WHEN you think about percussive therapy or massage guns, Theragun is probably the first product that springs to mind.
Despite being around since 2016, interest in the device has really taken off over the last couple of years, with countless celebrities showing off the gadget on their Instagram feeds.
We put the Theragun Elite to the test over the course of a couple of months to see if it's worth the hype.
Theragun Review: Quick Summary
We'll be honest, when we first started testing the Theragun Elite, we weren't convinced. When testing began, we were largely free of the aches and pains the Theragun is designed to alleviate. As a result, we found it to be too powerful for our tastes and we were forced to use it on the lowest frequency setting while applying little-to-no pressure.
However, we'll happily admit that we're now Theragun converts after a stressful period at work coincided with our partner taking on a gruelling running challenge.
Every evening both of us were reaching for the Theragun to help ease the pain caused by vigorous exercise and stress, and we haven't looked back since.
It's now a device that we turn to pre- and post-workouts, as well as for stress relief. It's also helped soothe the aches caused by working long hours from home with a less than ideal setup.
Despite our new-found love for the Theragun, we're not sure we would recommend it to everyone. We think that some may find the device too powerful, and though this is something that most people will probably get used to (like we did), we'd be wary of recommending it to those with pre-existing skin, joint or muscle conditions, at least without them consulting their doctor or physiotherapist first.
It's also a pretty loud device when you crank up the power, which is worth considering.
At the same time, we believe those who exercise regularly or have stress-induced pain, could really benefit from this handy tool. And just in case it wasn't clear, yes we think it's worth the hype.
- Long battery life
- Excellent app
- Ergonomic handle allows you to reach different areas
- Great for a variety of issues, from workout recovery to stress
- Lots of different attachments for different areas
- Some may find it too powerful
- Quiet but not that quiet
- Theragun Elite, £375 from Therabody – buy here
Theragun Elite Full Review
Unboxing and First Impressions
The Theragun Elite arrived in a hard case, along with a charger and five attachments. The gun itself is larger and heavier than we expected but feels really sturdy. On the top surface, there's an OLED screen, an on/off button as well as two arrows and two +/- buttons. We were surprised to find that there was no instruction booklet included, but there are details on the box which indicate that you should download the app.
The Therabody App
The Therabody app is excellent and we'd recommend downloading it as soon as you purchase your Theragun to learn how to get the most out of your device. It's free from the Apple Store and Google Play and is super easy to use.
It includes a wide range of classes/routines which will provide you with step-by-step tutorials of how to use your Theragun and the various attachments.
You can sync your device to the app via Bluetooth, which will enable you to adjust the frequency, monitor the pressure you're applying and will automatically start/stop your Theragun according to the routine.
The Theragun Elite comes with 5 attachments in total; the dampener (which we used the most often), the standard ball, wedge, cone and thumb. If you're not sure which attachments to use, the Therabody app will advise you or here's a quick guide:
Dampener: The dampener can be used all over but is designed for tender and bony areas
Standard ball: This attachment is smaller than the dampener and therefore has a higher impact. It can be used on both large and small muscle groups
Cone: Designed for use on the hands and feet and small muscle groups. The shape makes it ideal for pinpoint massage treatments
Wedge: The wedge can be used to "scrape" your muscles, making it great for shoulder blades
Thumb: Mostly used on the lower back and trigger points
Not all the Theragun models come with the same attachments. The Elite doesn't come with the large ball or super soft head attachments, and the Mini only comes with the standard ball. If you require different attachments to what comes with your Theragun, you'll be pleased to know they are available to purchase separately from Therabody or other retailers such as John Lewis.
Key Features and Functions
The Theragun has a few other key features and functions which are worth touching upon.
Battery life: The battery life of the device is excellent. It lasts for 120 minutes which means it can usually go 1-2 weeks between charges depending on usage. It's pretty quick to charge too.
Ergonomic grip: The triangular shape of the Theragun handle makes even the most obscure places easy to reach. The Therabody app indicates which grip is best for each area which we found to be especially useful, particularly as our default was to use the top handle.
Speed: The Elite has 5 different speed settings (1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 percussions per minute). When we first got the device, we found the 1750 speed to be too powerful and had wished it had an even lower setting. However, after a couple of months of use we now regularly use the fastest speed setting, reducing it for sensitive areas. You may find your body needs time to adjust to the new sensation.
