Title:
Cover for face cradle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A comfortable, smooth, and sanitary cover is provided for a “U” shaped face cradle of a massage table or chair, the face cradle having a central portion and two arms extending from the central portion. The cover is formed of a fabric panel having a medial region and pair of lobes extending from the medial region and defining a notch between them. Each of the lobes is provided with a pocket and the medial region is provided with weights attached on an outer periphery. Each of the pockets is configured for partially receiving an arm of the face cradle. The cover may be draped onto the face cradle, with the medial region adjacent the central portion, with pockets receiving the arms, and with weights being suspended from the outer periphery, so as to overhang the central portion of the face cradle and to smoothly spread the cover over the surface of the face cradle. The cover contacts the face of an individual resting on the face cradle, during a massage.



Inventors:
Hamilton, Beverly Lynn (Parkville, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/378767
Publication Date:
09/10/2009
Filing Date:
02/19/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/482
International Classes:
A47C21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KELLEHER, WILLIAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Beverly L. Hamilton (Parkville, MD, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A cover for a “U” shaped face cradle having a central portion and a pair of arms extending from the central portion, said cover comprising: a flexible panel with securing means; said panel having a medial region and two opposed lobes; said panel having an outer periphery; said panel having an obverse surface and a reverse surface; said securing means including a pair of pockets on said reverse surface, one of said pockets being formed on each of said lobes; whereby said panel may be draped on said face cradle with said arms being partially received in said pockets and said medial region overlaying said central portion to retain said panel on said face cradle, with said obverse surface presented for receiving the face of an individual.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein: said securing means further includes one or more weights suspended from said outer periphery adjacent to said medial region such that said weights overhang said central portion of said face cradle for smoothly spreading said cover on said face cradle.

3. The cover of claim 1 wherein: said securing means further includes an elastic strip attached to said outer periphery adjacent to said medial region; and whereby said elastic strip may be manipulated onto an edge of said central portion of said face cradle.

4. The cover of claim 1, wherein said securing means further includes a flexible strap extending from the outer periphery, of said panel, adjacent to said medial region; said strap having a distal end with fastening means for attaching said strap to said pockets; whereby said fastening means may be operated to attach said distal end of said strap to said pockets.

5. A process for covering a “U” shaped face cradle having a central portion and a pair of arms extending from said central portion, said process comprising the steps of: providing a cover including: a flexible panel with securing means; said panel having a medial region and two opposed lobes; said panel having an outer periphery, an obverse surface, and a reverse surface; said securing means including a pair of pockets on said reverse surface, one of said pockets being formed on each of said lobes; draping said panel on said face cradle with said arms being partially received in said pockets and said medial region overlaying said central portion, with said obverse surface presented for receiving the face of an individual.

6. The process of claim 5, wherein: said securing means further includes one or more weights suspended from said outer periphery adjacent to said medial region; and said draping step further includes manipulating said weights such that said weights overhang said central portion of said face cradle for smoothly spreading said cover on said face cradle.

7. The process of claim 5 wherein: said securing means further includes an elastic strip attached to said outer periphery adjacent to said medial region; and said draping step further includes manipulating said elastic strip onto an edge of said central portion of said face cradle.

8. The process of claim 5, wherein: said securing means further includes a flexible strap extending from the outer periphery of said panel, adjacent to said medial region; said strap having a distal end with fastening means for attaching said strap to said pockets; and further including the step of operating said fastening means to attach said distal end of said strap to said pockets.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO OTHER APPLICATIONS

Applicant claims the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/035,063, filed 10 Mar. 2008, by the present inventor.

BACKGROUND

The invention relates generally to covers for cushioned body supports and particularly to a cover for a face cradle, which cover may be easily installed and removed to provide a sanitary surface for resting the face of an individual who is positioned to receive a body massage.

Massage is typically administered to various parts of an individual's body for relaxation and for therapy. The neck and back may receive relatively vigorous treatment and conventional massage tables and massage chairs are used to comfortably support the individual, while receiving massage. The table and chair are typically topped by a cushion, on which an individual may lie or sit. The table or chair may be provided with a face cradle, for supporting the face of the individual. The face cradle is a “U” shaped cushioned frame having a central portion and two arms extending from the central portion, defining an open space between them. The face cradle is mounted on the table or chair such that the face of the individual may rest on the face cradle, while the individual is lying prone, on the table, or sitting in a forward leaning posture, on the chair. In both positions, the nose and jaw are received into the open space, the arms support the cheeks, and the central portion supports the forehead. The individual may receive a relatively vigorous massage of the neck and back, while being comfortably supported by the face cradle.

