METHOD AND DEVICE APPLYING ACUPRESSURE AT TARGETED FACIAL POINTS TO DILATE INTERNAL NASOPHARANX PASSAGEWAYS
1. A method dilating nasal tissue of the normally inaccessible nasopharynx by application of acupressure at a remote facial acupressure site, said method comprising:
- providing a pad at a cheek acupressure point located between a jawbone and a zygomatic bone of a user;
pressing against said pad at the cheek acupressure point with a head-worn spring, with said spring applying an inward spring force through the pad to the acupressure point; and
dilating nasal passageways of the nasopharynx by application of said inward spring force to said pad.
A nasal dilation device and method of use for applying an acupressure force at targeted cheek tissue to provide enhanced inhalation and exhalation via the remote relaxation and dilation of internal nasal passageways away from the targeted areas. The device may be used to enhance respiration during a variety of activities by indirect dilation of protected nasopharanx passageways. The device includes a support element coupled to the pads to maintain the pads at the targeted areas during use.
- 1. A method dilating nasal tissue of the normally inaccessible nasopharynx by application of acupressure at a remote facial acupressure site, said method comprising:
providing a pad at a cheek acupressure point located between a jawbone and a zygomatic bone of a user; pressing against said pad at the cheek acupressure point with a head-worn spring, with said spring applying an inward spring force through the pad to the acupressure point; and dilating nasal passageways of the nasopharynx by application of said inward spring force to said pad.
- View Dependent Claims (3, 4, 5, 6)
- 2. (canceled)
- 7. A method for applying facial acupressure using a head-worn spring and a pair of pads connected at ends of the spring, said method comprising the steps of:
the user choosing acupressure points on said user'"'"'s face located between a jawbone and zygomatic bones on either side of the face; the user grasping the acupressure apparatus by the spring and applying an opening force to outwardly bias the spring to allow the pads to pass over a portion of the user'"'"'s head; the user positioning said acupressure apparatus on the user'"'"'s face until the pads are at the acupressure points; and the user releasing the opening force to allow said pads to engage the acupressure points and to apply spring forces to the acupressure point using the said acupressure apparatus.
- View Dependent Claims (9, 10, 11, 12)
- 8. (canceled)
- 13. An apparatus for applying acupressure to targeted pressure points on a human user'"'"'s face, the apparatus comprising:
a head-worn, generally C-shaped spring with an opening being expandable by the human user; and a pair of pads attached at ends of the spring, with the pair of pads being positioned by the human user to engage cheek acupressure points located between a jawbone and zygomatic bone of the human user, and with the spring pressing the pair of pads inwardly at the cheek acupressure points so as to indirectly dilate nasal passageways of the nasopharanx of said human user.
- View Dependent Claims (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
- 14. (canceled)
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 15/631,632, filed Jun. 23, 2017, which claimed the benefit of U.S. application Ser. No. 14/070,910, filed Nov. 4, 2013, which claimed the benefit of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/945,826, filed Nov. 12, 2010, which claimed the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/260,682, filed Nov. 12, 2009, and each application being incorporated herein by reference.
This invention generally relates to a user interface device and more particularly to a device for enhancing respiration during various user activities including rest and sleep via application of acupressure forces at facial acupressure points.
The prior art has numerous devices and methods to enhance breathing through the nasal passages or address jaw pain. Among these are adhesive nasal strips applied to the outside surface of the nose hold open the nostrils to improve breathing, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,533,499, entitled Nasal Dilator; U.S. Pat. No. 7,255,108, entitled An Apparatus for Inhibiting or Preventing the Clenching Action of the Jaw; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,774,935, entitled A Post Surgery Device.
The nasal dilation device of the present invention produces a relaxation and dilation effect at internal (normally inaccessible) nasal passages, particularly the nasopharanx passageways, by application of a remote external force to a readily accessible facial acupressure site with preferably substantially no external forces being directly applied to the user'"'"'s zygomatic bone or mandible by the nasal dilation device. The user'"'"'s mandible is preferably maintained in its normal resting position while the internal nasal passageways at the nasopharynx are relaxed and dilated. The device apples a pre-designated acupressure force to a target area 40 (
This nasal dilation device enhances nasal breathing while at rest, while sleeping, during exercise, or during pursuit of individual or team sports, or anytime.
The small pad of the nasal dilation device provided in a specified range of sizes is used, although other sizes can be used that are increased or decreased without departing from the art. This pad is pressed and held in place against the upper cheek at the specific target area with sufficient force, on one side or both sides, bilaterally, with a force in the range specified. This force is applied to the target area in order to move the cheek inward to make contact with the upper rear teeth and upper rear gums with enough force to remotely relax and dilate the internal nasopharynx, but not with so much force to abrade, bruise or harm the upper rear teeth or upper rear gums. As the nasopharynx is located behind the nasal fossa inside the occipital bones, it remains open even when surrounding muscles flex so a person can continue to carry on respiratory functions. As a result, in the present invention application of the pad force at the target area 40 does not compress or occlude the nasopharynx.
