The glider rocker, a valuable therapeutic tool

A place to enjoy a warm night on the porch, a cozy seat by the fire, a place to soothe a fussy baby. Rocking chairs are all of these things and more. In fact, research has shown they can also be a valuable therapeutic tool.

Benjamin Franklin is attributed by some to have invented the rocking chair, though there’s no historical proof of this. We do know, however, that the rocking chair traces back to 18th century North America.

Rocking is not merely soothing and relaxing. The health benefits of rocking were introduced to the American public when President John F. Kennedy was prescribed time in a rocking chair by his physician in 1955 to help relieve his chronic back pain. The President found his rocker to be so beneficial that it accompanied him on Air Force One and around the world. Kennedy also bought rockers for Camp David and the family estate, and was even known to give the chairs as gifts to friends and heads of state.

The rocker works with the body to reduce pain like President Kennedy’s in an ingenious way. The spinal cord can work in only one direction. When the brain is busy sending motor impulses down the spinal cord to make a patient’s legs rock the chair, pain impulses from the back are blocked and cannot reach the brain. This, in turn, allows the back muscles to relax.


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