Rockers: The Classic American Chair

There are few pieces of furniture more American than the rocking chair. Commonly believed to have been invented by Benjamin Franklin (although possibly pre-dating his inventing years by a small margin), the rocker has a history that coincides with the conception of our nation.

The rocking chair was made even more famously American when President John F. Kennedy took his on Air Force One. Kennedy was prescribed a rocking chair for his back pain, and he loved it so much that he brought it everywhere he went. Because the rocking chair comes to rest at an equilibrium point of the sitter’s center of gravity, it is believed to be more ergonomic than a regular chair, and certainly very comfortable.

In addition to its ergonomic benefits, rocking chairs might also be good for your brain. Long associated with family and babies, we are drawn to the rocker as a way of soothing a baby, and lulling even ourselves to sleep. There seems to be scientific evidence to support this fact. A study in Current Biology showed that rocking helps people to get to sleep faster and stay in deep sleep longer by modulating physiological and psychological rhythms (1).

And, of course, rocking chairs can be quite beautiful as well.

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  1. Bayer, Laurence; Constantinescu, Irina; Perrig, Stephen; Vienne, Julie; Vidal, Pierre-Paul; Mühlethaler, Michel; Schwartz, Sophie. “Rocking synchronizes brain waves during a short nap”. Current Biology. Elsevier. 21: R461. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.05.012

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