Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Monday Musings

Yarn: The New Prozac?

Those who read widely about crafts on the internet through blogs, forums and online magazines will no doubt have noticed the regularly appearing motif of meditation and calm being induced by handcrafts. Ask a knitter or a spinner why they enjoy their chosen hobby and they’ll almost certainly include ‘I find it very relaxing’ on their list.

Last week megali started a thread on the AY forum commenting on how knitting often sends her to sleep. Many people replied saying that knitting helped them relax, drowse and even fall sound asleep (not always with optimal results!) When I took up spinning again this year I discovered an amazing sense of fulfilment in the creation of yarn. Working with your hands helps to centre and focus your mind and can have a very therapeutic effect on the body.

One article I read on the subject takes the idea further, claiming that spinning can be like taking Prozac "It transports me to another place. It's a little like Gregorian chant” says one spinner interviewed in Boston. She goes on to say that she believes there was an increase in people spinning after September 11 as people searched for something “comforting and productive to do at home”.

Another knitter, this time from Northern Ireland, claims that her craft helps her in her battle with depression; “It is the only thing that picks me up off the ground”. A young boy from Detroit found that methodical counting and hand manipulations helped him focus on breathing and staying calm during bad asthma attacks.

The more you browse, the more stories are discovered of people who applaud knitting, spinning and other crafts as a means to discovering peace, comfort and calm. Still not convinced? Harvard Professor Herbert Benson, MD says knitting tops many doctors’ ‘calming activity’ lists. Allowing for the passive release of stray thoughts, knitting resembles a “calming mantra”.

So next time someone comes along with comments about knitting being ‘old-fashioned’, just for ‘grannies’ or ‘far cheaper to buy one in M&S’ give them a lecture on the health benefits of wielding the pointy sticks. Then give them some yarn and needles (or a spindle and fluff) and a five-minute lesson and watch them get hooked themselves on the peace and relaxation that is the gift of handcrafts.

Last week's Monday Musings



At 11:24 am, Blogger heather said...

Hear, hear, hear, hear.
Does that indicate how much I agree with all you have said?

There is reams of evidence for the therapeutic benefits of spinning, knitting and similar crafts, but as you say, the best way to convince anyone is to encourage them to try it and see for themselves.

I had a felting workshop for grade 3 today and the teacher was enthralled with one "problem child's" absorbtion. And he was so proud of his piece.

At 4:47 am, Anonymous amanda cathleen said...

hehehee I have several sharp pointy sticks.. wanna start? *eg*
I agree with you! Although I usually don't get sleepy when I knit. I get caught up in the pattern and can't put it down!

At 10:47 am, Blogger ra said...

it's only relaxing when it's going right though. When I can't get the spinning right (and I've only just started so it does happen!) I tend to get a bit wound up (pun intended!)

At 7:26 am, Blogger Liz.P said...

Your aunt is currently knitting tiny jumpers for a charity. Rib so far ,stocking stitch so far , cast on 12 e.end, rib, cast off for neck, cast on for neck, rib some more, cast off 12 e.end, ss to match other side, rib to match. sew up sides. I can do that in the car if I'm not driving, first thing I've knitted in years except Feather scarves. But loved your story.


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