Scrolling through my social media feed the other day, people bombarded me with their favorite cure-alls. Have you tried this new CBD cream? My niece sells essential oils – you should call her. My chiropractor will get you fixed up in no time!
My favorite cure-all sits in a corner of my living room. Whether I’m sitting down to knit some darling baby socks or ease my back after a vigorous session of weeding, my rocking chair heals my body and soul. From ultra modern to a treasured antique, the rocking chair helps our bodies recover from a variety of illnesses and injuries through all phases of our lives.
The gentle motion of rocking speeds healing after surgery. Doctors recognized this for years. Then, a PhD candidate from the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center, Robert Massey, proved it! His study showed that rocking following surgery assists the return of bowel function for a much quicker recovery than normal. On average, rocking allows patients to leave the hospital a full day earlier.
This same stimulation of the body also promotes overall recuperation. Anecdotally, a friend with limited mobility after a stroke rocks each day to improve her energy and lower her blood sugar. And this observation holds true with evidence from Dr. Heinrich Addleheim of the Kinetic Therapy Clinic of Berlin. He reported that regular rocking supports recuperation from stroke, heart attack and arthritis. A March 2006 Ottawa Clinical Study affirmed these claims for stroke victims as well.
Calm Down and Get Happy
Those suffering from sensory integrative dysfunction disorders such as autism can be calmed by the gentle motion of the rocker. When integrated into a classroom setting, rockers promoted higher grades and greater focus throughout the day for such students, at least anecdotally. It makes sense when you observe the rocking motion that people affected by these disorders use to self-soothe. My nephew has a very mild form of autism and, as a child, used to rock when he got overexcited. His favorite place to sit when he visits our house? The rocker! Now I know why.
Dementia patients who rocked also show improved emotional well-being and relief from pain. A well-known study from the University of Rochester showed that rocking calmed these patients even in the midst of emotional distress. At the end of this study, they found that those who rocked the most improved the most.
The improved emotional well-being from rocking also reduces dependence on external substances, from prescribed medication to illegal drug cravings. Perhaps this improvement is caused by the fact that pain signals only travel one way through the spinal cord. The rocking motion blocks these pain signals from reaching the brain. With this improved outlook, many of those studied reduced their need for medication. The dementia patients in the study requested less medication for pain. For a separate study on a group in substance recovery programs, this new ability to self-regulate their substance cravings reduced relapse and chronic homelessness. Quite the job for a simple rocker!
Those same dementia patients in the study who liked rocking also experienced improvement in their balance. Again, no surprise to those conducting the study. Rocking has been used for years in vestibular therapy (a therapy which rehabilitates the vestibular system, located in our inner ear). From occasional dizziness to a diagnosed case of peripheral vertigo, your living room rocking chair can help you regain your equilibrium.
So whether you need some healing or just a pleasant place to relax, sit in your rocking chair and enjoy the benefit of both!
Do you need a rocker for your home? We happen to have two.
Our Sunniva outdoor rocker fits into any landscape.
The Cio indoor rocker supports a variety of interior designs.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this Web site is provided as a public service. It is posted for informational and educational purposes only. This information should not be construed as personal medical advice. Because each person’s health needs are different, a health care professional should be consulted before acting on any information provided in these materials. Although every effort is made to ensure that this material is accurate and up-to-date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered definitive.
Nancy M. Watson, PhD, RN, “Rocking Chair Therapy for Dementia Patients: Its Effect on Psychosocial Well-being and Balance”, American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, November/December 1998. http://www.rochester.edu/pr/releases/med/watson.htm
Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools Media Release. Rocking Therapy. http://www.rockingchairtherapy.org/news%20r090209.html
Cregg Medical. Rocking Therapy Literature Brochure. http://www.creggmedical.ie/images/pdf/Literature_Rockingtherapy_1.pdf