Knitting has been called the “new yoga” for good reason. Known for its relaxing, meditative qualities, knitting is being used in hospitals, clinics, schools and even prisons to help counterbalance stress and lead healthier lives. Knitting’s repetitious movements theoretically can elicit the famous relaxation response in which heart rate and blood pressure fall, breathing slows and levels of stress hormones drop.
In his book “Knit for Health & Wellness“, Betsan Corkhill’s he talks about how knitting transforms our health and wellness. It rises above other self-help books by providing an accessible tool which gets you actively involved in your health and wellbeing and shows you how to do this any time, anywhere. It quite literally puts the power in your hands.
According to research, engaging in certain types of mentally stimulating acts like knitting “is associated with decreased risk of cognitive impairment.” Because knitting involves following and recognizing patterns, learning new stitches and using both hands and math, lending it the capacity to improve fine motor skills while also keeping the mind active and engaged.
The motion of moving your eyes from side to side may also be helpful in itself: as therapists who use Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) have found working with trauma victims around the world. Moving your eyes from side to side or rolling them around is a powerful yoga technique. According to Corkhill, some early research has shown that moving your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds every day can boost memory by 10%.
For many people with rheumatoid arthritis which is very isolating condition, knitting allows them to do something productive and calming. In Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system, following a knitting pattern is a mental exercise.
Free Knitting Resources on Kindle: