US 3315665 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 25, 1967 ac D Y METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THERAPY OF SKIN TISSUE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 11, 1963 J2 INVENTOR. NORMAN A. MAC. LEOD ATTORNEY A ril 25, 1967 N. A. M LEOD 3,315,665
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR THERAPY OF SKIN TISSUE Filed OCt. 11, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. NORMAN A.MACLOD ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,315,665 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TIERAPY 0F SKIN Tll SUE Norman A. MacLeod, 1330 N. Fullerton Road, La Hahra, Calif. 90631 Filed Oct. 11, 1963, Ser. No. 315,570 6 Claims. (Cl. 128-245) This invention is directed to a method and apparatus for therapeutic treatment of the skin, primarily by way of exercising the skin and skin tissue. Primarily, the invention is a novel, unique and improved means for therapeutic treatment of the skin in this manner by subjecting the skin and skin tissue to an undulating effect or undulating massaging effect, which includes causing th undulations to traverse the skin surface in the manner of waves. In addition to these basic aspects, the invention has certain other aspects which will be dealt with more in detail hereinafter.
The invention is concerned with the enforced change in the smooth, flat or curved, surface of the skin so that prominences and depressions are induced in certain geometrically distributed patterns and in certain rhythms. This can involve the use of a stationary applicator and also the use of one which is caused to glide over the skin. The desired result is achieved by causing the skin to conform to localized stresses resulting in tension and compression effects which may be reversed at the same positions or caused to move across the surface of the skin causing in some cases an undulatory action.
A more thorough comprehension of the invention may be gained from an understanding of the nature of the human skin. The skin which covers the human body varies greatly in texture and appearance. In some areas, as in the ear and below the eyebrows, it is then, soft, flexible and relatively hairless, while in other areas it is thick, relatively hard, as on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and in still others it is hairy, as on the scalp, legs and face of a man. The skin is continuous over the entire body and merges into the mucous membrane of the mouth, nostrils and other body orifices. The skin consists of two general zones, the epidermis, which is protective in function, and its thickness is largely made up of dead, epithelial cells and which is penetrated by orifices connected to sweat glands and hair follicles to which the sebacceous glands are connected; and the dermis which consists of connective tissue forming a matrix for blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerves. The dermis intrudes into the epidermis in the form of papillae containing blood vessels and nerve endings, while in the lower zone of the dermis there is stored a considerable quantity of fat. Underneath the dermis is another layer called the subcutaneous layer, which consists of loose connective tissue in which are to be found large quantities of fat.
Both the skin and the subcutaneous layer are subject to infection and to traumatic injury such as cuts, contusions, burns, radiation effects; and, of course, with age there is a marked difference in texture and a loss of elasticity.
This invention embraces the treatment of perfectly healthy skin primarily by way of exercising the skin in a particular way and in accordance with a particular technique, as well as the therapeutic treatment of skin, that is, the treatment of skin for punposes of improving the health of the skin or the treatment of skin which is disease-d or damaged. Any treatment of the skin of the nature of this invention which can produce desirable esults is, of course, very significant from the standpoint of human health, beauty, appearance, comfort and general well being.
It is, accordingly, a primary purpose of this invention to provide a novel and unique method of treatment of the skin which is primarily a method of exercising the skin by subjecting it to localized depression or elevation in certain predetermined patterns one of which can be undulatory in character, and in which the undulate depressions and elevations can traverse the skin in the manner of waves.
Associated with the primary object of the invention are many additional more specific objects, including the stimulation of the functioning of the components of the skin to help clean out orifices where these may be plugged and in general to improve skin conditions.
A further object is to improve the functioning of not only the epidermis and dermis, but also of the more deep-seated, sub-cutaneous layer. Where the epidermis or dermis only are treated, the areas subjected to localized depression or elevation can be quite small. For instance, contiguous elevations and depressions in such a case may be as little as one-twentieth of an inch apart However, in producing significant tissue movement in the subcutaneous layer, such contiguous elevations and depressions can be as much as an inch between centers of depression and elevation.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved method for inducing the removal of waste matters from the epidermis and to thereby cleanse the orifices in accordance with the particular technique referred to above.
It is another object to combine the method of treatment as referred to in the foregoing with the use of various types of preparations such as creams, non-toxic solvents, etc. which aid in cleansing or are otherwise conductive to health, beauty and/or curing of disease.
Another object is to prove an improved method of skin treatment calculated to facilitate the absorption of fluids, both liquid and gaseous, which are capable of useful application to the skin in medical treatment. These include oxygen, hormones, enzymes and liquid soluble vitamins such as A, D and K.
