AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

 

There is a new product that has been trending in the world of physical therapy right now. Videos are going round of people pounding their muscles with powerful massagers. So what is it exactly? To be specific, these are called percussive therapy devices. In this episode, Sean Entin brings over Dr. Jason Wersland, the founder and inventor of Theragun—the fitness recovery go-to handheld percussive therapy device for many professional athletes and Hollywood’s most famous alike. Together, they discuss the properties and benefits of the device and how it started to make its way to physical therapy. Dr. Wersland then talks about how he came up with his own product, the event that inspired its creation, and how it eventually became the gold standard in handheld percussive treatment. Dive into this great conversation and discover for yourself the ways this product can help you as well as the importance of chiropractic in our lives.

Listen to the podcast here:

Theragun: How Percussive Therapy Devices Help You Take Control Of Your Life With Dr. Jason Wersland

Welcome to the show, Dr. Jason. How are you doing? 

I feel awesome. Thanks for being here.

Thank you for having us. Will you let our audience know who you are and what you do?

I’m the Creator and Founder of Theragun. We don’t warehouse anything out of here. It’s all the company and thanks for being here.

For anyone who hasn’t seen these Theraguns, I saw one on the sideline for NFL. They’re all around the world now. How would you describe what Theragun is to someone who’s never seen it or heard of it? 

It’s a handheld percussive therapy device. I know that percussive therapy is a new word. It’s a little bit the vibration products that people see on the market. Vibration is more of global experience. It’s something a lot larger part of your body will feel. Percussive therapy is more of local experience and it has a larger amplitude. It’s like the massagers for the layperson but the first thing you’re going to notice is it’s a lot more powerful. That’s the word that people use. I’ve created twelve different versions and the one that’s on the market is the twelfth version. It’s our best so far because I’ve learned something every time. The claim to fame is their balance, ergonomics, the construction, our education that goes along with it so that people understand how to use it. That’s my passion. I don’t believe in just selling the product because you’re not even getting half the value if you’re buying something, but it’s being able to buy it and understand how to use it. I spent a lot of my time on education and understanding how to use this product. It is an amazing product. It’s instinctive a little bit, but once you understand the ecosystem that we’ve built around it, then it’s much more than just a product.

If you're not even getting half the value of a product, then you're just buying something. Click To Tweet

To me, getting it right out of the box when Sean got one over at our HQ in his house, it’s so simple, beautiful and easy to use. If you don’t have any background in, “Where should I stick this thing?” you can start playing around with it. At its very base, it feels amazing. It sounds like you guys are going to step further on the education side and bringing to Theragun something where you can use this and it feels good, but here’s what you can do to start working with injuries you might have and how to put it in specific spots to work through that. Is that where you guys are headed?

Yes. There are secrets about where to use it, how long to use it, but it has to do with what your outcome is. When we’re working on Sean, there are specific things that I’m doing because I know what I want on the other side. It’s just understanding. You could take a feather and run it on your arm and it feels amazing. Anything that touches your skin in a rapid movement like that product feels good. Are there therapeutic effects and are you getting to the end goal of what you’re looking for? That’s what we help people navigate through is, “This is amazing. What are all these attachments? How do I use it? Where do I put it?” From my mom to LeBron James, there are specific ways to be able to use it to facilitate more movement in your life. You and I talked about movement.

You designed it based on your knowledge of who you are, your genetic makeup of what you do. You’re a chiropractor. Chiropractors, to me, are the world’s renowned primary caregivers of people like myself who suffered a stroke, who suffered a brain injury. You’ve built this thing because of your background. Not just some other average layman out there going, “This feels good.” Tell us your ‘why’ of building it too. Why did you build a Theragun? 

I was in a motorcycle accident in 2007. I moved to LA, went to school, sacrificed a lot to be away from my kids, and got in a motorcycle accident in my last quarter of school. I suffered from what a lot of people suffer from. I had pain in my shoulder and I had a 9-millimeter disc bulge, which quite frankly sitting here talking about this, compared to you, is not that big of a deal.

It’s all good stories. It all starts with pain. As we all know, the pain will reside and builds people who get depressed, angry, and upset. They find the anxiety pills. The Theragun, I’ve been with it and it’s taken my pain from a 10 or 11 down to 3 or 4, which is doable. I get spasms. I fell asleep with it next to me in my bed. I woke up with the Theragun. It just doesn’t turn on. It’s the fact that it’s so easy, I’m one-handed still and I can then use it. I want to thank you so much for building this thing because it’s saving my life. 

