Ever gone to the gym and overdone it trying to impress that special someone you’ve had your eye on? Maybe, after a weekend hosting your kid’s slumber party, your screaming back suggested that your little one isn’t so little anymore? Or maybe you’re an athlete trying to hit a new goal, and you’re tired of all the clever sayings about “pain and gain.”
Used to be, when muscle aches wore you down all you could do was mince to a warm bath filled with Epsom salts. Enter the Marc Pro and Marc Pro Plus, electronic muscle recovery tools designed for home use to ease those aches and pains, speed recovery, and strengthen muscles.
Marc stands for Muscle Activated Recovery Cascade. In layman’s terms, it’s a series of muscle contractions stimulated by adhesive electrodes — a cascade of ’em. Electric muscle stimulation gadgets already exist, such as home TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines. But the company says TENS devices have no long-term rehabilitative benefits whatsoever (be sure to tell your physical therapist) and are cleared by the FDA only for “muscle re-education”; the Marc Pro is designed to improve performance and muscle reaction over time.
The idea is that as you exercise or train, muscle tissue is being stressed; it is during the recovery period that strengthening takes place, hence why proper recuperation is an important part of any training regimen. The Marc Pro aims to reduce recuperation time and ensure users are seeing the best results from every workout.
A more in-depth look at the device reveals the tech itself is what makes the Marc Pro stand out. Most EMS offerings use a square waveform to stimulate nerves. That translates to a full-power muscle contraction that is instantly released. This can be painful and doesn’t provide the relief that fatigued or sore athletes seek — including average Joes or Janes suffering from back pain, for instance.
By comparison, the Marc Pro uses a decaying wave form that is both dynamic and proprietary. Instead of feeling like someone is pinching your muscles, the stimulation fades gradually, releasing the contraction over time. Muscle fibers are allowed to relax more slowly, and all those unpleasant waste fluids (deoxygenated blood and lactic acid) are moved out of the tissue, leading to faster, more thorough recovery.
The Marc Pro website links to a research study showing the effectiveness of the device. The tl;dr version: Consistent use increases blood flow to the area caused by additional vessels and improving capacity. The site also features another study relating the increase of muscle strength and decrease of fatigue to back up the company’s claims. Of course, they also tout over 100 professional sports teams as users, including the Lakers, Red Sox, and Rangers, in addition to individual athletes in golf, motocross, and triathlons, as well as all-around celebrities like John Cena.
The Marc Pro is available for $650, the Marc Pro Plus for $950. For an extra $300, those who have more serious aches get more frequencies intended for pain management, in theory increasing the effectiveness of the “recovery” and “conditioning” settings.