More Useful Than Kickstarter Potato Salad

Inventor seeks funds for tennis-ball-massage gadget

Forty thousand dollars raised on social funding site Kickstarter could make a potato salad for the whole internet — no, really — or create a self-massage tool using a couple of tennis or lacrosse balls.

Eric Jeffrey is seeking to raise money for a gadget that he says was inspired after he had pulled a muscle in his lower back. The injury was resistant to treatment with foam rollers and yoga sessions. The only remedy that was helping — deep-tissue therapy — was too expensive to do daily.

A therapist recommended lying on a pair of tennis balls, a conventional home treatment for relieving a knot of clenched muscle tissues, but positioning the loose balls was awkward. Jeffrey's light-bulb moment was to hold them in place with a track. Within two weeks of building a prototype, the inventor says, his back was back to 100%. He continues to use his Massage Track daily, he says.

The device for which he has a patent pending looks like a plastic insert to a cutlery draw. It has four tracks, each about a foot long, with semi-circular bottoms. The patient rolls the tennis or lacrosse balls down these in a straight line to massage sore hands, wrists, ankles, feet, back or shoulders. There is a block-like version for neck and jaw massage.

Both are made from soft polyurethane. The Body Track is expected to retail for $55 and the Neck Track for $39. You can use your own tennis and lacrosse balls, or buy his.

Does it work? In the end, Massage Track is just another self-massage tool. It should be as effective in providing trigger-point relief as any other application of tennis-ball massage. Its big plus point is that it makes it easier to apply consistent pressure to those muscles that are usually awkward to keep a tennis ball in place under.

With 44 days of fundraising to go, Jeffrey is 75% towards his target of $38,000 needed to start production. No promises, yet at least, to hold a tennis-ball massage party and invite the whole internet.

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