Percussive therapy – the new recovery device for athletes

The Theragun liv model, which administers percussive therapy to help relieve muscle soreness. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

SINGAPORE — When I suffered plantar fasciitis in both heels last year, a month before the Ironman Malaysia race, I had to stop running completely for a few weeks to let the injuries heal.

I went through several treatment options, such as shockwave therapy and ultrasound therapy, and finally my heels recovered, but I was worried about a recurrence of the injury.

It was at that point when I was introduced to percussive therapy via Theragun, a device that some might refer to as a massage gun. This has since replaced my foam roller and it has helped to keep me pain-free with regular use.

Currently I use the Theragun G3PRO, the top-end model, to help release my muscle tightness and reduce soreness, which also helps in reducing risk of injury.

Q: What is percussive therapy?

Percussive therapy is a type of soft tissue manipulation that helps to reduce muscle ache and soreness, relieve pain and increase range of motion. It can be used by anyone who experiences muscle soreness as it helps to speed up your muscle recovery time by relieving your aches.

The Theragun G3PRO, which administers percussive therapy to help relieve muscle soreness. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

How does it work?

The Theragun G3PRO consists of an industrial-grade motor that delivers 16 millimetres of amplitude at a speed of 40 percussions per second, up to 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of force. These targeted vibrations are able to reach deeper layers of muscle compared to a deep tissue massage done by human hands or a foam roller.

The G3PRO has two speeds – the standard speed of 40 percussions per second and a lighter speed of 29 percussions per second for areas that are more sensitive and sore. For example, I have extremely tight calves so I usually use the lighter speed for the calves.

It also comes with six different head attachments, so you can change the different types of pressure points for specific areas you want to target. The arm is also adjustable so you can turn it to the angle that will help you reach the desired spot you want to massage.

Battery life is 75 minutes and that lasts quite long because it is recommended to use it on each part for just 30 seconds. The G3PRO comes with two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries so you don’t get downtime.

When do you use it?

Similar to a foam roller or myofascial release ball, you can use percussive therapy before a workout to activate your muscles or after a workout to prevent too much muscle soreness.

The therapy gives similar benefits to a deep tissue massage or myofascial release, where it increases blood flow to the targeted areas, reduces muscle inflammation, releases muscle tension and loosens muscle knots.

You can also download the Theragun app that has guides on how to use percussive therapy on the different body parts.

The Theragun G3PRO, which administers percussive therapy to help relieve muscle soreness. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

Where to buy the Theragun?

The Theragun G3PRO can be bought at www.weareready.sg or its retailers. It retails at $899 and it comes with six interchangeable head attachments and two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

There are two other models available too, the Theragun G3 and the liv, priced at $699 and $499 respectively. Stocks for these will arrive in Singapore in November.

The G3 comes with four head attachments while the liv comes with two. The liv is more ideal for travelling as it is lighter and it only has one speed. Batteries are built-in for both upcoming models.

Who should try it?

If you are an active person and often find yourself with sore and aching muscles from your workouts, this might be an option for you to consider. Doing foam rolling and myofascial release will require discipline, as they are more time-consuming.

I still do my deep tissue sports massages but that requires effort and money, so percussive therapy is good for convenient daily maintenance. You can simply pick a Theragun up anytime and give yourself a good massage. For me, I prefer to just take the Theragun and use it after my workout, or while I’m on the couch watching Netflix at the end of the day.

The Theragun, which administers percussive therapy to help relieve muscle soreness. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)