Blog Science The Science Behind Theragun’s Percussive Therapy – Proven To Improve Recovery, Increase Circulation + More
The Science Behind Theragun’s Percussive Therapy – Proven To Improve Recovery, Increase Circulation + More
The Science Behind Theragun’s Percussive Therapy – Proven To Improve Recovery, Increase Circulation + More

Authors:  Therabody Scientists: Tim Roberts MSc, Kyle Silvey PhD, and Michelle Darian MS, MPH, RD, LDN

Percussion and vibration-based therapies have been used for centuries. Recently, technology-led versions of these were available only in clinical practices, requiring large equipment. Therabody was the first to invent and democratize percussive therapy with the development of the Theragun, a handheld percussive therapy device. By creating this cutting-edge technology, users around the world can access the numerous benefits of Theragun percussive therapy at home or on the go.

Learn more about Therabody’s approach to scientific research methods and the key research findings and discoveries of Theragun and percussive therapy at Therabody.

Why Is Scientific Research Important?

Science and scientific research methods are the best tools humans have developed to understand the world around them. Scientific research is especially critical within the health and wellness industry for several important reasons, including:

  1. Science drives product innovation. Scientific research helps companies produce the best possible products that provide the best possible benefits, especially when creating products that benefit mind and body health.
  2. Science creates targeted health solutions. In a world of many products with many product claims, consumers often wonder which solutions are best for them. Thorough, unbiased scientific evidence can guide consumers who look to invest in their health and wellness. Scientific evidence helps consumers better understand what specific products do, helping them make informed decisions regarding their wellness.
  3. Science leads to new product benefit discovery. As products become more widely used in different populations, scientific research can help discover and prove new benefits of using products.

Therabody’s science team works tirelessly to ensure that these three criteria are the foundation of their work, ultimately resulting in science-backed products that consumers can trust to help achieve their unique wellness needs.

Therabody’s Approach to Scientific Research

Along with pioneering the field of wellness technologies, Therabody is also a committed leader within the wellness, recovery, and performance scientific fields. Theragun is Therabody’s flagship product, and Therabody is committed to investigating and quantifying the effects of percussive therapy on the human body. Therabody’s science team developed a two-pronged approach to fuel scientific discovery.

Therabody Labs

The product development process begins by using scientific evidence to best understand the health and wellness needs of different populations and their current therapeutic health solutions.

To deliver on the mission to create scientifically-backed wellness technological solutions for every body, the scientists and engineers at Therabody created Therabody Labs, a dedicated Research and Development (R&D) lab to test product efficacy and safety, formulate optimal product protocols that drive the greatest user benefits, and experiment with prototypes to drive cutting-edge innovation. Research from Therabody Labs helps to optimize the product development and education process. The scientific work completed internally sets the standards for global external scientific research collaborations.

Therabody Collaborates with Premier Third-Party Research Partners

Based on the work completed in Therabody Labs, Therabody scientists then partner with premier third-party research institutions to further validate product benefits. Outcomes from external research collaborations also allow Therabody to publish scientific papers and presentations. Working with global research partners ensures that all Therabody products are thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy.

As Therabody expands its product offerings and pursues new technologies, its research collaborations with universities, hospitals, and private facilities around the globe are essential, allowing Therabody to conduct scientific research to validate product benefits and better educate users on how to get the most out of every product.

Scientific Research Shows: Theragun Works

Over the last six years, Therabody has collaborated with research partners worldwide to drive consistent innovation and learning of the Theragun device. Three peer-reviewed studies describing the benefits of Theragun have been published, the gold standard of scientific research, and several more are underway.

Scientific research results on Theragun have also been presented at scientific meetings and conventions. Additionally, Master’s and PhD students have conducted scientific research on Theragun under the supervision of their professors during their Master’s or PhD dissertations.

Therabody has worked with scientists across multiple research types to describe the efficacy of Theragun. Here are some of the scientific research results that show Theragun works.

