|1.||4 amended (1 page)] i. quick. release, break. apart back massager, comprising a pair of arcuate crook portions which are quick. releasably and reconnectably connected together by means of a snap. type, quick. release release mechanism to form an S. curved configuration, and a knob formation at an end of each of said pair of arcuate crook portions.|
|2.||The back massager of claim 1, wherein said release mechanism is configured to permit said arcuate crook portions also to be connected together in a C. curved configuration by reversing one crook portion with respect to the other crook portion.|
|3.||The back massager of claim 1, wherein said quick release mechanism comprises a female, receptacle end portion of one of said arcuate crook portions and a male end portion of the other of said arcuate crook portions which engages with said receptacle portion to connect said crook portions together.|
|4.||The back massager of claim 3, wherein said receptacle end portion has a pair of holes in sidewalls thereof and wherein said male end portion comprises a pair of flexible tangs having formations at free ends thereof which engage said holes to secure said arcuate crook portions together.|
More particularly, the invention relates to an S-curved back massager, used to reach and apply stress-relieving pressure to"trigger points"in the back and neck, which facilitates compact travel and storage.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION An S-shaped, personal use back massager, marketed under the name"BACKNOBBER,"is known in the art. Such a back massager consists of a steel rod which is bent into an S- curve and has hardwood knobs on each end of the rod. To use the"BACKNOBBER,"one crook of the S is placed over the user's shoulder or around the user's side, and the opposite crook of the S is used to generate leverage to press one of the hardwood knobs at muscular trigger points in the back, thereby helping to relieve stiff, tense, and painful muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper and lower back.
S-curved back massagers presently available range from nineteen to twenty-six inches in overall length. This length, however, makes it difficult to take the massager when traveling. As is well known, however, traveling often causes a great deal of stress and tension and therefore it is while
traveling that an S-curved back massager would be most useful.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a break-apart or collapsible back massager which is an improvement over previously available S-curved back massagers. In particular, a back massager according to the invention has the same general S-curve configuration with knobs at either end of the S, but is configured to be taken apart (collapsed) for travel and/or storage and easily re-assembled for use.
Thus, the invention features a break-apart back massager having a pair of arcuate crook portions which are releasably and reconnectably connected together to form an S-curve configuration. Each of the crook portions of the S has a knob formation at an end opposite the location where the two crook portions are joined together. In preferred embodiments, the crook portions may also be connected together in a C-curve configuration by reversing one crook portion with respect to the other crook portion. Connection between the two crook portions may be effected using a male/female connection, the female portion constituting a cavity with holes in sidewalls thereof, and the male portion having flexible tangs which fit within the cavity and engage the holes in the sidewalls to secure the two crook portions together.
With this invention, a personal back massager can be packed and taken when travelling quite conveniently and assembled and used quite easily, e. g., when the stress of traveling creates excessive tension.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will now be described in greater detail in connection with the drawings in which Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a break-apart back massager according to the invention; Figs. 2A and 2B are section views showing the break- apart mechanism of the back massager according to the invention; Figs. 3A, 3B, and 3C are side views showing a back massager according to the invention assembled for use, assembled but in a storage/transport configuration, and disassembled for shipment, respectively.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION A break-apart back massager 10 according to the invention has a generally S-curve configuration, as shown in Fig. 1. The crook portions 12 and 14 are connected by a generally straight middle portion 15, but this is not strictly necessary. Each of the crooks 12,14 of the S terminates in a generally spherical knob 16,18 respectively.
Preferably, the back massager 10 is formed from an injection
molded resin such as glass filled nylon, which gives the back massager sufficient strength to permit it to be used as intended without breaking the crook portions, with the knobs being integrally molded with the crook portions.
Preferably, the sides of the back massager 10 have depressions or indentations 20,22,24 formed therein to facilitate a secure grip around the back massager and to reduce its weight without sacrificing its strength and rigidity.
As further shown in Fig. 1, and as shown in greater detail in Figs. 2A and 2B, the back massager 10 according to the invention is constructed such that the crook portions 12 and 14 are detachably connected to each other at joint line 28. In particular, as shown in Figs. 2A and 2B, crook portion 12 terminates in a male end 32, and crook portion 14 terminates in a female, receptacle end 34. The female end 34 has a cavity 36 formed therein, with holes 38 extending through the sidewalls 40 of the cavity.
The male end 32, on the other hand, has a pair of flexible tangs 42 symmetrically formed on either side of a central stiffening web 44. The stiffening web 44 extends into and out of the plane of the figure to connect sidewalls 45, one of which is shown. Each of the tangs 42 has a push- button 46 formed at the free end thereof.
As indicated, the male end 32 slides into the cavity 36 in the female end 34, with the sidewalls 45 guiding the
insertion. As the male end slides into the cavity 36, the tangs 42 bend inward until push-buttons 46 reach the holes 38, at which point the tangs snap back outward as the push- buttons 46 engage the holes to secure the two halves of the massager together. Preferably, the edges 50 of the cavity are beveled to facilitate insertion of the male end 32 into the cavity.
The back massager according to the invention is shown in Fig. 3A assembled and ready for use. In this configuration, it has a maximum dimension L1 that is approximately 22 1/4 inches (566 mm).
Because the male end 32 and the female end 34 are each symmetric, the two crook portions 12,14 can be separated and reconnected with one crook rotated relative to the other by 180°, as shown in Fig. 3B. In this configuration, the maximum dimension L2 is only about 17 1/8 inches (434 mm).
Because of this smaller, more compact configuration, the back massager can be packed and carried, e. g. when traveling, more easily and conveniently. Alternatively, the two crook portions may be completely separated for most compact transport as shown in Fig. 3C, e. g. when being shipped to a purchaser.
It will be appreciated that other configurations and embodiments are possible and will occur to those having skill in the art. Other such configurations are deemed to be within the scope of the following claims.