At the time of writing this review, 1 March 2023, I checked the pricing on the Ekrin Athletics website. The product is a premium product, at $229.99.
We have not done a detailed competitive review. However, when compared to its nearest competitor brands, it offers value for money.
When you weigh up the investment in a massage gun, it makes perfect sense to buy a really good quality device with longevity.
While percussion massage guns like the Ekrin B37 seem more geared toward athletic types, like any device, you want something that will work over the long run. It should support any sort of muscle soreness, stress and tension.
We would recommend the Ekrin B37, as it offers the complete percussive package at a decent price. From the reviews we have scanned, most who buy it, love it. This includes pro athletes and medical professionals, like Chiropractors and Physiotherapists.
References and more reading
Technical features as per the operating instructions
•Level 3 Brushless Motor •Ultra Quiet Technology
•Travel Case Included •5 Speeds, 4 Attachments
•Ergonomic Design •Premium Materials
•8 Hour Battery Life
The company offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty
Other products in the range
- The B37 is a “premium, do-it-all performer that is perfect for handling anything from hard-hitting muscle recovery to gentle treatment for sore and sensitive muscles.”
- The 365 is their “most ergonomic full-sized device, with its thin handle and lightweight design making it easy to hold for everyday use.”
- BANTAM is an “ultra-small and lightweight device, designed for easy portability without sacrificing power.”
Where to buy it?
You can buy the device from the company’s website.
Technavio Massage Gun Report: https://www.technavio.com/report/massage-guns-market-industry-analysis?utm_source=prnewswire&utm_medium=pressrelease+&utm_campaign=t46tvl_rep1_wk37_2022_007&utm_content=IRTNTR74080
UCLA Health: Considering a Massage Gun: https://www.uclahealth.org/news/considering-a-massage-gun-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-percussive-therapy
Massage gun advice: https://massagegunadvice.com/ekrin-b37s-review/
NCBI research review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428647/
Springer research review: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-018-4026-5
Pubmed research review:: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30787665/