What springs to mind when you think of rocking chairs? The dusty living rooms of elderly relatives? The porches of Texan homes? Let’s forget about the stereotypes and look at why rocking chairs still rock and everyone should have one in their home.
A very quick history of the rocking chair
Unsurprisingly, rocking chairs have been around for quite some time, with the first dating back to 1710, and was created by attaching two ice skates to the bottom of a regular chair. However, the trend didn’t really take off until about 75 years later.
Many of the rocking chairs we see today are single seaters, but back then they were often designed for more than one person. They were quickly recognised as having positive palliative effects and were used readily in places such as hospitals and other health care facilities.
Their popularity grew and grew and we still have designers creating amazing chairs that not only look wonderful but have a number of health benefits.
The health benefits of rocking chairs
Aside from looking stylish, there are actually plenty of health benefits of rocking chairs compared to your regular armchair or sofa. Some you think might be pretty obvious, but others might come as a bit of a surprise.
Rocking is relaxing
First and foremost, rocking is relaxing. It releases endorphins in the brain which can improve mood and reduce stress and pain.
Airports around the US have even introduced rocking chairs to help travellers unwind from the stressful and fast-paced environment of busy airports.
Battle arthritis and back pain
Arthritis and back pain can be debilitating conditions, but did you know that using a rocking chair may be able to help? It’s even said that former US President John F Kennedy used to use a rocking chair to ease his back pain.
Using a rocking chair increases blood flow around the body, thus sending more oxygen to the joints, which can help ease the symptoms of arthritis. The slight physical exertion of rocking also helps to build up strength and flexibility in the knees, whilst the act of rocking apparently helps prevent pain signals travelling from the back to the brain.
Using a rocking chair with your baby
It’s not exactly a secret that rocking has a soothing effect on babies, helping to calm them down or get them to sleep. In that respect, rocking chairs have their obvious benefits. This rocking also promotes parent-child bonding, and there is even research to suggest that rocking a child can enhance emotional, social, cognitive and motor development.
Some have suggested that rocking is a useful technique with adopted children, again to boost bonding.
Related: Armchairs To Cherish
For new mothers who have given birth by cesarean section, rocking is said to speed up recovery time. Studies have suggested that mothers who use a rocking chair in the days following a cesarean section walked faster and left hospital a day earlier compared to those who had not use a rocking chair.
This is said to also be the case for people recovering from any kind of surgery.
Rocking chairs can help you sleep
Following on from the soothing effect rocking chairs can have on babies, researchers from the University of Geneva found that rocking can foster deeper sleep. The study was conducted using hammocks, but there’s nothing to say that using a rocking chair can’t have the same benefits.
Who says that sitting down too long will make you fat? Using a rocking chair apparently burns 150 calories an hour. Using a rocking chair is a great idea for those who are housebound or unable to exercise regularly. It’s not the most physical of exercises but it’s better than nothing and gets the blood flowing.
Rocking could even help those who suffer from dementia. A study conducted by the University of Rochester found that residents of a nursing home who had been diagnosed with dementia showed increased emotional and psychological wellbeing when using rocking chairs compared to those who did not. Behaviours such as anxiety and depression were noticeably reduced by those rocking away in their chairs.
Rocking apparently stimulates the balance mechanism in the inner ear as the body works to balance itself as the chair rocks. Improved balance was seen in the aforementioned dementia patients who used rocking chairs.
These are just a few of the health benefits of rocking chairs, but there are plenty of others and we think they look fantastic too.
Our wonderful designer rocking chairs
As well as the wonderful rocking chairs pictured above, we also sell a couple by esteemed design house Normann Copenhagen, as you can see below…
These rocking chairs are from the Era range designed by Simon Legald. Simon said this about the range:
“Rocking chairs enable a calm movement that makes you feel relaxed. With the Era rocking chair, the idea was to combine an upholstered lounge chair with a rocking frame to get the comfort of the upholstery and the movement of the rocking frame and introduce a new form of comfort.”
We think rocking chairs have a place in every home, whether you want the undoubted health benefits or just want a great looking piece of designer furniture. In 2015, students created a rocking chair that generates electricity as you rock, allowing you to charge your phone whilst you relax, proving that these wonderful pieces of furniture still very much have their place in today’s society.
Browse our full range of rocking chairs and let us know whether you’d have one in your house.