This invention relates to a muscle relaxing apparatus adapted for remedial treatment of muscular ailments, such as muscular stiffness in shoulders and legs, and muscular fatigue in the waist.
More specifically, the invention is concerned with apparatus utilizing circular motion specifically for relaxing muscles, thereby giving a patient all-round muscular exercise as is obtainable from exercising in a gymnasium.
It is well known that gymnastic exercises are most effective for relaxing muscles and smoothing blood circulation, but modern social life tends to deprive people of the opportunity to physically exercise, thus, posing a problem. In addition, people suffer mental stress as a result of involvement in a highly-administered social system, which causes various maladies, such as indigestion, poor appetite, or neurosis. Also, it is generally accepted that man's bodily aging is derived from stiff muscles, especially of the lower part of the body.
In order to solve these problems, many proposals have been made, among which is relatively popular a vibrating device incorporated in a patient's bed for relaxing muscles by virtue of vibration of relatively simple amplitude, thereby giving an intermittent stretching effect to a patient's muscles. However, such practices are effective only for partial treatment, and fail to achieve an extensive curing effect.
Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for relaxing muscles and relieving a patient from muscular fatigue by means of circular motion conveyed from moving surfaces. The object of the invention is achieved by dividing a bed surface crosswise into a front part and a rear part, each corresponding to the upper part and the lower part of the body, and imparting to these parts a cooperable circular motion, whereby the waist muscles are exercised and relaxed.
The invention will be more particularly described by way of example, with reference to the accompnaying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view of an apparatus according to the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the apparatus according to the present invention showing the means for moving the separated portions thereof,
FIG. 4 is a front view of the means illustrated in FIG. 3, partly in section,
FIG. 5 is a side view in enlarged scale of the portion of the apparatus on which the patient lies, and,
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the portion illustrated in FIG. 5.
A bed surface 1, on which a patient 2 lies, has two portions crosswisely spaced at 6, i.e., a front portion 4 and a rear portion 5, the former corresponding to the upper part of body. The surface may be that of a bed, exercise table or the like and the latter corresponding to the lower part of body. The gap 6 between the two portions 4 and 5 allows each of them to move circularly in coperable relationship, which will be described hereinafter.
The front portion 4 and the rear portion 5 are carried by frames made up of respective rods 7, 8 through suitable supports, the rods, in turn, being slidably and swingably mounted in universal bearings 11 included in housings 10, thereby enabling the portions 4, 5 to move vertically and horizontally as indicated by arrows in FIG. 3, when a motor (M) drives the portions through members 12 and 13 as described hereinafter. The housings 10 are secured to stationary frames 9, respectively.
Under portions 4 and 5, there are provided frames comprising connecting rods 12 and 13 to place the separated portions 4, 5 in a cooperating relationship. The connecting rods 12 and 13 are arranged in parallel with the rods 7 and 8, respectively, and are mutually connected by means of universal joints 14 and 15, which joints are, in turn, connected to each other by means of an intermediate member 16. The intermediate member 16 is coupled to a crank connecting rod 17, which is eccentrically fixed to a crank wheel 18 by means of a crank pin 19. The crank wheel 18 is rotated by the motor (M) at speeds of 20 to 30 r.p.m. The connecting rods 12 and 13 are respectively coupled to the front portion 4 and the rear portion 5, whereby the portions are subjected to circular motion caused by the crank movement, as indicated by arrows in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4.
When the circular motion is initiated by the crank wheel 18, the supporting rods 7 and 8 are caused to move up and down, and at the same time, to slide horizontally along the universal bearings 11, thus imparting extensive movement equally to portions 4 and 5. As is evident from FIG. 3, an circular motion is substantially symmetrical with respect to the axis passing through the crank connection rod 17.
Accordingly, the muscles of a patient lying on his back can are relaxed from the circular motion, in the course of which the muscles actually become slack and less tense.
As seen in FIG. 1, the rear portion 5 has a leg supporting section 20 pivotably connected thereto, which section 20 is adjustable in accordance with the length of a patient's legs. In addition, the apparatus illustrated is provided with a plurality of rollers 21 in the portions 4 and 5, respectively, the rollers being carried on the individual axes such that the rollers can provide a massaging effect from the rolling motion of the rollers onto the patient. Thus, in addition to muscle relaxation and improved blood circulation, a massaging effect is provided. In addition, as best illustrated in FIG. 5, the part of portion 4 to be engaged by a patient's back is provided with a rolling frame 23 in which a group of rollers 21 are carried. The rolling frame 23 is pivotably supported on a shaft 24 so as to move up and down around the shaft 24 like a see-saw. Rolling frame 23 may also be provided with a vibrator. Also, rollers 21 are provided in leg supporting section 20 in the same manner as in the rear portion 5 But as best illustrated in FIG. 1, some of the rollers are carried on vertical axes, so as to massage the calf portion of the leg sideways.
Rollers 21 are generally arranged in two longitudinal rows along surface 1, but alternatively may be provided in four rows or more. The size of the rollers 21 is selected in accordance with their location.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the front portion 4 is further divided into two parts, i.e., a trunk portion and a head portion 24' receiving the patient's head 28. The head receiving portion 24' is also provided with rollers 21 of relatively large size. Preferably, the trunk portion and the head receiving portion 24' can be cooperably connected in the same manner as in the connection of the front portion 4 and the rear portion 5, whereby the same circular motion is given to the patient's head to improvement blood circulation and relieve fatigue around the neck. A further driving means may be provided for driving the head receiving portion 24'.
The production and transmission of circular motion can be provided by other known methods, and the mechanism is not limited to that described herein. In addition, many and various modifications to the present invention are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention.
The spaces between the portions 4 and 5, the portions 5 and 20, the portions 4 and 24' are appropriately upholstered with an material, such as a covering sheet. For convenience, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, an L-shaped arm 29 30 extending upwardly with the horizontal portion 30 extending over surface is provided, with electric switches provided in the horizontal portion 30. As best illustrated in FIG. 5, a vibrator may be equipped to produce vibration in the roller frame 23, thereby effectively conveying vibrations to the patient's trunk.