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Therabody's new menstrual pain relief program harnesses the power of TENS

Therabody's latest venture proves it can fight both muscle aches and painful period cramps, one month at a time.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda Fitness and Nutrition Writer
I'm a Fitness & Nutrition writer for CNET who enjoys reviewing the latest fitness gadgets, testing out activewear and sneakers, as well as debunking wellness myths. On my spare time I enjoy cooking new recipes, going for a scenic run, hitting the weight room, or binge-watching many TV shows at once. I am a former personal trainer and still enjoy learning and brushing up on my training knowledge from time to time. I've had my wellness and lifestyle content published in various online publications such as: Women's Health, Shape, Healthline, Popsugar and more.
Expertise Fitness and Wellness
Giselle Castro-Sloboda
4 min read

Therabody has made a name for itself by way of its popular percussive therapy tools, such as its various Theraguns and its RecoveryAir Compression Boots, which help ease muscle pain and boost workout recovery. Now, the company is tackling period pain.

On Friday Therabody announced that its muscle stimulator, PowerDot 2.0, will have an additional free feature on their app called the PowerDot TENS Period Pain Relief Program. This new addition to Therabody's arsenal of tools is intended to be a quick and natural alternative to menstrual pain relief methods. 

The PowerDot 2.0 Uno or PowerDot 2.0 Duo are available in your choice of red or black electrode pads that send electrical currents across the specific part of the body you are targeting. 

The PowerDot was originally created to speed up muscle recovery in athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. It uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) as well as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to stimulate muscle contraction and sensory nerves at the same time on targeted muscle groups.

These electrical waves simultaneously help with relieving pain by releasing endorphins (natural pain relievers created by the body) and increasing circulation to reduce muscle soreness.

Nicole Strock, PhD, MS, Senior Women's Health and Wellness Advisor to Therabody says that the initial thought to create this program came from a combination of user feedback and scientific evidence. "Customers who said they were already using the PowerDot in this way, reached out to our customer support team to verify that it is safe to use for period pain," she explains. As a result, Therabody developed a program that guides users to the optimal settings and pad placements that help alleviate common areas where people experience pain during menstruation. 


What is TENS and who should use it?

If a TENS unit sounds familiar, it's because it's not new to muscle therapy. TENS is a noninvasive form of pain-relieving therapy. It is a small and lightweight battery-operated device that connects to electrode pads that send low voltage electrical currents across the body to stimulate the nerves and decrease pain. TENS units are available for home use and are also used in physiotherapists offices. This form of therapy is a good drug-free option for treating back pain, migraines, arthritis, sports injuries, menstrual cramps and other ailments. Research has shown that reductions in period pain can occur within 20 minutes of a TENS session. It is overall safe for most people to use, but those who are pregnant, have epilepsy or use pacemakers should consult with their doctor before using. 

Likewise, Strock says the PowerDot is safe for most people to use, but advises against using it simultaneously on the lower abdomen and lower back. "The electrical stimulation simultaneously used on the abdomen and lower back may unintentionally affect nerves that regulate involuntary life functions of internal organs," she explains. 

Therabody hopes that with the success it had with the PowerDot that the new TENS Period Pain Relief Program will aid many people who are affected by menstrual pain that inhibits them from going about their normal daily tasks, including exercising. Studies have found TENS therapy to be more effective than taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for period pain relief.  


How is the PowerDot different from other TENS units?

Therabody isn't the first brand to combat menstrual cramps using the power of TENS technology. Livia created a device intended to relieve period cramps using SmartWave technology. Unlike PowerDot's standard black or red models, the Livia is a small, colorful square device that can be clipped discreetly into your pocket. Due to its portability, users can carry it while they're out and about. Another popular tool on the market is the Noha device by Ovira. The Noha is a wearable small device that uses TENS stimulation, and unlike the PowerDot's 20-hour battery life, it can last up to 12 hours before recharging. The Monthli is another option and is a wireless 2-In-1 Instant Period Pain Relief Device that's wireless and functions like a heating pad with TENS technology. Similar to the PowerDot, it has 20 hours of battery life. However, unlike the other options, it is not FDA approved.

What makes the PowerDot unique for this purpose is that it can cover a larger surface area to maximize pain relief and also has a line of pain relief products that can be used in conjunction with it. "The Theragun is great for back pain relief and may provide low back pain relief during menstruation, while the TheraOne Revive CBD Body Balm and Soothing CBD Massage Oil can be used with the PowerDot to soothe period pain," says Strock. 

Even though the PowerDot has some healthy competition on the market, it is the only one that is part of a smart device that lets you customize the level of intensity based on guided treatments and more via its app. Therabody realizes that everyone experiences menstrual cycle pain differently, and its new program proves that the PowerDot device is versatile enough to target both muscle pain and any discomfort brought on by your period.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.