Another object is to provide an improved method of applying germicidals and antibiotic agents to diseased or injured portions of the skins. Such agents could include creams, lotions or solutions containing sulfathiazole, aureomycin, penicillin, and the like.
It is another object to provide an improved method of treatment of the skin whereby to promote absorption of beneficial matter and to inhibit absorption of harmful matter and by applying an electrical potential across an undulate protrusion of the skin, i.e., between points at the base of an undulation.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved means, appliance or applicator and system for a carrying out and effectuating the method of the invention.
Another object is to provide means in the form of an applicator with an indented surface and combined with a source of pressure and/or vacuum, whereby the skin surface is caused to conform with the indentations in any desired sequence and degree, and whereby movement of the applicator surface across the skin these conformations of the skin may be made to travel across the skin in an undulatory manner.
Further objects lie in specific variations in the form and construction of the applicator; in the combinations of pressure and vacuum and fluids that may be used in the applicator and also in the combination with the applicator of electrodes having an electrical potential applied therebetween and/or vibrating means combined with the means for undulating the skin, and the means for conforming the surface of the skin to the surface of the applicator.
Further objects and numerous additional advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description and annexed drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic view of a motor-driven neans for providing pressure and suction for use with a plurality of the appliances or applicators of the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view partly broken away of a preferred form of applicator;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of an applicator as shown in FIGURE 2 showing it in use on the skin;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view of a slightly modified form of applicator;
FIGURE 5 is a view partly in section of a modified form of applicator;
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view partly broken away of a modified form of device for providing a source of pressure and vacuum;
FIGURE 7 is a partly broken away view of a modified form of applicator using a thin flexible corrugated disc.
FIGURE 8 is a sectional view of another modified form of the invention;
FIGURE 9 is a detailed sectional view of the applicator of the type shown in FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 10 is a sectional view of another modified form of applicator;
FIGURE 11 is a sectional view of a modified form of applicator combined with electrodes for electrical treatment of the skin;
FIGURE 12 is a sectional View of a modified form of applicator combined with a vibrator.
Primarily, the method of the invention subjects the skin tissues to an undulating movement and the undulations may be caused to traverse the skin in the manner of waves. The thickness of the human skin can vary from 0.5 mm. (.02 inch) to 46 mm. The thinnest skin is found in the less exposed areas such as the inner ear, the facial skin is generally not too thick, whereas the skin on the palms of the hand or the soles of the feet has a maximum thickness. The dimension of the induced undulations of the skin must generally conform to the average skin thickness of the area treated. To stimulate the epidermis, preferentially undulations not more than .25 mm. deep or more than 1.00 mm. between crests would be sufficient. To work on both the dermis and epidermis, dimensions two to four times as great are preferable. To treat the subcutaneous tissue, the peripheral vascular zone and also superficial lymph vessels require an undulation from 4.0 to 10 mm. in depth and approximately 6 to mm. between crests.
The invention provides apparatus including an applicator for producing the undulations as referred to in the foregoing and in accordance with the dimensions given.
In the preferred apparatus, an applicator is used combined with a source of pressure and vacuum to produce the undulations. Pressure or vacuum alone can be used if desired.
FIGURE 1 shows an exemplary system for providing sources of pressure and vacuum. Numeral ltl designates a variable speed reducer driven by an electric motor 11. The speed reducer lil is connected by a link 13 to a piston rod 14 of a piston 16 reciprocatable in cylinder 18. The piston 16 may be provided with grooves for conventional sealing rings. The piston is double acting, having connecting ports 20 and 21 at its opposite ends. These ports are connected to tubes or conduits 24 and 25 by couplings 26 and 27. Numeral 30 designates generally a preferred form of applicator or appliance that may be used for producing the undulating exercising and/or therapeutic effect on the skin. The applicator 3% may be of a type that uses only pressure or vacuum or both pressure and vacuum. The appliance 30 is one that uses both pressure and vacuum. The lines 24 and 25 have a series of branch connections as designated, for example at 32 and 33, which branch connections connect in pairs to individual applicators as designated at 30. Control valves may be provided as shown at 35 and 36. Preferably, a bypass valve is provided in a bypass line 41 between the tubes or conduits 24 and 25 to relieve any excess pressure or vacuum in either one.
A system such as shown by way of example in FIGURE 1 may be provided to serve a plurality of applicators such as shown at 30 which may be employed in a beauty shop, for example, or in a hospital or clinic for use by doctors and/ or nurses and techniques.
