Getting the right amount of pressure on isolated muscles can be difficult. This self-massaging tool allows you to target a specific area on your body and apply pressure to relieve tension. Aside from being in complete control of the pressure, the best part of this self-massager is that you do it just about anywhere.
I copied this idea from Kickstarter. Though I like the idea of Kickstarter campaigns, sometimes it's cheaper and faster to just make the item yourself. The Kickstarter for the Pro Squeeze has them listed for $60, where I made this DIY version for about $25.
A homebrew solution isn't for everyone, and there's no question that the soon-to-be-commercial version of the ProSqueeze is a polished product, but for an afternoon of work you have a reasonable facsimile that does the same job.
Here's what I used to make mine:
- Dense yoga foam
- Hand ratchet bar clamp
- Double-wide steel mending plates
- Neodymium magnets
- Cast iron pipe cap
Melt those sore muscles...Let's make!
Step 1: Modify Plates
This muscle squeezer will use foam pads cushion the pinching action of the clamp. To help distribute the force and support the foam metal plates were used. Metal mending plates are inexpensive, are widely available, and perfect for this application.
There are pre-drilled mounting holes along the perimeter of these mending plates. Unfortunately none of these holes work for our application, so new ones were drilled in the center of the plate.
Step 2: Attach Plates to Clamp
The soft plastic tips of the clamp pincers can be removed and lined up with the center holes in the plate, new holes were drilled in the soft plastic pincers at these locations.
The soft tips were then placed back on the clamp and holes were drilled through the hard plastic, using the soft plastic holes as registration guides.
Long machine screws were screwed through the metal plate and into the plastic clamp jaws, securing the plate to the clamp.
Step 3: Cut Foam Padding
Foam is used to cushion the force from the clamp and distribute the pressure along the targeted muscle. To withstand the force of being, yet being rigid enough to be effective, a dense yoga foam block was used.
The yoga foam block was cut down in size to make shaping it easier.
Step 4: Shape Foam Padding
The foam block can be shaped any way you like. The rough shape was cut with a sharp knife, and the edges were beveled to reduce the sharp edges.
A coarse grit sandpaper sheet was laid flat on a table and the block rubbed across it to shape it. The coarse grit leaves a rough texture on the foam, so after shaping a finer sandpaper was used to smooth out the surfaces and make nice rounded edges.
Step 5: Add Magnets
The foam blocks are interchangeable, allowing different muscles to be targeted and pressure applied depending on the block configuration. To allow the foam blocks to be easily removed and still be held in place I used strong neodymium magnets.
Holding dissimilar materials together requires a strong adhesive. My favorite adhesive is E6000, which bonds anything to everything. It's like magic.
A small cavity was made in the back of each shaped foam block, then a small dab of E6000 was placed in each opening before inserting a magnet.
Let the E6000 cure overnight. It takes a while for the glue to cure, but once it's dry the bond is permanent. The foam blocks can now be removed at will, and are held firmly in place when installed on the mounting plate.
Step 6: Add Jabber
To completely copy the ProSqueeze design I needed a "Thingamajabber". For this I used a ½" cast iron plumbing cap, which fit perfectly over the end of the ratchet clamp. The cap was wiped clean of the oil applied from manufacturing, and the surface lightly roughed up with sandpaper to allow the paint to adhere better.
The clamp bar was taped off where the cap was going to be installed to prevent any E6000 spills.
The cap was placed with the opening facing upwards and then filled about halfway with E6000. The end of the clamp bar was carefully lowered into the cap of adhesive, then balanced in place with foam blocks to allow the glue to set overnight.
Step 7: Paint
For aesthetics I decided to paint the thingamajabber to match the rest of the clamp.
Once the glue had completely set and the cap was secure, the bar of the clamp was taped off to prevent over-spray. Instead of hanging the clamp to paint I just went outside and clamped it to a tree with the cap sticking outward. I applied 3 coats of yellow paint to the cap, waiting about 30 minutes between coats.
Step 8: Start Squeezing!
This muscle squeezer is great any time you want targeted pressure on any area that can fir in between the clamp pincers (which is most of your body). The foam blocks can be shaped to fit a wide variety of situations where you might need a specific area to be isolated.
The jabber at the end can be worked into tougher areas where soft pressure isn't wanted, and is really good for deep knots.
Skip the masseuse. After running, or any exercise, you can sit on the couch and work any tension out of your muscles.
Happy making! :)