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Publication numberUS20080109960 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/599,963
Publication dateMay 15, 2008
Filing dateNov 15, 2006
Priority dateNov 15, 2006
Publication number11599963, 599963, US 2008/0109960 A1, US 2008/109960 A1, US 20080109960 A1, US 20080109960A1, US 2008109960 A1, US 2008109960A1, US-A1-20080109960, US-A1-2008109960, US2008/0109960A1, US2008/109960A1, US20080109960 A1, US20080109960A1, US2008109960 A1, US2008109960A1
InventorsRichard C. Brown, Daniel W. Fisher
Original AssigneeTheraproducts Incorporated (Formerly Detensor Incorporated)
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Therapeutic device and method
US 20080109960 A1
Abstract
A new and useful therapeutic device and method designed to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release), while also accounting for different anatomies of the persons who use it is provided. The therapeutic device includes a base and a cushion that are configured such that the cushion can be selectively supported on the base in either of two configurations; a relatively high configuration and a relatively low configuration. The base and cushion are also configured such that in either the relatively high or low configurations, the base and cushion define a support for the occipital condyle of a human skull and engages the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release). In addition, the therapeutic device is designed to enable a patient to selectively change the configuration from one support configuration to the other, and that may enable a person to take the fullest advantage of the device during a therapy session.
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Claims(20)
1. A therapeutic device designed to receive and support the bony skull of a human head in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities, comprising a base and a cushion that are configured such that the cushion can be selectively supported on the base in one of a plurality of positions; including a first position in which the cushion extends above the base by a first amount, and a second position in which the cushion extends above the base by a second amount that is different from the first amount; the base and cushion further configured such that in either the first or second positions, the cushion provides a support for the occipital condyle of a bony skull and a contact edge for engaging the suboccipital area of a bony skull.
2. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the base has a front wall with a predetermined curved configuration, and the cushion has in any of the plurality of positions (i) a curved wall that is disposed against and extends above the curved front wall of the base, (ii) a contact edge at the top of the curved wall and (iii) a bowl shaped recess extending away from the contact edge at the top of the curved wall and defining the support for the occipital condyle of a bony skull.
3. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 2, wherein the cushion has opposite top sides, each of which has a respective bowl shaped recess for the occipital condyle of a bony skull and a contact edge for engaging the suboccipital area of a bony skull.
4. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 3, wherein a respective one of the opposite top sides of the cushion is oriented to support the occipital condyle of a bony skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a bony skull when the base and cushion are in the first or second position.
5. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 4, wherein the bowl shaped recesses in each of the opposite top sides of the cushion has a predetermined spherical curvature.
6. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 4, wherein the base has a support portion configured to support the cushion when the base and cushion are in either of the first or second positions.
7. A therapeutic device as defined in claim 6, wherein the support portion of the base comprises a ridge, and one of the top surfaces of the cushion has a border portion that is configured to rest on the ridge when the base and cushion are in the first position.
8. A therapeutic device as defined in claim 7, wherein the cushion has a stepped portion between the top surfaces of the cushion, the stepped portion configured to rest on the ridge of the base when the base and cushion are in the second position.
9. A cushion configured to receive and support the bony skull of a human head in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities, comprising a monolithic member that can be selectively supported on a base in either of two positions; a first position in which the cushion extends above the base by a first amount, and a second position in which the cushion extends above the base by a second amount that is different from the first amount; the cushion having a predetermined resilience and flexibility, and being further configured such that in either the first or second positions, the cushion defines a bowl shaped recess for the occipital condyle of a bony skull and a contact edge for engaging the suboccipital area of a bony skull.
10. A cushion as set forth in claim 9, wherein the cushion has (i) a curved front wall and (ii) opposite top surfaces, each of which includes a respective bowl shaped recess for the occipital condyle of a bony skull and a contact edge for engaging the suboccipital area of a bony skull.
11. A cushion as set forth in claim 10, wherein the bowl shaped recesses in each of the opposite top surfaces of the cushion extend rearward from the curved front wall of the cushion.
12. A cushion as set forth in claim 11, wherein the bowl shaped recesses in each of the opposite top surfaces of the cushion has a predetermined spherical curvature.
13. A therapeutic device as set forth in claim 12, wherein one top surface of the cushion has a border portion that is configured to rest on a support portion of the base.
14. A therapeutic device as defined in claim 13, wherein the cushion has a stepped border between the opposite top surfaces of the cushion, the stepped border configured to rest on a support portion of the base.
15. A therapeutic method comprising the steps of
a. providing a therapeutic device comprising a cushion supported on a base in one of a plurality of configurations, each of which is designed to receive a bony skull of a human head and to promote one or more therapeutic modalities, the cushion in each configuration providing a bowl shaped recess for receiving the occipital condyle of a bony skull and a contact edge for engaging the suboccipital area of a bony skull,
b. supporting the bony skull of a human head on the cushion with the occipital condyle of the bony skull received by the bowl shaped recess and the suboccipital area of the bony skull engaging the contact edge, and
c. thereafter allowing the bony skull of the human head to remain supported by the cushion in the manner set forth by step b for a sufficient time to promote at least one of the therapeutic modalities.
16. A method as set forth in claim 15, wherein the plurality of configurations includes a first configuration in which the cushion extends above the base by a first amount and a second configuration in which the cushion extends above the base by a second amount that is different than the first amount.
17. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the cushion has opposite sides, each of which has a bowl shaped recess and a contact edge, and wherein the step of providing the therapeutic device comprises positioning the cushion on the base such that a selected one of its opposite sides forms the bowl shaped recess and contact edge for receiving and supporting the bony skull of a human head.
18. A method as set forth in claim 15, wherein the bony skull of the human head is allowed to remain supported in the manner set forth in claim 15c for a period sufficient to promote muscle inhibition.
19. A method as set forth in claim 15, wherein the bony skull of the human head is allowed to remain supported in the manner set forth in claim 15c for a period sufficient to promote occipital decompression.
20. A method as set forth in claim 15, wherein the human head is allowed to remain supported in the manner set forth in claim 15c for a period sufficient to promote cranio-sacral release.
Description
BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a new and useful therapeutic device and method that is designed to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release).

In the applicants' experience, therapeutic devices and methods that have been designed in the past to promote therapeutic modalites such as occipital decompression generally have a single predetermined configuration that is designed to accomplish that purpose. However, applicant has also found that with patients of different anatomies, a single predetermined configuration that is suitable for one patient may not be as suitable for another patient. In addition, applicants believe the ability of a patient to selectively adjust the configuration of the device can also be beneficial to the patient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a new and useful therapeutic device (and method) designed to address the foregoing issues. The therapeutic device is designed to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release), while also accounting for different anatomies of the persons who use it. Moreover, the therapeutic device can be selectively adjusted between different configurations, to accommodate persons of different anatomies. In addition, the therapeutic device is designed so that in any of its adjusted positions, it receives the occipital condyle of a human skull and engages the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more of the therapeutic modalities.

Still further, the present invention provides a new and useful cushion that is designed to be used in a therapeutic device, to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more of the therapeutic modalities.

A preferred therapeutic device according to the present invention comprises a base and a cushion that are configured such that the cushion can be selectively supported on the base in either of two configurations; a relatively high configuration and a relatively low configuration. The base and cushion are configured such that in either the relatively high or low configurations, the base and cushion define a support that receives the occipital condyle of a human skull and engages the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release).

In addition, the therapeutic device is designed to enable a patient to selectively change the device from one support configuration to the other, and that may enable a person to take the fullest advantage of the device during a therapy session.

According to the present invention, each of the base and cushion has a single preferred configuration, and they are configured such that the cushion can be supported on the base in one orientation to provide the high configuration, and the cushion can be turned over and supported on the base in another orientation to provide the low configuration. In either of the high or low configurations, the cushion is configured such that it cradles the bony skull of a human head and engages the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release).

Other features of the present invention will become further apparent from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings and exhibits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND EXHIBITS

FIG. 1 is a three dimensional view of a therapeutic device according to the present invention, in its low configuration;

FIG. 2 is a three dimensional view of a therapeutic device according to the present invention, in its high configuration;

FIG. 3 is a three dimensional view of the base of the therapeutic device, taken from the top of the base;

FIG. 4 is a three dimensional view of the base of the therapeutic device, taken from the bottom of the base;

FIG. 5 is a left side view of the base of the therapeutic device shown in FIG. 3, taken from the direction 5-5;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the base of the therapeutic device of FIG. 3, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon;

FIG. 7 is a front view of the base of the therapeutic device of FIG. 6, taken from the direction 7-7, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the base of the therapeutic device of FIG. 6, taken from the direction 8-8, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon;

FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of the cushion of the therapeutic device of the present invention, taken from one side of the cushion;

FIG. 10 is a three dimensional view of the cushion of the therapeutic device of the present invention, taken from the other side of the cushion;

FIG. 11 is a top view of the cushion shown in FIG. 9, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon;

FIG. 12 is a front view of the cushion, taken from the direction 12-12 in FIG. 10, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon;

FIG. 13 is a right side view of the cushion of FIG. 11, taken from the direction 13-13, with certain preferred dimension shown thereon;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view of the cushion, taken from the direction 14-14 in FIG. 11, with certain preferred dimensions shown thereon

FIG. 15 shows the base of FIGS. 3-8, in a manner that illustrates the orientation of those figures relative to each other; and

FIG. 16 shows the cushion of FIGS. 9-14, in a manner that illustrates the orientation of those figures relative to each other.

Exhibits A and B schematically show a patient with his/her head supported on a therapeutic device that is formed according to the principles of the present invention, and in the low configuration (Exhibit A) and also in the high configuration (Exhibit B). The patient is receiving any or all of the therapeutic modalities provided by the method of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As discussed above, the present invention relates to a new and useful therapeutic device and method designed to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull and to engage the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities (e.g. muscle inhibition, occipital decompression, cranio-sacral release). The principles of the present invention are shown and described herein in connection with one exemplary version of a therapeutic device and method, but from that description the manner in which the principles of the invention can be used to produce various types of therapeutic devices that can be used to practice the method will be apparent to those in the art.

A therapeutic device 100 according to the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. It comprises a base 102 and a cushion 104 that are configured such that the cushion 104 can be selectively supported on the base 102 in either of two configurations; a first (or low) configuration (shown in FIG. 1) in which the cushion 104 extends above the base 102 by a first amount, and a second (or high) configuration (shown in FIG. 2) in which the cushion 104 extends above the base 102 by a second amount. In the high configuration (FIG. 2) the cushion is higher than it is in the low configuration (FIG. 1). Thus, the high configuration is generally more suitable for persons of larger anatomies, whereas the low configuration is generally more suitable for persons of smaller anatomies. The base and cushion are configured such that in either the high or low configurations, the base and cushion define a support for the bony skull of a human head. The base 102 provides structural support for the cushion 104, and the opposite sides of the cushion have concave, bowl shaped recesses 126, 128, and respective contact edges 126 a, 128 a (described further below), configured to receive the occipital condyle of a human skull with a respective contact edge engaging the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more of the therapeutic modalities.

The base 102 (FIGS. 3-8, 15) has a predetermined configuration that is generally shaped like the base of a pyramid (see e.g. FIGS. 3, 4). The base has a peripheral wall that includes side walls 108 and a front wall 110. The base is preferably formed as a monolithic article that is molded or cast from a relatively hard material such as polypropylene. Moreover, the base 102 includes an inwardly extending ridge 112 (FIGS. 3, 6, 8) that is monolithically formed in one piece with the base. The base also includes a platform 113 (FIGS. 3, 6) that is configured to support a portion of the cushion 104, as described below.

The front wall 110 of the base has a curvature as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 6, and that curvature is intended to help receive and support the cushion 104 in a manner that promotes the therapeutic modalites when a human head is resting on the therapeutic device. Certain preferred dimensions for the base 102, according to an exemplary version of the base, are shown (in inches) in FIGS. 6-8.

The cushion 104 (FIGS. 9-14, 16) is preferably formed as a monolithic article that is cast or formed from a resilient, compressible material such as a blend of a polyether polyol resin material and polyurethane foam. A currently preferred blend is a polyether polyol blend material identified as HS 1305-6 B Side, and polyurethane foam identified as HSF 1305 Self Skinning polyurethane foam, both materials produced by Hydroseal Polymers, Inc., Riverside, Calif. The cushion 104 has (i) a curved front wall 120 and (ii) opposite first and second top surfaces 122, 124, each of which includes a respective concave, bowl shaped recess 126, 128 for the bony skull of a human head. The recesses 126, 128 in each of the opposite top surfaces of the cushion extend rearward from respective rounded contact edges 126 a, 128 a (see also FIGS. 1, 2). Certain preferred dimensions for an exemplary form of a cushion are shown (in inches) in FIGS. 11-14. The bowl shaped recesses 126, 128 each has a predetermined spherical curvature whose preferred dimension (the radius of the spherical curvature) is shown in FIG. 14. The top surface 124 of the cushion has a border portion 124 a (FIGS. 10, 12) that is configured to rest on the ridges 112 of the base. The cushion has a stepped portion 130 between the opposite top surfaces 122, 124 of the cushion. The stepped portion 130 is formed by surfaces 131, 132, and 133, which are oriented relative to each other in the manner shown in FIGS. 9-14. When the therapeutic device is in its low configuration, the surface 132 rests on the ridges 112 of the base, and the top surface 124 rests on the platform 113 of the base.

The base 102 and cushion 104 are configured such that the cushion can be selectively supported on the base in either of its two configurations; the first (or low) configuration (FIG. 1, Exhibit A) in which the cushion extends above the base by a first amount, and a second (or high) configuration (FIG. 2) in which the cushion extends above the base by a second amount. The base and cushion are further configured such that in either the first or second configurations, the base 102 and cushion 104 define a bowl shaped recess (e.g. 126, 128) that receives and supports a human skull with a respective one of the rounded contact edges (126 a, 128 a) engaging the suboccipital area of the human skull in a manner that promotes one or more of the therapeutic modalities.

The front wall 110 of the base has a predetermined curved configuration (see e.g. FIG. 11). The cushion 104 is configured such that when the cushion is supported on the base (in either of its high or low positions) the curved front wall 120 of the cushion will be disposed against and extends above the curved front wall 110 of the base (see e.g. FIGS. 1, 2). Thus, the curved front wall 120 of the cushion will have essentially the same curvature as the curved front wall 110 of the base. In addition, in either high or low positions, the bowl shaped recess (126, 128) in the top of the cushion extends rearward from the curved front wall 120 of the cushion. Thus, the front of the device will effectively have a rounded and curved top edge (i.e. formed by one or the other of the rounded and curved contact edges 126 a, 128 a), and a bowl shaped recess (126, 128) in the cushion that is configured to provide a support for a human skull with one of the rounded contact edges 126 a, 128 a engaging the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more of the therapeutic modalities.

Also, as described above, support ridge 112 of the base is configured to support the cushion when the base and cushion are in either of the first or second positions. The top surface 124 of the cushion has the border portion 124 a that is configured to rest on the ridges 112 of the base when the base and cushion are in the second (or high) position. That border portion 124 a supports the cushion from the base in the second (or high) position. The stepped border 130 of the cushion is located between the top surfaces 122, 124 of the cushion, and has the surface 132 that is configured to rest on the ridges 112 of the base when the base and cushion are in the first (or low) position.

In using the therapeutic device 100, it is recommended that a patient choose a firm but comfortable surface to lie on. A deeply carpeted floor or foam exercise mat is ideal. It is also recommended that the patient find a place and time during which the patient will not be interrupted. It is desirable that the patient not undertake activity that activates eye and neck muscles, preventing full relaxation and the benefits of a therapy session.

The patient should lie on his/her back as illustrated in Exhibits A and B. Knees and hips should be bent in to a comfortable degree, with feet about 18 inches apart and knees resting together. This gaps the sacro-iliac joints, allowing the spine to relax from sacrum to occiput.

The patient should position one of the bowl shaped recesses 126, 128 of the therapeutic device under the patient's head, with the rounded contact edge (126 a or 128 a) engaging the suboccipital area of the patient's skull. This sub occipital region is the area where tense muscles often cause tension headaches. The patient should also make certain that the rounded contact edge of the therapeutic device is situated in the fleshy area just below the bony skull. Then the patient should just relax. The device is designed so that the patient should feel as though the suboccipital region is gently being pulled away from the patient's neck, and the patient's chin will be approximating his/her chest. Above all, the patient's position should be comfortable. The patient would be instructed that if the patient's chin actually rests on his/her chest, or deep easy breathing is inhibited, the therapeutic device is too high, and the device should be adjusted to the low position.

The patient can customize positioning by changing the height of the cushion 104 placed on the base 102. If the patient wants to make it slightly higher, the therapeutic device 100 can be placed on a magazine or book to raise it inch or so. The patient may find just raising the front of the therapeutic device to inch adds a little more inhibitory pressure to tight suboccipital muscles.

The first few seconds, the patient should close his/her eyes and take some deep breaths; gently exhale to help release tension. Within 2-4 minutes the patient should feel the occiput releasing from its impacted position. As this occurs, the patient may want to reposition the therapeutic device so that the rounded contact edge (126 a, 128 a) remains properly situated in the sub occipital muscles and further release can occur.

The patient should then continue relaxing on the therapeutic device. After 5 minutes or so, the patient should begin to feel so relaxed that he/she may drift off for a light catnap. After 10 minutes or so the patient should reawaken feeling refreshed and refocused, with a marked reduction in tension. The patient should not be concerned if he/she doesn't actually sleep, as long as the patient just relaxes and let the therapeutic device do the work.

In the applicant's experience, after about 5 minutes, with the bony skull of the human head allowed to remain supported in the manner described above, that support should promote muscle inhibition. If the bony skull is allowed to remain supported for a longer period, that support should also promote occipital decompression. If the bony skull is allowed to remain supported for a longer period, e.g. about 20 minutes, that support should promote cranio-sacral release.

The reversible cushion 104 helps the patient customize the height of the therapeutic device for best results. The lower configuration (low position, as shown in FIG. 1) is recommended for individuals under 5′8″ in height, or for those with shorter necks.

Accordingly, the foregoing description provides a therapeutic device and method for forming the therapeutic device that are designed to provide a patient with an adjustable device for receiving the occipital condyle of a human skull and engaging the suboccipital area of a human skull in a manner that promotes one or more therapeutic modalities. With the foregoing disclosure in mind, it is believed that various adaptations of a therapeutic device for providing occipital decompression, according to the principles of the present invention, will be apparent to those in the art.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7500279 *Mar 1, 2007Mar 10, 2009Elfrem JacksonSleep device
US20130340171 *May 24, 2013Dec 26, 2013Dawn OberstLimb Support Device
Classifications
U.S. Classification5/636
International ClassificationA47C20/00, A47G9/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47G9/1009, A61G7/072
European ClassificationA47G9/10B, A61G7/07H
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 15, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: THERAPRODUCTS INCORPORATED (FORMERLY DETENSOR INCO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BROWN, RICHARD C.;FISHER, DANIEL W.;REEL/FRAME:018593/0260
Effective date: 20061107
Owner name: THERAPRODUCTS INCORPORATED, ARIZONA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ARIZONA ARCHERY ENTERPRISES;REEL/FRAME:018593/0263
Effective date: 20061107