Title:
TILTING HEALTH TABLE
United States Patent 3568669


Abstract:
A tiltable health table apparatus having a table which is rotatively mounted on a framework, with the table being connected to the framework at a point on the table which will produce an axis of rotation extending across the width of the table. The table has means for adjustably positioning an individual on the table surface, means for adjustably positioning the table and individual in a perpendicular direction from the plane of the table to the pivotal axis, and means for automatically supporting the ankles of an individual when said individual's feet are raised above his head.



Inventors:
STITES JOSEPH D
Application Number:
04/811157
Publication Date:
03/09/1971
Filing Date:
03/27/1969
Assignee:
PHYSICARE INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/610, 5/624, 601/24
International Classes:
A61H1/02; (IPC1-7): A61F5/00
Field of Search:
128/71,73,75,84,24,68,70 272
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3434165HOSPITAL BED1969-03-25Keane
3388700Means and process for effecting periodic body inversion1968-06-18Mountz
3286708Health rest with a tiltable support1966-11-22Gartner
3152802Therapeutic and body exercising apparatus1964-10-13Heisler et al.
3060925Treatment table1962-10-30Honsaker et al.
2932038Couch1960-04-12Sprague
2283475Therapeutic apparatus1942-05-19Wagner
1915841Treatment or surgical table1933-06-27Warner
1693810Neuropathic health table1928-12-04Daniels et al.



Foreign References:
FR1184231A
DE888745C
Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
Claims:
I claim

1. A tilting health table apparatus comprising in combination a framework, said framework being provided with means for rotatably mounting a table thereon, said table being connected to said framework at a point on said table which will produce an axis of rotation extending across the width of said table, means for adjustably moving said table in a direction perpendicular to the plane of said table, a foot support mounted on said table, means for adjustably positioning said foot support in a longitudinal direction, said foot support having automatically adjusting ankle holding means for supporting the ankles of an individual on said table, and said automatically adjustable ankle holding means comprising a plurality of ankle clamps, means to connect said ankle clamps to said foot support, an extension secured to said foot support and extending from said foot support, a spring adjustment means adjustably mounted to said extension, a bracket secured to said foot support, elastic means connecting said spring adjustment means and said bracket, and means to spaceably adjust said ankle clamps.

2. The tilting health table apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said spring adjustment means comprises a spring bracket, a threaded shaft, one end of said threaded shaft secured to said spring bracket, the other end of said threaded shaft extending through as aperture in said extension and a nut mounted on said other end of said threaded shaft.

3. The tilting health table apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said ankle clamp spacing means comprises a front ankle clamp, said ankle clamp being mounted on a clamp bracket, said clamp bracket having an aperture thereon, an adjusting screw, said adjusting screw extending through an aperture in said clamp bracket, and a handle connected to said adjusting screw.

4. A tilting health table apparatus comprising in combination a framework, a table having means for rotatably connecting said table to said framework, said framework and said table being connected at a point on said table which will produce an axis of rotation extending across the width of said table, an automatically adjustable ankle holding means for supporting the ankles of an individual on said table comprising a plurality of ankle clamps, means to connect said ankle clamps to a foot support, an extension secured to said foot support and extending from said foot support, a spring adjustment means adjustably mounted to said extension, a bracket secured to said foot support, elastic means connecting said spring adjustment means and said bracket, and means to spaceably adjust said ankle clamps.

Description:
The present invention relates to a tiltable health table apparatus such as a balancing table or posture board and more particularly, to a tiltable which which can be adjusted for balance to compensate for individual weight distribution and height variation. When the height and weight of an individual are adjusted, the center of gravity of the body and table coincide with the axis of rotation of the table thus enabling the table to be easily tilted. An individual can invert or change his position by changing his center of gravity with respect to the table by a slight movement of his hands such as lifting his arms above his head. When this is done the table can be tilted one way or another with the individual assuming the position of standing, lying horizontal or hanging inverted. In the primary use of the table an individual's body is turned upside-down or inverted with the individual being supported by automatically adjusting feet or ankle supports.

Previous posture or health tables have been difficult to adjust because each individual differs as to his or her height and weight. This invention provides means for easily adjusting the table to compensate for the variable height and weight features of an individual so that the tilting health table could be used in a physician's office, in the home or in a health or physical exercise room.