What was your experience, Sean, with 20 to 30 minutes of the doctor working on you?

In years, it’s amazing. I’ve got more movement down or more openings I would say. I can understand when he’s tapping. There were two points on my body that tightened bad and hurt like crazy. He knew instinctually what to do and how to apply. Usually, it’s just hands and hands are good but this percussion, times it by 1,000. It’s like getting a massage in twenty minutes that would normally take two hours to tissue massage. 

Do you want to describe that, Dr. Jason? I heard you while you were working and talking about how depending on where you’re putting the Theragun, it’s working on different tissues and if you work on different tissues, you get more relief. How does that work?

AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

Percussive Therapy Devices: If you commit to meditation and pursue it long enough that you question what’s real and what’s not real, then you start experiencing things.

 

Back to what we were saying, it’s being able to understand the effect, what’s happening physiologically and neurologically, then using that on my favor. Looking at him, there are some things that I do and I’m analyzing. It’s like the hair scrunchies where they weld them together. If you pull around on that, you always see where that is. I’m looking for those areas in his body of immobile areas that seem tight. A lot of times, as he said, I had to feel what was happening. I wanted to see some movements. When I get in there and I start working on it, it’s working on specific tissue. We’re calling it the Golgi tendon organ. As we research more, I believe we’ll find out more but right now, that’s what I’m working on. The Golgi tendon sits at the end of a muscle where it joins to the joint or the bone, and that’s where we feel our tension. That’s where the tension builds up.

We think it’s in our muscles, but it’s not. In my opinion, the muscles have a lot of blood flow. They’re meant to move, flex and be mobile. The joints and the white tissue in our bodies are supposed to keep things together. The body is splinting right now for you as it’s protecting itself. The spasms come from the muscles getting pulled. Now the spasms are in the muscle side. What I want to do is calm the spasms, so I’m working in the red tissue, relaxing that area, increasing blood flow. When there’s warmth in there, the body enjoys that. I go to the white area, the white tissue where it’s near the joints. You felt that when I was right up by your shoulder. I was getting a lot of movement out of there. It’s being able to work with the body.

I stress that a lot. It’s not about me overpowering anything. It’s not about me inflicting my will. It’s working with him. Do you remember I asked several times, “Are you okay? Talk to me. Tell me what’s happening,” because I need that feedback as well. It’s important that I understand where are good pain and bad pain and where’s that threshold. He understands and I can tell by him having on the table that there’s, “I can tolerate. Okay, stop.” It’s almost I’m hitting that threshold. It’s a real partnership. I get more with clients who are willing to let us work together than it is me coming in and taking power over their bodies. It’s not how I work. 

That’s essential because it is in my experience in communication, it’s a relationship with yourself, but also with whoever’s helping you work on yourself. The doctor can’t experience what’s going on in your body. He relies on you too, “This works, this doesn’t work.” He’s feeling through it.

There’s an interesting thing that happens too. I felt that with him. It’s not something that I talk about a lot, but it’s his willingness to let me in allows me to feel what’s happening from him on an energy level. I can feel his pain. It comes hot to me. I also feel at peace when it’s a good thing. I don’t know how to explain it. 

It’s brilliant what you said. We get energy work. It’s what this show’s all about.

Are you saying that for someone you’re working on, they have to be open and receptive or you’re not going to be able to get as much out of it? 

He’s working in the mediums. He’s working with the chakras. He’s working the points on me, which are not just the physical parts but they’re the next side, and they’re almost the metaphysical side. He’s seen my body in a different plane.

If you notice, I close my eyes a lot. These are my eyes. He may say, “It’s here and it’s here,” but that’s what’s manifesting to him. I’ve got to validate that. It’s my way of validating. It’s a process. It’s visual and it’s feeling. Is he letting me in? I’m always checking myself too, “Is this accurate? Am I on with what’s happening?” I am a doctor. There are certain things that I know, “That’s enough.” Even though I’m sure he would go, “No, get going.” There are certain times where I’m like, “That’s enough. It’s not good to push it further.” You guys understand it’s a delicate balance. It’s a dance, art, vibe, and feel. I’m only as effective as the person I’m working with will let me be.

