February 25, 2019

How to Do a Jigsaw Massage on Yourself

Whether you spend the bulk of your day in the gym, track, pool, or even an office, there are few things like a good routine massage to keep your body’s recovery streamlined and rehabilitated.

No matter what our daily physical output is like, we store varying degrees of tension throughout our body. If you exercise at an even an average rate, you’re straining your muscles even further. Massages are excellent ways to help your body release tension, positively influence muscle recovery, and improve overall flexibility and performance.

Is a Jigsaw Massage Right for Me?

There are dozens of types of massages and recovery strategies that all make for highly effective rehabilitation and recovery treatments. There certainly isn’t a shortage of methods to keep your body primed. You could choose to go for regular or semi-regular professional massages by a Licensed Massage Therapist and personal trainer, or simply go the Do It Yourself (DIY) route and incorporate regular foam rolling or jigsaw massages into your routine.

It’s worth noting how far DIY massage and recovery offerings have come in the past two decades. Swedish massage, the umbrella term for several massage techniques such as percussive massage and petrissage (kneading), was born in 18th century Sweden and is still one of the most popular forms of massage.

Foam rollers, one of the first DIY massage and recovery products, was introduced in the 1980s and hit the mainstream in the late 2000s, trailing Swedish Massage by nearly 150 years. Even then, electric and battery massagers were more novelty items and sci-fi daydreams for most of the 20th century. People interested in at-home massage equipment ended up spending hundreds or thousands on bulky, ineffective equipment that was better at gathering dust than aiding muscle recovery.

However, in the last 10 years alone, we’ve started to see a huge amount of consumer-facing innovation in regard to fitness recovery products.Jigsaw Massage, for example, was founded in 2016 by Bryan Miller, a 2014 CrossFit Games champion, who took matters into his own hands after not being able to find a solution that worked as it should have.

Regular professional massages are great, but the costs add up. With bi-monthly massages for a year costing around $2,000, it’s no shocker that many people choose to opt for lower massage frequencies. However, without regular focused care, even a healthy stretching routine leaves many knots and potential muscular imbalances unaddressed. This not only increases the body’s recovery time and adds a general unpleasant “tight” feeling, but it could also increase your risk of injury.

Many people have started to look for alternative at-home solutions that can keep their body feeling good in between massages. Percussive massage therapy and its Jigsaw massage variation stand out for their ability to stimulate the nervous system and release lymphatic and lactic acid build up.

Performing Jigsaw Massage on Yourself

Jigsaws are a spectacular way to get the same benefits of percussive massage with minimal costs and effort. A jigsaw is essentially a drill rig fitted with a massage head that’s friendly to the human body. Once you hold the trigger, the head starts to move very rapidly. From there, it’s essentially a point-and-shoot gun where you target specific muscle groups that you want to massage.

Before you get started, it’s worth building a beginner to intermediate understanding of general human musculature. Most forms of physical activity or recovery run the risk of injury, especially if the practitioner is going in blind and “winging it”.

The concept is to simply run the jigsaw head across the length of your muscle and let the even and consistent strokes do their magic. Remember, the goal isn’t to impact and tear apart the muscle, but to run the jigsaw over the length of the particular muscle group at a slow to moderate pace, stimulating your body’s nervous system and helping your body recover.

Jigsaw massage on yourself is good for:

  • Biceps
  • Triceps 
  • Pectorals 
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Front deltoids
  • Lateral deltoids
  • Hip Flexors

Humans, however awesome that we are, are sometimes limited in our anatomy. Sometimes getting an itch on your back is hard enough, let alone performing a massage on yourself with a jigsaw. Some massages will largely depend on your level of flexibility, and you should never try to overextend yourself and risk injuring yourself.  

Muscles that are better to hit with a partner include:

  • Rear deltoids
  • Latissimus dorsi and other upper/mid back muscles
  • Trapezius
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Triceps

Final Thoughts

At home Jigsaw Massages are an effective, easy, and affordable way to get professional-grade recovery whenever you want or need it. The portable rigs also come with different types of heads for pinpoint, deep tissue, or general all-purpose massaging, making it a diverse weapon in your muscle recovery arsenal.