Ok, so any of you who go to church with me have seen me knitting in church. And any of you who’ve been around me long enough to hear more than a couple of sentences come out of my mouth have heard me say that knitting is both my Ritalin and my pain medication. But is there any scientific basis for those claims?
Well… yes! I’m being fairly literal when I make the statement that knitting helps me to deal with chronic pain. I’m also being literal when I tell you that it’s enabled this somewhat ADHD teacher to sit still long enough to be a good student.
This is the thing: knitting is more than just old-fashioned “recreational therapy.” Researchers, psychologists, educators and doctors are beginning to find solid evidence of things that knitters have always known: knitting actually affects brain and body chemistry!
Knitting quickly breaks down emotional and social barriers between those who do it in a group.
Educators are using knitting in the classroom. Knitting appears to improve memory. In fact, in studies involving students who were memorizing material, the students who engaged in a short knitting session (about 20 minutes) before their memorization attempts had significantly better recall than those who didn’t knit beforehand.
Knitting seems to have many of the same left brain/right brain benefits that music has. Research indicates that it’s helpful in treating children with ADHD. Knitting appears to release serotonin into the brain which helps to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, relieve menopausal hot flashes and, yes, relieve chronic pain.
Knitting is one of several activities which engage the brain in such a way that researchers are now thinking it may help to postpone, prevent and/or relieve the effects of Alzheimer’s.
So the next time someone looks at you and says, “Are you knitting again?” you can confidently raise your head and declare, “Yes! And I’m a better person for it!” 🙂
- Chronic Pain and the Molding of the Brain (psychologytoday.com)