Dr. Rene St. Cyr, an entrepreneurial chiropractor, envisioned a therapy table to help facilitate active release techniques (ART) – a soft tissue therapeutic system based on massage techniques that treat problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, knee problems, and tennis elbow are a few of the many conditions that can be resolved using ART. Treatment protocols, including over 500 movements, are unique to ART. They help providers identify and correct specific problems that are affecting individual patients.
The Lifetimer Flex therapy table incorporates controls from Minarik, dc speed-control amplifiers from Minarik Drives, and a Galil RIO PLC.
However, prior to Cyr’s table invention, ART sessions were awkward because traditional tables required two people to manipulate patients on the tables to conduct the therapy. Cyr envisioned a motorized table designed so that a doctor could operate hands free and without the need for an assistant.
Cyr teamed with table designer Larry Ellie, ART therapy trainer Dr. Michael Leahy, and Minarik Automation & Controls engineers to design and build a functional table prototype. The Minarik team designed and developed the advanced programmable motion control capabilities.
Later, after demonstrating the unit at several trade shows and obtaining customer feedback, the table functions solidified and the project progressed to the production stage. A redesign was required to accommodate more functions, cut costs, and make wiring and control components easier for Cyr and his staff to install.
This time, the Minarik Applied Products and Systems (MAPS) team designed a control package consisting of two parts. One part is a pair of custom membrane input panels provided by Minarik Drives, mounted remotely on each side of the table. The other part is a compact control cabinet located in the base of the table.
Machine control was implemented via a Galil RIO PLC and two axes of Minarik Drives dc speed-control amplifiers running ball-screw actuators with potentiometer feedback. Programming was provided by Minarik to Lifetimer specifications. The control cabinet has connectors for Cyr to plug in the remote panels, footswitch banks, pendant switch, and actuators.
At the therapy end of the new table, a doctor now has an almost infinite range of motion possibilities with independent speed settings for each axis of movement. This, combined with an additional non-automated third axis of lateral movement, enables the practitioner to closely approach some of the more integrated intrinsic movements of the body in a passive manner.
The resulting Flex table marks the first of its kind in the chiropractic industry. This table also benefits the physical therapy industry. For movement-disorder patients who often require constant manual therapy, this table offers an easier and more convenient means to maintain patient mobility and enhance quality of life.
Minarik Automation & Controls
Galil Motion Control