The invention enables an individual to vertically incline his body in an inverse position so that normal gravitational pull is reversed, causing an effect on the bone structure, spinal column, muscles, internal organs, and body fluids. The apparatus permits the body to hang free vertically, supported only by the ankles, so that the force of gravity pulls the body down with an equal tension stress in each leg enabling the spine to be stretched in a straight line. In addition to stimulating the circulatory system of the individual and stretching the spinal column, many physical and therapeutic benefits are received in the use of this invention.

The apparatus is economical to manufacture and is easily folded, stored, disassembled, or shipped as the individual owner or operator desires. The apparatus is rugged and sturdy in construction, but at the same time, contains parts which may be readily fabricated or replaced if needed. If desired, the apparatus can be locked in varying positions to increase its safety during use.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly from the following specifications in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective side view of the apparatus as the operator positions himself onto the table;

FIG. 2 is a perspective side view of the apparatus as shown in FIG. 1 with the table of the apparatus and operator being in a horizontal position;

FIG. 3 represents a fragmentary side view of the apparatus showing the height adjustment mechanism;

FIG. 4 represents a partial front view of the apparatus showing the automatic ankle adjusting mechanism;

FIG. 5 represents a partial side view of the apparatus showing the table and pivot axis connection and weight adjustment mechanism;

FIG. 6 shows a partial view of the apparatus disclosing a perspective side view of the automatic ankle adjusting mechanism; and

FIG. 7 shows a cross section of the automatic ankle adjusting mechanism shown in FIGS. 4 and 6.

The novel apparatus disclosed is preferably formed of metal such as aluminum, or aluminum alloys which possess strength in a thin section to resist ordinary stresses. This type of structure is further characterized by a lightness in weight without loss of strength and can be fastened in a strong and permanent union. However, it is recognized that steel, alloy metals, or plastics may be used to good advantage and may be used in whole or in part in the novel structure.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show the preferred form of the assembled tilting health table apparatus in which the basic support framework comprises two interconnected A-type frames. As shown by FIG. 2 an A-type frame has legs 2 and 4 which are spaced and braced by support brace 8. The legs are tubular in shape with a preferred rectangular cross section. However, the cross section can be circular, triangular, or multiangular, depending upon the process desired to manufacture the legs or the shape desired by the user. Legs 2 and 4 meet at the apex of the A-frame where they are connected with axle leg rack assembly 3. At the lower ends of the legs 2 and 4 are tips 6 which work as antislip elements preventing the slippage of the legs and marking or marring of floors or rugs.

As shown in FIG. 2, support braces 8 run between legs 2 and 4 forming the bar of the A. Support braces 8 are tubular elements having a preferred rectangular cross section and are secured to legs 2 and 4. The support braces 8 are secured by fasteners 9 to the legs 2 and 4. The fasteners 9 can be a bracket device or an eye screw threaded or fastened to support brace 8. If desired, the support braces 8 can be welded to the legs or secured to the legs by bolts, screws, adhesives, or other suitable means. Legs 2 of the respective A-type frames are joined together by a plurality of cross braces 12 which connect and support the respective legs of the A-type frames. A plurality of cross braces 13 connect and brace support braces 8 of the A-type frames allowing for greater stability of the apparatus and thus increasing the safety of the apparatus. Another cross brace 14 connects and supports legs 4 of the respective A-type frames. If desired, a plurality of cross braces 14 can be utilized. The braces may be secured to the legs in any manner. They can be welded, adhesively connected, screwed or bolted as is desired. A plurality of circular-shaped hand rails 10 are provided, with one hand rail 10 being attached to each of the A-type frames. One end of hand rail 10 contacts leg 2, where it is secured to leg 2 by a fastening device 11. The other end of the hand rail is secured to axle leg rack assembly 3. Fastening device 11 is a bracket which fits around leg 2 and is secured to the hand rail 10 by suitable means. The hand rails are so placed that they extend forwardly and downwardly with respect to legs 2 so that they are within reach of the hands of the operator, so that he can pull himself back to a horizontal or normal position by a mere pressure placed upon the rails. The use of the hand rails 10 to pull the operator back up is optional as the individual can right himself by changing the center of gravity and causing the table to tilt back to a substantially vertical position.

