Title:
Selectively positionable auxiliary spa device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A selectively positionable spa auxiliary device in the nature of an attachment to an outlet jet on a spa having air under pressure introduced into a body of water contained in the tub of the spa. While the conventional spa itself has jets capable of providing an outlet against the back of a user, there is nothing to effectively introduce air water combination to other parts of the body which are not directly facing the jet. The auxiliary device of the invention comprises a releasably attachable hose for releasable connection to the jet or air outlet in the spa and will carry a water and air stream to the exit end of the hose. That exit end could be provided with a nozzle or other device for ejecting the water onto a selected portion of the body of the user.



Inventors:
Stefanich, Mark (Oak Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/757357
Publication Date:
07/11/2002
Filing Date:
01/09/2001
Assignee:
STEFANICH MARK
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61H33/00; (IPC1-7): A47K3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT J. SCHAAP (Woodland Hills, CA, US)
Claims:

Having thus described the invention, what I desire to claim and secure by Letters Patent is:



1. A selectively positionable spa auxiliary device for use in spas having air or air-water outlet jet and which allows for a directed stream containing air against a selected portion of a body of a user for hydrotherapy, said auxiliary device comprising: a) a hose formed of a flexible and coilable material for carrying a stream containing air or an air-water combination from a jet of a spa; and b) a fitting on an end of said hose and being adapted for releasable attachment to a jet on a the spa, whereby the hose may be releasably attached to a desired jet on the spa and hand held for directing the stream containing air against the body of the user.

2. The selectively positionable spa auxiliary device of claim 1 further characterized in that an adapter is mounted at the jet on the spa to enable releasable attachment of the fitting on said hose.

3. The selectively positionable spa auxiliary device of claim 2 further characterized in that said adapter allows for bayonette type attachment of the fitting thereto.

4. The selectively positionable spa auxiliary device of claim 1 further characterized in that said hose has a weighted portion in order to reduce oscillatory movement in a body of water in the spa.

5. The selectively positionable spa auxiliary device of claim 1 further characterized in that a hand grip is provided on said hose for engagement by the hand of a user and which hand grip is weighted in order to reduce oscillatory movement of the free end of the hose in the body of water.

6. In a spa of the type having a wall forming an internal water containing compartment and a jet for allowing air or an air-water stream to be introduced into the body of water, an improvement comprising: a) a releasable attachment to the jet which can be attached to any of the plurality of jets on said wall for delivering air or air-water stream at said jet directly to a selected part of the body of the user.

7. The improvement of claim 6 further characterized in that an fitting is located at one end of said hose for releasable attachment of the hose to a jet in said spa.

8. The improvement of claim 7 further characterized in that an adapter is mounted at a jet on said wall to enable releasable attachment of the fitting on said hose.

9. The improvement of claim 6 further characterized in that said hose has a weighted portion in order to reduce oscillatory movement in a body of water in the jacuzzi or hot tub.

10. The improvement of claim 6 further characterized in that a hand grip is provided on said hose for engagement by the hand of a user and which hand grip is weighted in order to reduce oscillatory movement of the free end of the hose in the body of water.

11. A method of directing a hydrotherapeutic stream of air or air-water combination to a selected portion of a body of a user in a spa, said method comprising: a) providing a hose having a fitting on an thereof for attachment to a jet of a spa; b) releasably connecting the end of the hose to a jet on a spa; and c) allowing for an air stream or air-water stream at said jet to be located at a desired portion of a body of a user.

12. The method of claim 11 further characterized in that said method comprises removing said hose and fitting when use thereof has been completed.

Description:

SPECIFICATION

[0001] BE IT KNOWN THAT I, MARK STEFANICH, a citizen of the United States and resident of the City of Oak Park, State of California, have invented a certain new and useful SELECTIVELY POSITIONABLE AUXILIARY SPA DEVICE of which the following is a specification containing the best mode of the invention known to me at the time of filing an application for letters patent therefore.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates in generally to certain new and useful improvements in auxiliary devices for use with spas and, more particularly, to a novel outlet device capable of being attached to a jet of a spa for repositioning a water or an air-water stream to selected parts of a body.

[0004] 2. Brief Description of the Related Art

[0005] Hot tubs, and similar tubs capable of a directed air-water outlet for application to a body are generically referred to as spas and are frequently offered under the names and mark “Jacuzzi”. These spas employ an outer housing along with a body of hot water in which an individual may immerse himself or herself. Jets are normally provided in a wall of the spa which holds the body of water for introducing air into the water or otherwise for introducing an air-water stream into the body of water. This air-water stream impinges upon the body and provides a massaging action to the body, at least in the region in which the outlet stream impinges on that body.

[0006] It has been found in many cases that a spa or hot tub is effective in relieving many ailments, such as muscle spasms, joint soreness and the like. Although the use of a spa or similar hot water tub is not known to cure any ailment, it does at least provide a therapeutic remedy for reduction of pain and a provision of comfort to a user. In addition, spas are frequently used merely as a means of pleasure due to the comfort and sensation of being immersed in a body of hot water.

[0007] Normally, most spas are constructed of an inner plastic shell arranged to contain water to a desired depth. For example, an outdoor spa or hot tub will contain about three feet of water allowing a user to sit in the spa and immerse himself or herself in the body of water contained in the shell. Some spas are literally formed in adjacent relationship to swimming pools and, thus, have a fiberglass or concrete shell. In either case, the spa is formed with a plurality of outlet jets carrying the air or air-water stream into the body of water. Moreover, the shell may be constructed so as to provide seating capacity for the users. In this way, a number of users can sit on the preformed seats. Bathtubs are frequently fitted with jets so as to function as a combination bathtub and/or spa.

[0008] When seated within a spa, however, the jets are directly toward the back of the user. Consequently, any agitating action is that applied to the back of the user. Very frequently, however, the user has ailments in other portions of the body, such as, for example, the shoulders and the like. If those ailments or other sore points are located in the front portion of the body, little or no therapeutic action occurs at desired positions of the user's body. Theoretically, a user could rest on his or her lower legs and knees on the seat with the forward portion of the body facing the jet. However, this is not only dangerous but a relatively uncomfortable position and one not likely to be retained for any duration of time.

[0009] There has been a proposed extensible and retractable jet device for use on spas and hot tubs, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,093,942, dated Mar. 10, 1992, to Lang. In accordance with the device in the Lang patent, the jet is connected to a hose or tube which is coiled about a spool located within the housing of the spa or hot tub. Although the hose can be pulled outwardly against the action of the drum for locating the jet in a desired position on the body, this particular device is fixed, in that it is permanently installed in the spa or hot tub and is not readily removable. Consequently, it is not providable at a low cost and, moreover, it cannot be moved from one jet or outlet to another on the spa or hot tub. In addition, it cannot be transferred to another spa or hot tub. Consequently, and although the device in the Lang patent does serve a useful purpose in providing a hand held massaging device, it is not of a low cost construction and easily usable, as is the device of the present invention.

[0010] There has been a need for a simple low cost attachment for a spa or similar hot tub in which the air-water stream from a jet can be selectively directed to desired portions of the body and this need has not been heretofore met in the prior art.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0011] It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to provide a selectively positionable auxiliary device for spas and hot tubs in the nature of an attachment to an outlet or jet on the spa for delivery of an air or air-water stream to desired portions of a body of a user.

[0012] It is another object of the present invention to provide an auxiliary device of the type stated which can be releasably attachable to any of a plurality jets on a spa or hot tub.

[0013] It is a further object of the present invention to provide an selectively positionable auxiliary device of the type stated in which an outlet end of a hose forming part of the auxiliary device can be directed to the body of the user while the user is seated within the spa or hot tub.

[0014] It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a selectively positionable auxiliary device of the type stated which can be constructed at a relatively low cost, but which is highly effective in use.

[0015] It is still another object of the present invention to provide an auxiliary device of the type stated which is relatively simple in construction and can therefore be constructed at a relatively low unit cost enabling the same to be affordable and widely used.

[0016] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a selectively positionable auxiliary device of the type stated which can be used in a variety of different spas.

[0017] It is another salient object of the present invention to provide a method of selectively locating an air or air-water outlet stream against a desired portion of a body of a user while seated within a spa or hot tub.

[0018] With the above and other objects in view, my invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, arrangement and combination of parts and components presently described and pointed out in the claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0019] The present invention relates to a selectively positionable spa auxiliary device which is constructed in the form of hose capable of being attached to an outlet or jet on the spa for directing an air or air-water stream to a desired portion of a user's body. In this case, one end of the hose is provided with a fitting for attachment to the jet on the spa, which may be in the nature of a so-called Jacuzzi or hot tub. For this purpose, a similar adapter may be mounted on the jet of the spa so that the auxiliary device may be releasably attached at will. Moreover, it is preferable, although not necessary, to use a type of banded fitting attachment for connecting the hose to the jet on the spa, such as the hot tub. However, other types of attachment means could be employed.

[0020] The opposite end of the hose or tube may similarly be provided with a further outlet jet or like device, if desired. Otherwise, the other end of the hose can remain open so that the air or an air-water stream carried by the hose can be directed to the selected portion of the body of the user.

[0021] The hose or tube must be formed of a flexible and bendable material so that it can be easily movable and directed to a desired part of the body of the user. Moreover, the hose must be formed of a material which will not readily degrade when subjected to a hot water environment.

