I might be a man nearing my forties but to this day I still therapy rock as a way of soothing when feeling distressed. It brings me back to balance and quiet. From that, I manage to regroup and jump-start my mind, like the turn of the key and the engine. Some therapists will prescribe rocking as part of therapy. As childish and humorous as it may sound, the benefits of rocking have the same implications in adults as it does in children. It’s not just a therapy for children with autism. It can also be beneficial for people who experience anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, pain, or PTSD. I fall into all of the categories from anxiety to PTSD.
What’s the science behind therapeutic rocking?
Rocking is a universal behaviour that synchronizes the brain. We cradle babies, doze in a hammock, shift in a chair, swing on a porch swing. We do it without knowing we should.
As per research, psychological distress and physical pain activate the sympathetic nervous system, the “survival” branch, which increases functions such as muscle tension, heart rate, and breathing. The gentle rhythmic motion of rocking, on the other hand, engages the parasympathetic nervous system, the “calming” branch of the automatic nervous system. This in return releases a cascade of endorphins that shifts us into a calming, relaxing state and lessens the hurtful effect.
That’s pretty much the gist of it.
Benefits of rocking, to mention a few, include:
- Rocking helps you fall asleep sooner and deeper, improving the quality of sleep.
- Rocking increases circulation by sending more oxygen to our joints, which reduces inflammation and pain.
- It engages the core abdominal and thigh muscles, which is key for sufferers with lower back pain.
We bob our heads to music or tap our feet or fingers and feel the joy and the energy of the song. So, why wouldn’t it be okay to rock ourselves to sleep and feel peaceful and calm?
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This strikes me as very personal. Thank you for sharing.
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