It is common practice to place a flexible cover on the cushioned table top and on the face cradle to provide a sanitary and pleasing surface on which the individual may rest. A cover is particularly important for the face cradle, because the skin of the face comes into direct contact with the face cradle. In addition to providing a sanitary and pleasing surface for the face, the cover protects the face cradle from becoming soiled. It is common practice to remove and replace the cover between uses by different individuals; therefore, it is desirable that the face cradle cover be designed for easy installation and removal. The face cradle cover must also be shaped to accommodate the open space of the face cradle, to avoid applying pressure to the nose or jaw and to avoid blocking the airways. Conventional face cradle covers are formed in a shape complementary to the shape of the face cradle and have various securing means for releasably retaining the cover on the face cradle. Securing means are required in order to prevent shifting of the cover when an individual repositions his or her face. Exemplary securing means include a run of elastic material on all or a substantial portion of the peripheral edge of the cover. Alternatively, securing means, may include buttons, snaps or zippers adapted to join opposing peripheral edges of the cover, on the underside of the face cradle. Covers having an elastic periphery require a massage therapist to use both hands to spread the cover over the face cradle and fasten the cover in place. Covers with other conventional securing means also require the use of two hands to install and remove. There is a need for a face cradle cover, which may be installed and removed with one hand so that a massage therapist may simultaneously make use of another hand.

Conventional face cradle covers also include sewn seams which cross the portion of the cover intended for receiving the face of the individual. Even in seamless designs, elastic or other securing means closely conform the cover to the shape of the face cradle and cause the cover to wrinkle or pucker, while installed on the face cradle. The seams, wrinkles, and puckered areas concentrate pressure on the face of the individual causing discomfort and frequently leaving temporary indentations on facial skin, which are considered unsightly. There is a need for a face cradle cover, which will remain smooth, in the areas contacting the face, of an individual, while installed on the face cradle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The face cradle cover of the present invention provides a cover for a “U” shaped face cradle. The cover may be easily installed on, and removed from, a “U” shaped face cradle, having a central portion and generally parallel arms, in a one-handed operation. The cover may be releasably retained on the face cradle and remains smooth for a comfortable feel. The face cradle cover includes securing means and a flexible panel having a medial region and two opposed lobes defining a notch between them. An outer periphery bounds outer aspects of the lobes and medial region. An inner periphery, adjacent to the notch, bounds inner aspects of the lobes and medial region. The panel includes an obverse surface and a reverse surface. The securing means releasably retains the cover on the face cradle. The panel may be draped on the face cradle with the reverse surface adjacent to the face cradle and with the obverse surface presented for receiving the face of an individual. The securing means may be manipulated to retain the panel on the face cradle.

The securing means may comprise two pockets, on the reverse surface, with one pocket on each of the lobes and each pocket being adapted for partially receiving one of the arms, in sliding engagement. The securing means may also include one or more weights suspended from the outer periphery adjacent to the medial region. The cover may, with the use of one hand, be draped on the face cradle with the arms of the face cradle being partially received within the pockets and with the weights suspended proximate to the central portion of the face cradle, such that the pockets retain the lobes on the arms of the face cradle and the suspended weights draw the cover taught to present a smooth obverse surface for receiving the face of an individual. The notch lies adjacent to the open space between the arms, leaving the open space uncovered.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a face cradle cover which may be easily installed on, and removed from, a face cradle, in a one-handed operation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a face cradle cover which includes securing means for releasably retaining a face cradle cover on a face cradle.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a face cradle cover which remains smooth when installed on a face cradle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the present invention will be better appreciated with reference to the following description, appended claims and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the obverse surface of the cover of the present invention.

FIG. 2a is a perspective view showing the reverse surface of the cover of the present invention.

FIG. 2b is a perspective view showing the reverse surface of a first alternative embodiment cover of the present invention.

FIG. 2c is a perspective view showing the reverse surface of a second alternative embodiment cover of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a face cradle with a cover of the present invention in position for being installed.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a face cradle with a cover of the present invention installed.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an individual in position on a massage table with a face cradle and cover of the present invention in place.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The face cradle cover 10 is depicted in FIGS. 1-5 and provides a convenient and effective way to provide a replaceable and sanitary cover for the face cradle of a conventional massage table or chair. The cover 10, shown in FIG. 1, includes a flexible panel consisting of a medial region 15 and two opposed lobes 20. The lobes 20 extend from the medial region 15 and define a notch between them. An outer periphery 25 bounds the outer aspect of the lobes 20 and the outer aspect of the medial region 15. An inner periphery 30 is adjacent to the notch and bounds the inner aspect of the lobes 20 and the inner aspect of the medial region 15. The panel has an obverse surface, displayed in FIG. 1 and a reverse surface, displayed in FIG. 2a.

Securing means are provided for releasably retaining the cover 10 on a face cradle. Securing means preferably include two pockets 35 formed on the reverse surface of the panel and located one on each of the lobes 20, as shown in FIG. 2a. The pockets 35 are attached, preferably by sewing, along portions of the inner periphery 30 and the outer periphery 25, while having an access opening adjacent to the reverse surface of the panel. The pockets 35 are configured to partially receive the arms of the face cradle to retain the lobes 20 on the arms of the face cradle. The medial region 15 may be draped onto the central portion of a face cradle. The cover 10 is shown in the process of being installed on an exemplary face cradle 100, in FIG. 3.

