Knitting and Pain Relief

I was on a radio show a while ago and  found myself intrigued by the work of one of the other guests. She was a therapist working in a large hospital with their pain relief clinic. I used to work at the same hospital so my ears pricked up when I heard her say she was running a knitting group in a local pub for patients! Things have changed..

I love knitting myself so I was really pleased to read some of the latest research on its benefits:

Research done by Professor Richard Davidson of Wisconsin University has shown that practising just eight weeks of daily Mindfulness can have a positive effect on brain function and even strengthen the immune system. Dr Herbert Benson, Director of the Institute for Mind, Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School has carried out many clinical trials involving Mindfulness and has found that it can evoke the relaxation response to bring down blood pressure, heart rate and help to prevent stress related illnesses. He’s even found that it can improve fertility and mentions knitting as one of the activities capable of evoking the relaxation response.


Mindfulness is something that is quite hard to achieve and teach but it seems the repetitive nature of knitting can induce similar feelings. I have long maintained that knitting is like meditating so have no trouble believing this. I always have a piece of knitting on the go (sometimes three of four things) and occasionally use it when running seminars. No, I don’t mean I sit and knit in the corner while the group are busy doing important stuff; I teach people to knit as a group exercise in co-operation and team building – it doesn’t have to be all macho wall building and white water rafting stuff!

Get your needles out of the cupboard and become mindful! And do share, what sort of things help you feel calm and relaxed?

You can read more here.

Photo Credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert


Posted on May 25th, 2011 by

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