The Theragun Liv is an intense at-home body massager that relieves my sore muscles and corrects my posture — it's pricey, but a godsend
The Theragun Liv body massager may seem pricey at $249 but it provides easy relief of sore muscles and even helped improve my posture
The Liv is an intense massager that is best used by athletes who exercise regularly and vigorously, or for anyone who experiences extreme muscle pain.
For me, personally, the Liv feels amazing — it makes me feel like I'm floating and helped dramatically improve my posture after just one use.
After waking up one morning with an uncomfortable knot in my neck, I figured it would be the perfect time to try the new Theragun Liv body massager. The first step was to download the companion app to get started — thankfully, this was quick and easy. From there, I was able to start testing what I've heard to be the scariest and most intense electronic massager invented. I'm not entirely sure if I was excited or a bit nervous (likely both). Describing how good I felt after just two minutes of using the Liv on my neck and shoulders is hard to accurately convey. Throughout the two minutes, my upper body felt as if it was floating and I could sense that if I closed my eyes right then, I'd sleep like a baby. After just that initial use, I could tell my posture both sitting and standing up was markedly better. To be clear, the Theragun Liv massager is as extreme a massaging instrument as I'd expected. Before getting fully into just how intense the machine is, let's first talk about how it's built.
Hurts so good The Liv is comprised of a three-sided, easy-to-grip handle, a charging port, and an extension with two interchangeable attachments. One attachment consists of a larger ball designed for more diffuse relief, while the other is much smaller and meant for targeted pain points and sore muscles. To switch between the two, you simply pull one off and pop the other on. When you're ready to use the massager, a power button on the handle turns it on and the extension with the attachment starts pulsing rapidly. The sound is reminiscent of a chugging lawnmower. My partner was in the room when I first turned it on (while he was working, no less) and he proceeded to give me a withering look and put on his earbuds.
The sound is an adequate warning for how the massage feels, too. The extension part of the Liv quickly moves back and forth, so if you're not careful, it can easily pummel your body. This is why the Liv comes with an app that includes detailed directions for proper use. It's important to float One of the most important directions is to "float" the Liv over your sore muscles. By float, the app means to avoid applying direct pressure while using the massager. In other words, gently touch it to your body and move the Liv back and forth along the surface. Pressing the vibrating Liv too deep into your body would likely leave bruises (which I've been careful to avoid). Read more: This $50 heated massager is the perfect antidote to carrying around a heavy backpack — it relieves my shoulder and back tension The Theragun app also includes instructions for a variety of body parts, medical issues, and specific use cases. For instance, there's a method for helping you go to sleep, one for curing jet lag, and another for helping you wake up in the morning. There are also movements to help relieve plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, and "tech neck."
You can even take the app's suggestions for how to use it on your lower back, feet, or glutes. Most of the instructions incorporate stretching, which the Theragun app reminds users should be a "non-negotiable part of your daily life." A cure for what ails you As someone who spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen, I started out with the "tech neck" exercise. This was the move that made me feel like I was floating and immediately helped straighten my posture. I then tested out the carpal tunnel sequence. I often work long hours on many typing-intensive projects, so running the Liv gently over the muscles in my forearm, and then lightly around my wrists, worked much better on my stiff hands than my normal relief method of shaking them out with limp wrists. I also gave the pre- and post-workout exercises a try. Stimulating my leg and back muscles with the Liv before my regular run immediately loosened me up and made starting my routine much smoother. I could feel the lack of stiffness in my legs well before making it through the first block — which is how long I usually have to jog before my muscles begin to loosen up. Read more: The best foot massagers you can buy One of the Liv's major upsides how it's designed to be handheld. This also happens to be its main drawback. On one side, the handheld design works great for targeted movements and precision — when you're using your dominant hand, at least.
When you're not, it's harder to keep the Liv close to your body, which creates a jarring rattling sensation instead of the smooth buzz you achieve with your dominant hand. Of course, there's the ability to get used to handling it with your weaker hand over time but at first, it feels quite odd. The bottom line
As I've mentioned above, the Liv is intense. I don't recommend this for anyone just starting to get into at-home, electronic massagers as it's not entirely what you expect it to be. If you accidentally hit a bone or a sensitive spot, it's not going to feel great. Even if you get carried away and use it for too long in one spot, you won't be doing your body a favor. The Liv works best as a rehab tool for anyone who experiences extreme muscle pain or athletes who exercise regularly and vigorously. At $249, the Liv certainly isn't cheap, though it does check-in as the cheapest of Theragun's three handheld massagers (the G3 goes for $399 while the G3PRO goes for $599). Plus, it comes with a one-year warranty, meaning if you use it regularly — or even semi-regularly — for a year, you'll get your money's worth. Though it's intense and took some getting used to, the benefits far outweigh the pain.
Should you buy it? The Theragun Liv isn't for everyone. It's an intense handheld body massager that's capable of working out the hardest of knots but it won't be as soothing as visiting a day spa. Because of its intensity, it's meant more for those who exercise regularly, are extremely active athletes, or anyone who experiences muscle pain.
What are your alternatives? Perhaps its biggest competition comes from the Hyperice Hypervolt, a similar, high-intensity personal massager designed to relieve sore muscles. The Hypervolt is a bit more expensive at $349 but runs quietly while working and comes with more interchangeable heads.
Pros: Helps improve posture and work out knots, relieves sore muscles, is like having a personal masseuse on-call whenever you need it Cons: Massage can be intense and painful, only features two different massage heads, handheld design can be odd for your non-dominant hand Buy the Theragun Liv Percussive Massager Muscle Stimulator for $249 on AmazonJoin the conversation about this story »
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