The Theragun is a professional-grade massage gun that delivers targeted percussive therapy to help relieve soreness in muscles and improve overall athletic performance. It’s become a popular tool amongst personal trainers and athletes to aid in recovery and increase flexibility.
The costs of owning this device can be prohibitive, but you can book a percussive massage session to try it out for yourself and see if this type of therapy works well for you.
WHAT IS PERCUSSIVE THERAPY?
Percussive therapy is a type of massage technique that’s performed using a massage gun which has been shown to be very beneficial in treating soft tissue pain, improving range of motion, increasing flexibility and reducing recovery time.
It can be used on any muscle and penetrates deeper into the tissue than a traditional massage does. This allows for precise targeting of trigger points in the body using powerful vibrations and pulses to relieve deep tissue pain.
HOW DOES A THERAGUN WORK?
The Theragun uses vibration therapy to deliver 2,400 rapid strokes a minute into the muscle tissue. The incredibly high speed at which it operates overrides the pain signals that are sent to your brain, allowing the Theragun to reach deep into the muscle fibres to relax them.
This stimulates the nervous system and increases blood flow to the targeted area whilst simultaneously flushing out toxins.
The Theragun’s blunt, soft tip has a 16mm amplitude which gives it a range that is close to 60% deeper than most other massage guns.
There are currently four different models of the Theragun, which all have varying levels of force:
- Theragun Mini – generates up to 20 lbs of force and is the smallest model.
- Theragun Prime – generates up to 30 lbs of force and is the basic model that is most common amongst recreational exercisers.
- Theragun Elite – generates up to 40 lbs of force and is the quietest of the four models.
- Theragun Pro – generates up to 60 lbs of force and is the model most used by professionals.
All models are equipped with the Standard Ball head, which can be used all over the body and on any muscle group. But, one of the main benefits of the Theragun that makes it stand out from other massage devices is that each model has an adjustable attachment.
This makes it an adaptable device, and different heads can be attached to customize your therapy session. If you’re targeting your IT bands or shoulder blades, you can use the Wedge attachment which is effective at pushing lactic acid away from sore muscles.
To reduce pain around bony areas, there’s the Dampener attachment, and for more precise targeting of specific muscles, there are the smaller Cone and Thumb heads. All of these attachments are formed of foam with closed cells so that they don’t absorb moisture.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU USE A THERAGUN?
The Theragun can be used as often as required, whether that’s as part of your post-workout recovery, your warm-up routine, or to decrease muscle soreness whenever you feel it. It can even be used before bed to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Aside from the Mini, the other three Theragun models can connect to Bluetooth and have access to the Therabody app. This can be used to create your own tailored therapy routines based on your preferences, activity levels and the way you utilize the device.
This will help you to improve your massage technique and guide you towards the most optimal usage of the Theragun by giving you feedback on the attachments, grip, speed and force that you’re using during your sessions.
THERAGUNS AND PERCUSSIVE THERAPY: IS THERE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE BEHIND IT?
There have been a number of scientific studies to date that have concluded that Percussive Therapy and the use of Theraguns specifically can aid in reducing muscle soreness, improving range of motion and can have positive physiological benefits such as improved sleep.
One study, published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, suggests that the use of a percussion therapy device prior to intense exercise doesn’t negatively affect performance and enhances flexibility.
A further study has shown that the application of percussion therapy in the post-workout stage can prevent delayed onset muscle soreness and aid in recovery.
Although more research is still needed to confirm these findings, the results so far are very positive and seem to confirm the many benefits of percussion therapy and the Theragun.
THE BENEFITS OF A THERAGUN
REDUCES LACTIC ACID
The use of a Theragun after a workout has been shown to reduce the buildup of lactate dehydrogenase in the muscles.
IMPROVES RECOVERY TIME AFTER WORKOUT
The Theragun can be used to target tight muscles and loosens them up which reduces the amount of recovery time needed in between workout sessions.
The device can alleviate pain and constriction through the deep massaging of collagen fibres and by breaking up scar tissue.
IMPROVES RANGE OF MOTION
Theraguns decrease the risk of sustaining sprains and strains during a workout and enhance the flexibility of joints to improve range of motion.
RELIEVE MUSCLE SORENESS
When used as part of a post-workout routine, Theraguns help to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.
IMPROVES BLOOD FLOW
By stimulating lymphatic circulation and blood flow, the Theragun helps nutrients and oxygen to reach the targeted area.
Similar to the effects of a traditional deep massage, percussive massagers like the Theragun are effective for releasing tension and reducing stress.
By reducing pain and tension, Theraguns have been shown to be a useful tool for improving sleep.
IS THE THERAGUN AND PERCUSSIVE THERAPY RIGHT FOR YOU?
The Theragun, and percussion therapy more widely, can benefit anyone that experiences aching muscles and tension. It can be used simply as an aid for the improvement of sleep and relaxation but will have the most benefits for those that engage in consistent and intense physical activity.
DOES THE THERAGUN BREAK UP CELLULITE?
As a percussive therapy device, the Theragun has been shown to improve blood circulation, which may help to break down cellulite.
CAN YOU OVERUSE THE THERAGUN?
Theraguns can be used several times a day, but you should limit their use on one specific muscle group to 2 minutes to avoid overworking the muscles.
CAN YOU USE THE THERAGUN ON YOUR KNEES?
Theraguns can be used on the knees but should be used to target the muscles around the knee rather than the joint itself.
IS IT SAFE TO USE THE THERAGUN ON YOUR NECK?
Theraguns are perfectly safe to use on your neck and are an effective way of relieving tension and improving flexibility in this area.
Using the Theragun is like having your own personal massage therapist and when used as part of your workout routine, scientific studies show that it has numerous benefits.
Although it’s most beneficial for those who are very physically active, it can also be used by those looking to improve their sleep, wellness and overall health.
One of the best ways to incorporate Theraguns into your own workouts is to arrange a percussive self-massage so that you can get to grips with the device and everything that percussive therapy has to offer.