Percussive massagers are very popular these days, according to science.
Can it really change your life or is it just plain shady? By answering the simple question, “Does It Work?”, Mashable gets to the bottom of health and wellness promises.
He just took a breather on the sidelines after coming off the court. The man throws a towel over his head, drinks water, sits down on a padded chair, and then pulls out…a massage gun? While semi-watching the game, semi-zoning out, he moves the handheld device up and down his calves and quads.
James is actually using a percussive massager, like many athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It is a handheld device that combines a vibrating head with the repetitive motion and pressure of a drill that can be used on your own muscles to deliver a supercharged, targeted massage. The first of these devices was the Theragun in 2016, which has been imitated by scores of other devices. “Percussive therapy” is basically vibration combined with deep, repetitive pressure.
The guns entered the market in the late 2010s, and their visibility has only grown since then through partnerships with athletes and leagues, not to mention social media. In addition to the NBA and NFL, Hyperice (the company behind the Hypervolt, an industry leader that came out in 2018) is a partner to both, while Maria Sharapova, Aaron Rodgers, Kevin Durant, and other prominent athletes are investors in (and vocal supporters of) Therabody, which makes the Theragun.
There are currently many companies that make percussive therapy guns. Unlike most, Therabody’s “ergonomic” design comes in the shape of a triangle, with a protruding massage head in one corner, allowing multiple angles of gripping. Different attachments are available for the head – some are softer silicone to absorb more force, others are harder to deliver more force, others have multiple prongs to deliver pressure in different places. Both Hyperice and Therabody offer Bluetooth-connected versions as well as companion apps that guide the user through routines to prepare for or cool down after workouts, or to target different parts of the body.
Mashable’s comparison of the products can be found here.
In addition to the high price tags of the best-rated products, these devices make big promises. The cheapest Theragun product, the Theragun Pro, costs $30, while the most expensive version, the Theragun Pro, is $600. There is some vague suggestion that regular use can improve performance while reducing pain and soreness from exercise, based on advertisements and websites.
On the Therabody website, soccer player Trent Alexander Arnold talks about how Theragun helps him to play longer and get more out of his body: “Theragun allows me to play longer and get more out of my body.”. New Hyperice investor Pat Mahomes says, “During my career, Hyperice has been instrumental to ensuring that I perform at my peak on game day.”.