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Publication numberUS20040183345 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/743,545
Publication dateSep 23, 2004
Filing dateDec 23, 2003
Priority dateDec 26, 2002
Also published asCN1250185C, CN1511509A, EP1433453A1
Publication number10743545, 743545, US 2004/0183345 A1, US 2004/183345 A1, US 20040183345 A1, US 20040183345A1, US 2004183345 A1, US 2004183345A1, US-A1-20040183345, US-A1-2004183345, US2004/0183345A1, US2004/183345A1, US20040183345 A1, US20040183345A1, US2004183345 A1, US2004183345A1
InventorsYoshiya Furuie, Toshiki Koma, Yuji Kan
Original AssigneeYoshiya Furuie, Toshiki Koma, Yuji Kan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Massage machine
US 20040183345 A1
Abstract
The invention provides a massage machine comprising a massage unit which itself can be pushed out relative to a backrest to thereby enable therapeutic fingers to be pushed out by a great amount. The massage machine comprises a backrest (12) provided on a chair for the person to be massaged to sit in, and a massage unit (20) reciprocatingly movable upward and downward longitudinally of the backrest (12) and having a pair of therapeutic fingers (30), (30) projecting from the backrest (12). The machine further comprises a pushing-out mechanism (60) for moving the massage unit (20) forward or rearward relative to the backrest (12).
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Claims(8)
1. A massage machine comprising a backrest provided on a chair for the person to be massaged to sit in, and a massage unit reciprocatingly movable upward and downward longitudinally of the backrest and having a pair of therapeutic fingers projecting from the backrest,
the massage machine being characterized in that the machine comprises a pushing-out mechanism for moving the massage unit forward or rearward relative to the backrest.
2. The massage machine according to claim 1 wherein the pushing-out mechanism tilts the massage unit to thereby tilt the therapeutic fingers.
3. The massage machine according to claim 1 wherein the pushing-out mechanism comprises a crank mechanism.
4. The massage machine according to claim 3 wherein the backrest is provided inside thereof with guide rails along the backrest, and the massage unit is provided at upper and lower portions thereof with respective rollers fitting in each of the guide rails, one pair of upper or lower rollers being movable forward or rearward by the crank mechanism relative to the massage unit to thereby tilt the massage unit.
5. The massage machine according to claim 4 wherein the crank mechanism comprises crankpins rotatably carrying the rollers thereon, and a crankshaft supporting the crankpins in an eccentric position, and the rollers are moved forward or rearward relative to the massage unit by rotating the crankshaft to thereby tilt the massage unit.
6. The massage machine according to claim 5 wherein the massage unit comprises a nut movable upward or downward within the massage unit by the thrust of a screw, and the nut is connected to the crankshaft by a link mechanism comprising a link and a link piece for converting the upward or downward movement of the nut to the rotation of the crankshaft to thereby move the rollers forward or rearward relative to the massage unit and tilt the massage unit.
7. The massage machine according to claim 5 which comprises pushing-out sensor means for detecting the amount of pushing-out of the massage unit, and the sensor means measures the angle of rotation of the crankshaft to thereby detect the amount of pushing-out of the massage unit.
8. The massage machine according to claim 6 which comprises pushing-out sensor means for detecting the amount of pushing-out of the massage unit, and the sensor means measures the angle of rotation of the crankshaft or the link piece to thereby detect the amount of pushing-out of the massage unit.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to massage machines of the chair type wherein a massage unit itself is tiltable and which are adapted to give an effective massage by pushing out therapeutic fingers from the backrest of a chair by tilting the massage unit.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Massage machines of the chair type are available which have a chair for a person to sit in to have his or her neck, shoulders, back or waist massaged.

[0003] The chair-type massage machine comprises a massage unit provided inside the backrest of the chair and movable upward and downward. The massage unit has a pair of opposite therapeutic fingers projecting from the backrest.

[0004] The machine massages the person to be treated by moving the therapeutic fingers three-dimensionally leftward, rightward, upward, downward, forward and rearward.

[0005] The person is given a massage by the therapeutic fingers as slightly projected from the backrest. Accordingly, the fingers fail to reach the upper portions of the shoulders.

[0006] Massage machines are available wherein therapeutic fingers are positionable as pushed out forward from the usual massaging position and adapted to reach the upper portions of the shoulders of the person to be treated so as to produce an enhanced massage effect [see, for example, the publication of JP-A No. 1988-145656 (column 5, lines 1 to 19 and FIG. 5)].

