When someone says the words 'rocking chair' our first thought may be of an elderly person, slowly rocking back and forth in a relaxing motion. However, people of any age can get both physical and mental health benefits from a rocking chair.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Babies The rocking motion is soothing to a baby and helps promote sleep. It can provide comfort to a baby suffering colic. As it is likely to calm the adult holding the baby as well, this is an additional benefit.
Children Using a rocking chair or a rocking horse are activites most children find relaxing and calming. Those with conditions including autism, ADD and ADHD tend to find it particularly helpful. Read more on the benefits for children here.
A rocking horse provides a child with similar benefits to a rocking chair Image courtesy of Pixabay
Adults The rocking action uses the muscles and tendons of not only the thighs but also the lower legs and ankles. Even abdominal muscles benefit. As little as ten minutes of this gentle form of exercise helps increase circulation and lowers blood pressure.
Orthopaedic surgeons recommend rocking to aid rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery. The rocking action improves strength and flexibility of the knees and is a safe form of exercise.
Chronic back pain can be alleviated by a rocking chair. Rocking also helps treat constipation and vertigo.
Research has shown depression and anxiety may be reduced up to 30% by using a rocking chair and sometimes results in less need for medication.
Research carried out at the University of Carolina in the United States found the pain suffered due to fibromyalgia was managed better by women who rocked for 10 minutes, 3 times a week over a 16 week period.
Pregnant women Some claim using a rocking chair during pregnancy helps prevent varicose veins.
Rocking during labour tends to reduce the pain experienced.
It has been found abdominal pain in women who have given birth by caesarean section is relieved by rocking for an hour a day. A study showed mothers who rocked left hospital a day sooner, on average, than those who did not rock.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Older people Stroke and heart attack are more likely to effect older people but regardless of age a rocking chair can help recovery. An Ottawa Clinical Study carried out in 2006 confirmed these claims.
Regularly using a rocking chair can provide pain relief to those with arthritis. Increased blood flow provides the joints with more oxygen and the relaxation improves the immune system.
The rocking motion helps older people to maintain their balance, reducing the risk of falls.
People with dementia benefit from rocking. Rocking releases endorphins which improve mood and reduce outbursts of crying and agitated behaviours. In addition studies have shown many dementia patients needed less pain medication when they rocked regularly.
Regardless of age, a rocking chair can provide many health benefits. It can even help with weight loss as rocking for an hour can burn about 150 calories compared to 70 calories just sitting still.