Theragun’s Percussive Therapy Improves Sleep Outcomes by Up to 87%

While Theragun is best known for its benefits in supporting an athlete’s warmup and recovery, following anecdotal feedback from customers, Therabody’s scientists also wanted to understand how percussive therapy could improve an outcome that impacts every human alive, regardless of their athletic status: sleep.

In speaking with Theragun users, Therabody scientists heard a common anecdotal theme—when used before bed, Theragun helped to improve sleep quality. In fact, over 50 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, and at least 9 million Americans use prescription sleep aids. [1, 2] So, with so many Americans suffering from sleep disorders, can percussive therapy naturally alter the body’s rhythms and processes to improve sleep without pharmacological intervention? Researchers set out to scientifically answer the question.

Therabody scientists collaborated with Biostrap Labs, a wearable and health tech company, to investigate this claim. The study included 73 healthy 18–40-year-olds who exercised a minimum of three times a week for 30 or more minutes. This five-week study began with two weeks of sleep and recovery discovery to understand how subjects performed their normal routine and lifestyle. For the next two weeks, study participants followed a Theragun sleep routine on the Therabody app. The fifth and final week was a washout period to understand if the two weeks of Theragun sleep routine had longer-lasting effects.

Here’s what the study found:

  • Sleep latency, the time it takes to fall asleep, decreased by 87% compared to baseline, equating to falling asleep, on average, over four minutes quicker.
  • Sleep efficiency, the time spent asleep compared to the total time spent in bed, increased by 70%.
  • 56% of participants improved their overall sleep score, including sleep stages, sleep disturbances, and more.
  • Heart rate variability, a recovery marker, improved by 25% after a single percussive session.
  • Overall recovery scores, which include sleep scores, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and more, improved by 67% across all participants.
  • When asked about pain and soreness, participants self-reported a 9% and 5% reduction in both, respectively.

2 Minutes of Theragun Has Equivalent Recovery Benefits as a 15-minute Massage

Scientists in Malaga, Spain, published the study, Comparison of Interventional Strategies to Improve Recovery after Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Fatigue. [3] Forty young, healthy adults who regularly strength train were recruited to participate in the study. The study aimed to compare the efficacy of different recovery modalities on the time it takes muscles to recover from muscle damage following exercise. The recovery modalities included in the study were Theragun G3 Pro, mechanical vibration, foam rolling, and manual massage.

Researchers found that all recovery modalities significantly improved the time it took muscles to recover from exercise. Theragun percussive therapy was particularly effective and efficient at improving muscle tissue after muscle-damaging exercise. A Theragun percussive therapy treatment duration of 2 minutes was as effective for recovery as 15 minutes of manual therapy, making it a more efficient recovery solution. Thergan was also more efficient than foam rolling and mechanical vibration recovery tactics.

Theragun Delays Fatigue and Improves Muscular Performance

The same scientists in Malaga, Spain, also published the study, Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment on Movement Velocity during Resistance Training. [4]This study examined the effect of Theragun percussive therapy using a Theragun G3 Pro on fatigue and performance experienced during bench press sets in 24 healthy young subjects.

Theragun percussive therapy was applied to both chest (pectoralis) muscles in between sets of bench presses and compared to a control group who did not receive percussive therapy. Subjects in the Theragun percussive therapy group had delayed fatigue, aiding in the overall performance of the repetitions completed. Those who received Theragun percussive therapy in between sets performed a significantly greater number of repetitions compared to the control group, improving muscular endurance performance. This study provides further evidence supporting the benefits of using a Theragun before, during, and after physical activity.

Theragun Improves Range of Motion Without Sacrificing Performance

Scientists led by Assistant Professor Dr. Kevin Valenzuela at the University of California State Long Beach published a study on Theragun percussive therapy, The Biomechanical Effects of Percussive Therapy Treatment on Jump Performance. [5] Researchers studied the impact of Theragun percussive therapy on three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics, the changes in movement, in 26 young, healthy adults who performed different jumping movements.

The study found that Theragun percussive therapy increased range of motion, which has the potential to decrease the risk of injury in athletes who perform these types of jumping movements in their sport. Athletes who used Theragun percussive therapy prior to physical activity did not encounter any adverse effects on performance (for example, loss of power or strength).