FIGURES 2 and 3 show a preferred exemplary form of the applicator. The applicator as shown is of rectangular configuration being formed of a section of hard rubber or plastic as designated at 45 formed with transverse corrugations therein as designated at 46. The piece of material 45 is attached by suitable means to a top member 47 which may be made of metal or plastic having an integral-extending tubular handle 48. Tubular handle 48 connects to a header 59 within the body 45. The heater 5%) is connected by branch channels as shown at 51 to the grooves or crevices 53 between the corrugations, that is, the elevated portions 46. Surrounding the piece of material or section 45 is a flexible skirt 57 preferably formed of rubber, the lower peripheral edges of which directly engage the skin of the person being treated as designated at 69 to seal thereagainst. Numeral 61 designates the epidermis, 62 designates the dermis and 63 the subcutaneous tissue. In the form of the applicator as shown, the header and tubular handle 48 are connected to a single one of the lines 24 and 25 as shown in FIGURE 1 so that the depressed areas between corrugations is alternately subjected to pressure and vacuum. The pressure used preferably is varied between l0 p.s.i. and 10 p.s.i. in normal operation. Preferably, the frequency of the suction-pressure cycle is varied between 10 per minute and 300 per minute. Higher frequencies are used with smaller corrugations. A useful general purpose frequency range is between and 260 cycles per minute. The area treated can vary between A of a square inch for selected treatment around nostrils or eyes to as much as 40 square inches with coarse corrugations for use on thighs or trunk. These parameters as given establish the preferred size of the applicator itself as well as the depth and spacing of the corrugations or alternatively the elevated and depressed areas. Obviously, rather than the elevated and depressed areas being in the form of corrugations, they might have other configurations provided by other forms or shapes of elevated and depressed areas. These forms or shapes can include a waffie surface in which the indentations are hemispherical, semi-cylindrical, truncated conical or pyramidical.
From the foregoing, the manner of practicing the method of the invention will be understood by those skilled in the art. The applicator as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3 is subjected to the alternating pressure and vacuum as described in the foregoing. When the applicator is subjected to vacuum, the skin including the epidermis and dermis, is drawn up into the corrugations as shown in FIGURE 3, that is, the skin is drawn and exercised into an undulating waveform. The applicator is held manually and is moved over the surface of the skin preferably in a direction transverse as respects the corrugations. Thus, the skin is alternately drawn up into the depressed areas in the form of undulations and then when the pressure is applied, the skin is again flattened out. When the applicator is moved laterally along the skin in a direction transverse to the corrugations, the undulations are caused to traverse the skin in the manner of waves on the surface of the sea. The effect is a therapeutic combined undulating massaging effect which is very beneficial to the skin in that it realizes all of the objects as recited in the foregoing with the attendant specific beneficial purposes and results.
The body of the applicator may be made of various materials, but preferably it is made of a material that may have a smooth, polished surface which contacts the skin. In practicing the method preferably the skin is wet or greased and the method can be performed in combination with the application of various skin preparations, as set forth in the foregoing, including creams, medicaments, vitamin preparations, etc.
The pressure and vacuum system as shown in FIGURE 1 is related to the applicator as such that the volume of the cylinder is usually equal to or greater than the total volume in the depressed areas between the corrugations or elevated areas of the skin with the result of providing satisfactory pressures on the skin.
FIGURE 4 shows a slightly modified form of the invention in which the alternate grooves or depressed areas as designated at 53' are connected to pressure and vacuum. In the body 47' of the applicator, there are provided two headers 50 and 50' which are connected by branch connections to the tubes or conduits 24 and 25 as shown in FIGURE 1. The branch connections 51 and 51' connect to adjacent of the depressed areas 53' between corrugations 46. In other words, the operation of this modification is the same except that adjacent depressed areas are subjected one to pressure and one to vacuum with this relationship intermittently being alternated. The effect on the skin is illustrated by the configuration of the epidermis 61 and the dermis 62 in FIGURE 4.
FIGURE 5 shows a modified form of the invention wherein the applicator has a circular body 67 and a tubular handle 68. The corrugations, that is, the elevated and depressed areas, are formed in a circular configuration as designated at 70 and 71 with a circular flexible skirt 72.
FIGURE 6 shows a slightly modified form of the invention providing a modified source of vacuum and/ or pressure connected to an applicator as designated at 30 which may be like the applicator of FIGURE 1 or that of FIG- URE 2. The pressure and vacuum units is shown as a cylinder 75 having a bore 76 having a piston in it which may be sealed in a conventional manner. The piston discharges pressure through an outlet tube or connection 80. The piston has a stem 81 connected to a solenoid armature 82 operating within a winding 83 in a bore 84 within the cylinder 75. The solenoid is intermittently operated or pulsed so that the piston 70 is pulsed to apply pulses of pressure or pressure and vacuum. Numeral 87 desig nates a known type of unit which is a variable rate current pulser which applies pulses of current to the solenoid winding 83 through the electrical leads 89 passing out through an insulating fitting 90 in the end cap 91 of the unit.
