Therabody has made a name for itself in the fitness world by creating devices that help soothe sore muscles — the brand's ultra-quiet, gloriously massaging Theragun might immediately come to mind. Now, Therabody is using its PowerDot ($349) muscle stimulator to try to tackle another type of discomfort — one that many people who menstruate may unfortunately experience every month.
Yep, period cramps.
PowerDot is a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device. It delivers electrical pulses to the body to help relieve pain. Now you can use the device along with the preset offerings in the Period Relief Program on the PowerDot app to target your menstrual discomfort.
"This form of electrical stimulation provides pain relief by suppressing pain signals that are being sent to the brain while also causing a release of endorphins, which are 'feel good' hormones produced by the body, providing temporary pain relief," Nicole Strock, PhD, MS, senior women's health and wellness advisor to Therabody, explained.
The stimulation is transferred via PowerDot's pads, which are applied on specific areas of the body. In this instance, that may be the lower abdomen or the lower back — two areas of the body that are commonly plagued with pain during menstruation.
According to Strock, the program starts working to provide relief as soon as it's turned on in the app and after the pads are applied. The program also takes into consideration that not everyone experiences the same level of period-related pain. Some people have monthly menstrual cramps that land them on the couch all day with a heating pad, while others may only occasionally experience a slight twinge near their lower abdomen for an hour or two.
To target this spectrum, the program is customizable, meaning that users can specify where their pain is, how intense their pain is, and how long they want the program to run between 30-90 minutes. According to Strock, a 20-minute session with the program is the minimum for period pain relief.
As for how long the pain relief lasts, that's reportedly dependent on the individual's pain severity and tolerance.
So if your heating pad just isn't cutting it anymore, or you're simply looking for another way to help soothe your monthly period cramps, the PowerDot program might be worth investigating. Some scientific reviews indicate TENs could be beneficial in helping relieve pain, reduce the need for pain medication, and improve quality of life.
However, no matter what TENs device you're looking into, you'll want to chat with your doctor first to ensure it's safe for you to try.