Noise Level: The Theragun Elite is the quietest Theragun on the market at the moment, and is 75 per cent quieter than the previous generation. Considering the amount of power it pacts it is remarkedly quiet. However, it's still pretty noisy – you wouldn't be able to use it whilst listening to the radio, having a deep conversation or watching TV, for example.
What is a Theragun and how does it work?
The Theragun is a massage device which uses percussive therapy to stimulate blood flow, decrease lactic acid and alleviate muscle tension, amongst other things.
Percussive therapy works by massaging your muscles through repetitive vibrations and a pulsing or pounding motion. The Theragun pounds your body at a speed of up to 40 percussions per second (or 2400 percussion per minute) and has an amplitude of 16mm which is apparently 60% deeper than the average massager.
The idea is that this motion prevents your body from becoming acclimatised to the stimulus, keeping your muscles and body stimulated and promoting accelerated healing.
How much is the Theragun?
The Theragun Elite is priced at £375 and comes with a one year warranty and free delivery when purchased directly from Therabody.
There are currently four different Theragun models to choose from, with different price points.
- Mini, small and portable – £175
- Prime, simplified – £275
- Elite, advanced – £375
- Pro, for professionals – £549
Compare all the models here.
It's also worth mentioning that Therabody has partnered with (RED) to create a range of Theraguns. When you purchase a (PRODUCT) RED device, a percentage of the purchase price goes towards the Global Fund's COVID-19 response and HIV/AIDS programmes. You can read more about the initiative here.
Where to buy a Theragun
Theragun devices are available to purchase from several online retailers, including Therabody, Selfridges, John Lewis and Decathlon.
How to use a Theragun
The Theragun is very simple to use:
1. Turn the Theragun on via the button at the top (do this before pressing it to your body)
2. Glide the Theragun over your muscles, adjusting the pressure and speed as required
If you're unsure when or how to use your Theragun, we recommend taking a look at the (free) Therabody app. Routines are split up into different categories including Warm-up, Recovery, Wellness (sleep and wake up), and also Ailments which covers things like Carpal Tunnel, Sciatica and Tech Neck.
Once you've chosen your routine, the app will show you where to massage, how long for, how much pressure to apply, how to hold the gun and which attachments to use. You can also link the app to your Theragun via Bluetooth to set the frequency and monitor the pressure/force.
When to use a Theragun
You can use your Theragun anytime – pre-, during and post-workouts, before bed, whilst working from home, after long journeys – you name it.
How long to use Theragun for
Therabody recommends that you use your Theragun for between 15 seconds and 2 minutes per muscle group, with a full-body session not exceeding 15 minutes.
30 seconds of use will activate your muscles ahead of a workout or activity, 15 seconds of use will reactivate your muscles during a workout, and 2 minutes of use will help muscle recovery after a workout.
Again, if you're unsure on how long to use it for the Therabody app is an excellent guide.
Will the Theragun help me sleep?
We have to say that we didn't notice any sleep improvements whilst using the Theragun, though we didn't really have much trouble sleeping to begin with.
However, a recent research study carried out by Therabody and Biostrap Labs found that 87% of participants fell asleep more quickly after using a Theragun device, and 70% found they woke up less during the night.
The study was carried out on 73 participants aged 18-40, over a period of five weeks. You can read the full details of the study here.
The Verdict: Is the Theragun worth it?
In our personal opinion, yes it's worth investing in a Theragun especially if you're into your fitness or are struggling with pain caused by stress.
We use our massage gun several times a week, and it's a godsend for relieving aches and pains caused by a poor work setup, stress and exercise.
We reckon the Theragun Elite or Pro devices are more advanced then most people would need. We would say they are more suited to athletes and professionals, whereas the Theragun Prime or Mini would probably suffice for amateur athletes and average Joes, like ourselves.
- Shop all Theragun devices here
Enjoyed our Theragun Elite review? Then you might like our review of the Wahoo Rival Watch.
Check out Sun Selects' dedicated fitness section for more recommendations and reviews.
We also tested out an Echelon Spin Bike recently, see what we thought of it here.
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