In the axle leg rack assembly 3, the legs 2 and 4 are connected by a throughgoing bolt 7. The bolt 7 supports a rack 5 and also serves as the axis of rotation for table 1. To accommodate bolt 7 each leg can have a throughgoing hole in their tops or, as disclosed in the preferred embodiment, in their hollow head. The head may be formed integrally with the leg, or mounted on top of the legs by screwing, bolting, force fitting, welding, adhesives, or other suitable means. A carriage bolt 7 or other similar bolt-type structure is then placed through the holes in the heads of the legs maintaining the legs in an A-type frame position. A rack 5 is then fastened to the bolt 7, by welding, adhesive or other suitable means. If desired the rack 5 may be integrally made with an aperture or eye in one end so that the bolt 7 can be placed through the rack.

As shown by FIG. 5, the rack 5, is secured to bolt 7 in the axle leg rack assembly 3 of the A-type frame, with the rack being in cooperation with the weight adjustment mechanism 15. The weight adjustment mechanism 15 is used to raise or lower the rotating axis of the table 1 by moving the table to adjust for the varying weights of individuals using the table. The movement of the table will be in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the table. The weight adjustment mechanism 15 comprises a bracket 16 secured to table 1, a rotatable spur gear 18 rotatably secured on bracket 16, and means to turn the gear 18. A rack 5 is inserted through a guide or sleeve in bracket 16 where the rack is contacted by spur gear 18. The rack is correctly installed in the guide or sleeve of the bracket 16 when the teeth of the spur gear 18 mesh with the teeth of rack 5. The turning of the spur gear moves table 1 nearer or farther away from the axis of rotation, depending upon the direction the gear is turned. The gear 18 can be rotated by physically turning a gear crank shaft assembly 17 or other suitable turning means. A locking thumb screw 20 is also provided to screw through an aperture in bracket 16 into rack 5 so that the weight adjusting mechanism is locked in place. The bracket can be provided with a tape measure 22 which is secured to bracket 16 or, the rack 5 may be provided with a similar tape measure so that a person's weight with relation to the table's center of gravity can be recorded for future use by a given number. Thereafter, the tilting health table can be preset so that when the individual comes into the room for exercise or therapy, no adjustments are necessary.

The parts of axle leg rack assemblies 3 and weight adjustment mechanisms 15 are preferably made of steel because the parts encounter high stress relationships. However, other suitable materials having comparable strength and stress characteristics can be used.

The table 1 is constructed of rectangular tubing, in two sections, with the sections being hinged together. The sections are fastened together by the use of a locking thumb screw or, the table can be of single piece construction. The table 1 can be made either solid or hollow; of aluminum, steel, plastic, wood, nylon, plexiglass or other suitable substances. The top of the table is preferably covered with foam rubber or a cushioning material with the table and cushioning material being covered by leather, fiber, synthetic material or other suitable substances.

A table adjustment for an individual's height can be made while the person is on the table or off the table by means of a height adjustment mechanism 19. The height adjustment mechanism is a sprocket and chain arrangement which moves a foot support 70 longitudinally on table 1. This is done simply by rotating a hand wheel 24 which is connected to and turns a sprocket driving the chain arrangement which pulls foot support 70. The hand wheel 24 has a circumferential handle grip preferably made of rubber although any suitable material may be used. The body of the wheel has a plurality of equally spaced apertures therethrough so that a locking thumb screw 21 can be used to lock the height adjustment mechanism 19 to the table in the desired adjustment. The turning of hand wheel 24 rotates sprocket 23 which pulls a link chain or other suitable chain 26. The pulling action of chain 26 turns a second sprocket 25 located at the base of the table. Sprockets 23 and 25 are rotatably fastened to brackets which are fastened to the sides of the table. If desired, the sprockets can be rotatably fastened to the sides of the table with a suitable guard being placed around the sprockets and chain assembly. The ends of the chain are fastened to a plurality of adjustable eye screws 28 which are secured to foot base projection 27, a projection of foot support 70, which projects perpendicularly from the plane of table 1. If desired, the ends of the chain can be fastened to a turnbuckle secured to foot base projection 27. The chain 26 may be tightened or loosened by turning the adjustable eye screws 28 so that easy maintenance of the chain can be affected. Foot support brackets can be used to support and strengthen the foot support 70. Once the desired adjustment has been reached, a locking thumb screw 21 can be placed in one of the spaced apertures in the hand wheel 24 to lock it in place; causing the foot support 70 to be locked into a desired position. For the convenience of the operator using the apparatus, a measuring tape 32 is fastened along the side of the table 1 or on the top of the table so that the height relationship of the person can quickly be determined and the apparatus can be preset before the person mounts the table. The measuring tape 32 can be placed in a tape guard secured to the side of the table or placed directly on top of the table. In this way a person can always have a set height number so that the apparatus can be preset for an individual's height center of gravity for the table.

