While the outbreak of COVID-19 forced many businesses to shutter storefronts, a pair of alpine skiers found opportunity during the pandemic, creating a new product designed to relieve the back pain they’ve encountered during their careers. Best friends Cam Smith, 19, and Dominic Rainville, 19, were sidelined during the early months of the pandemic and in that time began experimenting with 3D printers in an effort to create a product for daily maintenance of the muscles in their back and lower bodies. “We had this idea because we both had pretty bad back pain from ski racing,” said Smith. “We were like, ‘There’s got to be a better way to get muscle relief on your psoas muscle and your glutes,’ and so we basically started prototyping our product.” Smith, who grew up skiing in Squaw Valley, and Rainville, a Canadian alpine racer, each said they suffered from back pain as a result of ski racing, and as such embarked on a crash course of learning how to use 3D printers to create Thrival Muscle Recovery, and its product that mimics the action of a massage therapists’ hands and elbows. During spring of last year the two kept four 3D printers running nonstop, waking up several times a night as they produced prototype after prototype.
From there, they would take the products to physical therapists and chiropractors to refine the designs. After roughly three and a half months of creating and recreating their designs, the two came up with a board and separate adjustable attachments for self massage.
Thrival Muscle Recovery sent out its first shipment of its self-massage tool in February.
The product is designed to target the psoas muscle, which is located in the lower lumbar region of the spine and extends through the pelvis and femur. The muscle, according to Smith, is often overlooked by people experiencing back pain.
“I think it is something that is a much bigger problem than people think,” said Smith. “People think it’s their back, but the root of the problem is something that’s pulling on their back.” At this point, Smith said he’s replaced sessions with massage therapists in favor of their product — something that’s become part of daily life and an avenue toward creating a business. “I needed to have something daily” he said. “And now that we made this product I have something daily that I can work on myself, and my back pain has gone away.” Thrival Muscle Recovery sent out its first shipment of its self-massage tool in February, said Smith, and while he and Rainville said the aim is to continue growing the business, ultimately, the two view their design as a way to help those suffering from back pain. “The goal is to help as many people as possible,” said Smith. “To help fix this problem. We’re young, hungry entrepreneurs and we really believe in this product.” Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. This story was first published Feb. 26 by the Sierra Sun and is republished here with permission.