Title:
Modular harness assembly and mobility system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular harness assembly worn by a person during physical exercise or rehabilitation. The modular harness assembly includes a non-stretchable waist belt that is secured around the waist of the patient or user, and can be associated with one or more auxiliary, non-stretchable harness component that can easily be added or removed from the waist belt. The auxiliary harness components can include a shoulder harness, a thigh harness having a movable connection to the waist belt proximate the hip joint, and a pelvic harness. The modular harness assembly can be used in combination with a hoisting system such as a block and tackle pulley system that is mounted onto a rolling carriage and an overhead rail.



Inventors:
Jackson, Kurt J. (Dayton, OH, US)
Heinrichs, Stephen (Clayton, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/057598
Publication Date:
09/01/2005
Filing Date:
02/14/2005
Assignee:
JACKSON KURT J.
HEINRICHS STEPHEN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C15/00; A45F3/14; A45F4/00; A61H3/00; A63B26/00; A45F3/04; (IPC1-7): A63B26/00; A45C15/00; A45F4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MATHEW, FENN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hasse & Nesbitt LLC (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A modular harness assembly worn by a person during physical exercise or rehabilitation, comprising: a) a non-stretchable waist belt having a length, b) at least one auxiliary, non-stretchable harness component releasably affixed to the waist belt, selected from the group consisting of: 1) a non-stretchable shoulder harness comprising a shoulder strap across the top of each shoulder in use, each shoulder strap comprising a shoulder connector proximate the top of the shoulder; 2) a non-stretchable thigh harness having a distal end affixed to the waist belt at a location proximate to the hip joint; 3) a non-stretchable pelvic harness comprising a pair of straps configured proximate the groin of the user; and 4) a combination thereof.

2. The modular harness system of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of connectors for attachment of optional exercise equipment to the harness assembly.

3. The modular harness system of claim 1 wherein the waist belt and the additional harness component do not use a mechanical hook-and-loop fastener for securement thereof to the body of the person.

4. The modular harness system of claim 1 wherein the additional, non-stretchable harness component comprises the shoulder harness.

5. The modular harness system of claim 4 wherein the shoulder strap, in use, is snuggly positioned proximate the top of the shoulder.

6. The modular harness system of claim 4 wherein the shoulder harness is affixed to the waist belt using at least three seat-belt type connectors.

7. The modular harness system of claim 1 wherein the additional, non-stretchable harness component comprises the thigh harness.

8. The modular harness system of claim 7 wherein the distal end of the thigh harness is moveable laterally along the circumference of the waist belt.

9. The modular harness system of claim 7 wherein the harness further comprises a thigh cuff that is configured to surround the thigh of the person, and wherein the affixed distal end has a distal connector configured for attachment to waist belt and for lateral movement along the circumference of the waist belt.

10. The modular harness system of claim 9 wherein the waist belt has a belt connector comprising a guide strap having first and second ends affixed to the waist belt, and wherein the distal connector comprises a loop that encircles the guide strap.

11. The modular harness system of claim 1 wherein the additional, non-stretchable harness component comprises the pelvic harness.

12. The modular harness system of claim 11 wherein the straps of the pelvic harness are secured to the waist belt.

13. A mobility system for use in providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person, comprising: a) a modular harness system worn by the person, comprising a non-stretchable waist belt, and at least one additional, non-stretchable harness component removably affixed thereto; b) an overhead rail, and c) a non-motorized hoist assembly that is moveable along the overhead rail, having at least one hoist connector for exerting an upward force upon the harness system, the hoist assembly comprising a block and tackle pulley, the hoist assembly being configured to have a mechanical advantage of 2:1 or more.

14. The mobility system of claim 13 wherein the hoist assembly has a mechanical advantage of 4:1.

15. The mobility system of claim 13 wherein the pulley device has a locked configuration wherein a cord of the block and tackle pulley can not pass through the pulley.

16. The mobility system of claim 13 further comprises a brake means to physically prevent a cord of the block and tackle pulley from passing through the pulley.