FIGURE 7 shows a slightly modified form of the unit which is in the form of a relatively thin flat flexible platelike member 100 having a polished surface and having circular corrugations 101 with depressed areas or grooves 102 between the corrugations. This form of applicator unit is shown enlarged in FIGURES 8 and 9. It has a central opening having a connection 105 with handle 106 connected to the suction inlet 107 of an air pump 108. The efiect of the suction is shown in FIGURE 9. When the applicator is pressed against the skin, the air moves inwardly between the applicator and the skin as shown by the horizontal arrows. The air escapes at the center of the applicator which is in contact with the skin, as designated at 112. The air flowing transversely between the depressed parts of the applicator and the skin will move at increasing velocity towards the center, thereby produc ing a drop in pressure at those skin areas, the static pressure being greater where the air velocity is less and conversely. The applicator will thus be pressed against the skin by atmospheric pressure with greater force at those areas of the skin where the pressure is reduced. The tendency will be, therefore, for the skin to be formed into undulations extending up into the grooves between corrugations in the applicator. As the applicator is moved across the skin, the surface of the skin will be formed into undulations in this manner conforming to the corrugations and the undulations will tend to traverse the surface of the skin as described in the foregoing and where the suction is broken, which is easily possible when the skin surface being traversed, is curved, then the air rushing in 6 will tend to force the flexible applicator closer to the skin according to the well-known Bournoulli principle thereb accomplishing all of the desirable objectives, results ant advantages as have been outlined.
FIGURE 8 shows a slightly modified form of device for applying pressure and/or vacuum to the applicator In this modification of the invention, the tube 112 is connected to a cylinder 115 by way of a coupling 116. A piston is provided in the cylinder 115 in the form of a flexible member having an axially extending skirt portion 121, the flexible member being held between washers 122 and 123 by way of a nut 124 on a stem 127 which extends outwardly of the cylinder 115 through a sealing coupling 128, and is operable by handle 13%. By reciprocating the piston formed by the flexible member 120, vacuum can be applied to the applicator 100. The applicator may be pressed against the skin and the flexible member 120 partially withdrawn to produce a limited vacuum with the flexible member being left set in a particular position with the vacuum held in the applicator in position against the skin. If desired, a locking device of any suitabe type may be provided to lock the stem 127 in a desired extended position. In this manner, a set predetermined vacuum may be formed in the applicator and held therein while it is used, being moved transversely with respect to the skin surface.
FIGURE 10 shows a slightly modified form of the invention having an applicator body which is similar to that of FIGURES 2 and 3. It has a connecting tube 135 connecting to a header 137 having branch connec tions 133 to depressed areas 149 between corrugations 141. Instead of contacting the applicator directly against the skin, a flexible diaphragm which may be made of rubber as shown at 143 is used which covers the surface providing covered areas between the corrugations 141 and the edges of the diaphragm as shown at 145 being sealed around the periphery of the member 135 and also along corrugations 141. In this form of the invention, instead of using air or gas within the applicator, a liquid of any suitable type is used, the pressure of which is varied in a manner similar to that described in the foregoing in connection with air or gas. The flexible diaphragm 143 flexes in response to the variations in pressure as shown in outline in FIGURE 10 and preferably with a wet or greased skin surface the skin will conform to the movement of the diaphragm, that is, it will be undulated and it will be massaged or exercised in a manner similar to that described in connection with the previous embodiments.
It will also be appreciated that this use of an intervening flexible elastic diaphragm between the surface of skin and that of the applicator can also be used with the pressure/vacuum system shown in FIGURES l and 4. In such a use, a completely closed fluid system can be used to produce pressure and vacuum in adjacent corrugations.
