Can this massage gun can help ease sore muscles and speed up recovery?
Theragun is a percussive therapy device, which claims to treat muscle soreness and speed up muscle recovery time. Instead of having a human massager to manually manipulate one’s soft tissue, the machines can apparently do the same through targeted vibration — which is a fancy way of saying that it thumps you repeatedly. But they’re powerful enough to penetrate deep layers of muscles.
Everyone from professional athletes to recreational gym-goers to those with chronic pain tout the benefits of percussive therapy: speedier recovery, reduced muscle soreness, less pain, improved range of motion and more.
Theragun began as a health and wellness firm founded by chiropractor and fit daddy Dr. Jason Wersland. Everything started out in his garage in 2007, when he constructed a home-made tool to treat his muscle injury from a motorcycle accident. Years of research went into building a proper device before Theragun officially launched in 2016, culminating in a wave of celebrities like NBA star Kyrie Irving, model Ashley Graham, actor Michael B. Jordan, singer Justin Timberlake who all swear by the miniature jackhammer.
“Vibrational therapy can help with pain, muscle soreness or tightness, and recovery. It can be an inexpensive alternative to massage to help maintain performance by working out trigger points and knots and preventing the build up of lactic acid in the muscles,” says Michigan-based physical therapist Lauren Lobert, DPT, OMPT, CSCS and owner of APEX Physical Therapy. “Plus, it feels good.”
What to look for in a percussive massage gun
Speed and power: If you work out a lot and often experience soreness or pain, you should opt for a device with at least two speed and power settings — one being less intense so you can still use it on very sore, painful muscles.
Type of motion: Do you want just vibration, vibration plus thumping, vibration plus a circular motion, or some other combination? When shopping for a percussive device, make sure to take note of how the device delivers the therapy.
Portability: If you’re going to be traveling with your massage gun, you’ll want one that can easily fit into a bag or suitcase. Not all fit that bill.
Attachments and accessories: Where on your body will you use your massage gun? If you’ll only use it on just your large muscles, such as your back and legs, you probably don’t need many attachments or accessories. But if you intend to use it on specific areas, such as the arch of your foot, you’d benefit from attachments intended for those specific areas.
Battery life: A long battery life is always beneficial. The last thing you want is for your massage gun to die when you need it most.
Cost: Of course, you’ll want to look for a device within your budget. Expensive massage guns usually offer more speed, power and motion settings. Less expensive options might only come with one mode, but can still be effective.