BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to the field of body massaging devices such as massage chairs. More specifically the present invention relates to a massage chair having a base frame and a cradle in which a person sits, rotatably mounted to the base frame on cradle bearing means pivoting at a cradle axis, the cradle including electrically powered oscillators for producing and delivering vibration into the body of a seated person, and having cradle pivot means for pivoting the cradle to a sitting position in which the center of gravity of the seated person is substantially over the cradle axis to evenly distribute the weight of the person over the cradle upper surface, preventing weight concentration in the body of the person, and for pivoting the cradle to any of numerous reclining positions. The even distribution of body weight diminishes stress and permits fuller relaxation, particularly in the lower back, while at the same time permitting oscillators of low voltage, low frequency and low amplitude to produce the same full massage results requiring high voltage, high frequency and high amplitude oscillators in prior massage chairs. The cradle pivot means also pivot the cradle forwardly to permit a person to enter and leave the cradle with minimal effort and stress, so that the entire chair use cycle contributes to stress relief.
2. Description of the Prior Art
There have long been chairs for delivering massages to persons seated in them. Yet prior massage chairs have positioned a person so that weight distribution is uneven and stress is concentrated in some region or point in the body, most often in the lower back. As a result, while the chair relieves some stress it also causes stress. The uneven weight distribution also has made necessary the use of high voltage, high amplitude and high frequency electric oscillators to produce enough vibration with enough depth to relieve stress in weight loaded muscles. Furthermore, the awkward body shifting and weight positioning necessary to enter and leave prior art massage chairs have added stress to the use cycle of the chair, counteracting its desired effect. Yet another problem with prior art massage chairs has been that they are bulky and expensive to ship.
It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a massage chair having a cradle which pivots to distribute the weight of a seated person evenly over the chair padding to eliminate stress-causing weight concentration points in the body of the person, and so that a full and effective massage can be delivered using low frequency and low amplitude oscillator vibration.
It is another object of the present invention to provide such a massage chair in which the cradle pivots to ease the entry and exit of a person from the chair, so that the use cycle of the chair is stress-free from beginning to end.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a massage chair which delivers oscillator vibration into regions of the body selectively as well as heat according to selections made by the seated person with a control device.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is finally an object of the present invention to provide such a massage chair which is relatively small and which easily and without need of significant skill breaks down into compact and readily shippable chair portions and is just as easily reassembled, and which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, sturdy, reliable and safe.
The present invention accomplishes the above-stated objectives, as well as others, as may be determined by a fair reading and interpretation of the entire specification.
A massage chair is provided, including a base frame; a cradle in which a person sits, the cradle being rotatably mounted to the base frame on a cradle bearing structure and pivoting at a cradle axis, the cradle including a vibration generation mechanism mounted within the cradle for producing and delivering vibration into the body of a person seated in the cradle; and a having cradle pivot mechanism connected to the cradle for pivoting the cradle relative to the base frame to a sitting position in which the center of gravity of a person seated in the cradle is substantially over the cradle axis to evenly distribute the weight of a person seated in the cradle over the cradle, and for pivoting the cradle to at least one reclining position.
The cradle pivot mechanism preferably additionally pivots the cradle forwardly to a cradle entry and exit position. The cradle preferably includes a cradle frame having a cradle perimeter member and cradle frame cross members extending across and secured to the cradle perimeter member, the cradle frame being curved to conform to the shape of a human back. The cradle preferably additionally includes cradle padding fitted to and substantially covering the cradle frame. The massage chair preferably additionally includes a heating element secured within the cradle for delivering heat into the back of a seated person.
The cradle preferably further includes two arm structures, the arm structures being fastened to opposing sides of the cradle. The cradle bearing structure preferably includes an axle bore in each arm structure, and an axle extending from the base frame and passing into the axle bores.
The base frame preferably includes two laterally spaced apart side structures interconnected by several base frame cross members extending between and interconnecting the side structures, and a base frame middle member substantially midway between the side structures and extending across and secured to the base frame cross members. Each side structure preferably includes a triangular perimeter member.
The cradle pivot mechanism preferably includes a reversible linear actuating gear motor having an extension shaft telescopingly mounted within a shaft tube, the gear motor being pivotally mounted to the base frame and the extension shaft extending upwardly and being pivotally connected to the cradle; where the gear motor operates in a first direction to extend the extension shaft out of the shaft tube and forwardly and thus pivoting the cradle backwardly on the base frame and where the gear motor operates in a second direction to retract the extension shaft into the shaft tube and rearwardly and thus pivoting the cradle forwardly on the base frame. The massage chair preferably additionally includes a cradle stop element pin protruding inwardly from one of the side structures for stopping the cradle at a selected rearmost pivot position. The vibration generation mechanism preferably includes several oscillators.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The massage chair preferably additionally includes a control mechanism having a microprocessor mounted to the base frame, the microprocessor being electrically connected to each of the oscillators and to the cradle pivot mechanism and controlling operation of the vibration generation mechanism and controlling operation and direction of the cradle pivot structure having programming with cradle positioning information including a certain cradle sitting position and at least one cradle reclined position and causing vibration generation mechanism deactivation when the cradle is in any at least one reclined position; and a remote control box, and the remote control box is electrically connected to the microprocessor for chair operation by a seated person. The control box preferably includes a control panel face having several control buttons which send signals to the microprocessor.
Various other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following discussion taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the massage chair, showing the oscillators and heating element in broken lines.
FIGS. 2 and 3 are schematic side views of the chair in the sitting and reclined positions, respectively.
FIG. 4 is a top view of the massage chair of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is an exploded top view of the cradle with the arm structures unfastened.
FIG. 6 is a top view of the chair of FIG. 1 with the cradle removed and moved forwardly of the base frame, revealing the base frame elements and microprocessor.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 7 is a front view of the control box showing the control panel face and various control buttons for the several chair automatic functions.
As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.
- First Preferred Embodiment
Reference is now made to the drawings, wherein like characteristics and features of the present invention shown in the various FIGURES are designated by the same reference numerals.
Referring to FIGS. 1-7, a massage chair 10 is disclosed having a base frame 20 and a cradle 40 in which a person sits, rotatably mounted to the base frame 20 on cradle bearing means 70 pivoting at a cradle axis A, the cradle 40 including electrically powered oscillators 12 for producing and delivering vibration into the body of a seated person, and having cradle pivot means 80 for pivoting the cradle 40 to a sitting position in which the center of gravity of the seated person is substantially over the cradle axis A to evenly distribute the weight of the person over the cradle 40 upper surface, preventing weight concentration in the body of the person, and for pivoting the cradle to any of numerous reclining positions. The even distribution of body weight diminishes stress and permits fuller relaxation, particularly in the lower back, while at the same time permitting oscillators 12 of low voltage, low frequency and low amplitude to produce the same full massage results requiring high voltage, high frequency and high amplitude in prior massage chairs. The cradle pivot means 80 also pivot the cradle 40 forwardly to permit a person to enter and leave the cradle 40 with minimal effort and stress, so that the entire chair 10 use cycle contributes to stress relief.
The cradle 40 preferably includes a generally rectangular cradle frame 42 which has a cradle frame perimeter member 44 and cradle frame cross members 46 extending across and connected to perimeter member 44. Cradle frame 42 is curved to conform to a reclined human form, and particularly the lower back. Vibrating oscillators 12 are secured to the cradle frame cross members 46. A heating element 50 is also secured to a cradle frame cross member 46. Heating element 50 preferably is a 12 volt element positioned within cradle 40 to be adjacent to the lower lumbar area of the seated person, operating at low power for user safety. The cradle frame 40 and oscillators 12 are covered with a suitable foam padding material and skin material 52, such a leather. An inverted triangular arm structure 60 is fastened to each side of cradle 40. The cradle bearing means 70 includes an axle bore 72 in the peaked lower end of each arm structure 60 which is mounted to a corresponding cradle axle 74 extending inwardly from base frame 20.
Base frame 20 preferably includes two laterally spaced apart, triangular side structures 22 and 24. Each side structure 22 and 24 includes a triangular perimeter member 26, and four base frame cross members 32 extending between and interconnecting side structures 22 and 24, and a base frame middle member 34 substantially midway between side structures 22 and 24 and extending across and being secured to the base frame cross members 32.
The cradle pivot means 80 preferably includes a reversible linear actuating gear motor 82 having an extension shaft 84 telescopingly mounted within a shaft tube 86. The gear motor 82 is mounted to a base frame middle member 34 extending from one frame side structure 22 to the other frame side structure 24, and the extension shaft 84 extends upwardly to the underside of the forward end of the cradle 40, to which the shaft 84 is pivotally connected. The gear motor 82 operates in a first direction to extend the shaft 84 forwardly and thus to pivot the cradle 40 backwardly on the base frame 20. A pair of cradle stop pins 76 protrude inwardly and toward each other from opposing side structures 22 and 24 of the base frame 20, to stop the cradle 40 at its rearmost position. See FIG. 6. The gear motor 82 also operates in a second direction to retract the shaft 84 rearwardly and thus to pivot the cradle 40 forwardly on the base frame 20.
For chair 10 assembly, the two arm structures 60 are maneuvered relative to base frame 20 so that the cradle axles 74 fit into the cradle axle bores 72 in arm structures 60. Then middle segments of cradle 40 are fitted between arm structures 60 and arm structures 60 are secured to the sides of the cradle middle segments, preferably with screws 62. See FIG. 5.
The cradle pivot means alternatively includes a piston and hydraulic cylinder (not shown) pivotally mounted at one end to the base frame middle-member 34 and pivotally mounted at the other end to the underside of the forward end of the cradle 40. A hydraulic pump and reservoir (not shown) are fastened to the base frame 20 and hydraulically and operationally connected to the hydraulic cylinder.
A control mechanism is provided including a microprocessor 100 mounted to the inside of the base frame 20, the microprocessor 100 being electrically connected to each of the vibrating oscillators 12, to the heating element 50 and gear motor 82. See FIG. 6. The microprocessor 100 controls the gear motor 82 operation and direction, and a specific sitting position and various reclined positions are programmed into the microprocessor 100. The sitting position is the one in which the center of gravity is directly over the cradle axis and the weight distribution is even and in which the vibrating oscillators 12 may be activated, either all together or separately. When the cradle 40 is in a reclined position the microprocessor 100 deactivates the vibrating oscillators 12, because the person is not positioned properly to receive a massage. A remote control box 110 is provided for chair 10 operation by the seated person, and the control box 110 is electrically connected to the microprocessor with a cord 112. See FIG. 7. The control box 110 has a control panel face 120 including several control buttons, namely oscillator 12 regional controls, such as “neck area” 122, “upper back” 124, “lower back” 126, lower body 128 and “full body” 132, and massage force controls such as “low/high force” 134, ″pulse/firm 136, lumbar heat “on/off” 138 and power “low/high” timer 142, and recline angle controls in the form of “recline” 144 and “sit” 146. All of these controls sent signals to the microprocessor 100 indicating the operational selections, and the microprocessor 100 in turn sends signals to the various oscillators 12 for selective operation for pre-programmed durations, and to heating pad 50 and other selected components to activate and deactivate these components.
While the invention has been described, disclosed, illustrated and shown in various terms or certain embodiments or modifications which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention is not intended to be, nor should it be deemed to be, limited thereby and such other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved especially as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.