Vibratory therapeutic chair
United States Patent 2492671

This invention relates to a therapeutic appliance in the form of an arm chair having means therein for generating sustained vibrations of a gyratory nature which may be transmitted to the body of the user to impart a massaging action. According to the present invention, there is provided a...

Wettlaufer, William L.
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Wettlaufer, William L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
601/67, D24/215
International Classes:
A61H1/00; A61H23/02
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2009730Exercising chair for invalids1935-07-30
1845941Vibrating stool1932-02-16


This invention relates to a therapeutic appliance in the form of an arm chair having means therein for generating sustained vibrations of a gyratory nature which may be transmitted to the body of the user to impart a massaging action.

According to the present invention, there is provided a chair having a divided seat, each portion of which is pivotally mounted on the chair frame; and each of which has connected thereto an arm rest containing a vibration generator.

The user of the chair may swing the connected seat and arm portions away from or toward the body, adjusting them. as desired to his own girth and either snugly or loosely, and concurrently, by operation of the vibration generator, receive the pulsations with such intensity as may be desired. A typical embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, wherein: Fig. 1 is a top plan of thechair; Fig. 2 is a front elevation; Fig. 3 is a bottom plan; Fig.. 4 is a section on the line 4-4 of Fig. 1, drawn on an enlarged scale; and Fig. 5 is a section on the line 5-5 of Fig. 1, also drawn on an. enlarged scale.

Referring initially to Figs. 1, 2, and 3, the chair comprises a supporting frame having side rails II and front and back rails 12, and legs 13, at the four corners. These are joined together in any desired approved manner to provide a sturdy foundation, and in. accordance with customary practices in the cabinet maker's art. The upper edges of the side rails II and the back rail 12 are at the same elevation, and sligthly-that is, about an inch or so-above the upper edge of the front rail, for a purpose which will presently appear. Two like side beams 14 are joined between the front and back rails and abutting the inner faces of the side rails 11, and a third beam 15 is also joined between the front and back rails at the center. These beams, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5, are located slightly below the upper edges of the side rails, and in a common horizontal plane. The beams 14 are formed with top and bottom grooves 16 and 17, while the center beam 15 is formed with top and bottom parallel grooves 18 and 19. So much of the construction represents the rigid supporting frame on which the balance of the chair parts are mounted.

Directly mounted on the frame is a pair of like floating platforms, 21 and 22, positioned within the frame rails and between the side beams, 14 and the center beam 15. The resilient mounting employed adopts the principles disclosed in my prior Patents Nio, 2,235,183 and No. 2,235,184 of March 18, 1941. Each platform is provided with grooves 23 and 24 along its sides to overlie 4 the grooves .S6 and t1, and the pairs of grooves serve as retainers for pieces of soft rubber tubing 25. interposed between the platforms and beams. The platforms are retained on the frame by means of clamping bars 26 having a central section screwed or otherwise connected to the bottons of the platforms, and depending flanges 27 passing under the lower grooves 17 and I9 of the beams.. These. flanges are spaced from the beams: by interposed pieces of soft rubber tubing or other resilient material 28, and the dimensions are such that the tubing is placed under light compressionr It will thus be seen that the platforms are free to move slghtiy in both vertical and horizontal i0 directions, and that they are resiliently mounted on the frame- As shown. in Figs. i, 2, and 3,. the platforms are slightly spaced from the side and back rails I and 12 and from each other, and they extend slightly above the upper edges of the *j rails. The platforms are also provided with front aprons 21 projecting over the front rail 12, and for this reason it is, advantageous to make the front rail a little lower than the remaining rails. In order to enhance the appearance of the chair, the platforms may be covered on the top and around the edges with fabric 3 t, but it is not deemed necessary to interpose any upholstering.

Each platform carries a movable- arm and seat .5 unit, generally designated by the reference numerals 32 and 33, and differing from each other only in that they are left and right hand counterparts.. The unit 33 includes a base plate 34 having substantially straight, right angled inner and jo front edges, and a more irregular border on its rear and outside edges,, as will be apparent from the conitoaushown inFig. L A generally kidneyshaped, hollow and box-like arm frame is mounted on the plate 34 to cover it along the rear and 4, outside edges, and also to provide a half seat portion heboded by the front and inner edges, as, will also be apparent from Fig. 1.