That’s so important because we speak to an incredible amount of people who are working through trauma, who are trying to figure it out. It’s important to note that it’s as much Sean coming to the table with the openness, readiness, and willingness that he always comes to the table, with as much as it is the person who’s doing the work. If both parties come together, you get a lot more out of a session.

There’s something that happens and this will make sense to you. You’ve probably experienced this. I’m no different or more special than anyone out there. I’ve had a lot of luck that’s gotten the product made, people know who I am. Him seeking me out, already I know he’s open to what’s going to happen.

I fought to see you. I was going to email and I was talking to everyone. I was like, “I’m going to find this guy now.” Finally, when this thing arrived at my house, it was like the Messiah was coming. It was amazing. I do have a question for you. The chiropractic world, what made you become a chiropractor? What it is and why?

One of my father’s best friends, as I was growing up, is a chiropractor. I don’t remember ever not having that be part of something we talked about. My parents’ family are natural, herbal. They grew up on a farm, so there’s a lot of that that was already built inside of me. My neighbor when I was growing up was the chiropractor for the Utah Jazz. I loved the way he was with people and his knowledge of the body. I got so much more out of him that I did these rigid medical providers. I’m putting words now that I didn’t understand then, but at the time, it was rigid. I tweaked an ankle or something. I went and saw a physical therapist. I went right back and saw Craig. Craig fixed it and I was playing the next day. That always was there. When I had an opportunity to choose to do something, I realized that I’m going to be limited in what I do if I do anything different than that. It was a conscious choice to be able to take that. I felt like that would launch me in to do things that I wanted to do. It’s a good base foundation. You don’t get that in the physical therapy world or the medical world. 

If you ask me what a chiropractor does, I’d be like, “That guy who cracks spine or something.” I ended up going up to Chiropractic Rocks, which is Dr. Adam Del Torto’s conference. What I got to see and realize with a good number of chiropractors, maybe not all of them, they’re looking at the body on a holistic level. They’re looking at how the energy and the communication is flowing through the nervous system and the brain. I’m more open-minded, more curious, and more creative approach to working with the body, which I didn’t know about chiropractors before, but was so glad to go talk to a bunch of them and learn. In your words, what is chiropractic to you?

Chiropractic is seeing the body as a whole from the physiological to the neurological and even the energetic. Click To Tweet

The word chiropractic is ‘chiro’ is hand and ‘practic’ is practicing, so you’re using your hands. There are a lot of controversies about how it started, the origins, and those sorts of things. To me, seeing the body as a whole from the physiological, neurological to energetic is what I’m looking at. When I’m working on someone, sometimes it’s not about the adjustment. Chiropractors, in general, have a bad rap because of how it started. You still have these guys out there saying they can cure deafness and all these things. Quite honestly, a lot of times, these things are physical ailments. My son that you met has chronic ear infections and it’s a structural issue. It’s not a bacteria.

They’ve never found a bacteria that cause ear infections. It’s something getting clogged out. If a river stops running, mold builds. It’s the same type of thing. Chiropractic allows you to apply those outside thoughts. Quite frankly, it’s a lot of practicality. It’s common sense. If someone has a stomach ache, it’s not magic. There’s not anything crazy happening in there. Their intestines may be not working or they got off in antibiotics, so they don’t have the machine in there “that’s making that.” The fun thing for chiropractors is you can make it what you want. What you’ll find is a lot of chiropractors get to choose their path. 

Doctor, I will say this to you too and you’ll understand this. The chiropractic world finds that person to become the chiropractor. It found you and you merged with it.

I’m an emotional guy. As you’re sitting here talking about things, I get a little choked up because this is what I wanted to do but I’m a conduit. 

You’re a messenger now, which is gorgeous. I’m the same way, doctor. I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was supposed to be walking since I got away from the traditional medicine and found you and you guys found me. I’m like, “I’m waking up again.” They all think my brain is dead. There are blank spots in here.

What do you mean when you say you’re a conduit? 

The things that have transpired in my life aren’t things that I could have created. That’s profound in my life. It’s humbling. I find myself with you. I find myself with people that I never in a million years would have met. I know it manifest to me. It’s not me. It’s something that’s coming through me. I’ll be gone one day and someone else will take that role.