[0007] With such conventional massage machines, the massage unit remains unmoved forward or rearward, and the therapeutic fingers only are pushed out forward. The amount of pushing out is therefore limited, and difficulties are encountered in ensuring a great amount of pushing out.

[0008] Further when the fingers are pushed out, the tapping or kneading function is partly limited.

[0009] An object of the present invention is to provide a massage machine of the chair type comprising a massage unit which itself can be pushed out relative to the backrest so as to enable therapeutic fingers to be pushed out by an increased amount.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] To solve the above problems, the present invention provides a massage machine comprising a backrest provided on a chair for the person to be massaged to sit in, and a massage unit reciprocatingly movable upward and downward longitudinally of the backrest and having a pair of therapeutic fingers projecting from the backrest. The machine further comprises a pushing-out mechanism for moving the massage unit forward or rearward relative to the backrest.

[0011] When the massage unit itself of the chair-type massage machine of the present invention is moved forward or rearward by the pushing-out mechanism, the therapeutic fingers are pushed out forward greatly. When the massage unit is pushed out with the therapeutic fingers positioned in the rear of the shoulders, the fingers satisfactorily reach the upper portions of the shoulders to effectively give a kneading or tapping massage to the upper portions of the shoulders.

[0012] Furthermore, a finger-pressure massage can be given by pushing out the massage unit itself by the pushing-out mechanism, with the therapeutic fingers in contact with the back, waist or the like.

[0013] Additionally, a very effective massage can also be performed by adjusting the amount of pushing-out of the massage unit and thereby varying the intensity of the contact (strong or weak contact) of the therapeutic fingers with the person to be massaged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014]FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a backrest of a massage machine of the chair type;

[0015]FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the backrest with a massage unit and therapeutic fingers pushed out forward;

[0016]FIG. 3 is a rear view of the massage unit;

[0017]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the massage unit as it is seen obliquely from behind on the right side thereof;

[0018]FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the main components of the massage unit as separated from the machine;

[0019]FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the massage unit as it is seen obliquely from behind on the left side thereof; and

[0020]FIG. 7 is a sectional view showing the main components of the massage unit as separated from the machine.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] The massage machine of the chair type of the invention has a backrest 12 connected as by a frame to the rear end of a seat for the person to be massaged to sit in so as to be tiltable and positionable in place. The backrest 12 is covered with a fabric, cushion or the like.

[0022] Inside Construction of the Backrest

[0023] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the backrest 12 is provided inside thereof with a pair of opposite guide rails 14 extending upward or downward in parallel longitudinally of the backrest 12. The guide rails 14, 14 are each in the form of a channel and arranged with their grooves opposed to each other. The opening side of each rail 14 has a rack 16 (see FIG. 3). The massage unit 20 to be described later is upwardly or downwardly movably mounted on the guide rails 14, 14.

[0024] With reference to FIGS. 1 to 3, the massage unit 20 has four rollers 23, 23, 65, 65 projecting from a main chassis 21 and fitting in the guide rails 14, 14 and is thereby made movable upward or downward. All components of the massage unit 20 are mounted on the main chassis 21.

[0025] The main chassis 21 has rear and side openings and is fixedly provided at its center with longitudinal subchassis 22, 22 as spaced apart as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

[0026] The lower rollers 23, 23 are fitted to opposite ends of a up-and-down rotating shaft 24 extending through lower portions of the subchassis 22, 22 transversely of the machine and projecting from opposite sides of the main chassis 21. Fixedly mounted on the rotating shaft 24 inwardly of the respective rollers 23, 23 are gears 25, 25 meshing with the racks 16, 16 of the guide rails 14, 14. The rotating shaft 24 is coupled to an up-and-down motor 26 via a reduction device 27. The gears 25, 25 meshing with the racks 16, 16 are rotated by driving the motor 26, moving the massage unit 20 upward or downward along the guide rails 14, 14. The combination of pulleys and a belt, or of a worm and worm wheel is usable to provide the reduction device 27. The belt reeved around the pulleys of the reduction device 27 is not shown in FIG. 4.

[0027] Construction of Therapeutic Fingers, and Kneading and Tapping Mechanisms

[0028] With reference to FIGS. 3 to 5, therapeutic fingers 30, 30 for massaging the person to be treated are coupled to a kneading shaft 40 supported by the subchassis 22, 22 generally centrally thereof and to a tapping shaft 50 supported below the kneading shaft 40. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the kneading shaft 40 and the tapping shaft 50 are coupled to a kneading motor 41 and a tapping motor 51 mounted on the main chassis 21, by way of reduction devices 42, 52, respectively. The combination of pulleys and a belt, or of a worm and worm wheel is usable to provide the reduction device 42 between the kneading shaft 40 and the kneading motor 41. The belt reeved around the pulleys of each of the reduction devices 42, 52 is not shown in FIG. 4.

[0029] With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, the therapeutic fingers 30, 30 each comprise a pivotal lever 33 supported as inclined and positioned eccentrically on the kneading shaft 40 and projecting forward through a hole 21 a formed in a front wall of the main chassis 21, a massage arm 32 pivoted to the forward end of the pivotal lever 33 and bent at an obtuse angle at the midportion thereof, and kneading balls 31, 31 a supported respectively at the upper and lower ends of the arm 32.

[0030] As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, eccentric cams 53, 53 which are out of phase with each other by 180 degrees are supported on the tapping shaft 50. Each of the cams 53, 53 is connected by a rod 55 to a universal joint 54 attached to the rear end of the pivotal lever 33 which end is positioned toward the kneading shaft 40.

[0031] The pivotal levers 33, 33 are supported as inclined on the kneading shaft 40 and connected to rods 45, 45 and prevented from rotating, so that when the kneading shaft 40 is rotated, the forward ends of the pivotal levers 33, 33 move leftward and rightward. This movement pivotally moves the massage arms 32, 32 leftward and rightward, reciprocatingly moving the upper kneading balls 31, 31, as well as the lower kneading balls 31 a, 31 a, toward or away from each other repeatedly for a kneading operation.

[0032] When the tapping motor 51 rotates, the rods 55, 55 eccentrically connected to the shaft 50 cause the therapeutic fingers 30, 30 to move upward and downward reciprocatingly for a tapping operation.

[0033] Pushing-out Mechanism 60

[0034] The massage unit 20 is provided with a pushing-out mechanism 60 for moving the unit 20 forward or rearward as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The pushing-out mechanism 60 comprises, for example, a crank mechanism 61 and a link mechanism 70 as will be described below.

[0035] With reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the crank mechanism 61 comprises a crankshaft 62 disposed in front of the kneading shaft 40, and crankpins 64, 64 (see FIG. 5) rotatably carrying the upper rollers 65, 65 (see FIG. 6) thereon and connected to the crankshaft 62 by crank arms 63, 63. The crankpins 64, 64 are positioned eccentrically relative to the crankshaft 62, so that when the crankshaft 62 is rotated, the crankpins 64 revolve about the crankshaft 62. With the illustrated embodiment, the crankshaft 62, the crank arms 63, 63 and crankpins 64, 64 are provided by a single metal rod, and the crankshaft 62 is supported on bearings 62 a, 62 a by the main chassis 21 as shown in FIG. 5.

[0036] With reference to FIG. 3, the subchassis 22 is provided at upper and lower portions thereof with support pieces 22 a, 22 a each having a bearing 22 b. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 6, a tilting threaded screw rod 67 is supported by the bearings 22 b, 22 b. The tilting screw rod 67 has an upper end coupled to a pushing-out motor 69 by way of a reduction device 68 comprising pulleys and a belt (not shown in FIG. 4).

[0037] A nut 71 is screw-thread engagement with the threaded portion of the screw rod 67. The nut 71 can be made from a resin. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the link mechanism 70 is connected to the resin nut 71. The link mechanism 70 can be composed of a link 72 and a link piece 78.

[0038] The link 72 will be described below with reference to an example of link 72 comprising a first link piece 73 and a second link piece 75 which are slidable relative to each other so as to be contractable longitudinally thereof.

[0039] The first link piece 73 is pivoted to the resin nut 71 and tiltable forward or rearward. A slide pin 74 projects from the first link piece 73 in the vicinity of a base end thereof.

[0040] The second link piece 75 comprises a pair of members holding the first link piece 73 therebetween and each having a slot 76 extending longitudinally thereof. The slots 76 of the second link piece 75 have slidably fitted therein the slide pin 74 of the first link piece 73.

[0041] Further as shown in FIG. 6, the second link piece 75 has a pin 75 a projecting from the forward end thereof. A spring 77 extends between and is engaged with the slide pin 74 and the pin 75 a. The spring 77 biases the second link piece 75 toward the resin nut 71. When free of any load, the second link piece 75 is pulled closest to the resin nut 71 by the spring 77.

[0042] The link piece 78, i.e., third link piece 78, is supported by the pin 75 a of the second link piece 75. The third link piece 78 is bent forward at its midportion and has one end secured to the crankshaft 62.

[0043] When the resin nut 71 is positioned at an upper portion of the tiling screw rod 67, the third link piece 78 is pulled toward the second link piece 75, bringing the massage unit 20 (main chassis 21) to the most retracted position (see FIG. 1).

[0044] When the resin nut 71 is moved down from this position as shown in FIG. 7 (toward the direction of arrow A in FIG. 7) by rotating the tilting screw rod 67, the second link piece 75 pulls down the portion of the third link piece 78 engaging with the piece 75, rotating the third link piece 78 about the crankshaft 62. Since the third link piece 78 is secured to the crankshaft 62, the crankshaft 62 rotates with the third link piece 78.

[0045] The crankpins 64, 64 at the opposite ends of the crankshaft 62 are movable only along the guide rails 14, 14 by the rollers 65, 65 and are unable to move forward or rearward, so that the rotation of the crankshaft 62 tilts the massage unit 20 about the up-and-down rotating shaft 24. With the rotating shaft 24 provided below the massage unit 20, the tilting of the unit 20 pushes out the therapeutic fingers 30, 30 forward as shown in FIG. 2 (as indicated by the arrow B in FIG. 7).

[0046] By pushing out the fingers 30, 30 at the position of the shoulders of the person to be massaged, the fingers 30, 30 reach the upper portions of the shoulders. The upper portions of the shoulders of the person can be effectively massaged by driving the kneading motor 41 and/or the tapping motor 51 in this state.

[0047] When the fingers 30, 30 as positioned at a level lower than the shoulders of the person, i.e., at the position of the back or waist, are pushed out, the back or waist of the person can be massaged with the pressure of the fingers. Further a rolling massage can be given with the fingers 30, 30 pressed against the person to be treated with a great force, by driving the up-and-down motor 26 to move the massage unit 20 upward and downward.

[0048] When the tilting screw rod 67 is reversely rotated in the state shown in FIG. 2, the resin nut 71 moves upward to conversely retract the massage unit 20 and pull back the fingers 30, 30 inwardly of the backrest (see FIG. 1). In the retracted state, a massage can be given in the same manner as conventionally.

[0049] The amount of pushing-out of the massage unit 20 is controllable by rotating the tilting screw rod 67, namely by adjusting the position of the resin nut 71 relative to the screw rod 67. The maximum amount of pushing-out is also controllable by altering the length of the crank arms 63, 63.

[0050] The amount of pushing-out of the massage unit 20 is detectable by pushing-out sensor means 79. As the sensor means 79, for example, a variable resistor 79 is disposed in contact with the third link piece 78 as shown in FIG. 6 to measure variations in the resistance value involved in the angle of rotation of the third link piece 78 by the resistor 79.

[0051] The crankshaft 62, which rotates with the third link piece 78, may be provided with the pushing-out sensor means 79.

[0052] Other Embodiment of Link Mechanism 70

[0053] With the foregoing embodiment, the resin nut 71 is connected to the crankshaft 62 by the link mechanism 70 which comprises the link 72 wherein the second link piece 75 is biased by a spring and slidable relative to the first link piece 73, and the third link piece 78 coupled to the link 72. The first link piece 73 and the second link piece 75 are made slidable relative to each other so as to render the therapeutic fingers 30, 30 (massage unit 20), as pushed out forward, slightly retractable when subjected to a force from the front. Consequently, when the person to be massaged forces his or her back against the backrest 12 with the fingers 30, 30 pushed out, a great rearward force acts on the fingers 30, 30 to retract the massage unit 20. This removes the pain to be otherwise given to the person.

[0054] If the above effect need not be produced, the third link piece 78 may be coupled directly to the resin nut 71 by a single piece of link 72 instead of providing separate pieces for use as the first link piece 73 and the second link piece 75.

[0055] Since the amount of sliding movement of the second link piece 75 relative to the first link piece 73 corresponds to the force to be applied to the therapeutic fingers 30, 30, means 79 a can also be provided for detecting the particular part of the body of the person to be massaged with which the fingers 30, 30 are in contact, based on the amount of sliding movement of the second link piece 75. In this case, the amount of sliding movement is detectable by a variable resistor 79 a or the like which is provided for the first link piece 73 so as to be in contact with the second link piece 75 as shown in FIG. 6.

[0056] When the fingers 30, 30 out of contact with the person to be massaged are brought into contact with the shoulders of the person to be massaged, by lowering the massage unit 20 from a position above the backrest 12, an upward force will act on the fingers 30, 30.

[0057] As a result, the second link piece 75 slidingly moves upward against the force of the spring 77. The amount of sliding movement of the second link piece 75 is detected by the variable resistor 79 a. The value of detection indicates that the position if the shoulders of the person.

[0058] Arm Lock Mechanism 80

[0059] The pushing-out mechanism 60 described can be provided with an arm lock mechanism 80 for causing the fingers 30, 30 to project forward with the pushing-out of the massage unit 20.

[0060] With reference to FIG. 7, the arm lock mechanism 80 comprises arm lock rod 83, 83 each of which couples the bent portion of the massage arm 32 to the crankshaft 62 by universal joint 81, 82. The universal joint 82 for the crankshaft 62 is provided at such a position that when the massage unit 20 is in the most projected position (see FIG. 2), the upper kneading ball 31 on the massage arm 32 can be pushed out to the foremost position.

[0061] As the massage unit 20 is pushed out as described above by rotating the crankshaft 62, the universal joint 82 rotates with the rotation of the shaft 62, pushing the arm lock rod 83 upward while tilting the rod. As a result, the arm lock rod 83 rotates the massage arm 32 forward, causing the upper kneading ball 31 to project forward relative to the main chassis 21 from a state in which the upper and lower kneading balls 31, 31 a are generally in parallel to the backrest 12.

[0062] In addition to the pushing-out of the massage unit 20 by the pushing-out mechanism 60 described, the kneading ball 31 is thus pushed out greatly to the upper portion of the shoulder to massage the shoulder effectively.

[0063] A massage can be given by kneading and/or tapping with the upper kneading balls 31 thus projected, by rotating the kneading shaft 40 and/or the tapping shaft 50 in this state.

[0064] When the above operation is performed with the therapeutic fingers 30, 30 in bearing contact with the back or waist of the person to be massaged, a finger-pressure massage can also be given by the upper kneading balls 31.

[0065] Further when the massage unit 20 is retracted by rotating the crankshaft 62 reversely, each universal joint 82 pulls the arm lock rod 83 downward conversely to the above movement. As a result, the arm lock rod 83 rotates the massage arm 32 rearward to return the upper and lower kneading balls 31, 31 a to the position generally in parallel to the backrest 12 for the balls to perform a massage in the usual manner.

[0066] Apparently, the present invention can be modified or altered by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention, and such modifications are included within the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7128721Apr 30, 2004Oct 31, 2006Homedics, Inc.Portable body massager
US7419475Sep 9, 2005Sep 2, 2008Fka Distibuting Co.Body massager with illumination effects
US7470242Aug 17, 2005Dec 30, 2008Fka Distributing Co.Portable body massager having width adjustable massage members on translating carriage
US7597669Mar 1, 2006Oct 6, 2009Fka Distributing Co.Body massage apparatus
US8147435Aug 12, 2008Apr 3, 2012Fka Distributing Co.Body massager with illumination effects
US8840185 *Jul 20, 2012Sep 23, 2014Faurecia Autositze GmbhAutomobile seat with massaging device
US20130020844 *Jul 20, 2012Jan 24, 2013Faurecia Autositze GmbhAutomobile seat with massaging device
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/217.1
International ClassificationA61H37/00, A61H1/00, A61H15/00, A61H7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61H2201/1427, A61H2201/1623, A61H2201/1654, A61H2015/0028, A61H7/007, A61H2015/0057, A61H2205/062, A61H2205/04, A61H2205/081, A61H15/0078, A61H2201/1669, A61H2201/0149
European ClassificationA61H15/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 24, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FURUIE, YOSHIYA;KOMA, TOSHIKI;KAN, YUJI;REEL/FRAME:015364/0105
Effective date: 20040416