If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for new and better ways to practice self-care, decrease pain, or increase performance. And you’ve probably heard about Theragun, a popular percussion massage gun, for a while.
After reading countless Theragun reviews and talking to other massage therapists, I have frequently asked myself if a Theragun is worth it. There are so many other massage guns on the market. Is the Theragn worth all the hype and a higher price tag?
In this blog post, we will take a look at the Theragun from all angles and decide once and for all if it’s worth purchasing one for yourself.
What Others Have Said
The vast majority of Theragun reviews are positive. People love how easy it is to use, and how quickly it helps with pain relief and muscle soreness. Theraguns have even been featured in lots of “best of” articles and as a favorite of athletes and celebrities. Just this morning I saw Conan tweet about a Theragun. Sure, celebrities may like it and use it. However, they are not experts in this area.
I have tried and reviewed dozens of percussion massage guns in the past few years. The Theragun always is brought up as being one of the best massage guns, and also one of the most expensive. Is it worth the cost? Are there better options out there for your muscle soreness and pain relief? If you are a massage therapist, is this the one you should choose to use with your clients?
As always, I’ll give my honest feedback.
First of all, I have been offered many massage guns in exchange for honest reviews these past few years. However, I went out and purchased this Theragun G3 on my own. It was available at my local Sam’s Club on clearance for $124.91. This one retails for $399 on Theragun’s website. I have tried and used other models of Theraguns, but this is the first one I have owned and really had the time to compare to my collection of massage guns.
Before we break down the Theragun, let’s first talk about percussion therapy. What are the benefits, as well as the risks.
Percussion Massage Therapy
First let’s talk about what Theraguns are, and what they are supposed to do. They use rapid pulses of percussive force to help with muscle soreness, pain relief, and to increase blood flow and circulation.
Theraguns have been found to be especially helpful for people who experience chronic pain, or who have injuries that are slow to heal. Theraguns can also be used as a preventative measure to help avoid injuries, or to help warm up muscles before exercise.
Like all other massage guns, Theraguns work by breaking up scar tissue and what lots of people call “knots” in the muscles.
What are muscle knots?
Muscle knots are actually adhesions in the muscles. Adhesions are areas of the muscle that have become “stuck” together, slightly inflamed, and tense. This can be caused by injury, overuse, or even poor posture. When muscles have adhesions, they cannot move as freely as they should, and this can cause pain and stiffness.
The percussive force helps to increase blood flow and circulation, relax the tissues, and quiet the pain receptors. All of these help the muscles and joint tissues to heal faster, feel better, and increase their range of motion.
Do percussion massage guns replace the need for going to a massage therapist, chiropractor, or physical therapist?
No. But they are a great complement to massage therapy, physical therapy, or chiropractic care. They can be used in between sessions to help keep the muscles relaxed and prevent injury.
Percussion massage guns are also popular with chiropractors, physical therapists, and personal trainers. They may use them to warm up tissues before an appointment or to address a specific area of pain or discomfort.
Risks of percussion massage guns
Percussion massage guns are generally safe to use. However, there are a few risks that you should be aware of.
- You can bruise your skin if you use the Theragun for too long in one spot, or if you press too hard.
- You can also cause injury to your muscles if you use the Theragun too often, or if you use it too aggressively. It is important to listen to your body, and to give your muscles time to rest and recover between sessions.
- If you have a heart condition, blood clotting disorder, or other serious health condition you should talk to your doctor before using a Theragun.
What about rhabdomyolysis?
Rhabdomyolysis is an extremely rare but serious condition that can occur after using a Theragun. It is caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue, and can lead to kidney damage.
There is one study of a Chinese athlete that was treated for “rhab” after a coach used a percussion massage gun for two hours straight. The athlete had to be hospitalized, and his kidneys were damaged as a result.
Again, this is extremely rare.
It is important to use caution when using any massage device, and to not overdo it.
Okay. Now back to the Theragun.
Theragun G3 Specs:
Weight: A little over 2 lbs
Battery Life: 60 minutes
Speed Settings: 2 speeds- 2400 and 1750 RPM
Stall Force: 40 lbs
Amplitutude: 16 mm
Let’s go deeper into these specs now to see what these numbers mean.
4 Standard Attachments:
- Standard Ball
These are fairly basic attachments. They all have a very professional feel, no cheap foam or plastic-like cheapo $35 massage guns have. The box says the Theragun attachments are a “closed cell foam” that can easily be cleaned.
And four attachments are plenty. Usually, each massage gun has one or two attachments that I use a majority of the time.
The cone is the best bullet attachment I have used for specific massage work. Regardless of my final feelings about this unit, this attachment is enough for me to keep this in my massage gun collection. No other massage gun attachment has allowed me to work small, specific areas like the cone.
But there I do see room for improvement in the attachment area. Some of my favorite massage guns have something similar to the dampener, but are filled with air. That attachment can be used all over the body. While the dampener is close, it isn’t quite there. I see the Pro model has a “supersoft” attachment. This may be similar, but I am not sure.
Another attachment I like with a massage gun is a metal head. These provide unmatched pressure, but also a lot of practice and skill. The Theragun does not have this attachment.
I will say that it took me a long time to figure out how to change the attachments. This setup is different than most massage guns. You really just have to pull them off. And it takes a bit of effort to do so. Once I got the hang of it, this was not as bad as I first thought.
The Multigrip Handle
This is different than nearly 95% of other percussion massage guns on the market. Most percussion massage guns only have one grip, which can be uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time. The Theragun has a multi-grip handle that allows you to hold the Theragun in a variety of ways, making it much more comfortable to use.
By changing your grip you can change the angle of the gun to address hard-to-reach areas of the body for self-care, or use it in a more ergonomically-friendly way. I always thought the Theragun heads were able to pivot, but they do not.
Honestly, this unique grip is the feature that has most intrigued me about the Theragun and it did not disappoint. A few other companies have made similar knock-offs to imitate this handle. I see why. For self-care massage, I really liked this feature.
The Theragun G3 has two different speed settings. Less than most other massage guns on the market. Far less, actually. For casual or personal use, this is likely sufficient.
This unit has a battery life of 60 minutes. This is on the shorter side, but not too shabby. I’ve used it for 20-30 minute sessions with no problem whatsoever. This is fine for personal use. However, if you plan to use this professionally for longer sessions or events, you’ll want to look at other versions of the Theragun in this article that have double the battery life, or swappable batteries.
The battery indicator light can be found on the handle.
This is Theragun’s way of saying “How much pressure can this thing take?” The answer: 40 lbs. That’s a lot of pressure. More than most people can handle. If you use 40 lbs of pressure, the Theragun taps out and stalls. This really helps protect the motor.
If you need more pressure, look at the Theragun Pro which comes in at nearly 60 lbs of stall force.
All Theraguns are known to be on the quieter side. Your neighbors downstairs shouldn’t notice it. But your co-workers will definitely hear it. To me, the noise was somewhat bothersome and did sound like a power tool. Maybe the newer versions of the Theraguns have a quieter motor, but this one sounded a little clunky and not smooth.
This is how far the attachment, or head, travels before it strikes the body. 16mm of amplitude is a decent amount of depth for a massage gun. This means you are not just getting a superficial treatment and the massage gun, when needed, can really address the deeper tissues of the body.
Besides the Mini, all other versions of the Theragun currently have a 16mm amplitude.
Maybe I am just being picky here, but the travel case was a bit of a disappointment. The attachments all just go in a little pocket instead of each having their own individual slot for easy access.
How to Use a Theragun
Using a Theragun is pretty simple. Actually, really simple. You just turn it on, choose your speed setting, and apply the Theragun to the area of your body that is sore or that you want to warm up.
It is really that simple.
Other Theragun Models
The G3 is not the only model Theragun has on the market. And, this isn’t even their latest model. Let’s look at a few others they offer. There may be one that is better suited for you.
I am a sucker for small, tiny, or miniature versions of things. This Theragun mini is super cute! But cute doesn’t always translate into useful or necessary. Maybe if you are traveling and trying to say within your baggage weight limits, or you just want to carry one around in your purse, desk drawer, or pocket. If so, this one may be right for you. In general, I say go for the full-size version.
Theraguns start at $159 for the Theragun Mini. The price goes up from there depending on which model you choose.
This is very similar to the one I just reviewed with the same four attachments. It has double the battery life, five speeds, but only a 30-pound stall force. It is competitively priced at $250.
Like the Prime, this has five speeds, a 120 minute battery life, but a 40 lb stall force. It also has an extra attachment. It is $75 higher at $349.
Need more attachments, higher stall force, longer battery life, swappable batteries, or wireless charging? Then this is your Theragun.
At, $499 this is their most expensive and most powerful option.
Final Throughts on the Theragun
I have been using my Theragun for a week now. Like most other percussion massage guns, it does help with pain relief and muscle soreness. I appreciate the professional feel of the foam attachments, the multi-grip handle, and the ease of use.
Yes, the one I reviewed is an older version. You can’t control it with an app and the battery life is basic. But basic can be really good. I am not sure I would use an app, more attachments, and more speeds if I was looking for a massage gun for personal use. I would still buy this option if I had it to do over again.
Was this a good buy at less than $125? Yes. Absolutely! The cone attachment and multigrip handles are two features I think make it worth that price. I will keep this one in my massage gun arsenal.
However, this is not the best massage gun I have tried for that price.
If you want my recommendation, I suggest one of these massage guns for both professionals and anyone looking for a powerful, excellent quality massage gun at an amazing price.
Now, go take care of yourself. Seriously. Recently, my grandpa turned the big 1-0-0! When the newspaper asked him what he would have done differently, he said if he knew he was going to live that long, he would have taken better care of himself.
Self-care is underrated and underused. Percussion massage guns are one way I take care of myself, my family, and my clients. They are great gifts, an excellent way to connect with family members after a long day, and one way you can take care of yourself.