The use of the nasal relaxation and dilation device of the present invention can prove useful by enhancing inhalation or exhalation by increasing airflow through the nasopharynx at each side where the force is applied to the specified target area to relax and dilate the nasopharynx at that side where the nasal cavity is connected to it and beyond into the nasopharynx itself.
A nasal dilation device in the embodiment of the present invention offers a means of enhancing nasal breathing, including inhalation and exhalation by relaxing and dilating the nasopharynx. Specific embodiments of the invention can be used to enhance respiration in many diverse applications, including while recreating or while using a medically prescribed Positive Airway Pressure type device. Other useful applications in medicine, leisure and industry will become apparent as this device gains use.
An object of the device is to enhance nasal breathing, including inhalation and exhalation, such that it requires less effort, by relaxing and dilating the internal nasopharynx passages at and inside the nasopharynx. Another object is to enable a user to enhance breathing during any physical exercise or sporting event.
Other purposes will appear in the ensuing specification, drawings and claims. The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and specific embodiment disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages will be better understood from the following description when considered in connection with the accompanying figures. It is to be expressly understood, however, that each of the figures is provided for the purpose of illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the present invention.
As shown in
As shown in
Double sided medical tape (not shown) can be applied to the convex pad surface 108 to help keep pad 102 in proper position while arranged and positioned on the head of a user. This tape is available as a medical grade tape and has uses in affixing medical and hair appliances. Alternatively, medical grade glue can be applied to the convex surface of pad surface 108. In another embodiment, pad 102 can be manufactured with a surface comprised of a plastic or rubber like material which remains sticky but will not erode or transfer to the user, even after washing or using. These types of materials are available from several different manufacturers and can be used in the manufacture of pads like pad 102 to help keep nasal dilation assembly 100 in proper position during use, especially during hard physical exercise with a lot of physical movement and/or jarring.
Spring 104 can be made in several different sizes such as small, medium, large, and extra-large to accommodate different users with different sized heads, or can have telescoping adjustment means built into the lower ends of each side or anywhere on each side or at the top (not shown). Spring 104 can be a simple bent spring metal construction or may comprise a combination of metal and plastic components. In the illustrated example, spring 104 is a generally C-shaped spring metal element adapted to supply an inwardly-directed force, Fx, (shown as vector in
In one example, strap 112 is somewhat elastic and may be made of a rayon type strapping which has some rubber woven into it for mild elasticity, however many other choices are available for use in constructing strap 112 which would be suitable. Strap 112 is provided with an aperture (or series of apertures) at each end which is insertable over knob 110 to provide for retention of strap 112 in proper position when nasal dilation assembly 100 is arranged and positioned properly on the user as shown in
Nasal dilation assembly 100 is arranged and positioned on the head of a user as shown in
Many different configurations for spring 104 can be utilized, some of which include a spring designed to fit from under the chin or to fit from behind the head. Alternatively a spring can be integrated into a headphone unit or into almost any helmet design used in sports if such design takes into account safety needs and constructs the pair of pads 102 to be suitably collapsible or displaceable upon hard impact, especially for high contact sports. Nasal dilation assembly 100 can be designed and constructed such that pad 102 can be made to be adjustable at the bottom ends of spring 104, with such adjustment for angle to spring 104, or to the target area, without departing from this novel art. Manufacturing nasal dilation assembly 100 with said adjustments can allow the user to specifically adjust each pad for the desired and best contact and pressure to be applied to the target area.
Nasal dilation assembly 100 can be manufactured in many different configurations to fit the personal preference of different individual users. It can have a spring configured and constructed which will allow it to be placed under the chin, or around the neck in back, or even placed in front of the head, above or below the nose. It can be constructed to contain ear phones for audio, enabling the user to listen to a radio, iPod or cell phone while using the nasal dilation device 100. In addition, a spring 104 can be constructed of a rigid material which holds its approximate form even when worn, and the spring action for asserting pressure against the target area can be supplied by the compressibility of the pad such as pad 102 or a spring system inside or behind it. The pad can be constructed in a larger combination form such as shown in
Of course, if the pair of pads 102 is provided with double sided medical grade adhesive or tape, then even more stability can be provided to nasal dilation assembly 100. If the nasal dilation assembly 100 is carefully fit with suitable pressure applied at pad 106 and suitable pressure applied at the bilateral pair of target areas of the cheeks of the user, then it is possible to construct nasal dilation assembly 100 without use of any strap(s) such as strap 112. Pad 102 itself can be constructed of a compressible foam plastic or rubber like material with rebound memory that can be arranged to exert sufficient and desired depression of the target area if a rigid yoke structure is utilized to provide support for the pair of pads used such as pad 102.
Spring 104 can be shaped to provide some upward force from the horizontal to the target area, less than that applied horizontally to the target area as shown in
Spring 104 is strong enough to assert adequate pressure to each of the bilaterally positioned pads 102 to keep the target area suitably and adequately depressed without abrading, bruising or harming the array of upper teeth, gums or inner cheek. In one embodiment, a force of approximately 1.20 lbs was applied through each pad 102. However individual needs can vary and adjustments can be designed, manufactured and incorporated into the finished product which will allow pressure to be adjusted to an increase or to a decrease within a fairly broad range, generally within 0.5 lb to 3 lbs, but individual cases could require less or more. Pad 106 can also be supplied in different thicknesses and hardnesses, if suitable means for adjusting length are not provided to nasal dilation assembly 100. In addition telescoping means can be provided to the top of spring 104 to increase or decrease the pressure applied to each of the pair of pads 102.
