A Device for Self-Myofascial Release of Lower Back Muscle Groups

Web Published:

Muscular lower back injuries are prevalent in most athletes. These injuries are a result of over-contracted muscle groups that are subject to rapid strains, causing them to tear. Myofascial Release (MFR) is an effective, non-abrasive technique that involves the application of pressure on certain specific points of the painful muscle. It has proven to be an effective method to mitigate lower back pain by releasing the over-contracted muscles back to a neutral state. Current treatment options consist of costly massage techniques or devices such as foam rollers that do not support the spine and can exacerbate the problem.


A mechanical engineering student at Princeton University has invented the first affordable, easy to use, and safe device for self-myofascial release. The device is lightweight, self-powered, and can be disassembled using a single tool, facilitating transportation and use at home or on the field. Its modular design makes it easily customizable, allowing users of varying body weights and frame sizes to use it effectively. Pressures equivalent to those applied during deep tissue MFR can be achieved by using the appropriate rod-releaser system.


This device would be a valuable addition to any athletic rehabilitation facility. A working prototype has been designed in CAD and manufactured by the Princeton machine shop. The device has been tested by members of the Princeton athletic coaching community, athletic training community, and Princeton squash team.



•       Self-Myofascial Release

•       Lower back injury



•       Self-powered

•       Lightweight, easily transported

•       Customizable for height, frame

•       Supports the spine

•       No expensive components

•       Easy to use effectively



Abhimanyu Shah is a mechanical engineering student at Princeton University (class of 2018). He built this device as a junior independent project in partial fulfillment of his graduation requirements. He is a two-time captain of the men's squash team, and asserts that this device was motivated by prevalent injuries on the team. He is the recipient of The Student Athlete Achiever Award, given to one male and one female student athlete every season for their dedication to the University's "Achieve, Serve, Lead" philosophy. He also received the Athlete Scholar Award, given to student athletes that have excelled in both sport and academics in the Ivy League. He is passionate about the intersection of athletics and engineering and is looking to pursue a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering.


Intellectual Property & Development Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.



Chris Wright

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762• cw20@princeton.edu



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Abhimanyu Shah