17. The mobility system of claim 13 wherein the additional harness component comprises a shoulder harness having a pair of shoulder straps, each having a shoulder connector disposed proximate the top of the shoulder.

18. The mobility system of claim 17 wherein the hoist assembly comprises two hoist connectors, each connected to a shoulder connector of the shoulder harness.

19. A method of providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person, comprising the steps of: a) attaching to a person a modular harness system comprising a non-stretchable waist belt, and at least one additional, non-stretchable harness component removably affixed thereto, having at least one connector, b) securing a hoist connector of a non-motorized pulley assembly to the one harness connector, the non-motorized pulley assembly having a hoisting mechanical advantage of at least 2:1, and c) hoisting the person with the non-motorized hoist assembly into a position for performing a physical activity.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the additional harness component comprises a shoulder harness comprising a shoulder strap across the top of each shoulder in use, each shoulder strap having a shoulder connector proximate the top of the shoulder, and wherein the step of hoisting comprises hoisting the harness connectors at the shoulders.

Description:

BACKGROUND

It has become an accepted and common practice to use harnesses to support a portion of a patient's body weight during rehabilitation. Harness supported activity allows for a more aggressive rehabilitation approach, protecting both the patient and the therapist from injury while allowing more advanced activities to occur. There are a number of commercially available body weight support systems, each using different types of harnesses. Unfortunately, none of the current harnesses adequately meet the needs of diverse patient populations for one or more reasons. Current harnesses can be difficult to apply and remove, especially with patients who are unable to stand for harness application. Current harnesses can also lack adjustability to accommodate patients of various sizes, body shapes and diagnoses, and can restrict normal leg movement during walking. Current harnesses can also lack comfort due to excessive contact pressures in certain body areas, and often can not be used for therapeutic activities other than gait training.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention provides a modular harness assembly worn by a person during physical exercise or rehabilitation, comprising: a) a non-stretchable waist belt having a length, b) at least one auxiliary, non-stretchable harness component releasably affixed to the waist belt, selected from the group consisting of: 1) a non-stretchable shoulder harness comprising a shoulder strap across the top of each shoulder in use, each shoulder strap comprising a shoulder connector proximate the top of the shoulder; 2) a non-stretchable thigh harness having a distal end affixed to the waist belt at a location proximate to the hip joint; 3) a non-stretchable pelvic harness comprising a pair of straps configured proximate the groin of the user; and 4) a combination thereof.

The present invention also relates to a mobility system for use in providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person, comprising: a) a modular harness system worn by the person, comprising a non-stretchable waist belt, and at least one additional, non-stretchable harness component removably affixed thereto; b) an overhead rail, and c) a non-motorized hoist assembly that is moveable along the overhead rail, having at least one hoist connector for exerting an upward force upon the harness system, the hoist assembly comprising a block and tackle pulley, the hoist assembly being configured to have a mechanical advantage of 2:1 or more.

The invention also relates to a method of providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person, comprising the steps of: a) attaching to a person a modular harness system comprising a non-stretchable waist belt, and at least one additional, non-stretchable harness component removably affixed thereto, having at least one connector, b) securing a hoist connector of a non-motorized pulley assembly to the one harness connector, the non-motorized pulley assembly having a hoisting mechanical advantage of at least 2:1, and c) hoisting the person with the non-motorized hoist assembly into a position for performing a physical activity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a plan view waist belt for use with the modular harness assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional view of the waist belt through line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the modular harness assembly worn by a patient, including the waist belt and a shoulder harness

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the shoulder harness of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a thigh harness.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the modular harness assembly worn by a patient, including the waist belt and the thigh harness

FIG. 7 shows a plan view of a pelvic harness

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of the modular harness assembly worn by a patient, including the waist belt and the pelvic harness

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a hoist assembly for use with the modular harness to provide a mobility system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENITON

Definitions

By “non-stretchable” is meant that a webbing strap, or a harness comprising a webbing strap, will not elongate, along the length of the webbing strap, by more than 5%, more typically by more than 2%, and most typically by more than 1%, when elongated by a force differential of 100 pounds.

