The few times I’ve come across a massage gun, I’ve spent about five minutes playing with it before deciding it was a gimmick and moving on. So I was sceptical when the opportunity came up to check out some products from Therabody - a new brand to PB Tech.
Well, as it turns out, I’ve been utterly dismissive of a whole range of devices that I actually would’ve found massive benefit from. It’s no secret that most people give their bodies a lot less care than they deserve, and spending 8 hours of our day in the office or labouring doesn’t help. You don’t need to be a world-class athlete, you don’t need to run marathons, you don’t need to be a gym junkie, and you don’t even need to be active to want your body to feel healthy and strong.
This is where Therabody (formerly Theragun) steps in. They describe themselves as a “pioneer in wellness technology” and hope to empower you to live healthier lives. I got my hands on their Theragun Pro, Wave Roller, and PowerDot 2.0 Duo to see if their products live up to that claim.
Chances are pretty high that you’ve seen a massage gun before. Utilising percussive and vibration therapy these devices aim to alleviate muscle soreness. Basically, Theraguns hit and retract up to 16mm into your skin to break up your fascia, at a frequency of up to 2400 rpm. The stimulation created by the Theragun takes your mind off the pain, while also giving you deep, effective treatment for muscle pain. It also increases blood flow by up to five times apparently. Meaning you’ll be getting more oxygenated blood through those sore muscles, to help with speedier warm-up and recovery from exercise, while reducing muscle soreness and inflammation. Therabody knows a thing or two when it comes to massage guns as Jason Werseland, founder of Therabody, was actually the inventor of the first one that was commercially available.
Therabody has utilised this innovative mindset to continue enhancing what seems like a fairly simple concept. There are an astounding number of patents that go into creating Therabody's guns. Even the shape of the handle, a triangle, is patented. Most massage guns you would have seen look similar to a drill, so why the difference? Well, as it turns out, a triangle makes it so much easier for self-use. Using a standard massage gun on your hamstrings or mid-back is not particularly easy or comfortable. With the Theragun, all it takes is shifting your grip to a different section of the triangle grip to hit hard-to-reach spots with ease.
So what do you get with the Theragun Pro?
• Theragun PRO
• Protective Carrying Case
• 6 Attachments with Travel Pouch
• Standard Ball
• 2 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries
• Lithium-ion Battery Charger
The protective carry case comfortably fits your Theragun Pro, a spare battery, and a good few attachments. If you’re careful, you can just about squeeze everything into the carrying case, though you probably won’t need to.
After I finished unpacking everything, all I wanted to do was get the big brrr machine out and give it a go. I restrained myself though and downloaded the Therabody app first. Pairing the massage gun to the app was simple, all it requires is pressing the Bluetooth button in the app, and then turning the Theragun on. This app is stunning. I could spend a whole article going in-depth about how beautifully laid out things are, that the app tells you which muscle to focus on and how to massage it, that it controls the speed of Theragun’s with a Bluetooth connection, and how easy it is to find programs for whatever pain or sport you’re dealing with. I could go on about the fact that you can just link it to your Apple or Google Health app, feed it your regular sports, let it know your daily pains and struggles, and then it will create a customised routine for you. But I actually really enjoyed discovering that for myself. Suffice to say, I would say the app support is what truly separates the Theragun from the competition, all the info you need is just there.
The Theragun Pro itself is a beast, the first time I ran it over my traps, my whole back melted. I was genuinely in shock at the difference it made. That moment really made me appreciate how much these devices aren’t just for pro athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo (who is one of Therabody’s spokespersons), they’re for everyone. There’s a noticeable difference between the attachments, and the app tells you when best to use all of them. You can feel this when you run the standard dampener versus the wedge over your quads.
Now granted, the Theragun Pro, with its 16mm of amplitude, 27kg of force, adjustable arm, and 2400rpm, could be considered a bit much for the average user, without even mentioning the price. So if you’re after something a bit lighter and simpler, check out the Theragun Liv or Mini!
The next Therabody item I got my hands on was the Wave Roller. This came in lovely packaging that included a fabric carrying bag. The Wave Roller itself is 30cm wide and made with hypo-allergenic high-density PU foam. A wavy texture is grooved into the foam, which gives the foam roller much more grip, and apparently adds an “additional dimension of pressure to the muscle.”
