Title:
Blanket for use during bodyworking or massage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage is a blanket having laterally extending slits defined therein that define an upper portion and a lower portion of the blanket, and an axially extending slit medially disposed in the lower portion defining individual leg drapes. The slits enable the left and right upper and lower portions and the two leg drapes to be independently manipulated to drape desired portions of the body when administering a massage. Alternatively, the leg drapes may be disposed over the shoulders and chest with the upper portion covering the back in order to wear the blanket as a poncho. The leg drapes may have pockets opening on their rear surfaces for tucking the feet in for warmth. Releasable fasteners may be disposed on the blanket for adapting the blanket for other uses.



Inventors:
Hermanson, Holly (Gordonsville, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/054428
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/10/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/69.5
International Classes:
A47G9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A blanket for use during bodyworking or massage, comprising a rectangular sheet of fabric material defining the blanket and having: a head end, said head end including a first outer edge, a foot end opposite the head end, said foot end including a second outer edge parallel to said first outer edge, and opposing sides extending between the head end and the foot end, said opposing sides including third and fourth parallel outer edges, respectively; opposing lateral slits extending inwardly from the third and fourth outer edges of the opposing sides, defining a bight between the lateral slits and dividing the blanket into an upper portion and a lower portion; and an axial slit extending medially and inwardly from the foot end second outer edge, thereby defining leg drapes in the lower portion, the blanket having a central portion extending between the lateral slits and the axial slit; wherein the upper portion and the leg drapes are independently manipulable for use during bodyworking and massage; and wherein the blanket is adapted for use as a poncho with the leg drapes disposed over opposite sides of a user's front torso and the upper portion disposed over the user's rear torso.

2. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, wherein the sheet of material is a velvety material made from fibers flocked onto a base selected from the group consisting of foam, fabric, and a combination of foam and fabric.

3. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, wherein the head end first outer edge has a neck scallop defined centrally therein adapted for exposing a person's neck when the blanket is draped over the person for administering a massage.

4. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, wherein the lateral slits and the axial slit further comprise reinforcement seams about a periphery of the slits.

5. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 4, wherein each of the slits has a filleted vertex.

6. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, further comprising a foot pocket disposed at the foot end of each of said leg drapes adapted for receiving a foot.

7. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, further comprising mating releasable fasteners, said mating releasable fasteners having mating releasable fastener portions disposed on the upper and lower portions of the blanket along the opposing sides of the blanket and adjacent said third and fourth outer edges of said opposing sides, the fastener portions located on the upper portion of the blanket being matable with the fastener portions located on the lower portion of the blanket, the fastener portions located on the lower portion of the blanket being matable with the fastener portions located on the upper portions of said blanket; wherein said blanket may be worn as a poncho, when the fastener portions of the upper portion are mated with the fastener portions of the lower portion to form arm holes along the third and fourth edges.

8. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 7, wherein said releasable fasteners comprise mating strips of hook and loop fastening material.

9. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 7, wherein said releasable fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook and loop fasteners, metal zippers, plastic zippers, snaps, buttons, and elastic loops.

10. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, further comprising mating releasable fasteners disposed on opposite sides of the axial slit for joining said leg drapes together.

11. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 10, wherein said releasable fasteners comprise mating strips of hook and loop fastening material.

12. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 11, wherein said releasable fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook and loop fasteners, metal zippers, plastic zippers, snaps, buttons, and elastic loops.

13. The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to claim 1, wherein the lateral slits and the axial slit are narrow slits.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to blankets, and particularly to a blanket for use during a massage that is convertible into use as a poncho, or that can be used as a cover for additional warmth and comfort while reading, lounging, or the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

Many people find that massage is a useful form of therapy that reduces stress, relieves tension, and tones the muscles. The massage may be prescribed as part of conventional medical treatment, may form part of an alternative health program, may be provided by gyms and other exercise facilities after strenuous workouts, or may be sought simply for the relaxation benefits provided by the massage. Massages may be administered by physical therapists, by licensed or certified massage therapists, or by one's spouse or significant other.

In order to place the person being given the massage at ease, as well as to keep the muscles warm, typically the body is covered with a sheet, blanket, or other cover that is draped over the body, and which is folded back to uncover the limb or portion of the torso that is currently being rubbed, kneaded, or otherwise manipulated. Conventional sheets and blankets are not efficient for this purpose, however, since the sheet or blanket is an elongated rectangle designed to cover the entire body. It is difficult to fold back a portion of the sheet, blanket, or other drape to expose one portion of the body without also exposing an adjacent portion of the body. Also, the person being massaged often finds the conventional sheet too thin to provide sufficient warmth and comfort during the course of the massage, and will complain about being cold or chilly.

It would therefore be desirable to provide a blanket or drape that is specifically designed for use in administering a massage. The utility, economy, and versatility of such a blanket or drape may be further enhanced by designing the blanket or drape in such a manner that it may be easily converted for use as a poncho or other garment, or for use while reading, lounging, or similar activities.