I didn’t ever think I’d meet Sean and here we are. I used to work at Bulletproof labs. I was one of the lead trainers there and helped them open up in Santa Monica.

He’s the original biohacker under Dave Asprey.

I met Dave. We had some good experiences. That’s cool. 

My manager comes up to me and she’s like, “We’ve got someone coming in with CBS.” We were doing a lot of publicity at that time, so we had outside magazine coming in. I was like, “Okay.” I’m taking them on a tour, giving them some treatments or whatever and in walked, Sean. He walks in and I’m doing an initial consultation. He’s like, “I’m paralyzed on the left side.” I said, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?”

AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

Percussive Therapy Devices: Chiropractic is about simplicity and refining. It is about getting back to the body’s innate intelligence to heal.

 

I told him I wanted to do a Spartan race and he says, “When you’re done with me, you’ll do a Spartan race.” That’s all I needed to hear. From there, I believed in his mindset and we went.

He met me right after I spent a month in a meditation chamber. By the time I came out of the meditation chamber, coming from my mindset was radically different than it was a month before. In my experience, you experience things in meditation if you commit to it and you pursue it long enough that makes you question what’s real and what’s not real. He comes in, I spent a month meditating and I was like, “Honestly, at this point, you don’t need most of what’s here. You need to start working through your mindset and on simple things.” More than that, getting back to my whole message at this point is getting back to simplicity.

You taught yoga and you taught people to meditate. He took me on this ride of what was that indoor pool? 

You mean the float lab? I took him to one of those one days. At the end of the day, I came to this place in my life of realizing simplicity and refining. That’s why I love chiropractic because it’s about getting back to the body’s innate intelligence to heal. That’s been forgotten. We’ve oftentimes distracted ourselves from what we’re tapping into. What you’re tapping into with what you do, which is using this percussion to free up the energy of the body to do what it’s biologically designed to do. This is from Dr. Joe Dispenza, “The consciousness that created the body can heal the body.”

I’m not talking about cerebral palsy and autoimmune disease and things like that, but most of what we experience is musculoskeletal and most of what we experienced is because we’re being idiots. We’re doing something dumb on a repetitive basis that we don’t know. It’s suddenly like, “What happened to my body?” Your body is not supposed to do that. Stop doing that. A lot of times when I come in and I start analyzing someone, I can tell you whether you’re a mom, a baseball player, a golfer, or a runner. You can see, the body doesn’t lie. I love what you’re saying. There’s so much lack of knowledge about our basic movements and what we do in a day. Is it natural to sit there, hold your phone in both hands, and stick your chin in your chest? That’s not natural. My grandpa wasn’t doing that, but now everyone does and that’s not a big deal. Those things are the things that I say they’re obvious. Of course, you’re having pain. You’re not supposed to stick your chin in your chest for three hours a day. 

It’s simple things like lifting your head up, not spending as much time looking like that. It sounds so simple and mundane, but like you’re saying, it’s that repetitive over time builds and builds until you have this impediment in the body.

Back to what I was saying, it is common sense.

The Theragun is common sense. If I had to look at it from my example, it’s just common sense. It’s simplicity at its simplest form. Back to your Theragun, what are the plans for it? Where do you want to take this company?

When I met my business partner, he said, “What’s your goal?” I said, “I want everyone in the world to have one of these.” That’s a crazy goal. I look at what we’re doing. We’re positioning ourselves for it to be available to as many people in the world as we can. What does that lead to? I don’t know what it is but it leads to something bigger. One of the things that I love in its essence is people learning about their bodies, taking control of their bodies, understanding their bodies. Sean is in a different situation and he has a different issue. It changes the way he has to learn about his body. It’s still the same concept. 

Independence is what I thought for. To become independent again, be able to drive, walk, feed myself, use the bathroom facilities, treat myself and that’s what this is all about. Theragun for me is I don’t need someone else to apply the pressure or apply their hands or to manipulate my body. I can do it now.

When I got injured, I started using it in 2008. I used it for about six months and got myself to the point where I was 100%. I wasn’t planning to sell the product. I’d made something in my house, from my garage, and I used it and I put it away. I had a patient come in, the patient had been in a head-on bus collision. He had a 6-millimeter disc bulge on the left side of his body and he’s dealing with the same thing I had. It started to dawn on me, “I wonder if this would work on him,” and it did. The concept that I needed him to understand is, “I only get you for a half an hour, maybe an hour a day. That’s 23 hours of the rest of your day, you’re going to go out and jack your body up. If you’re suffering from pain, that’s only going to make it worse.”

