After a painful hip and shoulder injury caused me to see my physiotherapist, I was confused when I felt an overwhelming itchy sensation on my skin as she used a massage gun to relax my tense muscles. I had to interrupt it to stop and scratch! I found out that I also felt this itchy feeling when I practiced it on myself using the massage gun LifePro sent me, whether massaging bare skin or on clothes. I was so puzzled that I contacted experts to find out why this was happening.
What Causes Itchy Skin When Using Vibrating Massage Gun?
Vibratory urticaria: Certified dermatologist Anne Allen, MD, with Premier Derm, stated that a cause could be a rare, genetic skin reaction known as vibratory urticaria (vibrant beehives). She explained that it is a red, itchy rash that can occur at the site of any type of vibration, including massage, but can also occur while jogging, lawn mowing, walking. Mountain biking or using power tools. “It happens due to the release of histamine from the cells and is temporary, but often comes back with subsequent vibrations,” she explained.
Often, the ensuing reaction is limited to exposed areas, explained a certified dermatologist. Janiene Luke, MD. But you may have a more robust or generalized reaction where the itching and hives spread to other parts of the body.
Dr. Allen reassured that it is not dangerous in most circumstances and can be avoided with antihistamines as directed by your doctor. She also mentioned that it is possible to experience vibratory hives without seeing a rash or hives.
Pressure urticaria: In the category of vibratory uticaries is pressure hives. This is when itchy hives are caused after exposure to pressure on the skin while walking, sitting, wearing tight clothing (like a sports bra) or training equipment. (like a heart rate monitor), or anything that causes sustained pressure, explained Dr. Luke. , including vibratory massage. She added that exercising in general or overheating could also cause a similar reaction.
Allergic reaction: If the massager is used directly on the skin and not through clothing, Dr Allen said it is possible that a component of the massager or something it is cleaned with could cause an allergic reaction or irritant contact dermatitis. Typically, it would take repeated uses to develop, she said, and is treated with topical steroids.
Another reason for the itchy skin could be a reaction to the massage oil or lotion used on the skin, a physiotherapist and sports massage therapist added, Azeezat Adetola Oluwole, PT. She said, “You may be mildly allergic to the massage oil being used, and the irritation may cause your skin to itch.”
Nerves on fire: If there is no rash or redness at all, Dr Allen said another explanation could be that the increased blood flow causes the vessels that deliver blood to increase in size. which could stimulate the nerves to pull, resulting in an itchy sensation. Oluwole agreed and added that the vibration can also raise the temperature of the skin and it can be itchy as well. Amber D. (Hardin) Kivett, CSCS, who has a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine and kinesiology, reminded us that our skin is the largest sensory organ we have, so it makes sense that some people might have such an intense reaction.
Nitric oxide in the body: The natural release of nitric oxide in the body with exercise and mechanical vibrations can also be itchy in some people, Kivett explained.
Spasm: Often times, you can develop muscle spasms due to trauma from the high levels of vibration, Oluwole explained. These spam emails can compress and irritate the nerves, causing an itchy sensation.
If the itching is from one of the last three causes, Kivett said she sees it regularly in her clients, but by the end of the session the itching goes away. And although the sensation may seem annoying, she said those who experience the itch often experience instant relief or reduction in pain, feel lighter or as if they are “floating”, feel less tension and, in the process. overall, feel an increased sense of calm before leaving their date.
How to prevent or treat itchy skin when using a vibrating massage gun?
Don’t self-diagnose yourself, Oluwole said. If you want to use a massage gun, ask a physical therapist for advice on how to use it to effectively treat your symptoms. She suggested starting with the lowest vibration setting and slowly increasing the frequency over time. That might be enough to prevent a reaction.
If you think the lotion or oil might be the problem, Oluwole said to do a patch test on one part of your skin before applying it all over your body. “You can benefit from professional massage lotions suitable for dry and sensitive skin, rather than oils,” she added.
If the itchy reaction is bothersome, Dr Allen said patients should discuss the use of antihistamines with their primary care physician. Putting a shirt or cloth between the massage gun and your skin can also help decrease the reaction.
Ultimately, if the massage causes skin irritation or the side effects outweigh the benefit or purpose of vibration therapy, Oluwole said to stop immediately and see your doctor for further advice. advice.