It is preferred that securing means also include one or more weights 40 suspended from the outer periphery 25 adjacent to the medial region 15, as shown in FIG. 2a. The weights 40 may be suspended from the outer periphery 25 by any conventional means but, for aesthetic purposes, it is preferred that a flap 45 be attached to the outer periphery 25 and that the weights 40 be retained within the flap 45, in the manner of a conventional drapery weight. FIG. 2a shows the flap 45 partially cut away to reveal the weights 40, within the flap 45. The flap 45 may be folded and sewn to retain the weights 40, and it is preferred that an access opening be provided to allow removal of the weights 40, to facilitate laundering. An opening (not shown) may be provided in the flap 45, with selective fastening means, such as a hook and loop closure, buttons, or a zipper, to facilitate removal of the weights 40.

It is preferred that the panel, the pockets 35 and the flap 45 be formed of fabric and that the fabric be selected to be washable. Cotton, cotton flannel, wool, linen, satin, polyester, polyester fleece, acrylic, acetate, aramid, olefin, ingeo, velour, and combinations thereof, are suitable fabrics. Fabric may be woven or knit. Alternatively, the panel, the pockets 35, and the flap 45 may be formed of paper or plastic so as to be more suitable for use in a disposable mode. Fabrics may be solid colored or patterned prints, for a decorative appearance. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that the weights 40, in the flap 45, may be one or more pieces of relatively dense material, such as a metal. The pieces may be separate or may be joined, so as to be articulated, so that the flap 45, with weights 40 inserted, may conform to the general shape of the outer periphery 25.

In a first alternative embodiment cover 10′, shown in FIG. 2b, the securing means may include an elastic strip 46 attached to the outer periphery 25 adjacent to the medial region 15. In the first alternative embodiment cover 10′, the elastic strip 46 is intended to replace the weights 40. In other respects, the first alternate embodiment cover 10′ is like the cover 10, having lobes 20, pockets 35 and an inner periphery 30. The alternate embodiment cover 10′ is particularly suited for use in a disposable mode. In a second alternate embodiment cover 10″, shown in FIG. 2c, the securing means may include a flexible strap 50, attached to the outer periphery 25 adjacent to the medial region 15. The second alternate embodiment cover 10″ is like the cover 10, having lobes 20, pockets 35, and an inner periphery 30. The flexible strap 50 extends from the outer periphery 25 and has a distal end which is releasably attached to the pockets 35 by fastening means, such as a hook and loop closure (not shown). Other fastening means, for releasably attaching the strap 50 to the pockets 35, such as buttons, snaps, or pins are also suitable.

In use, the cover 10 may be draped onto a face cradle, so that the reverse surface is adjacent to the face cradle and the arms of the face cradle are partially received into the pockets 35, as described above. FIG. 4 shows the cover 10 positioned for installation on an exemplary face cradle 100. The medial region 15 may be adjacent to the central portion of the exemplary face cradle 100, such that the flap 45 overhangs the edge adjacent to the central region, suspending the weights 40 from the outer periphery 25, as indicated in FIG. 4. The overhanging weights 40 apply tension to draw the cover 10 so as to present a smooth obverse surface for receiving the face of an individual. The pockets 35 and the suspended weights 40 cooperate to retain the cover 10 smoothly spread over the exemplary face cradle 100. The first alternative embodiment cover 10′ may be draped onto a face cradle, in the same manner, so that the arms of the face cradle are partially received within the pockets 35, and the elastic strip 46 may be stretched over the edge of the central region of the face cradle, to secure the first alternative embodiment cover 10′ in place, also smoothly spread over the face cradle. The cover 10 and the alternative embodiment cover 10′ may each be installed using one hand only. Likewise, the second alternative embodiment cover 10″ may be draped onto a face cradle, in the same manner, so that the arms of the face cradle are partially received into the pockets 35, and the strap 50 may be extended adjacent to the underside of the face cradle and attached to the pockets 35.

The appearance and durability of the cover 10, the alternative embodiment cover 10′, and the second alternative embodiment cover 10″ may be improved by finishing the inner periphery 30 and the outer periphery 25 with a sewn hem or with fabric piping. In order to provide a smooth and seamless obverse surface, for receiving the face of an individual, it is preferred that the panel be formed with appropriate dimensions so as to overlap the edges of the exemplary face cradle 100, and with the notch aligned with the open space, as shown in FIG. 4.

An individual, lying on the exemplary massage table 110 and resting his or her face on the exemplary face cradle 100, with nose and jaw in the open space and forehead and cheeks supported on the exemplary face cradle 100, is shown in FIG. 5. The face cradle cover 10, of the present invention provides a comfortable, smooth, and sanitary surface in contact with the skin of the face. It will be readily understood by those skilled in the art that various other changes in the details, materials, and arrangements of the parts and method steps which have been described and illustrated in order to explain the nature of this disclosure, may be made without departing from the principles and scope of the disclosure as expressed in the subjoined claims. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the claims be interpreted to encompass such changes.