US 3835844 A
An apparatus for stretching and massaging the spinal column of a human being comprises a chair with a backrest and leg support, with the backrest enclosing a small obtuse angle with the seat, the leg support being parallel to the backrest, and two rows of vibrators arranged closely spaced along the entire length of the backrest in the center thereof.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Lang 1451 Sept. 17, 1974 l APPARATUS FOR STRETCHING THE SPINE  Inventor: Friedrich Lang, Landau/Pfalz,
Germany  Assignee: Lang Weyland GmbH,
Landau/Pfalz, Germany 22 Filed: Apr. 6, 1973 211 App]. No.2 348,490
 Foreign Application Priority Data May 29, 1972 Germany 2226073 Oct. 24, 1972 Germany 2252095  US. Cl 128/33, 128/57, 128/71  Int. Cl A6lh 1/00  Field of Search 128/71, 33, 41, 24.2, 57
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,164,356 12/1915 Kaiser 128/33 1,276,526 8/1918 Hardy et 111. 128/33 1,529,872 3/1925 Craig 128/33 3,113,567 12/1963 RUSSCll.... 128/33 3,446,204 5/1969 Murphy 128/33 Primary Examiner-Lawrence W. Trapp Attorney, Agent, or FirmKurt Kelman [5 7 ABSTRACT An apparatus for stretching and massaging the spinal column of a human being comprises a chair with a backrest and leg support, with the backrest enclosing a small obtuse angle with the seat, the leg support being parallel to the backrest, and two rows of vibrators arranged closely spaced along the entire length of the backrest in the center thereof.
11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PAIENIEDSEPITIQH 3%5344 SHEET 1 or 4 FIG. 4
APPARATUS FOR STRETCHING THE SPINE The present invention relates to an apparatus for stretching and simultaneously massaging the spine of a human being.
Age, accidents, inflammations and other causes produce changes in the spinal columns of human beings, including damage to the discs, which may result in muscle spasms creating pressures on the nerves. These conditions involve backaches of various severities, and one course of treatment consists of stretching the spine and/or massaging the same.
It has been proposed, for instance, to subject the spinal column to a stretch by applying a Glisson sling to the neck of a standing person, or by applying a stretching force to the feet. However, not everyone can tolerate this painful treatment. It has also been proposed to apply weights to the patient lying prone. Manual vibrators have also been used to massage the back, and particularly the the spine. The various stretching methods heretofore used involve risks of causing further damage to the spine and particularly to the positioning of the discs in the spinal column.
It is the primary object of this invention to overcome these disadvantages and to provide an apparatus assuring effective and safe stretching of the spine while subjecting it to a massage.
The above and other objects are accomplished in accordance with the invention with a chair-like support frame which includes a seat, a backrest enclosing a small obtuse angle with the seat, an adjustable leg support extending substantially parallel to the backrest, and two rows of vibrators arranged along the entire length of the backrest in the center thereof for contact with the spine of a person sitting on the seat, the vibrators being closely spaced.
Such an apparatus has the advantage of combining two different types of physical therapy in a most favorable manner. The stretching treatment loosens the vertebrae and thus widens the gaps therebetween to permit the massage treatment to have its most beneficial effect on the patient.
Since the patient is in a sitting position during this treatment, the body is bent at the hip so that the spinal column is in a stretched condition. This causes the faces of the vertebrae to be parallel to each other so that the double treatment will tend to re-position the discs properly in the gaps between the faces. By changing the angle of the backrest in respect of the seat, as well as that of the leg support, the degree of stretching can be properly dosed. Control of the vibrators also makes it possible to dose the force and time of the massage. This treatment makes it possible gently to reposition slipped discs and to alleviate a variety of physical dislocations causing backaches.
The indicated effects will be further enhanced by combining heat with the two types of physical treatments since the stretching and massage will have even more beneficial results while the body is warmed.
The above and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of a now preferred embodiment thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein FIG. 1 is a front view of a chair-like support frame according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the frame;
FIG. 3 is a horizontal section along lines AA of FIG. 1, on an enlarged scale; and
FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram of the electrical control circuit useful for the operation of the apparatus.
