REHA-Chair or Therapeutic Type Chair

by Gisela Schon

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Since the times of "Homo erectus", human beings have been spending the major part of their days in motion, thus walking is the movement most familiar to mankind. For 1 million years children have been carried on the back or hips of their mothers and for approximately 5000 years parents have rode upon beasts of burden. All these are movements in a gait pattern, and necessary to maintain a healthy back without pain. Only during the last 100 years more than 80 percent of the people in industrial nations have developed backaches due to sitting motionless and slouched for long periods of time.

Both Pain Management Therapists and Orthopedists recommend walking and riding even during acute back pain attacks as a form of relief from this most recent of maladies. This non-invasive active motion and the benefits from the motion of torso of the body are identically positive, no matter whether this movement is generated by ones own legs, by a riding animal or in the case of my invention, by a seat. In this way the stomach and back muscles are continuously trained while compensating the movement automatically and unconsciously. It is not possible to walk or ride or sit on this seat with a bent back, slouched in a bad posture. Only in a correct posture the vertebrae lie parallel and the intervertebral disks experience an evenly distributed pressure. After working as a buffer all day long, they can absorb new revitalizing nutrients out of the surrounding liquid while we´re lying down at night. This "high tide/low tide" system, being so important to maintain healthy disks, only functions, when the spine is kept in its correct natural double-S-curve, which again requires trained and strong stomach and back muscles.

Office workers who spend a major part of their days sitting still at computer workstations can always compensate for their bad sitting habits by exercising in fitness-centers, walking, jogging or horseback riding in their spare time. Yet people with disabilities, elderly people and the like, may not be able to simply go jogging around the block or to the gym for a daily regimen of exercise. For all those people who cannot or will not keep their body in this necessary motion, I have invented a seat moving in this proper gait pattern for either a "wheelchair" or other "therapeutic type chairs." It will simultaneously encourage and maintain good blood circulation for the whole body (imperative for people during dialysis or blood-donation as well!). My invention will prevent pressure on inner organs, it will aid digestion, and even work similar to hippo-therapy used for autistic children. Persons who have recently undergone surgery on their lower extremities will even be provided with the necessary post-surgical movement, to prevent thrombosis. It has further been exhibited that hyperactive children can be calmed by being forced by the seat to follow it’s regular, active motion. The upper body of partially paralyzed persons or patients suffering of MS and other neurological disorders can be positioned to enable them to profit from the moving seat as well.

At the moment research is in progress to evaluate if the chair will (in sitting position of these patients) aid in the attempt to make them walk again by electrically stimulating their muscles in a "walking machine". There are no findings in reference to the application in soft-tissue rheumatism therapy yet, but written medical evaluations by noted orthopedists are available. Since it is intended to enable switching between different motion patterns, and provide means to alter the rate, intensity and amplitude of the movement, each individual can obtain a setting to their best liking and or needs. This will give them a feeling of security, comfort and most importantly well being. This positive mental reinforcement has been shown to result in an increase of a person’s performance, productivity and efficiency in their work. (German "KOPAC" study)

According to the theory of Professor Csikszentmihalyi (University of Chicago), rhythm integrates thinking, feeling and acting, will raise spirits and cause a good mood. (FLOW-study)

In addition to the moving seat, the chair possesses a special backrest with lower lumbar support, which can be tilted, and is movable along a concave path around the person’s body, independently of the seat’s motion.

The springy armrests are suspended from points higher up and wider apart than the shoulders. When pressure is being applied, they lock to assist rising out of or shifting position while seated in the seat. Not only will it prevent shoulder and neck problems but can reduce the symptoms of RSI- and CTS-syndromes during typing as well. Furthermore, there are supports for the legs and feet! These individual supports can be tilted into multiple positions, for both legs at once or for one leg independently.

I am currently investigating global manufacturing companies, with strong market position and multiple channels of distribution, with interest to acquire my international patent application (PCT) under a licensing agreement.

In case your company already has electric wheelchairs or similar chairs on the market, the "moving seat device" can be retrofit to units already delivered. Subsequently, my device can be made available to manufacturers of armchairs or easy chairs to build a stationary therapeutic chair, which will capture an even larger market, i.e.: hospitals, waiting rooms, Physical Therapists, Orthopedists, Pediatricians, and of course not to exclude assistive living homes and even private households.

You will find photographs of my prototype "office chair" here (that I built with a readily available electric motor) and design studies for the armchair. From there you can request further information like for instance a video-presentation on CD-ROM as well as hard copy material by e-mail. Exposure of this device has been widespread and aggressive on a national scale. Prototypes appeared in various German trade fairs resulting in media coverage twice on German TV. At the international REHA’99 Fair at Duesseldorf and the REHA Fair Spaichingen the prototype was very well received by potential users, and orders are pending (verification can and will be provided.)

Let me "move" you to acquire my patent under a licensing agreement and build this Posture Perfect Chair.

For contact to the inventor cf. Summary.

© G.Schon, 20. 5. 2000