Title:
Footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching valve connected to the discharge sides of the circulation pump circulating the water of the footbath part and for freely switching water flows, which can re-circulate or drain water past through the circulation pump into the footbath part or out of the footbath part. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with the water flow-switching valve according to the present invention, in a footcare whirlpool massage instrument having a support base, a footbath part formed in the support base and holding water, and a circulation pump installed inside the support base and circulating the water of the footbath part to form whirlpool, further comprises a water flow-switching valve coupled to the discharge side of the circulation pump to switch water flows so that the water discharged from the circulation pump is re-circulated into the footbath part or drained outside the footbath part.



Inventors:
Hoon Park, Jung (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
10/262002
Publication Date:
04/01/2004
Filing Date:
10/01/2002
Assignee:
BEAUNIX CO., LTD.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/022; A61H1/00; A61H35/00; A61H35/02; (IPC1-7): A47K3/022
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WIEKER, AMANDA F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ladas & Parry (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A footcare whirlpool massage instrument having a support base, a footbath part formed in the support base and holding water, and a circulation pump installed inside the support base and circulating the water of the footbath part to form whirlpool, further comprising a water flow-switching valve coupled to a discharge side of the circulation pump to switch water flows so that the water discharged from the circulation pump is re-circulated into the footbath part or drained outside the footbath part.

2. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 1, wherein the water flow-switching valve includes: a valve body in a lower side of which an intake port is formed for water to flow in and in both sides of which discharge ports are formed opposite to each other; a motor mounted on the upper side of the valve body; a motor controller connected to the motor and for controlling the driving of the motor; a coupling shaft axially coupled to the motor; and a switching ball eccentrically mounted on a lower side of the coupling shaft and inserted in the valve body, and for selectively opening and closing the respective discharge ports based on the driving of the motor.

3. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a turnover switch connected to the water flow-switching valve to select a flow direction of water.

4. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 2, further comprising a turnover switch connected to the water flow-switching valve to select a flow direction of water.

5. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a check valve connected to the discharge sides of the water flow-switching valve to prevent reverse water flows.

6. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 2, further comprising a check valve connected to the discharge ports at the discharge sides of the water flow-switching valve to prevent reverse water flows.

7. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an ozone generator installed inside the support base to jet ozone into the footbath part.

8. The footcare whirlpool massage instrument as claimed in claim 7, wherein the ozone generator includes: a case installed inside the support base; a control circuit part installed inside the case in order for external electric power to be applied; an ozone generation part installed inside the case and connected to the control circuit part, and for generating ozone based on the control of the control circuit part; a discharge hose connected to an discharge side of the ozone generation part to discharge generated ozone out of the case; and an ozone switch connected to the control circuit part to turn on and off ozone generations.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a footcare whirlpool massage instrument, and more particularly to a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device connected to a discharge side of a circulation pump circulating water into a footbath and capable of freely switching water flows to selectively circulate or drain water with only a circulation pump.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] With the income level increase in recent years, the stress problem, which was put aside during the economic developments, is emerging as an issue at home, in society, and so on, and most people become seriously aware of the importance of health more than ever. Accordingly, diverse health auxiliary instruments and foods deeply penetrate into everyday life to form a large-scale market, and even the massage therapy, which has been handed down as one of folk remedies from generation to generation and used in a particular level of society such as athlete, is being brought into the public.

[0005] Such a massage therapy, by converting rotational motions into vibratory motions with a driving device such as a motor, has an effect of relieving muscular fatigue by stimulating acupuncture points of the human body to promote metabolism.

[0006] In recent years, as a massage instrument used for the massage therapy as stated above, a massage chair from which users can obtain the massage effect on their neck, back parts, and the like, while comfortably sitting thereon, has been developed and widely used, such a massage chair is provided with a vibration-generating device so that users can control its vibration strength and pattern to their desires. Further, a message chair having a footbath has been developed and widely used which can relieve back and neck fatigue together with foot fatigue at the same time.