Referring now to the drawing and first to FIGS. 1 to 3, the apparatus is shown to comprise a chair-like support frame including seat 1, backrest 2 enclosing a small obtuse angle with the seat, and a leg support 3 extending substantially parallel to the backrest. The frame is mounted on pedestal 25 by means of horizontal pivoting axle 4 about which the frame may be pivoted, the axle being positioned at the rear of the seat.
A foot support 5 is vertically adjustably mounted on leg support 3 so that the feet of the patient may rest thereon, the adjustment of the foot support compensating for patients of different height.
A seating support element 30 constituting the actual seat for the patient is pivotally mounted on seat 1 by means of a pivoting axle 31 in the rear portion of the seat to permit pivoting of the seating support element in the direction of arrow 35 (FIG. 2) by means of a manually operable spindle drive 32. The pivoting axle is adjustably spaced from the backrest, as indicated by double-headed arrow 36, so that the spacing between the seating support element and the backrest may be varied. This adjustability makes the apparatus adaptable to persons of different body dimensions to assure proper parallel positioning of the vertebrae faces.
Two straight vertical rows 6 and 7 of vibrators 8 are arranged along the entire length of the backrest 2 in the center thereof, the vibrators in each row being closely spaced and the two rows being closely spaced, adjacent vibrators in the two rows being horizontally aligned and the two rows being symmetrically arranged in respect of the center line of the backrest. A casing 34 is mounted in the back of the backrest 2 and encloses operating parts of the vibrators 8. A source of heat 34 is mounted in the chamber 33 defined by the casing. This source of heat may be an electric resistance heater, an infrared heater or a warm air blower. It will be useful to divide the heat source into separate segments to coordinate the heat treatment with respective groups of vibrators during the treatment to be described hereinafter.
The illustrated vibrators comprise vibrating balls 9 removably mounted so that balls of different sizes may be used for different patients.
It is particularly useful to mount rows of horizontally extending support rollers 10 laterally of the rows of vibrators on the backrest. As shown in FIG. 3, the rollers are preferably forwardly inclined so as to provide full support for the back of the patient. These rollers have the advantage of eliminating any gliding resistance of the back and thus to help the optimal and even stretching of the spinal column by the weight of the body resting against an inclined plane, i.e., under the best physiological conditions.
As best shown in FIG. 3, spring-biased levers 11 are pivotally mounted on backrest 2 for pivoting backwardly (see broken lines in FIG. 3) out of the plane of the backrest and yieldingly carrying the vibrators 8 with their balls 9. The levers are mounted on pivoting axles l2 laterally adjacent each of the rows 6, 7 of the vibrators. Arms 14 extend backwardly from the pivoting axles, and tension springs 15 interconnect the free ends of horizontally aligned pairs of the lever arms. In
this manner, when a persons back rests against the backrest and vibrator balls, the pressure will pivot the balls backwardly into the position shown in broken lines in FIG. 3. This yielding arrangement of the vibrators assures an even pressure of all vibrators against the spinal column and their adaptation to its shape. The ball shape of the vibrators will conform closely to the treated portion of the body, particularly since these balls may be replaced according to requirements.
Forward movement of the yieldingly mounted vibrators is restrained by the angle irons 16 which also mount rollers 10.
FIG. 4 shows a circuit diagram of a control circuit for operating selected ones of vibrators 8, the circuit being energized by main switch 17 to supply electrical power to the circuit.
The vibrators 8 comprise oscillating solenoids which are energized by throwing switch 17. A circuit element 18, which may be an impulse generator and a time relay, is mounted in the circuit to adjust the amplitude and duration of the vibratory pulses. Furthermore, selector means 19, 20 is also mounted in the circuit for operating only selected ones of the vibrators. Furthermore, a timer 21 may be arranged between switch 17 and circuit element 18 to determine the time of operation.