This present invention provides an improved therapeutic harness that overcomes the many limitations of conventional harnesses used in rehabilitation. The modular harness assembly comprises a waist belt harness and at least one auxiliary harnesses selected from a shoulder harness, at least one thigh harness, and a pelvic harness. These components can be used in various configurations to accomplish numerous therapeutic activities and fit a wide variety of patients.

Waist Belt

The primary component of the modular harness assembly is a waist belt that has a length that when worn forms a circumference. The waist belt is configured so that the auxiliary harness components can be easily attached thereto or removed therefrom via quick release buckles. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the waist belt 10 typically comprises a padded member, shown as an elongated pad 12 having a skin-contacting inner surface and an outer surface, which is configured to encircle a portion of the user's waist W. The padded inner surface provides skin comfort. The pad has along its length a top edge 14 oriented towards the head of a user wearing the waist belt, and an opposed bottom edge. The waist belt also comprises a webbing strap 16 that is configured to encircle the waist and is affixed to the outer surface of the pad 12.

The waist belt 10 is typically configured into a left half and a right half, each respective half having a coupling end 18a, 18b, and an affixed end 19a, 19b that is affixed to the affixed end of the other belt half. In normal use, the waist belt is worn such that the left half of the belt encircles the left side of the user's waist, and the right half of the waist belt encircles the right side of the user's waist, with the left coupling end 18a and the right coupling end 18b positioned in front of the user. The left coupling end and the right coupling end typically extend beyond the pad 12 and are typically affixed to or positionally associated with opposed ends of a releasable securement 20, typically comprising a pair of mating securing members 20a and 20b. The securing member 20a has a slot through which the length of the webbing strap 16 can pass for positioning the securing member 20a between the strap tip 22 and the end of the pad, for adjustment of the overall length of the waist belt to accommodate the waist sizes of various users. A typical releasable securement 20 is a snap buckle, such as an Airloc Side Release Buckle, available from ITW Nexus U.S, Des Plaines, Ill., or a Side Release Buckle, available from Fasnap® Corporation, Elkhart, Ind. Such snap buckles are typically made of a plastic material and are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate webbing straps of various widths.

The webbing strap 16 is typically inelastic and is affixed to the pad at intermittent locations along the length of the strap, about the waist, whereby the affixment points 24 of the strap to the pad 12 on the left side of the waist belt 10 mirror those on the right side of the waist belt. More typically, the webbing is sewn to the outside of the pad to provide a plurality of segments 26a, 26b, and 26c, each segment being affixed at each end to the pad, and being free from attachment along its length. The waist belt typically comprises at least a left side segment 26a that is proximate to the left hip, and a right side segment 26b that is proximate the right hip. The left side and right side segments 26 provide a guide strap for a hip loop, described below. The length of the guide strap is typically sufficient to provide the distal connector of the thigh harness with lateral movement along a path of 5-15 cm.

For affixment of an auxiliary shoulder harness, described herein after, the waist belt further comprises four buckle latches 28a, 28b, 28c, 28d that are affixed with a short loop of inelastic webbing strap at selected positions proximate to and along the top edge 14 of the waist pad 12. The buckle connector comprising the tongue and latch is typically a conventional automobile belt buckle.

For affixment of an auxiliary thigh harness, described herein after, the waist belt further comprises a pair of hip loops 30 formed from inelastic webbing strap, each hip loop 30 configured to encircle and move freely along the lateral length of the left side segment 26a and right side segment 26b, respectively, of the waist strap 16 proximate to the hip joints. Each hip loop 30 further comprises one member 32 of a snap buckle extending downward therefrom, which can be affixed to its mating second member 96 that is affixed to the aforementioned thigh harness 90, shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The connection formed by the mating members 32 and 96 provides a distal connector that comprises the hip loop 30, which provides a movable connection for the thigh harness to the waist belt.

