When it comes to the many ailments of growing into our senior years — stiff joints, arthritis, insomnia, poor circulation, dementia, etc. — a good old fashioned rocking chair may be just what the doctor ordered. A rocking chair can provide a surprising source of exercise. Rocking stimulates blood circulation and maintains muscle tone and supple joints for seniors who get little exercise. “Rocking chair medicine” also helps combat insomnia by lulling seniors to sleep through its gentle back-and-forth motion. Rocking chairs also provide for better posture over soft, cushioned sofas, with their sturdy backs and ergonomic design. There’s a reason rocking chairs have been in use for over 200 years!
History of the Rocking Chair
As American invention, the rocking chair emerged in the 1700s, but it’s design was based on rocking cradles dating back to ancient times. Originally intended as outdoor furniture, the rocking chair quickly made the transition to a beloved piece of indoor furniture. The chair was mainly used by seniors and by mothers as a way to help babies fall asleep. In present day, rocking chairs can be found in all types of colors and are made from a variety of materials, including metal and plastic. Despite the changes, there is still something iconic about the classic wooden rocking chair that can’t be beat.
Benefits of Rocking Chair Medicine for Seniors
The rocking chair is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a remarkable medical device. While rocking chairs can be used by people of all ages, there are particular benefits for seniors. From improving mental health to relieving pain, the rocking chair is a natural and effective way to help with many health conditions.
Improves Emotional Well-Being
Rocking is relaxing because it releases endorphins in the brain, which in turn improves mood and reduces stress. A rocking chair provides a familiar, consistent setting and can produce feelings of nostalgia and calm. Due to its sensory qualities, a rocking chair can even help relieve symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Helps with Insomnia
Just as babies are rocked when they are put down for sleep, the back-and-forth motion of a rocking chair can induce sleepiness. A rocking chair can be an ideal place for a short nap or can be used to help seniors feel drowsy and wind down when it’s time for bed.
Provides Moderate Exercise
Getting exercise can be difficult for seniors who have arthritis, inflammation, or joint pain. A rocking chair is a good solution because it strengthens muscles and loosens stiff joints while not requiring much exertion. Seniors can even pair rocking chair exercise with a favorite activity, such as knitting or reading. It’s an easy way to burn approximately 150 calories an hour.
Even seniors with health conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease have a lot to gain from using a rocking chair. The act of rocking stimulates the balance mechanism in the inner ear. This occurs as the body naturally works to balance itself as the chair rocks. Improved balance can help prevent falls and can help make Parkinson’s symptoms more stable.
Eases Dementia Symptoms
A study funded by the New York State Department of Health found that the psychological and emotional well-being of seniors who had dementia improved after using a rocking chair for six weeks. Rocking decreases dementia symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and tension.
Relieves Inflammation and Pain
According to the same study, “Research shows that the spinal cord can only work in one direction at a time. Thus, when the brain is sending motor impulses down the spinal cord to make the legs rock the chair, pain impulses from the back are blocked and prevented from reaching the brain which lets the muscles in the lower back relax.” The rocking motion can also induce meditation, which is known to act as a natural pain reliever and stress reducer.
Improves Blood Circulation
Since using a rocking chair increase blood circulation, it sends more oxygen to the joints and reduces pain and inflammation in the process. Improved circulation is also good for the heart and can help combat cardiovascular disease and other circulatory ailments.
In Home Care Services — When Rocking Isn’t Enough
For many seniors, utilizing a rocking chair isn’t enough on its own to properly treat health conditions. Working with an in home caregiver can provide additional support and will help seniors maintain a sense of dignity and independence as they age into their older senior years.
One of the benefits of in home care services is that caregivers collaborate with their clients to create personalized care plans that address the unique needs of each individual. Caregivers tailor these care plans so that the in home care services provided can change as a client’s situation changes. When even the soothing benefits of a rocking chair aren’t enough, an in home caregiver can help assist with the transition.
If you have questions about receiving in home care services and the benefits of home care for seniors, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Alegre Home Care agency has been serving seniors and people with disabilities in California for over 25 years. Please contact us at one of our Northern California locations. We provide in home care services you can trust and we’re happy to help.