There are many one-piece garments that cover the front and back of at least the upper body and that are open along at least a portion of the sides, such as hospital gowns, but such garments are not suitable for use in administering a massage.

There are also so-called convertible garments, which can be converted from one form of garment to another, often by attaching detachable pieces, but these garments are also not suitable for use in administering a massage. Thus, a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The blanket for use during bodyworking or massage is a blanket having laterally extending slits defined therein that define an upper portion and a lower portion of the blanket, and an axially extending slit medially disposed in the lower portion defining individual leg drapes. The slits enable the left and right upper and lower portions to be independently manipulated to drape desired portions of the body when administering a massage. Alternatively, the leg drapes may be disposed over the shoulders and chest with the upper portion covering the back in order to wear the blanket as a poncho. The leg drapes may have pockets opening on their rear surfaces for tucking the feet in for warmth. Releasable fasteners may be disposed on the blanket for defining armholes or sleeves, for closing the front or sides of the poncho, or for fastening the leg drapes to each other or to the upper portion for use as a conventional blanket.

The blanket may have a scallop defined in the edge of the upper portion so that the blanket leaves the neck exposed when administering a massage. Alternatively, a scallop may be defined at the junction of the leg drapes that defines a neck opening when the blanket is used as a poncho. A surface of the blanket may have a loop attached thereto for hanging the blanket on a hook for storage, or for receiving a belt, strap, or sash so that the blanket may be rolled up and secured by the belt or strap for storage or transport. The upper portion may have a pocket defined therein for containing scented material when performing massage as part of an aromatherapy program. Instead of linear slits, the laterally extending slits may be wedge-shaped in order to provide greater flexibility, both in manipulating the blanket during massage and in using the garment as a poncho. Furthermore, the slits may be filleted to prevent ripping or tearing the blanket with extended use.

The blanket may be made from fleece, wool, vinyl, or Vellux (Vellux is a registered trademark of West Point-Pepperell, Inc.), and may have a water-resistant surface coating or layer.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, top view of a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the blanket of FIG. 1, the bottom view being symmetrical.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the blanket of FIG. 1 being worn as a poncho.

FIG. 4 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of a second alternative embodiment of a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of a third alternative embodiment of a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a top view of a fourth alternative embodiment of a blanket for use during bodyworking or massage according to the present invention.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a blanket for bodyworking and massage. The blanket is made from a material that provides the person being massaged with greater warmth and comfort than the conventional sheet and has slits defined therein that provide the masseuse or massage therapist with a cover that is easily manipulated to expose only those areas of the body requiring immediate attention. The location of the slits on the blanket also permits the use of the blanket as a poncho, reading blanket, lounging blanket, or generally as a warm, comfortable cover.

FIGS. 1-3 show a first embodiment of the blanket, designated generally as 10 in the drawings. The blanket 10 is generally rectangular, having a head end 12, a foot end 14, and opposing sides 16 and 18. The blanket 10 has laterally extending slits 20 and 22, which an upper portion 24 and a lower portion 26. The lateral slits 20 and 22 extend from the sides 16 and 18 medially towards the longitudinal centerline of the blankets 10, leaving a central bight 28 between the vertices 30 or endpoints of the slits 20 and 22. The slits 20 and 22 may have a reinforcement seam 32 sewn along their perimeter, and the vertices 30 may be filleted or curved to prevent tearing from frequent use when performing massages.

The blanket 10 also has an axially extending slit 34 medially disposed in the lower portion 26, defining two leg drapes 36 and 38. The axially extending slit 34 may have a reinforcement seam 40 sewn about the periphery of the slit 34, and the vertex 42 of the slit 34 may be filleted or curved to prevent tearing of the blanket 10 with repeated use. The axially extending slit 34 does not extend to the plane of the laterally extending slits 20 and 22, but instead leaves a central portion 44 between the axially extending slit 34 and the laterally extending slits 20 and 22.

The blanket 10 may be made from any suitable material conventionally known in the art of blanket making. A particularly suitable material is a fabric known as Vellux® (Vellux is a registered trademark of West Point-Pepperell Enterprises, Inc. of Delaware, referring to a velvety material made by flocking fibers onto a base of foam or a base of fabric or a base of combinations thereof; the material is currently available from Westpoint Stevens). Other materials that can be used include fleece, wool, cotton, and various synthetic fabrics and blends, including vinyl. If desired, at least one surface of the blanket 10 may be coated or treated with weatherproof or weather-resistant material, particularly when it is anticipated that the blanket 10 may be used as a poncho or for camping or other outdoor use.

When used during the administration of a massage or other bodywork, the lateral extending slits 20 and 22 permit separate manipulation of the upper portion 24 and the lower portion 26 so that only a desired portion of the body is exposed for massage. Similarly, the axially extending slit 34 permits one leg drape to be neatly folded over the other leg drape, or only a portion of one leg drape to be folded up or down, to expose the portion of the leg to be manipulated.

As shown in FIG. 1, the blanket 10 is preferably of sufficient length to extend over the entire length of the massage mattress, pad, or table. The upper portion 24 may be folded down to expose the head and shoulders as desired. As shown in FIG. 3, the blanket 10 may be used as a poncho by inserting the neck into the axially extending slit 34 so that the leg drapes 36 and 38 extend over the chest and front of the body, and the upper portion 24 covers the back and rear of the body. The central portion 44 covers the shoulders, the laterally extending slits 20 and 22 being behind and below the shoulders. The lower portion 26 of the blanket 10 may have a greater length than the upper portion 24, the lower portion 26 being shown to extend to mid-calf level and the upper portion 24 being shown to extend just below the hips when worn as a poncho in FIG. 3.

Various modifications and improvements, shown in FIGS. 4-7, may be made to the blanket 10, either jointly or independently. FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the blanket, designated generally as 50, having a scallop 52 defined at the head end 54 of the blanket. The scallop 52 leaves the neck exposed when administering a massage for the patient's comfort, which may be particularly appreciated when the massage is administered on a massage table having a head support or saddle extending from the head end of the massage table. The blanket also shows a loop 56 disposed on the bight 58 between the laterally extending slits 60 and 62 so that the blanket 50 may be hung from a hook when not in use. Also shown in FIG. 4 is a belt, sash or strap 64, so that the blanket 50 may be rolled up when not in use, the strap 64 being inserted through the loop 56 and tied around the blanket 50 for transport or storage. It will be noted that the vertices 66 of the slits 60 and 62 are not filleted or curved in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

Blanket 50 also illustrates that the blanket may have a plurality of releasable fasteners. FIG. 4 shows mating pairs of hook and loop fasteners 68 and 70 attached to the upper portion 72 and lower portion 74, respectively, of the blanket 50. Fasteners 68 and 70 may be secured together when the blanket is worn as a poncho to define an armhole. Either one pair of fasteners, consisting of a single fastener 68 and a single fastener 70 disposed on opposite sides of the slits 60 and 62, or multiple pairs, comprising a plurality of fasteners 68 above the slits 60 and 62 and a plurality of fasteners 70 below the slits 60 and 62, may be used to define the armholes, and to prevent the sides of the slits 60 and 62 from separating during use of the poncho, if desired. The position of the fasteners 68 and 70 is not critical, the locations shown in the drawing being representative only, so that fasteners 68 and 70 may be placed in any convenient location suitable for defining armholes.

In addition, a mating pair of hook and loop or other releasable fasteners 72 and 74 may be attached to opposite sides of axially extending slit 76, so that leg drapes 78 and 80 may be fastened together across the front of the torso when the blanket 50 is used as a poncho, or so that the leg drapes 78 and 80 can be fastened together when used as a reading or lounging blanket. Additional fasteners may be attached on opposite sides of the periphery of the laterally extending slits 60 and 62 to temporarily secure the upper portion 72 and lower portion 74 together, if desired. The number and location of the fasteners shown in FIG. 4 are exemplary only, and greater or fewer fasteners may be utilized at any convenient location. The releasable fasteners may be any fasteners known in the fabric industry, including hook and loop, metal or plastic zippers, buttons, snaps, elastic loops, etc.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of the blanket, designated generally as 100, having laterally extending slits 102 and 104, and axially extending slit 106. Blanket 100 shows that the blanket may have pockets 108 and 110 defined in the leg drapes 112 and 114 for receiving the person's feet. Although not shown in FIG. 5, the blanket 100 may also have releasable fasteners on opposite sides of the axial slit 106, so that the foot pockets 108 and 110 may be used to provide additional warmth and comfort when the blanket 100 is used as a conventional blanket. The pockets 108 and 110 may be formed in any desired manner, e.g., by attaching an additional panel of fabric to the foot end of the leg drapes 112 and 114, by folding the foot end of the leg drapes 112 and 114 up and sewing the sides, etc.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the blanket designated generally as 150. Instead of narrow slits, the blanket 150 has wedge-shaped laterally extending slits 152 and 154, and a wedge-shaped axially extending slit 156 defining leg drapes 158 and 160. The wedge-shaped slits 152, 154, and 156 help to facilitate manipulation of the blanket 150.

FIG. 7 shows an embodiment of the blanket designated generally as 200. The blanket 200 has laterally extending slits 202 and 204, and an axially extending slit 206 defining leg drapes 208 and 210. Blanket 200 also has a pocket 212, shown in FIG. 7 adjacent the head end of the upper portion 216 of the blanket 200. The pocket 212 may be useful for containing scented materials, such as those used when performing an aromatherapy massage. Alternatively, the pocket 212 may be disposed on the upper portion 216 for the convenience of the user when the blanket 200 is worn as a poncho. It will be understood that the pocket 212 may be disposed in any desired location on the blanket 200, and that there may be more than one pocket 212, as desired.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.





 
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