Attached to the foot support 70 is an automatically adjustable ankle support holding mechanism 31. The ankle support holding mechanism comprises a plurality of arcuate ankle clamps 34 and 36 which are contour shaped to fit an individual's ankles. A pair of clamps consisting of a rear ankle clamp 34 and a front ankle clamp 36 form one ankle support. The plurality of ankle clamps are adjusted spaceably, by using a handle 38 to turn an adjusting screw 41. The handle 38 is secured to adjusting screw 41. By turning the handle 38 and therefore the steel adjusting screw 41, one can separate or tighten the rear ankle clamps 34, without affecting elastic bands or springs 42 which are secured to a rear spring bracket 52 and front spring bracket 46. The foot support 70 comprises foot pressure base 44 which is hingedly connected to foot base 30. Secured to and extending upward from pressure base 44 is extension base 45 which contacts spring adjuster 48. The pressure base extension 45 has a plurality of apertures in its body. The spring adjuster 48 is operated by turning a wing nut or other tightening mechanism 50. The tightening mechanism 50 is mounted on a threaded shaft 49 after one end of the shaft has been inserted through an aperture in pressure base extension 45. The other end of shaft 49 is fixedly secured to front spring bracket 46. By turning the tightening mechanism 50 on threaded shaft 49, one can increase or decrease the elastic band without changing the position of the rear ankle clamp 34. The front spring bracket 46 has elastic bands or springs 42 secured to it with the other ends of the bands or springs being secured to a rear spring bracket 52. The tension of the elastic bands or springs on rear spring bracket 52 places pressure on the foot base 30 causing the foot base 30 and the pressure foot base 44 to be forced together so that the rear ankle clamp 34 which is fitted onto the foot base 30 by a foot bracket 54 comes forward and snugly secures the rear section of the ankle. The front ankle clamp 36 is forced backward and snugly secures the front section of the ankle and instep of the foot. The ankle clamps 34 and 36 are contoured to fit the ankle in the back and the instep in the front. Each ankle clamp is pivoted on its respective bracket by bolt 56, which loosely holds the ankle clamp in position so that it can rock back and forth. This rocking movement allows the ankle clamps to change position and fit the contours of the foot. The ankle clamps can be opened by pushing the front of the foot or the shoe on the foot pressure base 44 and forcing the foot pressure base forward so that the springs or elastic bands 42 are extended. The foot pressure base 44 can move because it is hingedly connected at 58 to the foot base 30. The hinge 58 can be a standard hinge as shown in FIG. 6 or it may be a butt hinge bent so that there is clearance in the closed position. If desired a spring strip bolt or spring means may be used to limit the distance the pressure foot base 44 can travel. The hinge ends can be bolted or screwed to the respective foot base 30 and pressure foot base 44. If desired, the hinge ends can be welded, riveted or adhesively attached to the foot base 30 and pressure foot base 44. In extracting the feet from the automatically adjustable ankle support holding mechanism 31, one leg is extracted from the ankle clamps 34 and 36 after pressure is placed on foot pressure base 44. The free leg is then placed on the foot pressure base 44 and pressure is again applied which parts the ankle clamps and enables the other leg to be extracted from the ankle clamps. The foot pressure is then released and the ankle clamps 34 and 36 are pulled by the spring or elastic band contract back into normal positions.

The ankles size adjustment operates in the following manner. A steel adjusting screw 41 is threaded through apertures in a U-shaped bracket 40 into an aperture in front ankle clamp bracket 60 so that the front ankle bracket can rotate on the adjusting screw 41. The adjusting screw 41 is rotatably secured on one end of U-shaped bracket 40. The front ankle clamps 36 are free to move in two places which are at right angles to each other thus enabling the clamps to automatically shift to produce equal pressure at all contact points on the ankles and feet. This will compensate for one leg being at least one inch different in length than the other leg. The front foot clamp bracket 60 can also rotate on its own axis in the bearing at spacer 62 and will therefore compensate for one ankle being at least two inches larger in circumference than the other. The contoured ankle clamps are pivoted at their support points 56 which are so placed that the clamps will automatically adjust to accommodate the shape of the ankle and foot.

Although the present invention has been described and illustrated in connection with various embodiments it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention as those skilled in this art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.