IT LOOKS like a power drill, moves like a jackhammer and sounds like a machine gun, but you won't find the TheraGun G2PRO in a hardware store or an arsenal. The handheld massage tool ($599, theragun.com) is becoming increasingly popular in locker rooms and on sidelines, as athletes turn to percussive massage therapy for quick relief for aching muscles.
1 Vibration massage therapy is based on gate control theory, which holds that a nonpainful stimulus (in this case, vibration) can suppress the feeling of pain. "This isn't really massage—it's actually tricking your nervous system," says chiropractor and TheraGun founder Jason Wersland.
2 Powered by a 2,000-rpm motor, the TheraGun moves a dense foam ball attachment back and forth in a woodpecker-like motion at a rate of 33--40 times per second. Says physical therapist David Reavy, "The vibration is so fast, you don't feel the pain, and the muscle actually relaxes."
3 Easy to use, lightweight and portable, the TheraGun is not only for recovery. Athletes, like Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters, have been spotted using it to loosen up stiff areas before sessions, and even during competition, to treat and prevent cramps.
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While the TheraGun aims to provide targeted, localized relief, these other recovery tools use vibration massage therapy for a more widespread benefit.
HYPERICE VYPER 2
This vibrating foam roller ($199, hyperice.com) combines vibration technology with myofascial release techniques, featuring three speeds and a rechargeable battery.
PERSONAL POWER PLATE
The portable pulsating surface ($1,495, powerplate.com), which vibrates 35 times per second, is said to better activate muscles and improve range of motion.