Here's what happened: While on vacation with extended family, my brother-in-law, a personal trainer, showed off his favorite new tool for easing sore muscles. I'd never seen anything like it, nor heard of the brand: Theragun. It looked like a cross between an electric hand-mixer and a cordless drill -- and it worked like a massage therapist that never gets tired.
Because I have a chronic condition involving pelvic muscles, and because trying to manually massage various trigger points leads to very sore hands, I started investigating these things immediately. Ouch, sore wallet ahead: Theraguns range from $249 to $599.
Thankfully, my research revealed many similar "percussive massagers" priced lower. A lot of them were around $200, but I found one for $160 -- and thought I'd scored a pretty great deal.
Read more: 6 massage guns that cost less than the $600 Theragun
Sigh. That was barely two months ago. Now there are tons more copycats, and prices have plummeted. Case in point: The Laiwussy (oy) Muscle Massage Gun is $79.20 when you clip the on-page 8%-off coupon. Regular price: $85. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
If that one sells out, here's a virtually identical one from Lansi for $79.99. Bottom line: There are now lots of these priced in the $80-$90 range. I'm basically here to introduce you to the product category as a whole.
You'll note that many of these look more like a gun than the actual Theragun, which is more triangular, but the functionality is effectively the same. It has three speeds and comes with four interchangeable massage heads. And it's cordless, able to run for a couple hours before needing recharging.
You also get a carrying case so you can tote the gun wherever you need it -- like, say, the gym, to relieve sore muscles right after a workout. (The aforementioned Lansi doesn't include a case, though it comes with six heads instead of four.)
It looks virtually identical to the one I bought, so I have to assume it works just as well. For me, this thing has been genuinely helpful, and in fact I used it just yesterday when I woke up with a nasty pain in my shoulder. Your mileage may vary, of course, and obviously a trained massage therapist is always going to be vastly superior to any machine.
Still, if you often get knots that need to be worked out, or you're finding that foam rollers aren't getting the post-workout job done (I've never liked those), something like this is worth a look -- especially considering how affordable they are now.
Oh, quick word about the reviews: This one has four, and they're all bogus, according to Fakespot and ReviewMeta. Many others have no reviews at all. As I said, this is a fairly new category, with lots of new copycats hitting the market. If you want a brand name with reliable reviews, be prepared to spend a lot more.
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