The waist belt 10 typically also comprises a plurality of a connector, such as a “D” ring 34, which can be secured to, for movement along, a segment 26a or and 26b of the waist strap 16. Typically, three “D” rings 34 are affixed to the waist belt, with one on each of the left side segment and the right side segment, and proximate the back of the waist belt. These connectors provide attachment to the waist belt of additional exercise equipment.

The webbing waist strap 16 and the webbing loops 30 that are used to affix buckles 28, couplings 32, and connectors 34 to the waist belt 10 are preferably made of non-stretchable material. While the pad 12 can be slightly stretchable, it too is typically non-stretchable. Stretchable harness components can allow the harness to migrate on the body during activity. To improve the fit and to reduce slippage of the waist belt, a non-slip material can be applied to the inside surface of the pad 12. The non-slip material can be applied directly to the pad, or a non-slip layer of the material can be sewn to the pad. Preferably, the non-slip material covers each outer third of the length of the pad 12. A preferred non-slip material is TUFFTEX®, and gReptile, available from 3M Company.

Shoulder Harness

The shoulder harness 50, shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, comprises a pair of shoulder pads 52a, 52b having a skin-contacting inner surface and an outer surface, each configured to lie across a shoulder and partly down the back and chest of a person wearing the shoulder harness 50. The padded inner surface provides skin comfort. The shoulder harness 50 also comprises a pair of webbing strap 54a, 54b configured to lie across the top of a shoulder and partly down the back and chest of a person. Each shoulder strap 54a, 54b is affixed to the outer surface of the respective shoulder pad 52a, 52b. The shoulder strap 54 is typically inelastic and is affixed to the outside surface of the shoulder pad at intermittent affixments 56 along the length of the strap, from the back to the front, thereby providing at least one shoulder-top segment 58 that is affixed at each shoulder pad with an affixment 56, and is free from attachment along its length. Each shoulder-top segment 58a, 58b spans across the top of the user's shoulder. Additional webbing segments 68a, 68b can be provides along the front portions, and back portions, of the shoulder pad. A shoulder connector, such as a “D” ring 60, can be secured for movement proximate each shoulder-top segment 58a, 58b, for attachment thereto of a spreader bar device or other device for vertical hoisting, and hereinafter described. Additional “D” ring connectors can be provided along the shoulder straps for attachment additional exercise equipment.

The respective front end 62a, 62b of each shoulder strap 54 is typically positionally associated with a buckle tongue 64 which can be inserted into the aforementioned mating buckle latches 28a, 28d of the waist belt to releasably affix the shoulder harness 50 to the front of the waist belt 10. By positionally associated is meant that the length of the shoulder strap 54 can pass through a slot in the buckle tongue 64 to increase or decrease the length of the shoulder strap, to accommodate the torso sizes of various users and to provide a snug fit or securement of the shoulder harness 50 proximate the top of the shoulders of the user. Likewise, the respective back end 70a, 70b of each shoulder strap 54 is typically positionally associated with a buckle tongue 64 which can be inserted into the aforementioned mating buckle latches 28b, 28c of the waist belt to releasably secure the shoulder harness 50 to the back of the waist belt 10.

To assist in securing the shoulder harness 50 in place, a pair of front straps 72a, 72 are provided, each strap having one end affixed to a respective shoulder pad 52 at the front, and having the other end affixed to or positionally associated with opposed ends of a releasable securement, typically a snap buckle 74. Further a back webbing panel 76 can be affixed, typically with stitching, to the respective shoulder pads 52 at the back, typically proximate the shoulder blades of the patient. These features prevent the shoulder straps 54 from spreading far apart at the shoulder tops and slipping off the shoulders, and allow the shoulder harness 50 to be used for activities other than gait training. Additionally, a handle 78 can be sewn to the webbing panel 76 proximate the level of the shoulder blades, with which a therapist can assist a patient with postural control by pulling the patient into a more upright posture.

The webbing shoulder straps 54 are preferably made of non-stretchable material, as previously described. While the shoulder pads 52 can be slightly stretchable, they too are typically non-stretchable.

