By Celeste van der Walt
Rocking daily while sipping our tea or watching TV, or knitting or chatting to friends, is the ideal way to have fun while taking care of our health.
Rocking Chair Therapy emerged in the early 1900’s as a treatment for various ailments. At that time it was considered progressive and effective. So much so that doctors have encouraged, suggested and even prescribed rocking as treatment, for a long time. Regular rocking has amazing benefits for everyone and especially for the ageing person.
Rocking calms the spirit, soothes a stressed body, and helps to focus the mind while gently exercising even the weakest of muscles.
Rocking switches the brain on and off simultaneously, which is regarded as the best way to boost the brain.
As Dr. Melodie de Jager explains, rocking wakes up the emotional and thinking brain and an alert brain ensures stronger muscles to do our bidding.
Rocking is relaxing but helps with muscle tone and can also improve strength and flexibility, especially in the knees.
Dr. De Jager points out that movement is a major source of energy and for that reason everybody should own a rocking chair or find a way to rock. Rocking makes it easy to move without using too much energy.
Rocking not only helps to calm and energise a person, it improves balance.
According to Dr. Temple Grandin from the Colorado State University, research has shown that any repetitive rocking motion that requires the person to continually find and re-find his balance, stimulates the area of the brain where the learning receptors are located.
Rocking therefore also stimulates the learning process and memory.
Dr. Heinrich Addleheim of the Kinetic Therapy Clinic in Berlin regards the rocking chair as simply amazing. At the clinic they have seen cases of patients recuperating from heart attack and stroke—without any trace of permanent damage—simply because they were using a rocking chair while they were recovering.
Rocking normalises blood pressure and slows down respiration in times of stress.
Studies done at the University of Rochester in New York, using rocking chair therapy with Alzheimer and Dementia patients, showed that seniors could literally rock away their anxiety and depression. It is a good exercise for mind, body and spirit.
Rocking is an excellent tool to help one lose weight, it improves posture, preventing stumbling and falling and speeds up healing after knee replacements, operations and procedures.
It has been found to help with bowel activity and recovery after cancer related abdominal surgery and it helps prevent varicose veins, and also helps heal back pain and brings relief in muscle and joint pains.
Dr. Melodie de Jager’s advice to every ageing person to own a rocking chair, is very good and sensible advice, but if owning a rocking chair is not within your reach, find a swing. Visit a nearby park or playground, take a friend and go swinging. What fun! Enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine while reaping all the benefits of rocking or swinging.
If however, you feel that rocking and swinging offer plenty of movement but take you nowhere, you can opt for horse riding, where you will have all the benefits of rocking while going places.
Rocking Chairs—Health benefits www.rockingchairtherapy.org/research
ADK Rocking Festival.com
De Jager, M 2011 “The Twinkle in My Wrinkle” Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. S.A
Isaacson, R 2010 “The Horse Boy” Clays Ltd UK