Systematic Research Review Finds Percussive Therapy Improves Performance Measures

A 2023 systematic review, The Effect Of Percussive Therapy On Musculoskeletal Performance And Experiences Of Pain: A Systematic Literature Review, details the performance benefits of percussive therapy. [6] A systematic review is a rigorous and structured research method to synthesize and evaluate all relevant existing studies and evidence for a specific research question. The goal is to provide an unbiased and comprehensive summary of the available evidence.

While not specifically exclusive to Theragun percussive therapy, this review provides insight into the modality of percussion therapy itself. The scientists at The Open University in the UK concluded that massage guns like the Theragun that deliver percussive therapy can help improve acute muscle strength, including explosive muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce experiences of musculoskeletal pain.

Results From Theragun’s Scientific Research Presentations

Theragun research findings have been presented at prestigious, leading scientific conferences worldwide. Here is an inside look at some of the research presentations featuring Theraguns.

Theragun Improves Mobility and Range of Motion

Cal Poly Pomona’s Human Performance Lab conducted a scientific study using Theragun and found that a single Theragun treatment improved lower body mobility. [7] These research findings were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference. In this study, 24 subjects received a single 5-minute Theragun percussive therapy treatment on the hamstring of their dominant limb. This protocol was then repeated on the quadricep and knee. The researchers found that a single 5-minute percussive therapy treatment significantly improved hip flexion range of motion (ROM) while the control condition elicited no change. Knee flexion ROM also increased significantly following percussive therapy, with no change detected in the control group.

Theragun Improves Skeletal Muscle Blood Flow

Cal Poly Pomona’s Human Performance Labexamined the hemodynamic effect of treatment with the Theragun G3 Pro device and presented findings at the ACSM conference. [8] Researchers found that a single 5-minute Theragun percussive therapy treatment acutely impacted skeletal muscle hemodynamics. Muscle oxygen saturation levels improved up to 10 minutes post-treatment, indicating increased muscle blood volume and muscle oxygen consumption. Using Theragun percussive therapy as a warm-up for physical activity is scientifically backed to help prepare muscles to perform optimally and also potentially reduce the soreness experienced afterward. [9]

Theragun Outperformed Hypervolt  to Have a Longer-Lasting Effect on Blood Flow Measures

A study from The University of Southern California’s Clinical Research Exercise Center compared the impact of a Theragun G2 Pro treatment to a Hyperice Hypervolt treatment and presented findings at ACSM. [10]

In this study, the participant’s quadricep muscles received treatment simultaneously for two minutes. Researchers used a thermal camera as an indirect measure of blood flow and a bioelectrical impedance device to evaluate the fluid distribution change. Blood flow changes were measured continuously from baseline to 12 minutes post-treatment. Both Theragun and Hypervolt created a delayed blood flow response. This is favorable, as improved blood flow allows nutrient-rich blood to flow to muscles, which improves post-workout recovery. However, Theragun yielded a larger, longer-lasting effect than Hypervolt. Circulation and the ability to increase blood flow is one of the main mechanisms for the benefits percussive therapy delivers; therefore, developing a product that has larger and longer-lasting effects can be of key benefit.

The research group repeatedly measured changes from baseline and over the 12 minutes post-treatment. They found that both the Theragun and Hypervolt created a delayed blood flow response; however, the Theragun has a larger, longer-lasting effect. Researchers hypothesize that Theragun’s superior benefit is due to how its amplitude, frequency, and torque deliver percussive therapy.

Preliminary Findings From New Theragun Study

The Therabody science team will publish findings from ongoing scientific research in the coming months. Most notably, The University of Northampton has had a paper accepted for publication in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, The Acute Effects Of Theragun Percussive Therapy On Viscoelastic Tissue Dynamics And Hamstring Range Of Motion. Additionally, a University of Nottingham student presented at a conference on an upcoming publication on the effects of Theragun on recovery in swimmers.