The snug, secure, and non-stretchable fit of the shoulder harness and waist belt harness assembly provides and improved means for hoisting patients during rehabilitation training and for patient care. Additionally, a weighted pulley system can be connected to any one of the segmented sections of the shoulder strap to provide resisted or assisted trunk exercises.

Thigh Harness

A thigh harness 90, shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, comprises a 4- to 5-inch wide, non-stretchable, padded thigh cuff 92 having a skin-contacting inner surface and an outer surface, configured to securably encircle the thigh of a patient when worn. The padded inner surface provides skin comfort. The thigh cuff pad is typically secured around the thigh, with the overlapping ends secured by a mechanical fastener, such as Velcro. A cuff extension can be added via Velcro attachment to accommodate patients with larger thighs. The thigh cuff pad is affixed, typically by stitching, and depends from, a lower end of a webbing strap 94, which has a second end positionally associated with a second securing member or connector 96 that mates with the snap buckle member 32 affixed to the waist belt 10 (see FIG. 2). This provides a means for releasably affixing the distal end of the thigh strap 94 directly to the waist loop 30, whereby the waist loop 30 forms a distal end for the thigh harness 90 that freely moves laterally on the waist segment 26 and along the circumference of the waist belt 10. When using the thigh harness 90, it is advantageous that distal end of the thigh harness can move laterally along the waist segment 26, so that the thigh strap 94 remains aligned over the lateral part of the leg to allow unencumbered movement of the leg. Conventional thigh harnesses have fixed-position attachment points in the front and back of a waist belt that significantly restrict leg and hip movement once tension is applied to the thigh straps, typically with front and back leg motion.

Additionally, the thigh cuff harness can have a small “D” ring as a securement sewn to the outside of the thigh strap, to provide an attachment point for additional exercise components, and allows activities such as resisted hip flexion, extension, abduction and adduction exercises.

Pelvic Harness

The pelvic harness 100, shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, comprises a pair of pelvic straps 102 and 104. The pelvic straps are configured to cross proximate the groin of the user to form an “X” shape. The pelvic harness 90 can also comprises a pelvic pad 106 having a skin-contacting inner surface and an outer surface, and having a central ischial portion 107, a pair of legs 108 extending from a front end of ischial portion 107, and a pair of longer legs 110 extending from a back end of the ischial portion 107. Each leg 108 and 110 has at least one loop 112 affixed on the outer surface thereof. Each pelvic strap is movably confined within the loops 112 of the cater-cornered leg 108 and longer leg 110, so that the pelvic pad 106 can float along the pelvic straps 102 for improved comfort. The pelvic strap 54 is typically a two-inch webbing material that is preferably non-stretchable. Each pelvic strap is typically affixed to or positionally associated with opposed ends of a releasable securement 114, typically comprising a pair of mating connectors 114a and 114b. The connector 114a has a slot through which the length of the webbing strap 102 or 104 can pass for positioning the connector 114a between the strap tip 122 and the end of the padded leg 108, for adjustment of the overall length of the waist belt to accommodate the waist sizes of various users. A typical releasable securement 114 is a snap buckle.

Alternatively, the pelvic straps 102 and 104 can be threaded through the respective leg loops 112 on each or either side of the pelvic pad 106, essentially in a “C” shape or a backward “C” shape, such that the strap 102 or strap 104 forms its own connection and encircles the upper leg and groin.

Alternatively, the pelvic harness can also comprise a single pelvic strap affixable to the waist belt, for providing support on one inner thigh and pelvic region of the user. The single pelvic strap can be associated with a pelvic pad using loops 112.

In use, the pelvic harness can be secured to the waist belt 10 by threading the end of the strap 102 having the mating connector 114a, between the right-side waist segment 26 and the waist pad 12 of the waist belt 10, and then attaching it to a mating connector 114b on the other end of the other strap 104. The left-side ends of the straps are likewise attached. The connector 114 thereby provides a means for releasably affixing the pelvic harness 100 or either of the pelvic straps 54 to the waist belt.

When used with the thigh harnesses, the pelvic harness can provide a reduction in contact pressures by distributing the patient's weight load over a greater amount of lower body. Also the unique flexability to use the thigh harnesses and/or pelvic harness allows the modular harness assembly to be used with a wider variety of patients. For example, a patient with an above knee amputation or hip fracture of the right leg could still be fit with the modular harness assembly by using just the pelvic harness on the right side, and a combination of the pelvic harness and thigh harness on the left side.

Unique Features that Address Limitations of Prior Art Harnesses

A significant problem with the conventional hoisting harnesses is the difficulty, if not impossibility, to fitting the harness properly on a patient in a seated or supine position, unless the patient can stand to be fitted. This significantly limits the utility of such conventional support harnesses for assisting the most needy patients who cannot safely stand on their own. The present invention provides a modular harness assembly that can be individually “pieced” onto the patient in either a sitting or supine position. In a typical use of the invention, the shoulder harness, thigh harnesses, and pelvic harness are first removed from the waist belt. Next, the waist belt is fitted and adjusted snuggly around the waist of the patient. The thigh harnesses and pelvic harness can then be reattached individually and connected to the waist belt. Lastly, the shoulder harness can be placed over the patient's head and shoulders and connected to the waist belt using the four buckle connectors.

In an effort to improve fit and comfort, many conventional harnesses incorporate stretchable material. However, the use of stretchable material allows the harness to migrate when under a weight load, causing discomfort and often times pain, including pressure to sensitive areas such as the armpit and groin. The present invention provides a modular harness assembly having components that are comprised essentially entirely of non-stretchable material to prevent unnecessary and uncomfortable movement of the harness.

Another method employed by other conventional harnesses to improve comfort and fit is the use multiple Velcro®-type straps around the waist and trunk. Unfortunately, these straps are cumbersome and time consuming to adjust properly. They also frequently result in straps and the harness parts sticking to themselves or to one another, including while trying to place the harness on a patient, and especially a patient in a sitting or supine position. The present invention provides a further improvement by not using mechanical hook-and-loop fasteners, such as Velcro®, on the waist belt, shoulder harness, and pelvic harness in the trunk and waist area for securement of the harness components to the body of the person, thereby preventing the above problems.

Many commercially-available harnesses use either a thigh cuff or pelvic strap to support the lower body. This reduces the applicability and utility of the harness for various patients. The present invention uses both the thigh harness and the pelvic harness in any combination, allowing the harness assembly to be used with a wider variety of patients. For example, harnesses using only thigh cuffs would not be appropriate for patients who could not tolerate pressure around the thigh, such as with a recent hip fracture or surgery. Patients with above knee amputations would also not be able to use a thigh cuff because it would interfere with the prosthesis. Harnesses only using pelvic straps are often too uncomfortable for most patients because of the excessive pressure in the sensitive groin area. Pelvic straps are also a problem with patients who are incontinent. The ability to use a combination of a thigh cuff or harness, and/or a pelvic strap or harness, allows for increased comfort, and almost any patient can be accommodated in some form or another.

The present invention also provides the ability to use the modular harness assembly in multiple configurations for gait, balance and therapeutic exercises. Use of all four components of the modular harness assembly together provides excellent safety and support for patients who require significant levels of body-weight unloading. Use of just the shoulder harness and waist belt is effective for balance training in both sitting and standing positions, when little or no body-weight unloading is needed. This configuration is also useful for various therapeutic exercises and functional activities due to the numerous attachment points on both the shoulder harness and waist belt. For example, a weight stack with a rope pulley system can be attached to a connector on the shoulder harness and waist belt in a variety of ways to provide either resistance or assistance to specific motions, such as trunk flexion, extension and rotation.

The ability of the shoulder harness to be fit snuggly to the shoulders is also important to allow these types of activities.

The waist belt can be also used individually as an effective gait belt with multiple hand holds. Attachment of the pelvic harness or thigh harnesses to the waist belt provides an even more supportive gait belt, and can be used for various exercises such as resisted walking via the attachment points afforded by the “D” rings securements and segmented sections of the waist belt.

The present invention also relates to a mobility system for use in providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person, utilizing the modular harness assembly. The mobility system employs an overhead support for suspending a hoist assembly. The overhead support member is typically an overhead rail and a rolling carriage that is movable along the rail. The overhead support can also be stationary. A non-motorized hoist assembly is associated with the carriage to provide movement along the overhead rail. Non-motorized hoists are preferred. The hoist assembly has at least one hoist connector for exerting an upward force upon the modular harness system. More typically, the hoist assembly has a pair of hoist connectors for supporting and hoisting the modular harness at least two connectors.

The mobility system using the modular harness can be employed in a method for providing exercise and rehabilitation for a person. The method includes a first step of attaching to a person the modular harness system comprising the non-stretchable waist belt and at least one of the auxiliary non-stretchable harness components. Once fitted with the modular harness, the hoisting assembly supported from the overhead support is secured to one or more of the harness connector, and the patient is hoisted into a position for performing a physical activity.

Typically the hoist assembly comprises a block and tackle pulley, such as a resilient cleated pulley assembly, configured to have a mechanical advantage of 2:1 or more, more typically 4:1 or more. In a typical configuration, the resilient cleated pulley assembly employs a lower fiddle block pulley connected to the support frame, by a universal head connection and an upper fiddle block, with built in camcleat, connected by a snap shackle to a movable overhead rolling carriage on an overhead rail. The top fiddle block camcleat enables a person to adjust the user's position of height from the floor, easily and safely, for users of different size and weight. Shock cord of varying strengths is used to thread the fiddle blocks and thus provide an adjustable amount of lift, rise and fall, bounce, lateral movement, anterior/posterior movement and shock absorbency, comfortably for the user and easily for the treatment provider.

FIG. 9 shows a hoist assembly that includes a hoist assembly 120 and a support frame 150 having a pair of spaced-apart securing connectors 152 for attachment to at least two connectors of the modular harness assembly. The hoist assembly is shown as a pulley assembly 120 having a top fiddle block 122 has a snap shackle 124 with three hundred and sixty degrees of rotation at its contact connection with the top fiddle block, and a pull pin that allows for quick connection to, or release from, an overhead rolling traveler 140 movably supported on an overhead rail 142, or alternatively to a stationary eye bolt. The top fiddle block pulley 120 has a camcleat 126 with an angle adjustment arm 128 to select the best angle of position for the camcleat 126. The bottom fiddle block pulley 130 has a universal head connection 132 which also rotates three hundred and sixty degrees and has a pull pin that allows for quick connection to, or release from, a means, such as a carabineer 160 for attaching the support frame 150. The shock cord 134 is threaded through the pulleys. The shock cord 134 is anchored on one end to the top fiddle block at the becket 136 attachment of the top fiddle block 46, travels under and over pulleys and then out and through the camcleat 126. An over-hand safety knot 138 can be tied in the shock cord 136 once that the therapy provider has determined the maximum allowable or an appropriate length of cord. Alternatively, a brake means such as a clamp securely affixed along the free length of the shock cord will, in the event the hoisted load begins descending uncontrollably, jamb the pulley and stop the descent. The ends of the shock cord 134 are typically taped to prevent fraying, and the becket end of the shock cord is secured with crimped wires. The shock cord is typically of various strengths and is provided with a durable nylon covering, with a typical manufacturer's safe load limit is over 400 pounds. The safe load limits of the marine-quality fiddle block pulleys can range from 1500-3500 pounds, or more.

The support frame 150 is typically constructed of a strong, light-weight metal or metal alloy, such as aluminum. In the illustrated embodiment, the spaced-apart securing connectors 152 are equally spaced apart from the top connector 154 to which the universal head connection 132 is secured, to provide better balancing of the patient's weight. In the illustrated embodiment, the securing connectors are shown as buckles 152 having a snap hook 156. Each buckle 152 is secured to the support frame 150 with an adjustable-length webbing strand 158.