Nasal dilation assembly 100 is designed as a freestanding unit which can be used alone or with many mask assemblies for PAP usage. Nasal dilation assembly 100 can be used alone to enhance breathing and respiration during exercise or sports, or anytime based on the personal preference of the user. It may also be helpful for some who play exhalation powered musical instruments by enhancing exhalation when it is used with the small pad shown in
When nasal dilation assembly is properly arranged and positioned such that the pair of pads 102 are suitably depressing the target area bilaterally on the cheeks and strap 112 is properly arranged and positioned to retain nasal dilation assembly 100 in proper position, breathing and respiration can be enhanced. The suitable and effective depression of the target area of the user'"'"'s cheek enhances respiration in a significant number of individuals perhaps by neurological or neuromuscular stimulation means.
A sustained and significant pressure to the target area appears to directly enhance inhalation as well as exhalation somewhat, even without depressing the approximate center of the cheek. And in addition, it was determined that if some pressure was applied to the target area in an upward angle from the horizontal, there was an additional enhancement of breathing in some individuals. Nasal dilation assembly 100, when properly arranged and positioned, may enhance breathing and respiration during normal sleeping in some individuals.
In order to put on or remove football helmet assembly 10, the user must pull springs 14 apart to move pad assembly 16 outward away from shell 12, after which the springs 14 can be slowly released once the helmet is donned. During hard shocks spring 14 will be able to flex somewhat thereby adjusting to the exact temporary position of the users face and head inside football helmet assembly 10. The simultaneous depression of the target area and the approximate center of each cheek can provide enhanced breathing.
Spring 52 is provided with a pad 54 which is substantially firm and is molded, such as with a medical grade silicone compound. Pad 54 has a slight convex shape to its inner surface which faces the user.
Football helmet assembly 50 of
Spring frame 74 and spring leg 76 in this embodiment are constructed of a spring material, such as stainless steel, which will hold its shape and exert generally constant pressure inwardly thereby directing forces into the target area of the user. Portions of cap assembly 70 may be constructed of fabric, such as a heavy duty cotton/polyester weave. The pair of spring legs 76 have pads 72 affixed to each end. Pads may be constructed of molded medical grade silicone. The inner surface (facing user) of pads 72 is somewhat rounded or convex. Spring leg 76 can be curved inward at its lower section in such a way that pad 72 can be arranged and positioned to provide a somewhat angular upward force against the target area of the cheek in addition to an approximately horizontal force applied inward against the target region. In some users a slight upward angle to the force applied provides somewhat better breathing than a straight horizontally applied force. Double sided medical grade tape tabs can be constructed of the proper size and applied to the cheek side surface of pads 72 to help keep pads 72 in proper position during vigorous exercise.
Stainless steel alloy for the spring frame 74 is a reasonable choice for compactness, durability and rebound memory and is selected for this embodiment, but many other materials could be used to construct spring frame 74 and spring leg 76 including other types of metals, plastics or composites providing higher strength, better rebound memory and light weight. Spring frame 74 is preferably constructed of a spring type material with good rebound memory, but it is also possible to construct frame 74 of a mostly rigid material and provide compressible pads with rebound memory instead. Spring legs 76 may be provided with a telescoping adjustment means.
In order to don cap assembly 70, a user spreads apart the spring legs 76, places the cap in proper wearing position, and then releases the pair of spring legs 76, allowing the pair of pads 72 to move inwardly to press snuggly and depress into the target area of each cheek. Legs 76 can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing their length by use of the telescoping feature built into each leg 76 (not shown but understood in the art) if needed for good contact between the pad 72 and the target area of the cheek. A double-sided medical grade tape tab can be applied to the inner surface of each of the pair of pads 72, which in addition to the tension provided by spring leg 76 will help keep pad 72 in proper position during hard or jarring exercise and will help keep the cap in place. The double-sided tape tabs are disposable and can be replaced at each use of the hat or as frequently as desired by the user.
Ear protector cavity 86 is provided with a spring 90 to which pad 89 is provided to its inward facing side toward the user'"'"'s face. Pad 89 is molded of medical grade silicone which can feel sticky to the touch when cleaned with soapy water. Pad 89 is somewhat convex at its inner side which faces the cheek and has no sharp edges. Spring 90 is comprised in this instance of a high-quality stainless steel which provides good strength and rebound memory while providing adequate force against pad 89 to depress the target area of the cheek of the user.
As shown in
As shown in
Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Moreover, the scope of the present application is not intended to be limited to the particular embodiments of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, means, and methods and steps described in the specification. As one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the disclosure of the present invention, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed that perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the corresponding embodiments described herein may be utilized according to the present invention. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within their scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps.