Rocking chairs: the medical benefits of a decorative piece of furniture

Most historians agree the rocking chair was invented in the early 1700s, nobody it seems to be sure who exactly is responsible for such a wonderful piece of furniture that is not only comfortable and decorative but also tremendously therapeutic.

Many believe inventor Benjamin Franklin is responsible for inventing the rocking chair, what historians do agree with is that it was invented in North America when Franklin was a child.

Rocking cradles, however, were already in use in Europe before the Middle Ages, while children’s rocking horses were popularized during the Victorian era.

The rocking chair was originally used in gardens. It was in 1725 that early rocking chairs first appeared in England. The production of wicker rocking chairs reached its peak in America during the middle of the 18th century. These wicker rockers, as they were popularly known, were famous for their craftsmanship and creative designs.

Since then the rocking chair has gone through many phases and many changes, including in the 1920s when folding rocking chairs became more popular in the United States and in Europe.

Rocking ChairsSofa RockerBrentwood Rocking Chair

Photo: Vandykes Restorers

Rocking Chairs’ Huge Health Benefits

Very few of us actually stop to think of the other attributes the rocking chair has as for example they are hugely regarded as an ultimate way to relax.

A rocking chair can improve health in various significant ways as well as increase overall well-being, according to various studies.
Rocking Chair Therapy reports that a study conducted at the University of Rochester reveals an increase in the psychological well-being of nursing home residents with severe forms of dementia, for example.
The study suggests rocking causes a release of endorphins that elevates the mood of dementia patients, in addition to relieving pain.
rocking-chairs-dominik matus
Photo: A Thonet rocking chair.

Less Medications

The same study revealed that rocking causes a reduction in anxiety and depression among seniors, and reported a decreased need for anxiety and depression medication decreasing the harmful side effects that come with their use, the team of medical experts and scientists said based on a group of patients they observed.

Increased Balance

Rocking stimulates the body to maintain balance, resulting in greater balance capabilities. Greater balance is especially useful in older individuals, who face an increased risk of injury by falling.


Photo: A rocking chair designed by Swedish painter and furniture designer, Karin Bergöö Larsson.

Muscle Tone Improvement

Yes, rocking provides a way to tone the leg muscles of those who cannot tolerate weight-bearing exercise. Rocking brings a safe activity to people who live an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Remember, however, rocking does not substitute strength-training exercises.

Soothes Colic Symptoms

Rocking may promote restful sleep in babies not diagnosed with the colic disorder.

Arthritis and Back Pain

Rocking can also help relieve back pain, according to many doctors who assure that rocking helps prevent pain signals from traveling from the back towards the brain. It also helps to significantly improve pain from arthritis.

A Look at a Few New Designs

This contemporary modern rocking chair display of top designers was provided by Design Milk.


1. Soto Rocking Chair from Joybird

2. Rocking Armchair by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen

3. First Rocking Chair by Muller Van Severen

4. Mademoiselle Rocking Chair by Ilmari Tapiovara for Artek

5. Harper Rocking Chair by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance for Bernhardt Design

6. GT Rocker from Gus* Modern

7. Eames Molded Plastic Rocker (RAR) by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller

8. Klara Rocking Chair with Cane Back by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso

9. Comeback Rocking Chair by Kartell

10. Buttercup Rocker by Blu Dot

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