The selector means may comprise a stepping switch or mechanism, a timing mechanism and a pre-set counting mechanism to operate the vibrators in a set sequence. The preferred operation provides for the simultaneous vibration of four adjacent vibrators in the two rows at any one time. Groups of four adjacent vibrators are operated successively in an upward direction while the four adjacent vibrators immediately below the successively operated groups of vibrators are tie-activated in the stepwise operation of the vibrators by the cooperation of the stepping, timing and counting mechanisms. Thus, as indicated in FlG. 1, a group of four vibrators 8, 8" is operated at one time for a given period of time, whereupon vibrators 8 are switched off and the two upwardly adjacent vibrators 8" are switched on to work with vibrators 8" in the next group of four. Thus, a vibration wave progressing upwardly along the spinal column is produced. Furthermore, the selector makes it possible to determine the end and the beginning of the wave of vibrations applied against the stretched spinal column. The force of the vibrations may be adjusted by potentiometer 22 mounted in the circuit between selector 19, 20 and the vibrator 8.
An electromotor 24 connected to pivoting axle 4 by gearing 23 is provided for pivoting the chair-like support frame on its pedestal 25. The electrical control circuit energized by main switch 24 includes a branch line connected to motor 24, wherein there are arranged switches 26 and 27 for pivoting the frame up or down. An emergency switch 28 in the branch circuit pivots the frame back into its normal or rest position, this switch also being connected to timer 21 to switch off operation of the vibrators. Furthermore, switch 29 in the branch circuit automatically terminates the operation of the vibrators 8 and pivots the frame into its rest position after the set time for the entire treatment has expired. It will be useful to mount all the control switches on a common control panel.
It is possible to effectuate stretching of the spinal column in the neck by mounting a Glisson sling at the upper end of the backrest to hold the head of the pa tient in fixed position and thus to effectuate stretching under the weight of the body. The sling is mounted on an adjustable bracket and the head is fixed in position when the chairlike support frame has been pivoted back. After the head had been fixed, the frame is slowly pivoted forward so as to initiate the stretching treatment at the neck. Afterwards, the vibrators are actuated to start the massage. The relative position of the backrest and leg support may adjusted by pivotal connections between the seat and the backrest and leg support to enhance the stretching operation.
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for stretching the spine of a human being, comprising a chair-like support frame pivotal about a horizontal axis and including 1. a seat,
2. a backrest enclosing a small obtuse angle with the seat,
3. an adjustable leg support extending substantially parallel to the backrest,
4. two rows of vibrators arranged along the entire length of the backrest in the center thereof, the vibrators being closely spaced; and
5. rows of horizontally extending support rollers mounted on the backrest laterally of the vibrators.
2. The apparatus of claims 1, further comprising a casing mounted in the back of the backrest and enclosing portions of the vibrators extending thereinto, and a source of heat arranged in the casing.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the seat comprises a seating support element, and a pivoting axle adjustably spaced from the backrest and pivotally mounting the seating support element on the seat.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising spring-biased levers pivotally mounted on the backrest for pivoting backwardly out of the plane of the backrest and yieldingly carrying the vibrators.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, further comprising pivoting axles mounted on the backrest laterally of each of the rows of the vibrators for pivoting the levers, arms extending backwardly from the pivoting axles, and tension springs interconnecting the free ends of horizontally aligned pairs of the lever arms.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the vibrators comprise removable mounted balls.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the vibrators comprise oscillating solenoids.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a vertically adjustable foot support mounted on the leg support.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an electrical control circuit for operating selected ones of the vibrators, the circuit including a main switch for energizing the circuit, a circuit element in the circuit for adjusting the duration of the vibratory pulses, and a selector means for operating the selected vibrators.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the selector means comprises a stepping mechanism, a timing mechanism and a preset counting mechanism cooperating to operate simultaneously four adjacent ones of the vibrators in the two rows, groups of four adjacent vibrators being operated successively in an upward direction while the four adjacent vibrators immediately below the successively operated groups of vibrators are de-activated in the stepwise operation of the vibrators.
the main switch to the motor for operating the same.