United States Patent 3727607

Massaging apparatus of compact character which is capable of imparting distributed vibratory motion to a subject or specimen, the apparatus consisting of a main frame which is resiliently affixed to a vibratory element, there being resilient suspension relative to the main frame in all dimensions without secure affixure, and the massaging apparatus including a resilient padding overlaying the main frame structure for purposes of providing a decorative outer cover which is soothing to the touch and comforting in support of a subject or specimen.

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A61H23/02; (IPC1-7): A61H1/00
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Primary Examiner:
Trapp, Lawrence W.
I claim

1. A vibratory massage device, comprising:

2. A vibratory massage device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said main frame means comprises:

3. A vibratory massage device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plurality of metal strap means each comprise:

4. A vibratory massage device as set forth in claim 3 wherein said main frame means comprises:

5. A vibratory massage device as set forth in claim 4 wherein said vibration source means comprises:

6. A vibratory massage device as set forth in claim 5 which is further characterized to include:


The present invention is related to the teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 3,580,245 as issued on May 25, 1971 in the name of Onnie R. Dill and entitled "Vibratory Massaging Device."


1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to therapeutic massaging devices and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, it relates to an improved vibratory apparatus which is constructed with the vibratile element supported in resilient manner relative to the main frame.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The prior art includes various types of vibratory apparatus which may be utilized for generating and applying a vibratory motion to various subject or specimens. The prior art units may be classified as ranging from small vibratory motors adaptable to the back of the hand, up to larger devices which are intended for vibrating the entire subject body or some major portion or limb thereof. It has been common among prior teachings to disregard the type of vibratory action being generated, i.e. frictional rubbing motion, up-and-down thumping motion etc., and it is only lately that realization has come that smooth oscillatory motion, combining up-and-down and lateral motions, can provide a vastly more beneficial therepeutic effect. It has also been elusive as to the construction of a good massage motion over a desirable expanse. Most vibratory sources behave as point sources in effect and it has been difficult to achieve efficient distribution of vibratory power outward from positions of affixure of the vibratory source to the body or rigid frame of the device.


The present invention contemplates a vibratory massage device wherein energy from a vibratory source is effectively transmitted throughout the breadth of a cushioned frame thereby to enable vibration output over the whole of the cushion. In a more limited aspect, the invention consists of a main frame and resilient retaining members which retain a vibratory source at a generally central position within the plane of the main frame such that good vibratory motion transmission is accomplished in all directions of the main frame. The main frame and resiliently supported vibratile element are then covered in suitable padding material and decorative covering to provide a cushion-type outer surface capable of imparting the vibrations generally equally in all directions.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a massage device which enables generation and output of a massage motion over the entire expanse of the device.

It is also an object of the invention to provide apparatus which is capable of in-phase oscillatory output over a relatively wide area with varying frequencies of oscillation.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a vibratory unit which is capable of distributing massage motion relatively evenly over its entire surface.

Finally, it is an object of the present invention to provide a vibratory unit which is decorous and pleasing in appearance while still enabling impartation of beneficial therapeutic massage motion over the total of its surface.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the invention.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a massage device as constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation with parts shown in cutaway of the massage device in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a vertical section through the long dimension of the massage device of FIGS. 1 and 2.


Referring to FIG. 1, a massaging device 10 may be formed as a symmetrical cushion-type configuration having upper portion 12 and a lower portion 14 of generally equal volumetric dimension. An edge trim strip 16 is then suitably fastened around the perimeter of the massaging device 10 as affixed to the main frame, to be further described below; and an electric power cord 18, including manual "off-on" switch 20 and plug 22, all lead outward therefrom. Each of upper portion 12 and lower portion 14 are covered by a suitable covering material 24 which may be selected from the more tough and decourous materials such as leather, Naugahyde, vinyl compositions, etc.

Referring now to FIG. 2 and 3, the massaging device 10 consists of a main frame 26 which may be constructed from heavy, rigid material such as plywood, fiber board, and the like. The main frames 26 of prototype models have been formed from high compression fiber board of one-half inch thickness, and such main frames 26 provide good support while still retaining the capability of receiving all types of fasteners.

The main frame 26 is formed with a centrally located rectangular hole 28, which is of slightly larger dimension than a vibrator motor 30 disposed therein, and a plurality of holes 32 are disposed in symmetrical array around the outer edge of main frame 26. Still another bore 34 is formed through one side of the frame 26 and in the plane thereof for communication with a vertically bored hole 36, and the electrical wiring from electrical lead 18 can be led through bores 34 and 36 to the interior of massaging device 10, as will be further described below.