I needed something to empower him to take control of those 23 hours psychologically as much physically. When he came back to see me, he came in the same state of mind that Sean did when he came in, “I can’t wait to be here. I’m excited about some movement. I’m excited about some progression.” If he didn’t have that empowerment, the next time he came into my office would be on his last leg. If you think about that, that is what our brand is all about. It’s about empowering you to take control of that part of your life where you’re not with your trainer, massage therapist, therapist, PT, or whatever that is, you slowly can understand this vessel that we walk around in and how to handle it.

That’s so well-said and anyone reading would benefit from what the doctor said because my personal belief is understanding yourself is the only task you’ve been given.

Isn’t there a saying that a wise man knows himself or something? 

In your experience, you’ve been at this for a while, what is the process you think for helping people to begin the process of learning about themselves?

Unfortunately, we’re humans, and pain is a good motivator. If you’re not in pain, you’re not experiencing some disease, then you’re not motivated to figure it out. That’s a motivator. People need to take a minute and figure out what they’re doing from the shoes they wear to the bed they sleep in, to the car they drive, how they walk and how they carry their bags. I want to blow my brains out. When I walk around in New York, I see all these women walking around with 9,000 pounds of the bag on one side of their body. To answer your question, it’s our duty especially as people that understand these movement patterns and these ways that people have of causing imbalances in their body. It’s our duty to share that, to educate and help them understand why they’re feeling the things they’re feeling, “Why do I get shin splints all the time?” “I don’t know, it’s not my body,” but I have to be able to give them the nuggets that help them discern and learn what that’s about. 

I wish, if we could, we’d take all of the prescription advertisements off of TV and replace them with these learn your body classes. I have older patients that come in that I used to see that don’t know where their nose is if their eyes are closed. That’s a problem. Their proprioception or where they are in space is lost. If you could get an 80-year-old man to skateboard, he’s going to live for another 10 or 20 years because you’re activating these parts of your nervous system that keep you alive. It slowly dies and we’re not activating our nervous systems enough. One of the things that I love about Theragun is it does that. You have areas of your body that aren’t active because you can’t do that. This creates heat, blood flow, awareness, and proprioception. Suddenly now, you’re getting this incoming information to your brain that allows the outgoing information to be more precise.

Correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t know the answer to this, but for someone with a stroke, by getting stimulation on that side, even if they can’t feel it, the brain is receiving that information and is able to start rewiring the neuroplasticity, to start rewiring the connections that would help you feel that left side.

That’s such a great way to say it. Our body is mapped out in our brain. I don’t know how many people know this or don’t know this. When I say it, they’re like, “Really?” If you close that or choke that area off, I could open a brain and I could make your toe move. That’s not that crazy if you think about it. When you use something on an area of your body that hasn’t been used, you’re waking that part up in your brain and the brain needs to figure that out. It’s the way we’re wired. We have dreams and nightmares because the brain is trying to conclude these stories that we’re building throughout our lives in a day. It’s the same concept as the body.

If I don’t use my arm and I put it in a sling, after a while, my arms going to atrophy. I’m not going to an appropriate reception. I’m not going to feel it because the body recognizes, “I’m not using it. I’m going to shut it down.” We’re trying to do the opposite with Sean or anyone else for that matter, diabetic neuropathies all the way up to a pole vaulter. He needs to understand exactly where he’s putting that stick. There are ways to stimulate that for him. It doesn’t get to a point and it stops.

I love it because part of what I do is creating a whole program around what I call foundational health, which is mastering the basics to unlock your natural human potential.

What I will make one-note of is the doctors, the MDs said my brain is dead and that there are black spots in there. They said there’s brain damage. Chiropractors believe it’s dormant and you can wake it up or reprogram it. 

Unless you took a hot stick or hot wire and went in there and burned it, it’s still awake. There’s still plasticity in there. I’ve always believed that. It does sometimes require more. You’re never done making your bed or you never are done eating. That’s part of what you do every day.

Understanding yourself is the only task you've been given on this earth. Click To Tweet

The body is going to regenerate itself every seven years, right? 

