Last week on our stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, a lot of people told us how much better they felt by coming and knitting or crocheting with us for a while.
It was definitely about more than the reassuring presence of our Yarn Doctor (who only treats knitting and crochet problems) and us having quite comfy seats. Many of our visitors – new learners as well as experienced knitters – told us they felt relaxed or refreshed and ready for more yarn-based retail therapy.
So it seemed a good time to take a look at the impact of knitting and crochet on our health.
No wonder our visitors felt better. According to a study at the Royal United Hospital in Bath the meditative qualities of rhythmic activity aids in serotonin release, which causes feelings of happiness and calm.
This is good for our mental health – soldiers in World War 1 suffering from “shell shock” were taught to knit to help their recovery – and for dealing with chronic pain.
You can read a lot more about these types of benefit at Stitchlinks.
Staving off arthritis
It used to be said that if you started to develop arthritis in your hands you should stop knitting, but now the opposite might also be the case.
Alton Barron, a US orthopedic surgeon and co-author of The Creativity Cure: Building Happiness With Your Own Two Hands says knitting can prevent arthritis and tendinitis by encouraging strength and cartilage development.
Keeping our brains working
It is possible that knitting and crochet could delay the onset of dementia. An American study in 2012 found that older people who took part in craft activities such as knitting were less likely to suffer from “mild cognitive impairment” than their peers who didn’t craft or do similar activities.
So it seems that not only does knitting and crochet make us feel better now – it could help us feel better in the future.