Friday, July 22, 2011

The Therapeutic Qualities of Knitting

     Everyone who knits or crochets has probably heard something about the therapeutic qualities needlecraft offers.  However, no one ever really stops to explain exactly what these qualities are.  After doing a bit of research I thought a blog post might help clarify the topic. 
     It is being reported now that stress may be responsible for up to 90% of medical conditions.  There are a lot of people who make a lot of money helping people cope with the stress in their lives.  Where does knitting fit into this picture? 
1. Knitting occupies.  People who are occupied feel less pain and depression.  When the brain is engaged at something that requires attention and detail, it often forgets to remind you that something else is wrong.  Knitting provides distraction but of the constructive variety and this can have a profound effect for someone who is dealing with stress, depression or chronic pain.

2.  Knitting calms the mind.  Engaging in knitting closely resembles the techniques of meditation and mindfulness practices that are employed throughout the medical community for the treatment of chronic pain.  Knitting slows down the mind processes and allows for improved concentration.  The relaxation that follows is also important to the process of relieving stress.  

3.  Rhythm, Baby!  Although the exact reasons are not known, the rhythmic movement knitting provides is soothing.  Knitting is logical- it can be done without too much thought once some basic concepts are learned.  Simple patterns are best for someone who is looking to experience the healing benefits of the practice of knitting, although complicated patterns can fully engage the mind and increase a person's concentration on the process at hand.

4.  Knitting is creative.  Do not underestimate the effect that creative activity has the psyche.  Knitting and crocheting allow a lot of room for creative exploration.  With a few basic skills, needlecraft lends itself easily to interpretation.  There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with finishing a piece.  Wearing or gifting a handmade piece is to give something original, bursting with good vibes and love in every stitch.  The joy that goes into creating it cannot help but be absorbed into the fibers the knitter welds.

     In short, knitting is beneficial in a multitude of ways.  In the UK, knitting groups are even popping up in hospitals and therapy centers as a way to engage patients in a creative, relaxing activity.   I envision that in the future we will see the popularity of this craft rising even higher then the surge it is already experiencing as an inexpensive and effective form of therapy. 


  1. Well written... depression and anxiety are often caused by run away thoughts - trying not to think them is futile - however, replacing them with something else "knit one, purl two" is effective

  2. I think I would loose my mind if i could not crochet or knitt ..I am a breast cancer survivor who has fibro..and other chronic pain to drug induced sleep, Needlecrafts are my out let. thankyou for the info I shared it with my needlecraft buddies. :)