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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Ergonomic handle design
- Louder than some competitor devices
- Premium materials
- Therabody app provides suggested routines
- Bluetooth connected app
- Multiple price points
- Deep-kneading massage
Jump to: Full Review
- Patented QuietGlide technology
- No ergonomic handle
- Industry leading percussions per minute
- Some find the massage isn't as deep as competition
- TSA approved for carry-on
Jump to: Full Review
If you don’t know the origin of Theragun, or how the first massage gun was created, then that is probably the best place to start. Dr. Jason Wersland was an everyday chiropractor, who had an unfortunate motorcycle accident. Once the soft tissue damage set in, Dr. Wersland experienced debilitating pain that was so bad he went weeks without a full night’s sleep.
Out of necessity, Dr. Wersland started searching for a solution to his pain. Something like foam rolling just wasn’t going to cut it. He needed something to help really punch those tight muscles when he was on his own, and couldn’t make it to a physical therapist. At the time, nothing was out there to offer any help.
In a moment of near desperation, Jason went and found his power tools, and decided to make some version of a percussive therapy device. The most interesting part of this story is that the first massage gun wasn’t designed as part of some grand planned. The first massage gun was designed because someone like you, someone in need of relief, decided to find a solution to his pain.
Necessity truly is the mother of innovation.
How Often To Use Theragun
There are some instances in life when less is more, but that isn’t the case with Theragun and other massage devices. Theragun recommends using your percussive massager two or three times a day, for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, to alleviate muscle tension, aches, and pains. For larger muscle groups, you may spend more time working out muscle stiffness than you might with smaller muscle groups, but you shouldn’t spend more than 2 minutes on any singular muscle or muscle group.
Deep muscle therapy requires attentiveness and consistency. Percussive muscle therapy works best when you take your time to focus on problem areas, and when you are responsive to the signals your body is communicating to you. If you expect to quickly roll over your entire body in 30 seconds and run out the door, you may be disappointed, and your muscle mobility may not see much improvement. Still, it doesn’t take significant amounts of time to see results either. 30 seconds is generally sufficient to activate one muscle group.
Consistently using yourTheragun a few times a day will help alleviate and prevent natural stiffness and muscle soreness that tends to set in those problem areas. But not sure you want to carry your Theragun Pro to the office with you? The Theragun Mini is an excellent solution that is highly portable, and if you feel like you want a more powerful and adaptable gun at home, the Theragun Mini is also one of the more affordable therapy percussion guns, so you could keep the Theragun Elite or Theragun Prime at home, and take the Theragun Mini with you in a work bag or vehicle.
If you are interested in finding a portable massage gun to facilitate the frequency at which you use percussive therapy, it may be worth investing time to compare Hypervolt Go vs Theragun Mini to determine which makes the most sense for you. We prefer the triangular handle design that the Theragun Mini offers, but the Hyperice Hypervolt Go is a viable alternative.
The key to alleviating onset muscle soreness is reasonably frequent deep muscle treatment, but you can only get to the physical therapist or chiropractor so often. Massage guns such as the Theragun series solve this problem.
So, how often should you use your Theragun? Two or three times a day, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. If you are experiencing sensitivity, consider adjusting the speed settings to the lowest setting. You may also consider changing the interchangeable massager heads to find one that provides the most relief. For areas of sensitive muscle pain, you main consider the dampener attachment. On the other hand, you can use the wedge or thumb on muscles that need a deeper and more targeted massage.
Can I Overuse my Massage Gun?
The body is resilient, yet still a delicate thing. Just like you can get muscle or ligament strains through overexertion, you can overwork your various muscle groups with a massage gun. We mentioned before that you can use your massage gun two or three times a day, for 10 to 15 minutes per day, but that doesn’t mean you should spend 10 to 15 minutes on one muscle group.
The most you should spend working one muscle group is 2 minutes. In most cases, 30 seconds is enough to activate and loosen a muscle group, but for pain relief and recovery, 2 minutes may be appropriate.
Massage gun misuse can occur, so while we are absolutely fans of percussive massage treatment, it is always important to follow manufacturer instructions and to consult with your doctor regarding any injuries. If you are wondering how often to use Theragun, start with the manufacturer’s recommendations, and involve your doctor for best results.
Should You Use Theragun On Sore Muscles?