Here's what comes in the box:
• Wave Roller
• Protective carrying pouch (not pictured)
• Power adapter
Now the concept of foam rolling seems like a challenging one to innovate on. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Wave Roller actually manages it. You can really feel the vibrations breaking the knots up in your back, and the grooves give you more grip and feel as though they break into the fascia a bit more. The biggest difference I noticed between normal foam rolling and the Wave Roller, was the ability to vibrate a deeper knot out. So if I got to a particularly sore or knotty part of my back, I would hold that position and let the vibrations break it up.
The Wave Roller also connects to the Therabody app. This controls the vibration intensity, gives you guidance on the best ways to foam roll particular sore parts of your body, or how to warm up and down for certain sports. A lot of the functionality available here is similar to what we saw with the Theraguns app connectivity. If you're after some more targeted relief, check out the Wave Solo and Wave Duo!
The final product from Therabody I got my hands on was the PowerDot 2.0 Duo. You're also able to get the Solo if this is pushing your budget a bit. This is a fascinating little device that uses NMES (NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation) and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to help encourage muscle growth and activation, recovery, and pain relief. A consistent theme across recovery devices is to try and encourage more fresh, oxygenated blood to areas that need it. The PowerDot achieves this by sending electronic pulses that stimulate your motor nerves, creating muscle contractions and stimulating sensory nerves for temporary pain relief.
Much like the other Therabody products, unboxing the PowerDots feels very premium. Here’s what you get in the box:
• 2 PowerDot pods
• 1 set of electrode pads
• 2 sets of lead cables (10cm and 30cm)
• 2 micro USB charging cables
• Protective carrying case
The PowerDot 2.0 also pairs with an app, though they have their own PowerDot app rather than building this into the Therabody app. The app is really the game changer when it comes to the PowerDot. There are other devices that can do TENS and NMES, some of them are quite a lot cheaper too, but they’re clunkier, and require a decent amount of understanding to use. The PowerDot by contrast, is about as easy as it gets. You choose what you’re trying to achieve, whether it's general wellness, recovery, pain relief or even period pain relief. Then it shows you how and where to stick the electrode pads, snap the PowerDot pods on magnetically, plug them in and you’re off to strange rapid muscle contraction good times.
I can attest to the pain relief and recovery capabilities of the PowerDot, my back certainly felt better after 40 minutes with these strapped on in the evening, and sore muscles were less sore. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend enough time with the device to test the muscle strength and endurance enhancements that are claimed. I also do not have to deal with the burden of period pain, however, I have seen evidence that it can help minimise the severity of cramping.
So how much of a difference does it actually make using Therabody’s devices? How much of a benefit are these if you aren’t a professional athlete? In my opinion, these products are seriously worth considering. As someone with fairly persistent back pain, I found a lot of benefit in these devices. I often have struggled to find the time, energy, and know-how to take care of myself, particularly as someone that has never taken their recovery seriously. It feels a bit ridiculous saying that while working a fairly sedentary office job, but you do actually need to recover from working all day. If you are a labourer or passionate about exercise, you should seriously consider picking up a recovery routine, and a recovery device to go with it, if you don’t have one already.
Something I don’t think I have seen mentioned enough in other reviews of Therabody products is the astounding amount of guesswork their apps removed from the equation. Getting any old massage gun allows you to pound your muscles in a similar way to the Theragun, but you miss out on all the guidance the app offers. Sore fingers from typing all day? There’s a program in the app for that. Struggling to get to sleep? Another program in the app for that. Want to just keep your body in good shape? Once again, in the app.
To put the quality of Therabody’s devices and their companion apps to the test, I decided to really push my limits in a run. I used the Theragun Pro, Wave Roller, and PowerDot 2.0 Duo, following Therabody’s recommended run warm-up routine before I left. I ran as hard as I could, came home and used all three devices, again with their recommended app routines, to warm down. I was genuinely shocked at how well they worked. I’d actually done a very similar run a few weeks ago. The difference was that my warm-up consisted of dynamic stretching, with some static stretching post-run, and my legs were shot to bits. After using Therabody’s devices, I genuinely had no DOMS, in fact, I would almost say my legs felt better the next day than they had the day before my run. This was all because of 15 minutes of active recovery with the massage gun and Wave Roller, plus an hour with the PowerDots on my legs while watching TV in the evening.
I had a blast with Therabody’s recovery devices, and though we’re still waiting on more concrete evidence to back these relatively new to consumer devices, I have no doubt about the impact they made to my recovery. I’ve already been eyeing up the Theragun Elite, and I’m sure a few more Therabody purchases will follow! So if you want to take some more time to look after the one body you’ve got, check out Therabody at PB Tech. If you need anything else to help with your health journey, make sure to take a look at the full range of health & fitness devices at PB Tech!