Positive health effects of knitting

The positive health effects of knitting have been studied for a long time. Many researchers say that knitting is the new mindfulness. The rhythmic motion of knitting and crocheting is important and often compared with an approving conscious presence, mindfulness.

Mindfulness is an effective remedy for stress. No wonder that knitting and crocheting have also been found to alleviate stress, pain and even depression. At the same time, knitting offers a welcome break for those struggling with an overwhelming flood of information and constant haste and hurry. It teaches patience and a long-term view.

Some advocates of knitting even call it the new yoga. Both are ancient skills that compel the practitioners to slow down and stop to contemplate the present moment. Both put the brain into a meditative mode.

Facilitates learning and improves memory

Knitting offers a range of other cerebral benefits: it has been found to facilitate learning, increase the powers of concentration, improve memory and develop motor skills. It is of special benefit to kinaesthetic learners who find it easier to learn through motion, be it hand movements or walking. The rhythmic motion of the hands when knitting or crocheting serves as an effective memory aid.

Relieves stress

Knitting is so good for the brain that it makes sense for everybody, young and old, to learn this skill and include it in their brain care kit. Knitting is good for the brain; and keeps stress under control, and the self-made outcome of the effort – a sweater, scarf, pair of mittens or woollen cap – cheers you up and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Part of the pleasure derives from the colour and composition of the wool.

Helps with dyslexia, dysgraphia and concentration problems

Knitting helps pace a hectic and stressful workday. You can knit when attending a lecture, sitting in the waiting room of a dental or doctor’s surgery or riding on a bus or train. If knitting and crocheting were allowed in school, there could be less disruption in class. The beneficial effects of knitting are corroborated by promising results achieved with learners suffering from dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADHD.

Alleviates pain

There is growing awareness of the therapeutic effects of knitting across the world. In the UK, for example, positive results have been achieved treating people with panic disorders and chronic pain. When knitting, people ‘forget’ physical and mental pain, the level of the stress hormone cortisol drops and that of the dopamine and serotonin pleasure hormones goes up. For example, in Bath, UK, there is a group of people suffering from chronic pain that meets regularly in the pain clinic of the local hospital to knit and crochet together.

Beneficial effects of knitting:

  • ​May relieve depression and stress
  • May improve learning results and powers of concentration
  • Improves motor skills
  • May prevent memory disorders and dementia
  • Induces a meditative mental state of approving conscious presence
  • May alleviate chronic pain

Source: Raija Kivimetsä, Parasta aivoillesi (Best for your Brain), Publisher Otava