The arm frame, which may readily be fabricated from plywood or like material, comprises upper and lower pieces 35 and 38 of relatively strong plywood, cut to the desired contour,, and relatively thin and, therefore flexible upright pieces. 317 and 38, which are fitted to. the. contour of the upper and lower pieces, and are then screwed, nailed, glued, or otherwise secured in position. A portion of the outer upright piece 38 may be cut away, and the opening closed with an access cover 39, while the rear section of the upright may likewise be cut away and covered with a screen, or be drilled with a plurality of holes 41, as shown in Fig. 5. The arm frame is thereby made open for the circulation of air, and for access to its interior without total dismantling.

Positioned within the frame, and lending additional rigidity thereto, are upright studs 42 and 43, disposed against each other in a T formation, and retained between the upper and lower pieces 35 and 36 by screws 44 or other suitable means.

The stud 43 is formed with an arcuate notch 45 in which is disposed a soft rubber pad 46, serving as a cushion for a small electric motor 47, which is retained by means of a half round clamp 48 bearing on the motor frame through a rubber pad 49. Bolts 51, extending through the studs, retain the clamp and motor in position.

The motor 47 is herein illustrated as having a double ended shaft carrying a pair of small fans 52, each of which has a small weight 53 attached to one blade. The weights render the motor rotor dynamically unbalanced beyond any insignificant lack of balance incident to manufacturing imperfections, and the positive unbalance condition generates gyratory vibrations when the motor is operated. It has heretofore been shown by me that the vibrations are of a regular, periodic form, having an amplitude proportionate to the intensity of the applied current. These vibrations are transmitted to the supporting structure for the motor, thereby causing the arm and seat unit to vibrate or pulsate with a similar wave motion, which is in turn transmitted to the body of a person in contact therewith. Due to the unique character of the vibrations, they are deemed by a number of physicians and physiotherapists to have a massaging effect beneficial to the patient in certain types of cases.

The arm frame is secured to the base plate 34 by screws 54, thus integrating the arm and seat unit. After assembly, the upper piece 35 and the inner curved surface are upholstered with a layer of sponge rubber 55, and the entire unit, with the exception of the under side of the base plate 34, is finished with a fabric cover 56. The under surface of the base plate 34 is intended to have a sliding action over the top of the platform 22, and as an undesirable amount of friction would exist if there were two fabric surfaces in contact, the bottom of the base plate 34 is simply smoothly finished, as by sanding.

The arm and seat unit 33 is pivotally mounted on the platform 22 by means of a bolt 57, extending through aligned apertures 58 and 59, and located at the inner rear portions of the parts. The bolt is advantageously retained in position by a nut and resilient washer 61 in the form of a coiled spring, access for assembly purposes being had through the cover plate 39.

It will thus be seen that the arm and seat unit can be swung over the surface of the platform 22, and the chair may therefore be used by persons of various girths, who may pull the arm as close to the body as is desired.

The motor lead wires 62 extend through apertures 63 and 64 in the base plate 34 and platform 22 to a control box 65, located in a pocket cut into one of the side rails II, and thereby conveniently accessible to both the user of the chair and an attendant. The apertures 63 and 64 are located fairly close to the bolt 57, and hence they do not become greatly misaligned when the seat is shifted over the platform.

Accordingly, the aperture 63 need not be made greatly oversized to avoid shearing the wires 62. The control box 65 may include a rheostat switch 66 and a timer 67, so that both the intensity of the current and the length of application may be governed. It will be understood, of course, that the unit 32 is structurally the same as the unit 33, and therefore the description of one will serve for both.

The chair of the present invention is especially adapted for the generation of vibrations which may be applied to the hip and lower abdominal portions of the body. When the vibration generator is operated, the wave motion is transmitted throughout the entire arm and seat structure and also to the supporting platform, but not significantly to the chair frame by reason of the rubber mountings 24 and 25. Either one or both of the motors may be operated, and the individual control of the current supplied permits fine adjustments bringing the generators into synchronism, thereby eliminating undesirable beats.

Another feature of the invention resides in integrating the arm and seat, and mounting the same for frictional engagement with the upper surface of its associated platform. While, as noted, the arm and seat units may be readily pushed apart or pulled together when the chair is unoccupied, this does not occur when a person sits on the seats. There is, of course, a coefficient of friction between the unit and its associated platform, and a substantial area of contact therebetween. Hence, the weight of the user imposes sufficient total force to lock the seat and platform together, making separate clamps or holding screws unnecessary, and automatically retaining the seat and arm against the body in its desired position.

It will accordingly be seen that the present invention provides a novel and improved therapeutic chair which may be utilized to apply a massaging type of vibration to various parts of the body. As previously noted, the chair as herein described is particularly suited for the application of such vibrations to the lower abdominal regions, but it may be utilized also for the chest region by making the arm frames higher. Likewise, it should be understood that while the invention has been described with reference to a single preferred embodiment, it is not limited to the precise details thereof, but should be regarded as having a scope commensurate with the following claims.