It is sooner than that. Your kidney regenerates every 90 days. There are certain parts of your body that are fast. If you think about it, why the kidneys? The kidneys are getting rid of the toxins. They better be good. The people that have kidney problems, they’re not healthy and regenerating.

We’re talking about the importance of having a movement practice. It doesn’t matter what it is, do something you love, do something you enjoy, but it’s what you’re talking about proprioception. It’s about connecting your mind and your body on a regular basis and maintaining that tension. I come from a yoga background, so having some practice like that where you’re consciously trying to put your body in interesting challenging ways because it keeps firing different circuits and it challenges you to keep everything awake and alive.

This isn’t going to be profound, so don’t get too excited. There are cultures in this world that move. I was in Beijing one night, walking through the Olympic Village. There were these 50, 60, 70-year-old people in what look like a checker space and they were all moving. This person was calling out these movements. These people are moving a large range of motions and slow movements. I joined in. I was like, “This is amazing.” Listening to what they’re saying and watching what they move, they were creating this energy around themselves, but they are moving. Their joints are mobile. These 70-year-old ladies are still squatting down. They’re still moving their ankles, hips, and knees. There are cultures in this world that move every day. They get up and do Tai Chi or whatever it is they’re doing. We’d missed that in the Western world.

Have you ever done Tai Chi or Qigong?

Yes, I love it. Not enough that I could tell you or teach you, but anything like that is fascinating to me. They’re moving their hands around and their brain is very well aware of where the ends of their fingers are. You take a middle American, 70 years old, they don’t even know where their feet are. They haven’t been on them for three days, and it’s a terrible culture.

I’ve only done a tiny bit of Tai Chi or Qigong. From what I have experienced is beyond trying to understand where their body is in space, they’re also making it a meditative practice and trying to feel what’s in between your hands. By training that sense, you’re also training yourself in terms of meditation more expansive and more perceptive of not just yourself but also everything that’s around you. 

I’m feeling great and it’s interesting. My body is taking this all in and I’m feeling my left pec for the first time. Something’s going on and my brain is reactivating, talking to it and it’s not spasm. It’s almost like twitching. That’s what’s going on right now.

The twitch is good, right? 

Yes, absolutely.

It’s twitching and it’s got some stuff. I’m thinking of myself going, “I need more.” I need a protocol for me. That’s what I need. 

You guys are working through Theragun to help bring education to people. Is that part of the mission?

AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

Percussive Therapy Devices: It is our duty as chiropractors to educate and help people understand what are causing the imbalances in their body and why they are feeling the things they are feeling.

 

Yeah. We created a licensed massage therapy course that helps massage therapists understand the basics and how to implement it into their practices. On the most fundamental level, it saves their bodies as a therapist. One of the things that I did with the Theragun is I created a balance so that it doesn’t require a lot of leverage from your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. If I’m working on a client, it’s important that we talked about my hands being my eyes. One of the things, when I was creating the product, is I wanted it to be able to amplify what I’m getting and not impede what I’m getting. If you think about my hands and my eyes, and I’m gripping something that’s moving fast and has a motor in it, I’m using that between me and my patient, I had to mitigate as much of that as I could as possible. If you notice with our product that I can balance it on one finger. People see and they watch, they may not understand how profound that is, but that means that I have to hold it like this.

With the amplitude and the torque that it has, it’s creating this and I’m not impeding this information in my hand. That’s the information we share with massage therapists because from the outside looking in, they’re like, “That would be amazing for my client, for their knots.” They don’t understand the thought behind what this really is. It’s an extension of your hand and it doesn’t impede the energy. Massage therapists, myself, there’s energy work and I don’t want to impede that. There’s a lot around the product and having people understand that, what I shared with you, which makes the product worth more value to them than the dollar amount. I’m not about the dollars if you know me. That’s not what I’m here for. 

Seeing what you guys have done and knowing that, it’s whole attention to detail that I wasn’t aware of, but it makes me even more inspired to see how this grows, see how this develops, and see what this can do in terms of helping people heal. That’s incredible. Sean, any final words?

Hold him down and I’m stealing that Theragun. I want to take another one home because you did two of them on me and I got one. That was interesting. Explain the reason behind that because that was a whole different charge from my body. 

