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Knit, Crochet, and Heal
The medical community is realizing knitting and
crochet can be good for one's health.
Staff Report (August 20, 2007)
Have you ever wondered why people who craft yarn into garments
always seem to be smiling and happy? It turns out that the
repetitive actions needed for knitting and crochet can bring the
mind and body to a state called a "relaxation response"
that is quite similar to what people experience with techniques such
as repetitive prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other
In fact, Bob Ferguson, who operates one of the industry's most
successful independent stores, a Ben Franklin in Redmond, WA, calls
his knitting classes "Yarn Yoga."
Research at the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute has
found that when an individual is knitting her heart rate can drop 11
beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results
can have significant health benefits for people who knit and
In the U.S. many institutions are taking advantage of these
health benefits by incorporating knitting and crochet into the
activities that they provide. Gilda's Clubs, which offer family
cancer support in locations across the U.S., now provide knitting to
help with the emotional upheaval of dealing with cancer. At the Duke
Diet and Fitness Center, knitting is used to lower stress for its
clients. Children and their parents are seeing the benefits of
knitting and crochet as well. Grade schools from Oregon to New
Jersey have incorporated knitting into their curricula, not only
for the health benefits, but to help build creativity and improve
"Knitting benefits an individual's emotional and physical
health. Knitting can reduce stress in an individual who is trying to
manage the severity of their chronic illness. It can also help
reduce stress in individuals who lead very hectic lifestyles,"
said Gary Scholar, Health & Wellness Consultant to the employees
of the American Hospital Association.
"I have incorporated knitting classes in my Health &
Wellness programs for employees because of the health benefits. I
would like to see implemented at children's hospitals a program to
teach sick children how to knit so they have something to keep their
minds occupied and be proud of what they have made if they are in
the hospital for an extended time,"
A new children's book, ANGORA, I'm Knot Just Fluff I'm Always
Enough, was recently published by Scholar about a bunny who is
taught by her mother and grandmother how to knit using magic carrot
knitting needles to give her self esteem to dance in her dance
"For many years we've heard stories and witnessed how
knitting and crochet have positively affected people’s lives. We
once asked our customers to share their stories of how knitting and
crochet have changed their lives on our website, and to date, we’ve
received over 500 touching and personal submissions," said
Ilana Rabinowitz of Lion Brand Yarn. "It has only been in
recent years that studies have brought to light the mental and
physical benefits that crochet and knitting enthusiasts can look
forward to while participating in this wonderful hobby."