Therabody Labs scientists continue to evaluate new ways to innovate on the modality of Theragun percussive therapy, conducting scientific studies on current and new versions of the product. For example, a current study investigates the impact of Theragun for varying treatment durations on a wide range of metrics. One key study endpoint is muscle oxygenation, which is a measure of how much oxygen has been transported in the blood and delivered to the muscle. Oxygen is critical in helping muscle cells produce the energy needed for both activity and recovery.

Therabody scientists recruited a group of 11 healthy young adults from a convenience sample. In the lab, participants first rested for five minutes to ensure no prior movement affected the study results. Then, their muscle oxygenation was measured for five minutes pre-treatment using a Moxy Muscle Oxygen Monitor. Participants then received one of four Theragun G5 Pro treatment durations (30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 120 seconds) to their thigh, more specifically, the rectus femoris muscle in the quadricep. After the Theragun percussive therapy treatment, muscle oxygenation was measured for five minutes. These same participants repeated this protocol four times, and each time, they received percussive therapy for a different length of time. Significant improvements in pre and post-muscle oxygenation were observed at each duration of the percussive therapy intervention. Notably, the 120-second percussive therapy treatment resulted in an average increase of 122% in muscle oxygenation in comparison to resting baseline values.

Therabody Labs looks forward to publishing findings from this study in detail, along with other work in the near future.

Key Takeaways

Therabody is committed to leading the recovery tech space by taking a science-first approach to innovation. To Therabody, this means continuing to deliver scientific research at all levels, from conducting internal research and development testing to publishing scientific manuscripts. As Therabody products continue to evolve, you can expect Therabody to advance the wellness technology field in delivering innovative and scientifically proven technology. 


  1. 2003 National Sleep Disorders Research Plan. (2003). Sleep, 26(3), 253–257.
  2. Chong, Y., Fryer, C. D., & Gu, Q. (2013). Prescription sleep aid use among adults: United States, 2005-2010. NCHS data brief, (127), 1–8.
  3. García-Sillero, M., Benítez-Porres, J., García-Romero, J., Bonilla, D. A., Petro, J. L., & Vargas-Molina, S. (2021). Comparison of interventional strategies to improve recovery after eccentric exercise-induced muscle fatigue. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 647.
  4. García-Sillero, M., Jurado-Castro, J. M., Benítez-Porres, J., & Vargas-Molina, S. (2021). Acute effects of a percussive massage treatment on movement velocity during resistance training. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(15), 7726.
  5. Alvarado, F., Valenzuela, K. A., Finn, A., Avila, E. L., Crussemeyer, J. A., & Nakajima, M. (2022). The Biomechanical Effects of Percussive Therapy Treatment on Jump Performance. International journal of exercise science, 15(1), 994–1006.
  6. Sams, L., Langdown, B. L., Simons, J., & Vseteckova, J. (2023). The Effect Of Percussive Therapy On Musculoskeletal Performance And Experiences Of Pain: A Systematic Literature Review. International journal of sports physical therapy, 18(2), 309–327.
  7. Guzman, S., Blanchet, D. A., Cook, L., Herrera, S., Mccauley, M., Pritchard, W., & Jo, E. (2020, June). The Effects of a Single Percussive Therapy Application on Active Lower Body Range of Motion [Poster session]. ACSM.
  8. Blanchet, D. A., Guzman, S., Cook, L., Herrera, S., Mccauley, M., Pritchard, W., & Jo, E. (2020, June). Acute Skeletal Muscle Hemodynamic Response to a Single Percussive Therapy Application [Poster session]. ACSM.
  9. Lu, X., Wang, Y., Lu, J., You, Y., Zhang, L., Zhu, D., Yao, F. (2018) Does vibration benefit delayed-onset muscle soreness?: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Journal of International Medical Research. 47(1):3-18.
  10. Macaulay, T. R., Ramirez, J. E., Choi, J., Jones, M., & Schroeder, E. T. (2019, June). Blood Flow Response and Changes in Fluid Distributions after Percussive Massage Therapy [Poster session]. ACSM.