Are Those Theraguns Actually Sex Toys?
If something has a battery and buzzes, it’s not an outrageous leap to think folks are using it to make their bathing suit areas light up like the 4th of July sky.
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I aged a full year in about 30 seconds this fall. An acquaintance asked me my age, and I responded without even thinking. 37, I said. “Cool, me too. ’85 babies,” he told me. Well, fuck. Maybe it’s because I’m a liberal arts major and math is tricky, perhaps I just forgot, or maybe I’m an idiot. I was born in 1984. I am 38, which sounds older than I feel, at least most of the time.
Is 38 old? I don’t think so. But also, yes. How else can I explain my excitement when I find a parking spot close to the restaurant, my groans when I sit down, and my groans when I stand up, drinking tea? Don’t get me wrong. I am a very active mountain sports enthusiast but always sore friends. And the things I must do to keep my body moving, get it out the door and into the hills to enjoy a ski, run, or bike adventure, are ridiculous.
I own several foam rollers, even a handheld roller I can use while I watch reruns of “Murder She Wrote.” I own several foam roller balls for pinpoint massages. I got a knockoff Thera Cane, a few stretchy Thera Bands, and a looped piece of webbing for stretching because regular stretching won’t cut it anymore. I use Gnarly Nutrition recovery drink, pre-workout drink, and workout drink because water is stupid. Even though I joke CBD salves are just weed Vaseline, after I heard some of the world’s best ski mountaineers use Tim’s Naturals for everything from muscle soreness to combating frostbite, I had to give it a whirl. Does it work? Well, let’s say there may or may not be a pink Tim’s heart-shaped gua sha tool and oil in my home now. But I am concerned that my odd and ever-growing pile of muscle rehab gear is getting stranger…in a sexy way.
The first time I saw a Theragun, those personal massagers that look like a DeWalt and a jackhammer, had a baby, I guessed it was a sex toy. I am no weirdo or deviant, but if something has a battery and buzzes, it’s not an outrageous leap to think folks are using it to make their bathing suit areas light up like the 4th of July sky. Last winter, I told my pal Miguel that long backcountry tours were wreaking havoc on my hip flexors and IT bands. He told me to get a Theragun. Miguel, a skier, surfer, and biker, has dealt with lower back issues for years. Then one day, his massage therapist whipped out a Theragun, and Miguel was in bliss. Miguel rushed home to tell his wife that Theraguns work wonders, and it had…ahem…made him feel like he was climbing the rope in gym class. Was she mad? I asked Miguel. She was not. She bought him one. I own two myself now.
But I am not the only weirdo when it comes to skiers wanting their bodies to respond and recover as they did in our teens and twenties. Before he was climbing giant mountains and skiing terrifying descents, Cody Townsend was a dumb twenty-something ski bum like the rest of us. “I took care of my body with a healthy combination of partying as hard as I could and going to the gym,” Townsend says. But he quickly realized that 12-ounce curls could only get him so far. Townsend mainly crushes LaCroix now, doesn’t eat processed food, and owns an absurd amount of recovery gear. “A lot more stretching, rolling, massage, and cardio training these days. I am constantly working out the kinks, strains, bumps, broken ligaments, and tight muscles that have developed over my 20-year career.” When I asked about his Theragun technique, Townsend told me to stay out of his personal affairs.
Even former Olympian and Warren Miller staple Kaylin Richardson have had to come to grips with the toll a ski career takes on a person. “I have to listen to music when I work out, so I don’t hear the noises coming from my body,” Richardson kids. “Sometimes if I don’t feel healthy, I’ll eat a fist full of spinach and I’m like, ‘There, body! Take that!’”
Richardson says that she is a fan of pre-hab; she gets in front of the sore muscles and aches before they happen. She sleeps with an orthopedic pillow, schedules regular visits with her “body worker” to get massages and dry needling, she stretches first thing in the morning, and uses a vibrating foam roller (“It definitely seems like a sex toy.”), and does functional movement exercise every day? “If you take care of your body, the fun never fades. You can ski forever.”
It turns out giving a shit about my body, or at the very least be aware that I can no longer coast on a 23-year-old metabolism and an I-can-get-hit-in-the-face-with-an-old-ski-boot-and-bounce-back-no-problemo-ability, is pretty beneficial. So is shedding the embarrassment I have for my weird and sexy recovery techniques. Because what was confirmed when I moved to my first ski town is still true today as an aging ski bum: all I want to do is ski. So I will keep reaching under my bed for my Theragun, turning it to full vibration and groaning in tow-curling relief. I am a skier, and we will do anything for a wiggly yippeeeeee!