Percussion massage devices are great for loosening sore muscles, and when properly used, can even help reduce the amount of soreness you will experience after a workout. For example, Theragun recommends that you slowly move over a sore muscle group for up to two minutes. Doing so after a workout will encourage blood flow, and may reduce the amount of soreness you feel later on. To take your recovery routine up a notch, consider combining the percussion treatment with stretching. If you aren’t sure how to do that, Therabody offers an app to show you how.
And speaking of Therabody’s app, it is great if you are recovering from an injury, dealing with chronic pain, or just generally dealing with aches. The app will help you target specific muscle groups, and provide instruction regarding how to properly hold and use the massage gun.
When To Use Theragun
In general, most people see the most benefit from their massage gun when they use it two or three times a day. But when exactly should you use your Theragun? They are three key times to use a percussion gun, including before your workout, after your workout, and for pain relief and recovery. For your pre-workout routine, 30 seconds is enough to activate any one muscle group. During your post-workout routine, 15 to 20 seconds is enough to relieve muscle fatigue and jumpstart blood flow through those blood vessels to speed recovery. Lastly, 2 minutes per muscle group is the recommended amount of time to speed recovery or alleviate pain. Keep in mind that a full body massage shouldn’t last more than 10 to 15 minutes.
So what might this routine look like for an average person? If you plan on going for a run in the early morning, before you head to the office, you might be a little sore and stiff to start your day. So you might use the Theragun or alternative massage gun to activate your hamstrings, hip flexors, and other key areas. After you finish your run, you may then shower up, and before heading out the door quickly use the massage gun to relieve fatigue and circulate blood to speed recovery. Then, at night, you might spend a little longer working out those muscles to help facilitate a faster recovery.
Naturally, if you are injured, dealing with chronic pain, or have a workout off day, you may choose to use your percussion massage gun differently than you did for workout preparation and workout recovery. Using as you wake up in the morning, is a great way to get your body going, regardless of whether or not you are planning a strenuous workout. Then you may use it once or twice later in the day to help with any chronic muscle pain or general discomfort.
This is the basic concept, though how you choose to utilize a massage gun on a regular basis may come down to personal preferences. You may not have a personal trainer at your side 24/7, but you can keep a percussion gun nearby. And you will learn to use the various attachments to meet your personal preference as well. The standard ball attachment head works in most situations, but you may find that rapid bursts with the wedge help to work out those knots you frequently deal with; and while the Theragun and most massage guns have a powerful motor, you can also adjust the speed levels to work in conjunction with your chosen attachment head.
Do Massage Guns Work?
Part of Theragun’s origin story is that as professional athletes started to hear about Theragun, they ordered them as fast as Dr. Jason Wersland could make them. Early on in Theragun’s history, NFL players and NASCAR drivers were some of Theragun’s most fervent customers and product evangelists. Of course, that doesn’t mean that massage guns work, but no one cares more about their bodies and optimal performance than professional athletes looking to speed the recovery of muscle fiber and mitigate the pain their bodies endure daily.
So while Theragun has the endorsement of many professional athletes, how do we know massage guns work? Think back to the Theragun origin story for some perspective. The founder is a practicing chiropractor, that understands the science of pain relief and practically experienced the same pain as many of his patients. He built the first massage gun to relieve his own pain, based on what he learned as a chiropractor, so this isn’t modern-day snake oil. Massage guns absolutely work.
Of course, as a result of Theragun’s success, competitors have popped up on every corner. One glance at Amazon will reveal a race to the bottom, filled with knock-off competitors making the cheapest possible massage gun they can design. But when you are dealing with muscle recovery and relieving muscle tension, cheaper isn’t necessarily better.
While there have been many knockoff competitors to pop up, the one brand that has developed as a formidable foe is the Hypervolt massage gun by Hyperice. In comparing Theragun vs Hypervolt, the biggest difference is clearly the ergonomics. Theragun is designed with a triangular handle and frame that makes the massage gun easy to grip, regardless of what part of your body you are trying to massage.
A quick review of Therabody’s list of patents will show you how much money they invest into research and development. If you are not familiar with the Therabody name, Theragun is now the name for the company’s percussion devices, but the brand itself changed its name to be more reflective of its growing product line-up, which includes topical ointments and ingestible tinctures, vibration rollers, and compression devices.
But back to the advanced ergonomically designed handles, all of Theragun’s massage guns feature the patented triangular handle designed for multiple grips. If you have muscle knots in the middle of your back,
How Should I Use Theragun?
The most common use for a Theragun is to help with physical recovery. The beauty of the Theragun is that it works for athletes, those that are aging, and those that are injured. It is great to use after an intense workout, or for more regular massages to alleviate aches and pains.
For most of us everyday athletes, the best use is to loosen muscles up as part of a pre-workout routine and then optimize blood flow to speed recovery via a post-workout routine. While elite athletes optimize every part of their fitness and recovery routines, the benefits from Therabody percussive devices shouldn’t be reserved for the select few.
Professional massage sessions are a nice treat, but they are expensive, and using a personal percussion device is a fantastic way to bridge the gap to your next sports massages. For soft tissue massage and deep tissue massage alike, the Therabody use of ergonomic handles makes it easy to apply to plenty of pressure in all of the right places, even in awkward to reach locations on your back.
Plus, the availability of multiple massage heads allows you to get a deeper massage when you need it, and a softer massage when your muscles are a little overly tight or you have nerve sensitivity.
Can Theragun Help Improve Posture?
The massage gun may not directly improve posture, but there are routines available to help you target certain muscles and relieve pain or tension that contributes toward your slouching. While some individuals may suggest this relief helped them improve their posture, because it alleviated tension and pain in certain areas of the back, it would be irresponsible to claim the massage gun directly resulted in improved posture.
What Else Can Theragun Do?
So we know the obvious. Theragun products are fantastic for athletes recovering from extreme physical exertion, as well as for the injured and aging that deal with sore muscles. And the truth is that sometimes we need more than a foam roller, but don’t have endless pockets to shell out for a massage therapist. This is the middle ground that has made massage guns like those by Theragun popular with the masses.
But more and more people are starting to use Theragun for other uses beyond traditional deep tissue massage. For instance, many people use massage guns to treat plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain, but massage guns help increase blood flow, which in turn minimizes inflammation and swelling.
There are also those using Theragun to treat sciatica, believe it or not. Sciatica is a form of lower back pain that is the source of frustration and pain for many people. Massage guns are useful tools, that first override pain fibers, and the target muscle recovery that may relieve pressure from sciatica.
As a final example, there are other people that use Therguan and other percussive massage devices to treat cellulite when you utilize the proper techniques. Because massage guns help to stimulate blood flow, it is easier for the body to distribute fat cells. Naturally, this isn’t a cure-all or a simple solution. Eating right and exercising are also very important, but a Theragun might be a useful tool.
As always, consult with your doctor and other medical professionals before starting any treatment. Most people utilize percussion therapy to alleviate muscular pain, but if you are struggling to decide among the various expensive massage guns, it is important to consider the incredible versatility that these handheld devices offer. A percussion gun increases blood flow, and that can go a long way for use as a recovery tool.
There are two big reasons we are proponents of Theragun over alternative devices. First, the patented ergonomic handle makes it much easier to hold as you extend to hard-to-reach areas. Secondly, Therabody was the industry pioneer, and that success has enabled them to reinvest in further research and development. While other companies, and particularly cheap knock-offs, follow Therabody’s direction, Therabody is the brand leading the way.
Still, in comparing Hypervolt vs Theragun you will find a formidable alternative. While the Theragun is much quieter than it used to be, the Hyperice Hypervolt initially gained prominence in part because of the higher percussions per minute and the quieter motor. Still, based on our Theragun Pro review, it is the best of the best.
TheTheragun Pro features an ergonomic handle and adjustable head, making it even easier to apply just the right amount of pressure, in just the right places. In comparing Theragun Pro vs Hypervolt Plus, both are powerful and have ample batteries, and while Hypervolt has placed an emphasis on their signature product being as quiet as possible, the ergonomics make all the difference you are trying to reach that trouble area on your lower back.
Based on our reviews, the Therabody team makes the best devices overall, so we would recommend you compare Theragun Pro vs Elite for normal in-home usage. Whether you consider the adjustable arm and interchangeable batteries on the Pro model, the force meters on the Pro and Elite models, or the Bluetooth connectivity to app-guided routines available on all but the Mini, Therabody has led on innovation and quality. All indications are that they will continue to do so.
If you spend your time on the go, you might consider a review of Hypervolt Go, due to its compact size and more traditional handle, but we don’t recommend using this as a primary device. Its better usage is as a supplemental device.
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