East Bay Edition

Knitting Releases the Blues

Health Benefits of Needlework

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Knitting can alleviate the blues, slow the onset of dementia and distract from chronic pain, according to a survey published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy. Eighty-one percent of respondents described feeling happier after a session of needlework. In another study, researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital found that the act of knitting lowers heart rates by an average of 11 beats per minute, eliciting a state of relaxation similar to that of yoga.

A Mayo Clinic study found that crafts like knitting and crocheting also reduce the chance of developing mild cognitive impairment by 28 percent. In a University of British Columbia study, 74 percent of 38 women with the eating disorder anorexia reported that it lessened the intensity of their fears and thoughts and cleared their minds of eating disorder preoccupations. In a survey of 1,000 members of the British group Knit for Peace, one in five respondents reported that knitting reduced their arthritic pain.


This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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