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An equipment that stretches and twists your body

Image credit: Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Apr 05, 2021
The idea is to design an equipment that can stretch and twist your entire body.

I was thinking something like a circular table with padding on which the user lies. There are four appendages to the machine that grasp the hands and legs of the user just like Ironman's suit removal machine in Ironman 1. Here, the user assumes the position of the Vitruvian man.

For simplicity, let's say we use velcro to lock the legs below the calves and the hands at the wrists. The machine arms that lock the hands also have controls on them. The user can press a button and the arms of the machine move away from the table, pulling the user in four directions. Once released, the machine halts in the stretched phase. Another button brings the machine's arms back to the original position, thus, relieving the stretch for the user. The controls near the user's hand are for safety and independence. The user should not depend on outside help (or on minimum help from others).

The arms of the machine can rotate along the periphery of the table. The user can decide how should they be stretched. A button helps rotate the arms that hold the user's hands and they go apart from each other creating an angle between them. Similarly, a button decides the angle between the legs. The stretch then begins, again, entirely controlled by the user.

Another function of the machine is to rotate the legs together in one direction and the hands in the other. The amount of twist is again, controlled by the user using a button near their hand.

  1. Reliability on the machine than manual help. The stretch
  2. More power than humans, thus, giving the ultimate stretch. More power than gravity, so better stretch than hanging from a bar or using the inversion table.
  3. More durable than Thera bands and tubes.
  1. Higher manufacturing cost. Only clinics and gyms may afford it.

What do you think of the idea? Will it help any specific kind of patients? Will it help the physiotherapists? Can you suggest any upgrades?
Creative contributions

Pravilo - an ancient slavic tool

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 06, 2021
Does this fit the description? I might have to build one:)
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni14 days ago
Yes, imagine that with the functionality to pull the ropes that connect to your limbs. You control how much these ropes can pull you apart. I suggested that the patient sleeps on a round table for safety and the ease of getting into position. Getting into position with Pravilo seems like a two-people job, and also time-consuming.

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General comments

Juran16 days ago
The idea seems original, from what I found on the Internet. The closest thing is this stretching machine (https://budosport.hr/product/sprava-za-pagu-encho-iv/).
My only concern is how beneficial is that extra amount of stretch to the human body. Is it medically backed up and could it bring more hurt than benefit?
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni15 days ago
Juran I am not sure about the upper threshold on the amount of stretch or twist beyond which, it could harm the user. What I think is it depends on the user. The amount of healthy (without causing pain or any permanent damage) twist and stretch can be increased gradually and I don't think there is an upper limit to it. Therefore, I think the concept of an extra amount of stretch becomes relative. For some, they need the stretch but the muscles are not developed to provide that amount of stretch on their own. They need external help (similar to the one in this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi9uzsRCCBQ). The machine can be useful for such people. Also, we can figure out ways to upgrade the machine to accommodate different kinds of stretches for patients with pain in specific body parts. The machine will also be useful in cases where external help is not sufficient, like in the case of very obese patients.
Juran14 days ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni I understand your point of view. The video you shared is an example of chiropractic, which is actually considered an alternative medicine practice to treat certain musculoskeletal disorders. On the other hand, stretching is a way of keeping muscles flexible, long and lean, which further means that the exertion won't put too much force on the muscle itself, and the general movements (walking, running, getting up, sports, ...) will be "effortless". Yes, except for daily stretching benefits, stretching can also help in rehabilitation after an injury or when muscles get crampy. It's undeniably beneficial.

What concerns me is the "pushing the limits" thing. I am keen on believing that the level of stretchiness is specific for each individual and depends not only on how devoted you are to improving your stretching limits but also on the physical structure and limits of the joints. Because joints are structures that mostly have a limited range of motion, it's not easy to believe that we can push the boundaries like in, for example, building muscles. For some people, this range of motion will be wider, but no machine will help an individual to extend the range of motion if the joint is not made for it. It will almost 100% cause injuries.

Where your proposed machine could help is when individuals are not able to perform the stretching exercise due to an injury (rehabilitation), obesity, or other disorders, but it should be very delicate and manually controlled.

PS Beware that, while I am saying this, I am writing my Ph.D. on cancer therapy and have no experience in any medical field related to stretching (except sport and coaching for many many years). :D
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni13 days ago
Juran I think sports is a valid experience here :). Yes, that is the niche that should be targeted - those that cannot stretch their bodies on their own, probably due to lack of optimum muscle function. I think the machine would be highly beneficial in rehabilitation exercises, like you mentioned.

Yes, the stretch will be very delicate. When I mentioned the button that, when pressed, will pull you apart, I was thinking of something like the fine adjustment knob on a microscope. It is super-fine. You need to rotate it a lot even to shift focus slightly. That is the speed with which the stretch will be increased when the button is pressed.

Yes, the video is that of a chiropractor, since I could not find one that I am trying to imagine. The suggestion by Darko Savic is the closest to this idea. Maybe this image will give a better idea (https://www.google.com/search?q=physiotherapist+twisting+patient%27s+body&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwil293ao_DvAhWKbysKHXdGCpEQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1517&bih=730#imgrc=Ar7fEiEXOM3FdM). The thing is you cannot twist your body on your own for rehabilitation. You need someone to do that to you (like in the image). The machine should replace the person and also do it better in terms of the amount of stretch and twist. Also, it is tiring for the therapist and not for the machine :)
Povilas S
Povilas S16 days ago
Seems like a good idea. Have you checked if something similar is already used in physiotherapy? The scariest part of this is a scenario where such a machine malfunctions (or the user is not able to reach control buttons, etc.) and is turned into a torture device. Special emphasis should be placed on the safety of such a machine, maybe a staff member standing next to it and having additional controls or a power switch button just in case.