[0007] Such a massage chair having a footbath takes in reservoir water of the footbath and powerfully jets the water into the footbath to produce whirlpool which presses and massages feet.

[0008] However, the conventional massage chair which generates whirlpool to massage feet, as described above, should have an extra drain pump and water hoses for draining the water of the footbath to external after massaging feet, so that a problem exists in increasing the cost and complicating the internal structure by that much.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] Accordingly, the present invention has been devised to solve the above problem, so it is an object of the present invention to provide a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device mounted to a discharge side of a circulation pump circulating water into a footbath to freely switch water flows so that water discharged from the circulation pump can be re-circulated into the footbath or drained to external with the controls of the device.

[0010] In order to achieve the above object of the present invention, a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device according to the present invention, in a footcare whirlpool massage instrument having a support base, a footbath part formed in the support base and holding water, and a circulation pump installed inside the support base and circulating the water of the footbath part to form whirlpool, further comprises a water flow-switching valve coupled to a discharge side of the circulation pump to switch water flows so that the water discharged from the circulation pump is re-circulated into the footbath part or drained outside the footbath part.

[0011] Further, according to the present invention, the water flow-switching valve includes a valve body in a lower side of which an intake port is formed for water to flow in and in both sides of which discharge ports are formed opposite to each other; a motor mounted on the upper side of the valve body; a motor controller connected to the motor and for controlling the driving of the motor; a coupling shaft axially coupled to the motor; and a switching ball eccentrically mounted on a lower side of the coupling shaft and inserted in the valve body, and for selectively opening and closing the respective discharge ports based on the driving of the motor.

[0012] Further, the footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching valve further comprises a turnover switch connected to the water flow-switching valve to select a flow direction of water.

[0013] The footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching valve further comprises a check valve connected to the discharge sides of the water flow-switching valve to prevent reverse water flows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The above object and other features of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail a preferred embodiment thereof with reference to the attached drawings, in which:

[0015] FIG. 1 is a perspective view for showing a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a perspective view for schematically showing an internal structure of the support base of FIG. 1;

[0017] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view for showing main parts of the water flow-switching device shown in FIG. 2;

[0018] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view for showing the water flow-switching device shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3;

[0019] FIGS. 5a and 5b are cross-sectioned views for showing operation states of the water flow-switching device shown in FIG. 2 to FIG. 4; and

[0020] FIG. 6 is a partially cut-open perspective view for showing an internal structure of the ozone generator of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] Hereinafter, the features and operations of the above structure will be more concretely described through a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

[0022] As shown in FIG. 1, a footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a support base 10 having a predetermined height, a seat part 20 mounted on the upper side of the support base 10 to move back and forth so that the neck and back of a user can be comfortably massaged, a footbath part 30 formed in one body with the support base 10, and an ozone generation part 150 mounted inside the support base 10 to generate ozone.

[0023] The seat part 20 has a back support part 21 for supporting the back of a user and a seat part 22 for supporting the hip of the user, and inside the back support part 21 and the seat part 22 is respectively installed hot wires 23 generating heat of 50˜70° C. to relax muscle and double a massage effect when massaging.

[0024] Further, the back support part 21 of the seat part 20 folds back and forth for the sake of user's body shape or convenience, and inside the back support part 21 is mounted a massage device (not shown) for performing the massage function.

[0025] Therefore, a user can properly adjust an angle of the back support part 21, operate the massage device, and receive massages while taking rest in a comfortable posture.

[0026] As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the footbath part 30 is formed in the front side of the support base 10 and in a predetermined depth to hold water to a certain level, and in the upper side of the footbath part 30 is mounted a shower 31 for filling the footbath part 30 with water. Further, inside the footbath part 30 is formed an intake opening 32 connected to an inlet side of a circulation pump 40 installed in the support base 10 to take in the water of the footbath part 30 based on the operations of the circulation pump 40, and inside the footbath part 30 is mounted plural jet nozzles 33 connected to a discharge side of the circulation pump 40 to jet water mixed with air into the footbath part 30 by way of the circulation pump 50.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 2 to FIG. 5b, the inlet side of the circulation pump 40 installed inside the support base 10 is connected to the intake opening 32 of the footbath 30 through a first water hose 50, and the discharge side of the circulation pump 40 is connected through a second water hose 70 to a ball valve 60 capable of switching water flows in order for water discharged from the circulation pump 40 either to be circulated to the footbath part 30 or to be drained outside the footbath part 30.

[0028] The ball valve 60 has a valve body 61 formed with an intake port 61a connected to the second water hose 70 on the lower side thereof to take in water discharged from the circulation pump 40, a first discharge port 61b connected through a third water hose 80 to the jet nozzles 33 of the footbath part 30, and a second discharge port mounted opposite to the first discharge port 61b and connected to a drain tank(not shown) placed outside the footbath part 30; a support plate 62 mounted on the upper side of the valve body 61; a motor 63 mounted on the upper side of the support plate 62; a motor controller 64 mounted on the upper side of the support plate 62 and connected to the motor 63 to control the driving of the motor 63; a coupling shaft 66 axially coupled to the motor 63 through the support plate 62 for the lower side thereof formed in a flat plate shape to be protruded downward the support plate 62; a switching ball 67 eccentrically mounted on the lower side of the coupling shaft 66 by a support shaft 67a and inserted inside the valve body 61 to selectively open and close the respective discharge ports 61b and 61c while rotating by the driving of the motor 63; and a cylindrical cam 68 connecting the driving shaft 63a of the motor 63 and the coupling shaft 66.

[0029] A first protrusion 68a is formed on the upper side of the outer circumferential surface of the cam 68, a second protrusion 68b is formed opposite to the first protrusion 68a on the lower side of the outer circumferential surface of the cam 68, and a pair of stop buttons 65 and 65′ is disposed at one side of the motor controller 64 and on upper and lower sides to each other in correspondence with the respective protrusions 68a and 68b to stop the driving of the motor 63 with pressures applied by the first and second protrusions 68a and 68b when the cam 68 rotates. At this time, the coupling shaft 66 and the cam 69 are coupled to place the respective protrusions 68a and 68b and the switching ball 67 on the same vertical plane. Accordingly, when the discharge ports 61b and 61c are closed with the rotations of the switching ball 67, the respective protrusions 68a and 68b press the respective stop buttons 65 and 65′ of the motor controller 64 so that the driving of the motor 63 automatically stops.

[0030] In the meantime, on the upper side of the support plate 62 is mounted a cover 69 for protecting various devices mounted in the support plate 62.

[0031] Screw threads are formed in the outer circumferential surfaces of the intake port 61a and the respective discharge ports 61b and 61c, and the second water hose 70 and the third water hose 80 are coupled with the intake port 61a and the first discharge port 61b by means of an adaptor 90, respectively.

[0032] In each adaptor 90 is formed a coupling hole 90a in which the intake port 61a and the first discharge port 61b are screw-coupled, and to the outer circumferential surface of which the respective water hoses 70 and 80 are coupled. The respective water hoses 70 and 80 are firmly coupled by means of adhesive applied in advance on the outer circumferential surface of the adaptor 90 before the coupling thereof. To the second discharge port 61c is screw-coupled a check valve 100 preventing the reverse flows of water drained to the drain tank, and to the discharge side of the check valve 100 is coupled a fourth water hose 110 by means of a nipple 120.

[0033] At this time, before screw-coupling the adaptor 90 and the check valve 100 to the ball valve 60 or screw-coupling the nipple 120 to the check valve 100, heat-resisting teflon tape is wrapped up in advance on male threads parts of the respective constituents for firm couplings.

[0034] Meanwhile, to the motor controller 64 and motor 63 of the ball valve 60 is connected to a turnover switch 130 capable of selecting a water flow direction, and the turnover switch 130 is mounted to be protruded outside the support base 10 and manually operated outside the support base 10. To the circuit part 131 of the turnover switch 130 is connected a first electric power cord 140 to which an external electric power is applied. Accordingly, if a water flow direction is selected with the operation of the turnover switch 130, a signal is transferred to the motor controller 60 through a signal line and, at the same time, electric power is applied to the motor 63 to drive the motor 63.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 6, the ozone generator 150 supplies ozone to the footbath 30 to kill minute germs on feet, which has a case 151 installed inside the support base 10; a control circuit part 152 installed inside the case 151; an ozone generator 153 installed inside the case 151 and generating ozone based on the control of the control circuit part 152; a discharge hose 154 one end of which is connected to the discharge side of the ozone generator 153 and the other end of which is connected to the first water hose 50 connecting the intake opening 32 of the footbath part 30 and the circulation pump 40; a second electric power cord 155 is connected to the control circuit part 152 to apply electric power into the control circuit part 152 from external; and an ozone switch 156 connected to the control circuit part 152, and for turning on and off the ozone generation and simultaneously controlling the generation amount of ozone.

[0036] Ozone generated from the ozone generator 153 is transferred to the circulation pump 40 together with water through the first water hose 50 and jetted to the footbath part 30 through the ball valve 60 and the jet nozzles 33, to thereby sterilize feet.

[0037] The operations of the footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device having the structure as above are described as follows.

[0038] First, a user takes a seat on the seat part 20, moves the seat part 20 back and forth, adjusts an angle of the back support part 21 for a comfortable posture, and fills the footbath part 30 with water by means of the shower 31.

[0039] If a certain amount of water is filled in the footbath part 30, the user adjusts the turnover switch 130 in order for the water of the footbath part 30 to be circulated into the footbath part 30 through the circulation pump 40 and activates the circulation pump 40. At this time, the switching ball 67 of the ball valve 60 rotates based on the driving of the motor 63 to close the second discharge port 61c as shown in FIG. 5a, and, at the same time, the first protrusion 68a of the cam 68 presses the upper stop button 65 of the motor controller 64 to stop the motor 63. Accordingly, the intake port 61a and the first discharge port 61b are communicated to each other.

[0040] If the circulation pump 40 is driven, the water of the footbath part 30 flows in the circulation pump 40 through the intake opening 32 and the first water hose 50 by the rotation force of the circulation pump 40 to be mixed with water. Such water mixed with air in the circulation pump 40 flows in the ball valve 60 through the second water hose 70 and through the intake port 61a of the ball valve 60, and then the water is discharged through the first discharge port 61b, introduced to the jet nozzles 33 via the third water hose 80, and powerfully jetted into the footbath part 30 from the jet nozzles 33 to form whirlpool. Further, ozone generated from the ozone generator 150 is introduced into the circulation pump 40 together with water through the first water hose 50, mixed with water at the circulation pump 40, and jetted into the footbath part 30 through the ball valve 60 and the jet nozzles 33 to sterilize feet.

[0041] In the meantime, if the turnover switch 130 is manipulated to discharge the water of the footbath part 30 to the drain tank after massaging feet, the switching ball 67 of the ball valve 60 closes the first discharge port 61b, as shown in FIG. 5b, by the driving of the motor 63 and, at the same time, the second protrusion 68b of the cam 68 presses the lower stop button 65′ of the motor controller 64 to stop the motor 63 so that the intake port 61a and the second discharge port 61c of the ball valve 60 are communicated to each other.

[0042] Accordingly, the water past through the circulation pump 40 is introduced into the ball valve 60 through the intake port 61a and drained to the drain tank disposed outside the footbath part 30 through the second discharge port 61c, check valve 100, and fourth water hose 110.

[0043] As described above in detail, in the footcare whirlpool massage instrument equipped with a water flow-switching device according to the present invention, a ball valve capable of freely switching water flows is connected to the discharge side of the circulation pump circulating the water of the footbath part in order for the water discharged from the circulation pump to be circulated into the footbath part or drained outside the footbath part. Accordingly, the water circulation or drainage can be selectively carried out only with the circulation pump so that there is an advantage of reducing the manufacturing cost as well as simplifying the internal structure thereof.