The kinetic chain has movement, hinges, and rotations that move together. If I’m working in one area, I’m not affecting the whole chain. With you, what I realized is this bug tries to avoid me. If I’m working in one area, it sneaks to another area and that’s why I’m asking you when we’re doing this, “Do you feel this anywhere else? Is something else happening?” If I can stimulate both of those, and you experienced this, that stimulation was too much for your brain. For someone that hasn’t had a stroke, they can’t articulate that because their threshold is higher, but I’m still hitting these points of contact in a body that I know are movement kinetic patterns. You may have thought it was magic by hitting certain areas on your body, but it’s the same on anyone else. It’s not as manifested. Your shin, that tibia area where I was hitting, that’s a pain point for everyone and it’s dormant unless I start poking around on it.

Your subscap, it’s a pain point for a lot of people but because of the way the pain manifests in your body, they’re articulating it to their practitioner in a different way, “What’s up here doc? It’s on the front side of my shoulder.” Why is it there? Because it’s coming from underneath your shoulder. The reason I used two is I have two hands. If I had three, I’d use three. I can stimulate the body in a more global way but locally on those spots. I’m loading afferent and efferent. Afferent is into the brain and efferent information is out of the brain. The body has these ways of testing both sides. As I’m talking to you, you’re hearing this, that’s afferent, and I’m talking out loud and that’s efferent. Information going out, information coming in. When I load your nervous system with afferent information, when I take that off, your efferent information can run smoother. It’s like plumbers. The water is not going out to the street. Why is it not going out to the street? There’s something clogged there. Sometimes I’ve got to come from the street side to blow that clog out, then I’ve got both ways running smoothly.

Pain is a really good motivator. If you're not in pain, then you're not motivated to figure something out. Click To Tweet

It’s almost reminding the brain that something exists. 

It’s like the brain says, “There it is. I knew it was there. It kept sending stuff down there, but nothing was coming back.” Our bodies are so amazing and the information that we’re receiving and the stimulus we get all day long, we take for granted. Sean, you’re in a different situation and there are things you don’t because you’re super aware of something. This is the easiest way to explain this to you, Sean. We have two sides to our brain. We have 4, 8, and 2. If I’m loading on one side of your body or someone that’s healthy, I’m loading it on both sides of their body, I’m stimulating the entire brain. You experienced some of that. It’s about me finding that balance between how much I’m loading. I had you get up and walk around. I knew that I was flooding your afferent. I needed you to get up and move around, so your brain can adjust to this new efferent flow. When you get up off the table and you’re moving more freely, that’s the information going out. That’s from the house to the street. To be honest with you, I started using two guns on athletes because it was faster. 

It definitely worked. I’m tired right now. Every day of that, it builds up endurance and resistance. People like myself with stroke, with brain injury, I say this to them and I’ll make the statement, it’s no longer an elective, it’s now a requisite. Part of the therapy for stroke or brain injury, I can say that. I earn that. It should be part of everyone’s therapy going forward, especially with what they’ve been through. 

If you’re struggling with some mobility impairment, you’re not getting the body’s natural system engaged, especially systems that require movement to function. This is an easy way to start to get more motion and areas of your body that you can’t necessarily move because you’ve had an injury or a stroke or whatever. It’s able to start flushing that tissue, getting flow, energy, blood, and nutrients back to it to help it heal and progress. That’s a huge part of what it’s able to do for someone like Sean.

It’s stimulating the nervous system. That’s the electricity in our body. Without it, we’re dead. It’s doing all these physiological things to the body, but it also is stimulating the neurological part of your brain. That’s the magic you also feel and you said it.

Do you think because you’re getting so many percussions per second, let’s say, that it’s stimulated a brain in a way where it’s able to rewire itself more quickly?

I was at USC talking to a neurologist about some of this. My philosophy is that the frequency and the amplitude are just enough that it challenges the brain. It’s not too much that the brain shuts off. That’s called noxious stimulation. Vibration is noxious. You can only handle so much of that. With the Theragun because of its amplitude and its frequency, it’s like Charlie Brown missing the football every time. It keeps trying. It’s not too noxious. It does rewire or we have a Theragun reset and I use that word. We have a retail place over in the Century City Mall. It’s called Theragun Reset. It resets the nervous system. That’s why we use that word. 

Thank you for explaining it to that. That’s such an important distinction to make before anyone goes out there and rigs random house appliances to ram into their body. It can be too much for your brain. If you’re overwhelming the system, you’re doing potentially more damage.

AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

Percussive Therapy Devices: If you’re struggling with some sort of mobility impairment, then you’re not getting the body’s natural system engaged, especially the systems that require movement to function.

 

Either more damage or nothing. People will say to me, “I can make one of those.” Go for it and good luck refining it to my point. Being a physician and having all the access to the people that I do that’s facilitated this, that’s why I talked about being a conduit, I couldn’t have done this myself. When people are arrogant enough to say, “I can make one of those,” go for it. You’ll learn that it’s not the right spot. 

I’ve got one more question for you. We ask everyone on the show this because it’s important. What’s your inspiration?

My inspiration is the ability we have as humans to intentionally create our reality in this universe. Theragun is my little project to be able to do that. That rule applies to anyone and everyone. That’s my inspiration.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Theragun yet, where can they find you and connect with you, learn more, and get a gun of their own?

We, humans, have the ability to intentionally create our reality in this universe. Click To Tweet

Theragun.com and Instagram is @Theragun. We have a retail location in Century City Mall. We’re in different retail locations around the country, around the world. Ask your trainer. They’ll know where to get one. 

You guys do a lot with the vets too, which is a good thing.

Thank you very much for coming on the show, doctor. 

Thank you, guys. This has been fun.

Thank you so much.

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About Dr. Jason Wersland

AIH 78 | Percussive Therapy Devices

Dr. Jason Wersland’s Theragun is the fitness recovery go-to device for many professional athletes and Hollywood’s most famous alike. It has become the gold standard in handheld percussive treatment. But it almost didn’t happen. The original Theragun prototype, slapped together from spare parts and tools from its creator’s tool shed, was used once, tossed into a closet, and nearly forgotten.

Like so many before him, Dr. Jason (as he is known to his patients and staff) embraced the mother of invention: necessity. In 2008, Dr. Jason suffered a motorcycle accident that left him with a herniated disc along with chronic, debilitating neck pain. No amount of therapy, adjustment, or exercise provided the long-term relief he needed.

Because of his training as a chiropractor, Dr. Jason knew he needed access to a therapy that could provide him with daily regular deep muscle treatment, something once or twice a week with a therapist would not be able to provide. He grabbed a power tool from his shed modified it with a cushioned head unit that would be safe to use on the human body. In a few days of regular use with this device, he was able to loosen the muscles that caused tension on the spine, successfully treating his herniated disc, numbness, and eliminating the neck pain that came with it.

His mission accomplished, Dr. Jason tossed the makeshift device into his closet and forgot about it. He resumed seeing his patients and performing adjustments in his busy Los Angeles practice. Some time passed when a patient walked through his door with severe neck pain and a herniated disc, nearly identical to his previous injury. After discussing it with this new patient, Dr. Jason felt like the device he made would help. It worked like a charm.

Dr. Jason began to put the unit to work regularly in his practice, working on additional muscle groups that were causing problems for his patients. He continued to improve on the design, creating additional prototypes, each version improving on the ability to deliver the deep and rapid muscle penetration known as percussive therapy. Eventually, this work spilled over to professional athletes he was working with at the time, who found that using the device both improved their performance and sped up their recovery. Word began to spread and people began asking for their own versions of the device.

Dr. Jason continued expanded his research into percussive therapy by recruiting some of the best product developers in the field along with mechanical and industrial engineers from MIT. In 2016, Theragun, Inc was formed. As of 2019, Dr. Jason’s solo chiropractor practice has evolved into a thriving global company that sells the original handheld percussive therapy device in over 50 countries. Theragun is now on its 7th generation flagship device, the G3PRO, with two additional models, the G3 and liv: devices created with simpler options and at much more accessible price points “for everybody.”

The device has become a secret weapon with professional athletes, renowned trainers, and physical therapists worldwide, including a number of NBA teams, NFL players, MLB players, pro golfers, cyclists, and others. Hollywood has embraced the device as well, with celebs like Michael B. Jordan, Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Adam Levine, Kristen Bell, Chelsea Handler, and countless others freely posting their Theragun use on Instagram.

Dr. Jason’s goal with the birth and rapid growth of this percussive therapy revolution is to empower people to reconnect with their bodies. True relief from the aches and pains that come with muscle tension is now in the hands of Theragun users the world over.

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