The Healthy Value of Motion Seating in Extended Care


From rocking in a mother’s arms, to baby swings and playground swings, rocking chairs, and porch gliders, rocking is a comforting motion.

Proven Effects of Motion Seating

Studies at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, used Rocking Chair Therapy with Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Their research showed that seniors could literally rock away their anxiety and depression. The patients required less medication and their balance improved; additional benefits included a happier nursing home staff and happier families — families of rocking seniors were happier because their loved ones were happier.

Research from Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin resulted in an article in the “American Journal of Sports Medicine”, March-April 1989, titled “Seniors ROCKING TO GOOD HEALTH”, detailing the benefits of rocking for older Americans. Rocking is good for the mind, body and spirit, and can even help those with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle achieve muscle tone through the manageable, non-weight-bearing exercise of rocking in a rocking chair.

“Arthritis Today”, the magazine of the Arthritis Foundation, suggests, “Rock the night away.” The article continues, “Sit in a rocking chair while watching TV or reading, and just rock.

“Rocking is relaxing and it can improve strength and flexibility – especially in your knees.”

Most people are familiar with the story and photographs of President John F. Kennedy rocking in a rocking chair; his doctor had prescribed rocking for his chronic back pain. Research shows that the spinal cord can only work in one direction at a time, so 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, allowing the muscles in the lower back to relax.

Knee Surgery Recovery Benefits

Orthopedic surgeons have long recommended rocking to those who are recuperating from knee replacement surgery.

Reclining Chairs also offer great benefits to seniors.

Getting up, sitting down, or having to sit in one place for long hours are all issues for seniors. The reclining positions of the chair make it easier for people to change their position, rather than having to get up and reposition themselves over and over again. Some prefer to recline the chairs to a recumbent position.

It is important to keep in mind that residents are going to spend many hours in the chair, so you must ultimately consider the comfort factor.

A recliner is similar to a large armchair. This kind of chair allows the user to lower its back and raise its footrest to use it in a reclining position.

lumex clinical care seating positions

This chair also typically offers varying degrees of reclining positions; from being inclined at a slight degree to lying almost flat. There are several types of reclining chairs.

The traditional recliner can be adjusted to two positions, either an upright or a fully reclined position. Such a chair requires a lot of space or, fully reclined, it could knock over the furniture! This traditional chair provides a reasonable level of comfort to the user, and comes in an affordable price.

The rocker recliner is the most popular type of recliner. Unlike a traditional rocker, this recliner offers an assortment of options in reclining angles, and the user can also enjoy a rocking motion while seated in an upright position.

Resident rooms have limited space. A wall-saver recliner is ideal in these areas. Unlike other recliners which require ample space, this one can be placed a lot closer to the wall. While in an upright position, the user can rock back and forth.
Another type of recliner is the Push-Back. True to its name, only its back reclines. It is also called a push-back because the user has to actually apply pressure to make it recline. This style requires too much exertion for most seniors; but a lever to recline the chair requires little abdominal strength and is much preferred in extended care facilities.

Basic American, a leading manufacturer of US-made beds, furniture and mattresses for the Extended Care industry, offers complimentary Interior Design services by its experienced Senior Living Healthcare Design Team. Ask about visiting our 10,000 square foot showroom and Design Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact us for more ideas and advice.

Nancy Prossick is Marketing Manager, Extended Care at Graham-Field. 


About GF Health Products, Inc.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare, and primary care markets. Graham-Field product brands include Basic American Medical Products™, Everest & Jennings®, Gendron®, Grafco®, Hausted®, Intensa®, John Bunn®, Labtron®, Lumex® and Lumiscope®. Visit or call 1.770.368.4700.