The use of hammocks have recently gained some attention as a tool to help with all kinds of anxiety-based disorders, or a better term, psychosomatic disorders, which is a brain damage that affects both the brain and the body through imbalances in the brain.
The advantages of using hammocks, or anything with a rocking motion, is to activate the brain stimulation through physical movement, which serves the purpose of the mental imbalance.
As there is no known cure for autism, which is a disorder that affects both the brain and the body, it can be effectively therapeutic through any rocking motion. It also has a calming effect, making any chores or other things that require concentration easier.
The Importance of Motion When Dealing With Autism
As many of the people invested in autism know, a person suffering from it needs a lot of motion to achieve a correct brain function. You can compare it to a circus artist trying to balance a sword on its cheek, it is not the sword that the artist trying to move, it is the body that determines the position of the sword, not the other way around.
When a person with autism tries to concentrate or is thinking about something, it is not unusual for this person to do rocking or spasmic motions in order to be able to use the brain correctly.
With this in mind, while trying to find good alternatives for both easing the anxiety and increasing the level of concentration, a hammock could just be the ideal product needed in stimulating for a correct brain balance.
Why A Hammock Could Help as a Form of Therapy for Autism
As mentioned, a stimulation for the senses is needed on a deeper level than in any regular child. It is important for any kid to get the proper activation in order to evolve and learn things.
The hammock serves this purpose in two ways, one is as mentioned the way it creates a “perfect imbalance” in order for the concentration levels to rise and also to show the kid using it that there is other forms of concentrating than moving the body yourself.
The hammock can, without doubt, serve as a substitute to any stationary furniture, and a hammock is something that is easily obtained and can be used both outdoors and indoors without many complications.
This results in a very convenient and comfortable way of using an all-around object as a stimulation-therapy for the brain.
When it comes to autism, there is no “typical” way of treatment. Each person is affected differently by autism and needs to be treated for his/her individual condition. A hammock is a great way to take the “edge” of treatment and should be contingent with something fun.
It’s important for the person that is going to benefit from it that it doesn’t feel like a “chore” or like something that they have to do. So just ease into it and say that the hammock is a new and nice addition to the interior instead of subjecting it to a “way of treatment”.
The Rocking Effect
The Rocking from the hammock also induces a sustained boosting of slow oscillations and spindle activity. It is proposed that sensory stimulation associated with a swinging motion exerts a synchronizing action in the brain that reinforces endogenous sleep rhythms.
These results thus provide scientific support to the traditional belief that rocking can soothe our sleep.
The “Enclosing” Effect
Especially for kids, the enclosing effect of hanging nests gives a relaxing sanctuary, so that they can feel safe and stimulated. This will cause an effect to lower any anxiety that the surrounding might bring. In your mother’s womb, we felt a constant pressure and light swinging all the time.
The hammock mimics this feeling a lot and giving this subconscious feeling of comfort.
Kids, just like any other person, need something to associate with certain things. It’s important to get on the right side of the association to build up a contingent with something that is meant to add comfort and feel safe.
Making the hammock a safe haven and a place for relaxation where nothing can bother you is important from the get-go. As mentioned above, ease into using the hammock and say that the hammock is a new and nice addition to the interior instead of subjecting it to a “way of treatment”.
Other Health Aspects
The hammock can also give a therapeutic effect and put a lot less pressure on the spine.
In contrast to lying in bed, the pressure of the hammock’s fabric is also felt from the side of our body. In a hammock, you will never be completely still, even if the body does minimal movements.
But even if the movement tends to be unnoticed, these movements is enough to change the fabrics pressure on the body constantly and giving a great massaging effect on the body, increasing blood flow and resulting in a lot of health benefits.
This is one of the reasons you might feel a lot more replenished from sleeping in a hammock, even just for a short period.
The Different Kinds of Hammocks
There are a lot of different hammocks on the market, and this should be a matter of choice. Although it is recommended to buy a hammock from cotton since it has a nice breathing capability and is very nice to the skin. If you need an in-depth guide for finding a great hammock chair, you can find one in this hammock chair swing review.
Therapeutic Kids Hammocks
There is also a lot of different companies specializing in the mental development of kids with anxiety and autism, that has produced a special kind of hammock for the purpose of stimulating the imbalance in the brain.
While these units can certainly help with this purpose, they are more often than not a lot more expensive, and by labeling something as a “autism therapy hammock” might not be as great of an association as a “nice and comfy hammock”, but since they are particularly designed for this purpose, its hard to question its result.
The thing that signifies these hammocks is that they are more like a big rubber net where the kid can lay in, as the picture shows. It all comes down to preferences.
If I could make a suggestion, this Indoor therapeutic hammock from Amazon could be a great choice.
A Regular Hammock
A regular hammock is, as mentioned, a great way to go and I would imagine works just as good as any specific anxiety hammock. But one should bear in mind not to go with any rope hammocks since they lack the enclosing effect and might not be as comfortable to sit in for a longer period of time.
Also, a too big hammock might also have an impact on the enclosing effect and a hammock should be adjusted to how much space you have for it.
Like this popular Viviere hammock, that also comes with a steel stand.
Stand or ceiling/wall-mount?
A lot of these hammocks can be used either or, but a stand is advantageous because of the portability aspect.
The thing you need to look for if you want to hang it in the ceiling is a ceiling beam in your rafters to insert the bolt for hanging the hammock. If the ceiling you are planning to hang it from has an attic over it, you can search the attic for ceiling beams.
Use caution and a good judgment in hanging any hammock, and you could even contact a contractor in order to be completely sure that it Is safely hung. Always try the hammock out with something that resembles the weight of a human being before anyone enters the hammock. Such as a golf bag or a boxing sack.
If you want to learn some basic but great knots, you can read more about it here.
Spreader Bars or no spreader bars
I would in almost all cases advice you to go with one without spreader bars, since it is the most comfortable option, and also keeps the purpose of the hammock therapy intact.
There are two types of hammocks with spreader bars. The first one is to have a fabric that is just as wide as the spreader bar, making the hammock extended to the max.
This results in an even more careful approach to using the hammock and laying with your body parallel to the spreader bars are highly recommended for stability.
Hammock chairs are different from traditional hammocks. Such hammocks are made with chair-like shapes that you can sit on and swing along with. A hammock chair makes for a great option and can also be bought with or without spreader bars, and in shapes such as the macramé chair swing.
In this case, I also advise you going with a more cocoon-shaped hammock chair – but why not let your kid help out with picking a chair he or she looks fun and attractive?
This hammock chair by Hammock Sky is probably your best choice since it has a great enclosing effect!
While rocking chairs are known to help with dementia, in pretty much the same way as the rocking helps with stimulating the brains motion, a rocking chair can also be used as therapy for autism in pretty much the same way as the hammock.
I will suggest however that the benefits are higher with the hammock and I would imagine is a much more appealing product for any kid.
Things to do While in the Hammock
Read together with your kid or find a book together that your kid might be interested in.
This might be the most preferred option for many kids and is a great way of developing a great concentration skill.
A great thing to do while benefitting from the heightened concentration is to try to do some homework.
Although it might not be recommended to associate the hammock with sleep, this is totally up to you.