[0022] A hand grip may also be provided on the free end of the hose or tube for engagement by the hand of a user. Preferably, the hand grip is weighted so as to preclude the so-called “snaking” movement of the hose or tube as air or an air-water stream exits the tube under pressure. In absence of a weighted hand grip or like element, the tube or hose would have a tendency to oscillate rapidly in the body of water and perhaps remain at the surface of the body of water because of the action of air or air-water stream.

[0023] The present invention also discloses various embodiments of adapters for connecting the selectively positionable auxiliary device to a spa. In this respect, the invention shows adapters for use with an underground spa and an above ground spa.

[0024] This invention possesses many other advantages and has other purposes which may be made more clearly apparent from a consideration of the forms in which it may be embodied. These forms are shown in the drawings forming a part of and accompanying the present specification. They will now be described in detail for purposes of illustrating the general principles of the invention. However, it is to be understood that the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings are not to be taken in a limiting sense.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0026] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a selectively positionable auxiliary spa device constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing the use of the device of the present invention releasably connected to a jet on a spa;

[0028] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view showing an adapter for mounting within the socket of a jet on a spa with a bayonet fitting therefor and a locking ring for mounting the fitting onto the end of a hose;

[0029] FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a hose forming part of the auxiliary device of the present invention;

[0030] FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of an adapter for mounting at the jet of a spa or hot tub; and

[0031] FIG. 6 is an end elevational view showing the adapter of FIG. 5;

[0032] FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view showing the interior of the adapter of FIGS. 5 and 6;

[0033] FIG. 8 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view showing a fitting connected to the outlet of a spa along with a reduced diameter funnel for receiving the end of the selectively positionable hose;

[0034] FIG. 9 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view showing the bayonet fitting attachment for an in-ground spa and a bathtub spa;

[0035] FIG. 10 is a vertical sectional view showing a hose fitted to an adapter of FIG. 9; and

[0036] FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view showing a fitting for use with an above ground spa.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0037] Referring now in more detail and by reference characters to the drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the present invention, A designates a selectively positionable spa auxiliary device of the type best illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawings and which is used with a spa, such a hot tub or so-called “Jacuzzi”, as best shown in FIG. 2. In order to show the operative use of the device A, which is a releasable attachment device, a portion of the spa 10 has been illustrated and described for this purpose.

[0038] The spa 10 is provided with an outer casing 11 and located within the casing is a tub forming wall 12 which forms an interior water containing chamber 14. In the conventional spa, a jet 16 is provided and is connected to a pumping mechanism (not shown) for creating a stream of air under pressure or, otherwise, an air-water stream under pressure, and which is, in turn, introduced through the jet 16 into the body of water in the tub chamber 14.

[0039] Referring again to FIG. 1, and also to FIG. 3, it can be observed that the selectively positionable spa auxiliary device A is provided with a hose or tube 20 formed of a flexible and coilable rubber or plastic material. Preferably, the hose of tube is one which will not be readily degraded by hot water and, even more so, hot water containing a high chlorine content. Attached to one end of the hose 20 is a connector 22. The connector 22 is adapted for bayonette type releasable locking to the jet through a coupling adapter 24, in the nature of a fitting and the latter of which is hereinafter described in more detail.

[0040] The hose or tube 20 is preferably formed of a florescent material or otherwise provided on its exterior surface with a florescent material so that the tube or hose will glow in a relatively dim lighted environment. Any florescent material may be provided for this purpose.

[0041] Mounted on the tube or hose 20 preferably near the free end thereof is a hand grip 26, which may also be formed of a rubber or plastic material and, preferably, a foam plastic, such as a foamed polyurethane or foamed polyethylene. In this way, the end of the hose adjacent the hand grip 26 will provide a stream of air or air-water stream under pressure thereby providing a hydrotherapeutic massaging action to the body of the user in the region where pointed.

[0042] The hand grip 26 in this embodiment of the invention also serves the added advantage of providing weight to the free end of the hose 20 in order to preclude rapid oscillatory movement of the hose, which would otherwise result with air or water rapidly passing through the hose. For this purpose, the hand grip 26 is provided with an inner steel cylinder 28 covered by an outer urethane foam covering 30. The steel cylinder is designed to provide that necessary weight to the hand grip and the relatively soft foam material outer covering 30 for engagement by the hand of the user. For this purpose, any material which provides sufficient weight precluding oscillatory movement of the free end of the hose and which enables a submerging of the hose may be employed. Steel is one of the preferred materials because of density.

[0043] The device of the present invention is effectively usable with all types of spas including in-home bath tub-spa combinations, in-ground tubs and ground supported tubs. Each of these spas may have differing types of jets and, hence, different adapters would be potentially needed to receive a connecting fitting or connector on a hose.