I claim: 1. A therapeutic massage chair comprising a supporting frame, a pair of platforms resiliently 00 mounted on the frame, said platforms being slightly spaced from each other, and unitary arm and seat sections pivotally connected to each platform adjacent a rear inner corner thereof, each of said sections having thereon a motor whose shaft carries an unbalanced weight to generate sustained vibrations in the arm and seat sections when the motors are energized, said arm and seat sections being arcuately and slidably movable over said platforms when unoccupied by a user, the area of contact and coefficient of friction between the seat sections and platforms being such that when the chair is occupied by a user, said sections and platforms are substantially interlocked against movement with respect to each other.

2. A therapeutic massage chair comprising a supporting frame, a pair of spaced platforms resiliently mounted on the frame, an arm and seat unit positioned on each platform and in frictional contact therewith, each of said arm and seat units including a base plate and a hollow arm disposed on the outer side of the plate, each of said units being pivotally connected to its associated platform for arcuate sliding movement thereover, an electric motor mounted within each arm, a dynamically unbalanced fan mounted on the shaft of each motor, and connecting wires extending from the motors through the arms to individual control devices, the width of the seats being such that a user may pull the inner surfaces of the arms into contact with the torso.

3. A therapeutic massage chair comprising legs and rails, beams extending between an opposed pair of rails at the sides and center of the chair, a pair of spaced platforms resiliently mounted between the side and center beams, seat base plates positioned on the platforms in frictional contact therewith, pivot pins extending through the platforms and associated base plates adjacent a rear inner corner of the platforms whereby the base plates may be slid arcuately toward and away from each other, hollow arms fixedly secured to each base plate on the outer side thereof, studs secured within the arms, an electric motor mounted on each stud, and an unbalanced weight secured to the end of a shaft of each motor and positioned radially from the axis thereof a distance greater than the maximum diameter of the shaft, said weight, upon rotation of the shaft, generating sustained periodic vibrations which are transmitted to the arm, seat, and platform, the coefficient of friction between the base plates and platforms being such that the weight of a user of the chair locks the plates and platforms against movement with respect to each other induced by said vibrations.

4. A therapeutic massage chair comprising a seat having legs and side rails, beams positioned between opposite rails at the sides and center of the chair, a pair of platforms resiliently mounted between said opposite rails on said beams in spaced parallel relation, the upper surfaces of the platforms being slightly above the upper edges of the rails, an arm and seat unit mounted on each platform, said unit including a seat base plate and an arm rigidly connected thereto at the outer side of the plate, said arms being hollow and having a kidney shaped contour on their adjacent inner surfaces, an access opening formed in each arm on an outer surface thereof, an electric motor mounted in each arm and having a dynamically unbalanced weight fastened to the end of the motor shaft, a pivot pin extending through the platform and associated arm and seat unit adjacent an inner rear corner of the platform whereby the arm and seat unit may be slid over the surface of the platform and clear the rails adjacent thereto, an electric current supply cable extending from the motor through apertures formed in the platform and base plate adjacent said pivot pin, and upholstering material on those portions of the base plate and arm adapted to be contacted by an occupant of the chair.

5. A therapeutic massage chair comprising a frame having legs interconnected by rails at the upper ends thereof, a pair of platforms resiliently mounted on the frame and having their upper surfaces slightly above the upper edges of the rails, an arm and seat mounted on each platform, each arm and seat unit comprising a base plate in frictional contact with its platform and adapted to project over the edges of the adjacent side rail, an arm frame having upper and lower members and interconnecting inside and outside members fixedly connected to the outer portion of each base plate, the inside connecting member being curved to conform generally to the contour of the lower portion of the trunk of a user of the chair, a stud in the arm frame fixedly connected thereto, an electric motor having a dynamically unbalanced weight secured to its shaft mounted on the stud, an access opening formed in the outside interconnecting member of the frame, a pivot pin extending through a rear inner corner portion of the base plate into the arm frame whereby said arm and seat unit is mounted for arcuate sliding movement over the platform, padding on the upper and inside arm frame members and the exposed portion of the base plate, an individual current control device for the motor mounted on a rail of the chair, and an electric current cable extending from the control device to the motor.


REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent: 50 UNITED STATES PATENTS Number 421,045 1,845,941 56 2,009,730 Name Date Caldwell ----------- Feb. 11, 1890 Stevens ----------- Feb. 16, 1932 Fisher ------------- July 30, 1935