A plurality of steel straps are disposed in symmetrical manner, each strap being led through oppositely disposed holes 32 and then tightly clamped as a loop to maintain vibrator motor 30 in secure position within the hole 28 of main frame 26. Thus, a steel strap loop 38 is aligned with the length of the elliptical shape of main frame 26 and opposite ends of strap 38 are secured as by well-known clamping bracket (not shown) in taut relationship. A pair of intermediate length steel straps 40 and 42 are then looped through oppositely disposed holes 32 in symmetrical relationship on either side of the lengthwise loop strap 38, and still another pair of shorter and generally transversely disposed loop straps 44 and 46 are disposed tightly and symmetrical and generally transverse position about the vibrator motor 30. Each of straps 38 through 46 may be formed from conventional binder steel straps, e.g. 8-gauge by 1/2-inch steel straps, and the straps may be secured by conventional strap clamping fixtures or clamps 48.

As shown in FIG. 3, each of the straps 38 through 46 cross at the vertical central axis 50 such that they stack in aligned manner on each side of vibrator motor 30 to maintain the rectangular opening 28 of main frame 26. The vibrator motor 30 may be any of various commercially available vibrator motors but preferably it is a load-controlled eccentric motor of the type which is capable of harmonic relation to the suspending fixtures. Thus, lower frequency oscillations on the order of twenty cycles per second will be set up at the extreme ends of massaging device 10, i.e. at the ends of lengthwise loop strap 38, while higher frequencies approaching ninety oscillations per second are apparent along the central region of massaging device 10.

One form of vibrator motor which may be utilized is the Model 3M244 oscillation motor which is commercially available from McMillan Manufacturing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. AC electrical power is applied to motor 30 by means of AC leads 52 and 54 from electrical supply cord 18, and safety protection is provided by a series-connected switch 56 connected in one side of the AC supply line. The switch 55 is a normally closed switch which opens upon sensing a predetermined heat level, and such switch may be obtained from the Klixon Company of New York, New York. The switch 55 senses heat generated by vibrator motor 30 and provides a disabling function only after prolonged energization of vibrator motor 30, such as when the subject user might fall asleep with the unit energized.

The entire outer portion of massaging device 10 is covered with foam padding as provided by an upper foam portion 56 and a lower foam portion 58 formed generally to the size of main frame 26. Foam portions 56 and 58 are then maintained in place over top of asbestos insulating material 60 and 62, upper and lower respectively, as held in place by outer covering 24 secured by peripheral trim strip 16. As mentioned above, outer covering 24 is made from selected materials for application as upper and lower covering numbers which are secured beneath peripheral trim strip 16.

In operation, the massaging device 10 need only be plugged in at AC plug 22 for energization through manual switch 20 to energize motor 30 thereby to begin oscillation as transmitted along each of strap loops 38 through 46 through various extremities of main frame 26. Varying frequencies of oscillation will be apparent due to the harmonic interaction of the varying length loop straps 38 through 46 resiliently supporting the vibrator motor 30 relative to main frame 26, and as affected by still further harmonic interaction due to the natural resilience of the polyfoam cushion material, i.e. upper and lower portions 56 and 58.

Vibration oscillation will be present over all surfaces of massaging device 10 and the user subject need only position the subject limb or body portion at a selected point on massaging device 10 to derive a desired frequency of oscillation and, therefore, the most soothing therapeutic effect.

Thus, depending upon how the massaging device 10 is positioned relative to the body portion, rhythmic massaging motions varying from about 20 cycles per second up to as high as 90 cycles per second can be obtained. The frequency of massage motion will be related to the position about the massaging device 10 as the vibratory motor 30 interacts with shorter, intermediate or longer ones of the straps which may be positioned therebetween, and the very tight straps 38 through 46 serve to derive a harmonically related interactive vibration from vibratory motor 30 for effective distribution along the respective axes of their contact with main frame 26.

The foregoing describes a novel massaging device wherein effectively varied massage frequencies are made available in a single unit, such vibrations being essentially evenly distributed across certain major axes of the massaging device. The device constructed in accordance with the invention enables utilization in any of various positions or in contact with any particular body or limb positions which require therapeutic relief. The massaging device is capable of producing distributed vibratory or massaging motions of differing frequency such that vibratile amplitude is evenly distributed and does not subject the subject limb or body portion to excessive thumping, jarring or bruising contact which may be liable to cause aggravation of inherent or currently aggravated conditions of the musculature.

It is also contemplated that the present invention be utilized in combination with certain other therapeutic devices of similar nature. Thus, it is foreseen that many requirements will dictate that the therapeutic massaging device be utilized in conjunction with a heat application device, as this will often be a most effective method of treatment for certain conditions. The massaging device is also utilized with a pedestal for positioning the device for use with certain limb or body portions such as, e.g. a supporting pedestal for enabling foot massage. Still other forms of clamp or supporting pillow may be utilized to retain the massaging device in a desired position, this depending upon exigencies of the application.

Changes may be made in the combination and arrangement of elements as heretofore set forth in the specification and shown in the drawing; it being understood that changes may be made in the embodiments disclosed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.