Here at MH HQ we’ll try anything in the pursuit of a good night’s sleep. It is, after all, key to every single aspect of health and fitness, from recovery and performance to weight and wellbeing. You name it, sleep plays an integral role.
So, when we heard our favourite massage gun brand Therabody had stepped into the sleep tech arena in the form of a space-age eye massager - aka SmartGoggles - we were tripping over our slippers to be front of the queue.
What is Therabody?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (TBH with the state of the world right now we wouldn’t blame you), you’ll have heard of Therabody (previously Theragun – it rebranded in 2020). The brainchild of chiropractor Dr Jason Wersland, Therabody have been pummelling your muscles into pain-free submission since 2016 with its cult collection of percussive therapy massage guns (of which Cristiano Ronaldo is a big fan).
Previously focusing solely on the body, the brand is now branching out into wider wellbeing, reflecting the trend in fitness circles away from purely performance-based, punishing workouts and towards a more holistic mind and body connection.
The SmartGoggles eye massager (launched alongside the updated Theragun Pro) form part of what Therabody calls a new ‘product ecosystem,’ addressing pain management, performance, mental health, sleep and preventative physical and mental care.
"We believe that wellness should be accessible to everybody with innovative, personalised products that are backed by science," says Therabody CEO Benjamin Nazarian. "The new additions to our ecosystem not only bring the future of wellbeing to life, but also represent Therabody’s own evolution as we broaden our product portfolio from hardware to biometrics and content to support both of the body and the mind."
And the brand is teasing more products to launch in these arenas soon, so watch this space.
What are the Therabody SmartGoggles?
Already a favourite with Manchester City FC, the Therabody SmartGoggles are a smart wearable for the eyes and face, or, in layman's terms, an eye massager. The idea is you use them during the day to boost concentration, reduce stress or ease facial tension and headaches, and pop them on at night to help you drift off to sleep or any time you fancy relaxing.
While they appear pretty hefty (they look a bit like a softer VR headset) they weigh less than 1lb and sit pretty comfortably from temple to temple, resting across the bridge of the nose. In the box, along with an instruction leaflet, you’ll get a soft case for the goggles when they’re folded up and a super-fast USB-C charging cable.
Ease facial tension
Relieve eye strain
Decrease headache pain
Relax your mind and body
Reduce stress and anxiety
Cycle time: 15 minutes
Battery life: 150 minutes
Weight: less than 1lb
Size: 7.9” x 3.5” (goggles open) or 5.5” x 3.9” (goggles folded)
Comes with: soft case, charging cable
How do the Therabody SmartGoggles Work?
Using vibration, heat and massage alongside biometric feedback (there’s a sensor on one side that rests by your temple), the SmartGoggles gently knead your eye area into a state of blissful relaxation or hyper-focus. Depending on your settings, the massage targets either the third eye (in between your eyebrows), the temples or pressure points around the eyes or a mixture.
But they're so much more than a simple eye massager. The biometric feedback, which Therabody calls SmartSense Technology, kicks in during the Relax mode, working to slow your heart rate (and, the theory goes, consequently reduce stress and anxiety) and you can track the results in the Therabody app.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different settings and what they do:
• Focus: Uses heat alongside an invigorating massage on the temples and third eye area.
• SmartRelax: Combines heat, undulating vibrations as well as temple and orbital pressure points massage (around the eye sockets), plus that clever biometric intelligence, which Therabody claims is scientifically proven to slow heart rate.
• Sleep: No heat is used in the sleep mode (this would be counterproductive as the body naturally cools as you fall asleep), but it does employ a soothing temple massage plus medium vibrations.
In each mode you can also toggle between different heat and vibration settings to suit your needs. It's safe to fall asleep in the goggles as they’ll turn off after 15 minutes, but if you later roll over you’ll likely wake yourself up, so it’s best to remove them as you feel yourself drifting off. However, if it’s just a power nap you’re settling in for, then by all means leave them on, just be prepared to freak out your housemate, partner or child.
The SmartGoggles can also be linked with the Therabody app, which integrates with TheraMind, so it's loaded with multi-sensory sound therapy designed to work in tandem with the goggle’s presets and your heart rate. Expect to find relaxing and performance-enhancing audio content you can listen to if you're feeling worn down or getting pumped.
Therabody SmartGoggles Review: Our Honest Thoughts
First impressions? Future, I’ve arrived. There’s no two ways about it, these have a definite science fiction vibe to them. Looks aside, they’re light and portable, folding in half across the bridge so you can take them anywhere with you in the accompanying case (I can imagine them being a lifesaver on long-haul flights).
How much are the Therabody SmartGoggles?
The SmartGoggles are comfortable to wear and while the strap could be smoother to adjust, overall it’s a pretty seamless set-up experience. You flick between settings using a button above the right temple, the chosen mode highlighted by a small light, which of course means that while using you can’t see what mode you’re on, so you do have to switch to your preferred setting before getting started. Once you’re aware of the toggle order you can operate them while in use if you want.
While I wouldn't feel comfortable busting these out at the office, the goggles offered unparalleled relief during stressful WFH pockets, and the simple fact that you can’t open your eyes to peep at incoming email alerts means you really settle in to the experience. It’s the product my frazzled brain didn’t know it needed.
• The focus mode features quite an intense compressive feeling, which takes a little getting used to, but when I emerged blinking from behind the goggles I was perceptibly more clear-headed than when I put them on.
• The sleep mode is incredibly soothing, and while I don’t tend to struggle to fall asleep I did find myself reaching for them night after night, because who doesn’t love a head massage as they doze off?
The buzzing of the goggles can be a little noisy, so if you’re not already engrossed in a relaxing soundtrack or sleep podcast you might want to invest in some earplugs to use alongside them.
Can be linked with Therabody app for sound therapy and stats tracking
They're multipurpose, with three different setting - focus, relax and sleep
They work passively - you just put them on and let them do their thing
They turn off automatically after 15 minutes
The cost - £174 - which we were pleasantly surprised by, given the much higher price point of their cult massage guns
They are a bit noisy - an issue if you're using them to fall asleep
The strap is a little fiddly and can get caught in longer hair
They are bulky, so no side-snoozing when wearing them
Therabody SmartGoggles Eye Massager: Our Verdict
Did I sleep better? It’s hard to say, but I certainly woke up refreshed and ready to take on a busy day, which I can’t say every morning. The thing that really struck me is how seamlessly the SmartGoggles slipped into my current wind-down routine, particularly when compared to a lot of sleep tech on the market.
Many existing products require you to add a disruptive foreign product to your routine or stare at an app emitting blue light - both of which are more likely to hinder rather than help. But by design the SmartGoggles obligate you to shut your eyes, so they enhance a piece of the sleep puzzle we’ve already put together. And if the gentle massage isn’t enough for over-thinkers to focus on, they can listen to a complimentary track on the Therabody app. Trust us, you’ll be catching zzz’s in no time.
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