There are dozens of devices out there that are eager to beat your muscles to within an inch of their tense little lives. They all have one thing in common: They’re a lot more powerful and have more endurance than the nimble fingers of a massage therapist. A trained and skilled therapist still has the upper hand when it comes to meeting your kneads, however, which is the ability to touch you and figuring out what state your muscles are in.
Enter Pact from Impact Biosystems, which today opened for preorders. The Pact system has all the muscle-mashing skills of its many competitors, but if it were yet another Theragun knock-off, you probably wouldn’t be reading about it here. Instead, the company took a broader look at why hands-on massage therapy is, generally, more satisfying than sacrificing your lot to a jackhammer. The result is the Pact Scan, a second device that seeks to emulate the tender love and care of a therapist by using technology.
“We created a system that is actually measuring your muscles and then reacting in different ways, in real time. Pact Scan is a device that you hold up to your muscles. In under five seconds, it takes a series of scans which then quantifies your muscles. Every level of stiffness has a natural frequency damping ratio. We take those parameters — we call it ‘muscle readiness’ — which is essentially giving your muscle a score. Are your muscles ready for exertion? Are they warmed up enough?” explains Bridget Hunter-Jones, the co-founder and CEO of Impact Biosystems.
“Existing muscle recovery solutions are almost exclusively one-size-fits-all types of products,” said Hunter-Jones. “But, everyone and their recovery is different, so we designed the Pact system with the belief that recovery should be informed and personalized, using data from the body, effectively eliminating the guesswork.”
The company’s products are more expensive than its premium competitors — Therabody’s Theragun starts at $399 for its most-comparable Elite model — but Impact Biosystems hopes that its data-forward approach will lure in its customers. The company claims that there are no competitors for its offering anywhere, and that the closest comparable products are medical devices costing 10 times more than its product — and are primarily used for academic and research purposes.
“This will be the first device that will be collecting this data in this particular way. The competing medical devices cost more than $6,000, and they are not using the same kinds of core technologies and algorithms that we use,” explains Hunter-Jones, “These devices are used for sarcopenia patients, and to track muscle mass in other contexts. We are emulating how a therapist works. They have the experience from being able to compare your muscles to the muscles of the hundreds of people they have touched in the past, and use this to inform how to treat a particular muscle.”
Contrary to what you might expect, the Pact Scan device is not using an electric measurement. Instead, it gently uses a little built-in mallet to tap your muscles, and it measures the response of your muscles.
“I’m excited to get it into the hands of folks who are intimidated of the other brands out there. We’ve spent a lot of time on the brand, making sure it is approachable, comfortable and not hyper-masculine,” says Hunter-Jones, “I’m really excited to start targeting this to casual, occasional athletes, Pilates-goers, yoga instructors, etc. People who don’t need to be hammering their muscles blindly.”
For its launch, the company is making two kits available; the Pact Sport Kit at $499, and a Pact Pro Kit, which weighs in at $649, and includes an additional battery handle and a travel case. The company is planning to start shipping its products in May 2022.