- Therabody is the tech wellness brand that encompasses the line of industry-leading percussive massage guns known as Theragun, as well as products like the RecoveryAir and Wave Roller.
- Insider explored the company’s mission and growth in a conversation with founder and chiropractor Dr. Jason Wersland, who built the first makeshift Theragun in 2008 with his own two hands after identifying a gap in the market.
- As an investor and strategic advisor with Therabody, tennis champion Maria Sharapova actively works with Dr. Jason to support global expansion, marketing, and creative efforts.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Theragun is no stranger to the internet. Its popular ergonomic triangular design has filled social media feeds in recent years, showcased by celebrities, professional athletes, famous fitness trainers, and the everyday exercise fanatic.
This beloved percussive massage gun is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based chiropractor Dr. Jason Wersland (known as Dr. Jason), who first created the tool in his garage after suffering firsthand from debilitating pain triggered by a motorcycle accident.
Since its first official prototype hit the market in 2016, Theragun has launched three additional generations and has attracted a flood of brand deals and high-profile partnerships, namely, one with five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Maria Sharapova. Over 250 professional sports teams from the major leagues also turn to Theragun for performance and recovery assistance, the New York Mets being the most recent as of April.
The most current Theragun generation provides
-connectivity and the unique recovery experience of merging with a companion app, as devised by Dr. Jason to help guide the use of the device through personalized routines. The science behind the Theragun technology is the distinct calibration of amplitude, frequency, and torque, which accelerates the repair of muscle tissue and relieves pain and tension when used together in a percussive motion.
Recently, Theragun has become a single line of products among the many offered by Therabody, the recently minted tech wellness brand. For Dr. Jason, the transition to Therabody was encompassed by this notion: “You only get one body. You can’t cash it in or get a new one at 50, so what are you going to do with it?”
He arrived at this concept in 2018 after a decade of collecting data on the effectiveness of the Theragun, which he proved with the overwhelmingly positive results he found in his patients, many of whom were athletes. The next step in his journey was to connect the use of the Theragun to a greater wellness philosophy for everyone, which was the idea that “you can help yourself and not wait for someone else,” as Dr. Jason said in an interview with Insider.
That’s the mission that drives Therabody’s ongoing innovation. Following the rebranding, the company acquired PowerDot and RP Sports, introducing additional forms of muscle treatment to Therabody’s natural wellness portfolio, which includes smart vibrating rollers in their Wave Series and a US grown organic CBD line under TheraOne. As part of their holistic approach to wellness, Therabody also offers an educational component for everyday people and health professionals alike, called Therabody University.
“When you engage with Therabody, you’re engaging with an ethos,” Dr. Jason said. “It’s an ecosystem, not just a product.”
Dr Jason described this “ecosystem” as one intended to empower both high-performing professional athletes and regular people who simply want to move their body without experiencing pain. With the right tools at their disposal, it’s Dr. Jason’s hope that people can rely less on medication and more on taking care of their body preventatively. However, Dr. Jason stressed that one of the most important tools of all is the knowledge of what recovery means and how integral it is to the act of exercising.
“When we work out, when we sweat, we’re spring cleaning ourselves. So, we’re just taking garbage out,” he said. “But if you don’t do the recovery part, it’s like you took the garbage to your front door and just left it there—it’s going to start to smell and stink.”
Sharapova has long valued the importance of preparation and recovery in her fitness routine as a top-performing tennis pro
The Theragun and its sister products help aid this process of post-work out recovery, in addition to serving as a natural solution for chronic pain. For Sharapova, recovery was especially essential to her training as a professional tennis player, and the Theragun’s existence as a tool to complement this immediately caught her eye.
After her retirement from the court in 2020, Sharapova shifted her focus to her business career, specifically with regard to further developing her investment portfolio, which already included Supergoop, the luxury sun care brand, and Sugarpova, her own self-funded candy company.
Her decision to invest in Therabody and become a strategic advisor on the company’s board had to do with her belief in the company’s collaborative culture, as well as its industry-disruptive technology and ability to improve people’s lives.
“As I continue to grow my business portfolio, I think it’s important to work with partners that have great potential from a business perspective, and that can also have a positive impact on peoples’ lives—and Therabody is the perfect example of that,” Sharapova wrote in an email to Insider.
Dr. Jason said that both he and Sharapova are driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion to do good for humanity, and high expectations of themselves, which are core principles that unite them in their partnership. The two also happen to be neighbors in Los Angeles, making for easy collaboration and brainstorming in the convenience of their backyards.
On his partnership with Sharapova and their alignment in business visions, Dr. Jason said, “She doesn’t like to lose, nor do we. I mean, simply, we’re competitive. But at the same time, we’re not. What we’re doing really helps people.”
Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of their relationship is the fact that Sharapova is not only a business partner, but a patient—a dynamic that is often common in Dr. Jason’s business relations, establishing a uniquely personal connection and level of trust. From the point of view of a chiropractor, Dr. Jason has a genuine concern for the health of the people he works with, a value that inspires him to continue to grow Therabody’s offerings and expand its influence.
“I’m an advocate for their health, and also we do this business on the side,” Dr. Jason added. “So it’s a little bit of a different relationship—I really truly want the best for Maria and want her to continue to be able to move and do what she does.”
This desire to enable people of all fitness levels to lead healthy, pain-free lives through the freedom of movement is what keeps Dr. Jason motivated in the booming health and wellness space. Through technology, science, and research, Dr. Jason feels confident that Therabody is on the right path to achieve its goal of expansion and further amplify its message and voice.
“I think, in my opinion, we’re probably 5% of what we could potentially be,” Dr. Jason said. “Because there’s that many people on the Earth who haven’t had this yet, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”