A few years ago, I was training for a half-marathon and tore both of my calf muscles. I ended up in physical therapy for about six months, where I stretched, was massaged, and was stimulated by the electrical nodes of a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine. This winter, I was training for a 5K and while I didn’t tear my calf again, I definitely spent a few days hobbling up and down the stairs of my apartment building. I tried foam rolling, stretching, even compression socks. But in my recovery journey, there was nothing more satisfying than using this device and feeling like I had physical therapy on demand, whenever I wanted it.
The PowerDot 2.0 is an at-home TENS machine that connects to your phone, so you can get treatment whenever you need it. The tiny machine comes with three pads so the Dot (the main power source) and the two attached nodes can adhere onto your body—somehow designed to not rip off leg hair. All of this connects to your phone via Bluetooth and that’s where the fun starts.
The PowerDot 2.0
Via the PowerDot app, you can select from a library of wellness, recovery, and massage programs. These programs will help you place the nodes on your body depending on where you need e-stim, and then allow you to adjust the intensity to find your sweet spot. There are even recommendations based on the program for when to do them. Some are great as recovery exercises, and some are great for before a workout so you can perform at your very best. Another great thing about it is that unlike stretching or foam rolling, you can actually walk around (although the app only recommends walking) while the stimulation is in progress. This means I can cook dinner and get a physical therapy session in at the same time.
I’m not gonna lie, it feels weird. Like really weird. But weird, in the best way. It feels like your muscles have suddenly turned into spaghetti, or if you can imagine, like little electrons are massaging your muscles from the inside out. If you have a smartwatch you can connect the PowerDot, and, after a workout, it will tell you where to put the pads for the best recovery. Or, if you hate apps and don’t have a smartwatch like me, you can just put it on wherever you think you need a mini-massage. Either way, once the stimulation is over, I always feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and recovered.
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