Is that an egg beater? pic.twitter.com/6TGvNYxiWz
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) June 13, 2017
During last year’s NBA Finals, the camera cut to Kyrie Irving on the sidelines. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard was having his back worked on by one of the team’s trainers. What made this typical mid-game act so memorable was the mysterious tool the trainer was using. Many claimed it looked like an egg beater or a power tool. Of course the internet was abuzz.
Big moment for a small company: Athletic deep massage tool @theragun_ just got 10 seconds on national TV. pic.twitter.com/Z6tFvP60uN
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 13, 2017
Those few seconds were a big moment for Dr. Jason Wersland, D.C., a sports chiropractic physician and inventor of the TheraGun. The tool, which Irving was using to help reduce cramping, is a method of handheld vibration therapy. It’s also the secret weapon of athletes in every major professional sport. Now Dr. Wersland wants to get his tool into the hands of more endurance athletes.
After a motorcycle accident caused a disc herniation and intense pain, Dr. Wersland wanted to create an effective home treatment to aid in muscle recovery. He spent eight years developing what would eventually become the G1, the brand’s first model.
In July, Dr. Wersland debuted the G2PRO. He made the device easier to use with a simple on/off switch, battery life indicators and a variety of attachments, which he calls AmpBIT, to treat different conditions. The therapy gun also comes with two batteries, which hold around 45 minutes of use, and a charger. While Irving is lucky enough to have a trainer help him, the TheraGun is comfortable and easy to use on yourself.
“This is vibration therapy,” explained Dr. Wersland. “Vibration therapy turns off the pain signals, so you’re not experiencing discomfort. So now you can get deeper into the tissue and release a lot of lactic acid.”
He advises athletes to use the device in three different ways: prepare, perform and recover. To prepare for activity, the TheraGun is meant to be paired with a typical warm-up to loosen muscles. Runners can use the gun either before or after dynamic stretches.
“Prepare is 2-3 minutes on a body part. It’s not an extended period of time. It’s just a short quick burst, ” says Dr. Wersland.
Many athletes use the TheraGun in the middle of performance. Dr. Wersland recommends 30-45 second bursts on muscles needing relief from tightness and cramping. While this may not be realistic for a runner mid-race, many triathletes use the device during their transitions.
“When you increase the blood flow to an area with a cramp and introduce vibration, it stops immediately,” says Dr. Wersland.
Finally recovery is meant to relax the muscles after performance. A minimum of 5-6 minutes can help to decrease lactic acid buildup, increase blood flow to the muscles and break down scar tissue. Some athletes use it for 15-20 minutes as a massage therapy.
For all the TheraGun does, it is not cheap. The G2Pro retails for $599. The upfront cost may be significant, but the treatment could help to defer the cost of injury. Although the TheraGun doesn’t replace visits to physical or massage therapists, regular use can extend the time between treatments. Most of all, it can work muscles better and with less pain than any other home treatment.
“This is the very best foam roller ever,” says Dr. Wersland.