[0044] One type of adapter 40 which is highly effective for use in the present invention is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings. This adapter 40 comprises a somewhat circularly shaped sleeve 42 having central bore 44 through which the air or air-water stream is allowed to be introduced into the body of water in the spa. The sleeve 42 is provided in the bore 44 with a somewhat cylindrically shaped locking member 46 having a forwardly presented opening 48 on the front of the jet.

[0045] The hose which enables a selective positioning of the end, such as the hand grip 26, contains an outlet 53 through which water or water-air stream will exit. At its other end, the hose or tube is provided with a connector 51 adapted for attachment to a fitting adapter on the spa itself. In addition, the bore 44 of the sleeve 42 is provided with a pair of arcuately shaped slots 50 in order to receive projections 52 on a connector 51 in a bayonette type attachment. In this way, the connector 51 can be inserted in the opening 48 and introduced into the bore 44 where the projections 52 will releasably lock within the slots 50 when the connector is rotated. In like manner, when the connector 51 is rotated in the opposite direction, such as in the counter-clockwise direction, the connector 51 and the hose 20 can be removed therefrom.

[0046] FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which a fitting or adapter 60 is connected to a jet of a spa or otherwise is used as a replacement for the jet of a spa. A connector fitting 62 is provided and also incorporates an outer ring 64 again for snap fitting into a groove 66 formed within the adapter 60, as best shown in FIG. 3. The fitting 62 is suitably retained on the end of the hose by means of a locking sleeve 68.

[0047] A more preferred form of adapter for use with a spa and, particularly, an above ground spa, is move fully illustrated in FIG. 8 of the drawings. In this case, an adapter 70 is provided for connection to the spa and is provided with a reduced end or funnel portion 72 ending in an outwardly extending tubular leg 74 and which is provided with an central bore 76 for carrying the air or air-water stream from the spa.

[0048] In one of the preferred embodiments of the invention, the outwardly extending leg 74 is also provided with a plurality of longitudinally extending interior grooves 76 to provide a type of spray effect to the water or air-water stream passing through the adapter 70 and the leg 74. In the embodiment as shown, a hose, such as the hose 20, is provided for insertion over the leg 74 in tight fitting engagement therewith. In this way, the hose can be reattached to or readily and easily removed from the leg 74.

[0049] FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate another bayonette type arrangement which is particularly effective for in ground spas. In this case, an adapter 80 is provided and is similarly provided with an interior conically shaped outwardly converging inner wall 82 which again provides a type of funnel effect to the water or air-water stream from the spa. A hose 20 is, in this case, provided with a connector 84 having a pair of pins or projections 86 which are adapted to fit within a groove 88 on the wall 82, as best shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings. In this way, the hose can again be connected to the adapter with a bayonette type attachment.

[0050] It should be understood in connection with the adapter 70 that the slots or grooves 76 can be altered to provide multiple stream effects. However, it has been found that these grooves actually provide a massage-like effect.

[0051] FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment of an adapter or fitting used for above-ground spas. In this case, the spa normally is provided with a pipe or tube 90 typically cemented into the wall of the spa. A pair of locking nuts 92 are secured to the end of the pipe 90. In this case, a fitting or adapter housing 94 is connected to the tube 90 and is provided with a diameterally reduced outwardly projecting coupling tube 96 and which held in place by means of a cap screw 98. This construction is highly effective for above ground spas.

[0052] It has been found in connection with the present invention that there is no need for an adapter of any type with the portable type spas.

[0053] It should also be understood that the above-described systems for connecting the hose to the spa are only a few of those which could be used in accordance with the present invention. Again, depending upon the type of deck and fitting used at the jets of the spa, the adapters of the invention would be designed to accommodate such constructions. Nevertheless, those adapters described in the present invention have been found to be quite effective.

[0054] It can be observed that the actual mounting of the adapters is a relatively simple and easy procedure which can be accomplished readily by the user of the spa. Moreover, the user of the spa can mount these adapters in any or all of the jets of that spa so that the device of the present invention may be removably coupled thereto. In like manner, similar adapters can be located in other spas so that the same device may be used in these other spas, if desired.

[0055] The present invention thereby provides a very low cost but highly effective device enabling a user to selectively massage various desirous parts of the body with hydrotherapy. Inasmuch as the device of the invention does not permanently form part of the spa, it is relatively inexpensive to produce and can be used essentially on any spa having essentially type of jet. Moreover, several of these devices can be used simultaneously in a spa so that several users can selectively provide hydrotherapy to themselves.

[0056] Thus, there has been illustrated and described a unique and novel selectively usable jacuzzi device and thereby fulfills all of the objects and advantages which have been sought. It should be understood that many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings. Therefore, any and all such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention.





 
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