Troutman's Web site touts rocker's soothing qualities

Gerri Hunt, June 16, 2008

Champ Land, owner of Troutman Chair Co., is spreading the word about the soothing power of rocking chairs like the ones his company produces.

He has dedicated many hours to researching the issue, and has designed an entire Web site around it.

It all started in the fall of 2006, when he learned that a teacher in Washington State was using Troutman's model No. 7 — Aunt Annie's rocker — in a classroom… and it was making a difference.

The rockers were helping students, especially those with ADD and ADHD, to concentrate and stay on task.

“The teacher approached us needing to buy more rockers for his classroom,” said Land. “His goal was to have a rocker for every student.”

So the company gave him several chairs, and Land started looking for more information about the benefits of rockers. On the Internet, he found research, personal accounts, therapist insights and historical references all related to the therapeutic benefits of rocking.

“It was a culmination point for me, really,” he said. “It tangibly confirmed what I had subconsciously sensed all along — that rocking in a rocking chair held extraordinary charms.”

But rocking chair therapy is not a new concept.

The New York State Department of Health funded the 12-week study of 25 nursing home residents diagnosed with dementia, comparing their behavior with and without rocking.

The result was that behaviors like crying or expressions of anxiety, tension and depression dropped in 11 patients thanks to rocking, and several requested less pain medication.

Even John F. Kennedy rocked to ease the pain of a back injury he received while rescuing 10 men during World War II. When doctors prescribed rocking, he immediately commissioned a dozen rocking chairs.

But these therapies are just the beginning. Rocking chairs can help adoptive parents and their new children bond; strengthen arthritic knees; calm autistic children; and speed post-op recovery, just to name a few benefits.

And Land is taking it upon himself to get the word out on the benefits of rocking. But so far, the Web site he started in June 2007 — www.rockingchairtherapy.org — only gets 3,000 hits per month.

“People are not aware of it. It has not gotten the kind of publicity it needs, although I'm getting positive feedback from people,” he said.

“Deep down, everybody wants to help people. I want to help people heal the issues they've got… and I want to sell some product, too,” said Land.

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