Skip To Content

    I Tried A Percussive Device On My Body And Oh My, It Really Worked

    Rethink the way you recover.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Let’s be real: In the age of get-up-and-go, the chances that you’re taking proper care of your body post-cardio or lift session, or eight-hour work shift, are low. Recovery is serious business, and right now there may be no bigger name in the game than Theragun.

    BuzzFeed

    For the uninitiated, Theragun makes personal massage tools that aid in percussive therapy, a type of rehab remedy that sounds scarier than it is. You’ve maybe seen mesmerizing slo-mo videos on your social feeds of muscles being battered by a futuristic-looking NERF-style gun and wondered what the heck’s going on. Same.

    As someone who grew up as an active participant in the sports fitness sphere and who spends a chunk of dedicated time per week focusing on strength workouts with a lil’ baby bit of cardio (no hard sprinting unless I’m being chased), I volunteered my bod to test one of Theragun’s newest offerings (which also happens to be its most affordable one). Here’s what all the fuss is about.

    The Basics

    BuzzFeed

    Simply put, percussive therapy involves intense targeted massage. This type of repeated stimulation massages muscle tissue and increases blood flow and releases tension. It can greatly aid with aches and pains, resulting in a speedier rate of muscle recovery.

    Priced at $249, the Liv is Theragun’s most affordable device. The Liv offers one speed: 40 percussions per second delivered at 16 millimeters deep into your muscle tissue. It features an industrial-grade Japanese motor, a rechargeable battery, and a light, compact body at 2.5 pounds. It can go 60% deeper than traditional vibration massagers, so one really does have to be careful when using it.

    Compared with Theragun’s pricier devices, the G3PRO ($599) and the G3 ($399), the Liv is not as intimidating and isn’t as powerful. Using it is as simple as pressing the on/off button and directing the attachment to whatever area is ailing you. Pro tip: Don’t press down. Pressing even farther into your muscle can cause more pain than anything else. The best method? Floating over your skin and letting the device do its job.

    What/Who It’s For

    BuzzFeed

    Percussive therapy is ideal for any type of pain, from sciatica to tension knots to tight hips. It can help flush lactic acid to restore muscles back to a much less sore state. When it comes to who should own such a device — well, that’s a wide range of individuals. Athletes, avid runners, and those who prefer strength-based workouts are all welcome. Same goes for anyone suffering from chronic pain. Really, it’s great for anyone who’d pay a pretty penny for DIY muscle therapy.

    That said, you don’t need to be Simone Biles to consider buying one. While I work out four to five days a week, the Liv is designed with no particular user in mind.

    The Good

    BuzzFeed

    When I first started using the Liv, I had zero sense of technique. That’s where the Theragun app comes into play. The easy-to-use app grants you access to different guides on how to use the device, which body parts you can focus on, and how to tailor your recovery sessions based on your specific type of pain. You’ll receive insight into how to treat certain ailments, as well as recommendations for how to improve your sleep patterns and general well-being.

    I found that using the device for 30-second intervals was best for me. If my shoulders were feeling particularly sore post-lift, I’d use the device to massage the area for two to three minutes total. I was able to feel major relief after use and experienced less soreness the next morning. I was also able to feel an obvious muscle warmth, much the way you feel after a deep-tissue massage.

    In terms of battery life, Theragun claims that the Liv is good for 45 minutes on full charge. I’ve used the device numerous times and haven’t had to recharge yet. Granted, I’m only using the devices for short spurts of time, but I’ve been impressed with longevity so far.

    The Not So Good

    BuzzFeed

    Since the Liv is Theragun’s entry-level device, you receive less, unsurprisingly. You’ll get the standard massaging ball and dampener (for tender areas and areas near bone) attachment and a travel pouch. The arm is stationary, while the G3PRO arm can adjust to four positions. This wasn’t such a big deal to me because I found the Liv lightweight and didn’t mind holding it in an awkward position when necessary.

    Other attachments you won’t get with the Liv as you would with the G3PRO: a large ball, wedge, thumb, and cone. All are designed for specific areas of the body to better trigger muscles. The G3PRO also comes with a traveling case and two battery packs, so overall you’re getting a full and complete recovery kit.

    The only other not-so-good aspect worth mentioning is maaaaaaybeee the sound. It’s not at all alarming, but it is noisy, like 10 electric toothbrushes buzzing at once. While it’s portable, you may wanna think twice before firing it up at the gym. And I wouldn’t recommend using the device after your cohabitants go to sleep.

    The Takeaway

    When it comes to size and price tag, the Liv is something I could see myself using weekly. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of its pricier counterpart, sure, but it just felt more realistic for my lifestyle. Also something to mention: Theragun sells the attachments separately if I want to bolster my collection.

    Using Theragun’s percussive devices showed me that taking care of my body can be done in ways I have never considered before. When used over time, it soothed my tender muscles and past injuries. It made me feel looser and as if I had performed an entire stretching routine in under five minutes.

    If you’re not an elite athlete but place high value on recovery (and you should), the Liv is a worthwhile investment. Just try not to boomerang the experience. There are enough videos on the 'gram already.

    CORRECTION

    This post has been updated to reflect BuzzFeed's editorial standards.