I tried the Theragun Liv body massager to see if it's actually worth $299 - here's how it performed and who it's best for
- I recently had a chance to review the Theragun Liv body massager. It's pricey at $299, but I wanted to see if it was genuinely worth the money.
- I must stress that this massager is intense! I would not suggest it for someone making their foray into at-home, electronic massagers, unless that person is an athlete, exercises very regularly and vigorously, or experiences extreme muscle pain.
- That said, for me personally, the Liv feels amazing - it makes me feel like I'm floating and has improved my posture.
I woke up with a knot in my neck the other morning and figured it would be a perfect time to try the new Theragun Liv body massager, only to find that I had to download an app to get started. Fortunately, doing so was quick and easy - just a minor delay before I'd test out what from the video footage I'd seen of the Theragun appeared to be the scariest, most intense electronic massager ever invented.
It will be hard for me to describe how good I felt after just two minutes of using the Liv on my neck and shoulders.
I felt like my upper body was floating. I also felt like I could close my eyes right then and sleep like a baby. One quick use and I'd already started effortlessly walking around with better posture.
That being said, the Theragun Liv massager is just about as an intense of an instrument as I'd expected. To fully do this intensity justice, I have to first describe how it's built.
The Liv is comprises a three-sided, easy-to-grip handle, a charging port, and an extension with two interchangeable attachments. One of the attachments is a larger ball, for more diffuse relief, while the other is small, for targeted pain points and sore muscles. To switch between the two, you just pull one off and pop the other right on.
When you're ready to use the Liv, you press and hold a power button on the handle, at which point the extension with the attachment starts pulsing rapidly. The sound is almost that of a lawn mower. After I first turned it on with my partner in the room (while he was working), he gave me a withering look and put on his earbuds.
The sound is an adequate warning for the feel. The extension part of the Liv moves back and forth fast, so if you're not careful, it will pummel your body. This is why the Liv comes with an app that includes detailed directions for proper use.
One of the most important directions is to "float" the Liv over your sore muscles. By float, the app means don't apply a lot of pressure when you're using the massager - 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 will probably leave bruises (which I've been careful to avoid).
The Theragun app also includes instructions for a variety of body parts, medical issues, and occasions. For instance, there's method for helping you go to sleep, for getting over jet leg, and for helping you wake up in the morning. There are also movements to help relieve plantar faciitis, carpal tunnel, and "tech neck." Or you can take the app's suggestions for how to use the Liv on your lower back, feet, or glutes. Most of these instructions incorporate stretching, which the Theragun app reminds users should be a "non-negotiable part of your daily life."
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 up my posture. Next, I tested out the carpal tunnel instructions. I've been working long hours lately on a typing-intensive project, and 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: shaking them out with limp wrists.
I also gave the pre- and post-workout exercise a try. Stimulating my leg and back muscles with the Liv before my regular run loosened me up right away and made getting my routine started so 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 major upsides and downsides of the Theragun Liv massager is that it's handheld. This is great for targeted movements and precision ... when you're using your dominant hand. 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 that's easy to achieve when you're applying the massager with the hand you use to write.
As I've already stressed, the Liv is genuinely intense. I would not suggest this for someone making their foray into at-home, electronic massagers, unless that person is an athlete, exercises very regularly and vigorously, or experiences extreme muscle pain. If you accidentally hit a bone or a very sensitive spot with the Liv, it's not going to feel good, and if you get carried away and use it for too long in the same spot, you won't be doing your body a favor.
The Liv is also not cheap. However, at $299, it's the cheapest (and least hardcore) of Theragun's three handheld massagers (the G3 goes for $399, and the G3PRO goes for $599). Plus, it has a one-year warranty, so if you use it regularly - even semi-regularly - for a year, you'll get your money's worth.
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