FIGURE 11 shows a modified form of the invention having an applicator body having in it a header 151 for pressure and vacuum connecting to branch channels 152 leading to depressed areas 153 between corrugations 154. In this form of the invention, electrical current therapy is combined with the undulating exercising and massaging effect. The therapeutic effect of the electrical current has particular purposes and results and realizes special accomplishments when combined with the undulating treatment method. The application of an electrio current to the epidermis and dermis can help not only in ion transfer, but also in the transportation of nondissociated colloids and in the process of causing water to be transferred through membrane structure as found in the skin. By the application of such an electric current, substances can be introduced into the epidermis, the dermis and beyond into the subcutaneous tissues. Without the assistance of such a current, penetration by these substances of the skin would be very slight or not at all. The use of waveforms or other indentation forms 7 JpllSd to the skin so that the surface of the skin conlrms to these indentations intensifies this current action .introducing desired substances. It is particularly useful the matter of introducing histamine substance into the In FIGURE 11, electrodes as designated at 156 and 157 re combined with, that is, embedded in the extremities of re corrugations or elevated portions 154. The applica- )1 is made of insulating material. Suitable voltage is pplied between these electrodes causing a current to .ow at the same time as the undulating treatment is ccomplished. The current may be pulsed synchronously vith the pressure and/ or vacuum variations. By applyng such a current across the undulations produced in the kin, it combines the short path of the current flow across he base of such undulations with the other conditions is described that the skin is under alternate compression 1nd tension and is thus more receptive to percutaneous tbsorption of material applied as a liquid or cream to .t and especially so if current is employed. In other words, there are actually two considerations favoring per- :utaneous absorption of desired substances including the flexing of the skin and particularly the stretching of the skin by conformation to an indented surface which helps in the absorption of materials which are present in liquid or paste form between the skin and the indented surface. This absorption is further favored by introducing the potential difference across the base of such skin folds or bosses or undulations or between the apex and base of such a skin fold or undulation.
Under suction, waste matter clogging pores of skin will tend to be discharged and thus is facilitated by the convex, arcuate form the surface of the skin takes under suction into corrugated folds. It is further helped by repeated flexings which help to work out solid or viscous matter from these pores.
FIGURE 12 shows a modified form of the invention in which the applicator as designated at 160 is like that of FIGURES 2 and 3. It has a handle 161 and the pressure and/ or vacuum line 162 connecting to a header 163. In this form of the invention, an electric vibrator 164 is combined with the applicator unit so that electrically induced vibratory movement is combined with the undulating treatment provided by the applicator itself. If desired, the electrical current treatment as shown in FIG- URE 11 can be combined also with the arrangement as shown in FIGURE 12, that is, combining in one treatment the undulating technique along with pulsating or direct electrical current and mechanical vibratory movement.
From the foregoing, those skilled in the art will observe that the invention as described herein achieves and realizes all of the objects and advantages as outlined in the foregoing, as well as having many additional advantages that are apparent from the detailed description.
The foregoing disclosure is representative of preferred forms of the invention and is to be interpreted in an illustrative rather than a limiting sense, the invention to be accorded the full scope of the claims appended hereto.
1. The method of therapeutic treatment of the skin comprising subjecting the skin to a movement comprising alternately depressing and elevating contiguous areas of the skin by alternately applying suction and pressure 6 thereto, applying electric current to the skin by applying voltage between localized elevated areas of the skin, and
pulsing the applied voltage synchronously with the induced movement.
2. An appliance for therapeutic treatment of the skin by flexing the skin tissues by applying elevating and depressing stresses thereto comprising an applicator having a part adapted for direct contact with the skin tissue, said part being configurated to have spaced areas for contacting the skin with depressed areas between the spaced areas and means to simultaneously produce contiguous areas that are depressed and elevated relative to the normal level of the skin, said applicator being movable whereby to cause said depressed and elevated areas to traverse laterally as respects the skin.
3. An appliance as in claim 2, wherein the said applicator is configurated whereby the said depressed and elevated areas are provided by corrugations.
4. An appliance as in claim 2, wherein said applicator is made of flexible material and means for applying vacuum between the applicator and the skin.
5. An appliance as in claim 2, including means providing communication with the depressed areas in the appliance and means for varying the relative gas pressure in said depressed areas.
6. An appliance for therapeutic treatment of the skin by flexing the skin tissues by applying elevating and depressing stresses thereto comprising an applicator having a part adapted for direct contact with the skin tissue, said part being configurated to have spaced areas for contacting the skin with depressed areas between the spaced areas whereby to produce contiguous depressed and elevated areas in the skin, said applicator being movable whereby to cause said depressed and elevated areas to traverse laterally as respects the skin, means providing communication with the depressed areas in the appliance, and means for varying the relative gas pressure in said depressed areas, electrodes positioned at the extremities of the said elevated portions of the applicator, and means for applying an electrical potential be tween the electrodes whereby the skin tissues are subjected to a current which follows a path between points at the base parts of undulations of tissue drawn into the depressed portions of the applicator.
References Qited by the Examiner 5 RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.