20 Oct Healing stitches: the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crocheting
While the main purpose of knitting and crocheting may be making a gift for a friend or adding something new to your wardrobe, these crafts can also benefit your overall health.
Knitting and crocheting are ancient crafts that have been passed down through generations, and are popular with people of all ages. They involve creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn with needles (knitting) or hooks (crocheting). These crafts offer a perfect blend of relaxation, creativity, and accomplishment.
Stress Reduction: Knitting and crocheting can be meditative activities, providing a sense of calm and reducing stress. The rhythmic, repetitive motions can trigger the relaxation response, lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Hand Exercise: For individuals dealing with hand conditions, engaging in these crafts can actually work as a form of exercise. The gentle movements can improve hand flexibility and strength, making them an excellent rehabilitation tool.
Mental Health: Crafting promotes mindfulness and focus. When you’re deeply engrossed in a knitting or crocheting project, you’re less likely to ruminate on negative thoughts. This can be particularly helpful for those dealing with anxiety or depression.
Sense of Accomplishment: Completing a project, whether it’s a cozy scarf or a vibrant afghan, gives you a sense of achievement. This can boost your self-esteem and motivate you to tackle other challenges in your life.
Social Connection: Joining a knitting or crocheting group or attending workshops can be a fantastic way to connect with others who share your interests. Social interaction is essential for overall well-being.
Hand Health with Knitting and Crocheting
It is important to maintain hand health, especially for those who love knitting and crocheting. Here are some tips to ensure your hands stay in top condition while indulging in these crafts:
Proper Technique: Learn the correct knitting and crocheting techniques to minimize strain on your hands. Your local yarn store or craft center may offer classes to help you get started.
Take Breaks: Don’t forget to take short breaks during your crafting sessions. Stretch your fingers, wrists, and forearms to prevent stiffness. It is also beneficial to take breaks to stand, stretch, and move the whole body.
Use Ergonomic Tools: Invest in ergonomic knitting needles or crochet hooks designed to reduce hand strain and fatigue. These tools are designed with comfort in mind.
- Examples for knitting include square knitting needles, which can be found here: https://www.knitpro.eu/a/jadore-cubics/en, or search ‘ergonomic knitting needles’ to find your nearest supplier
- Examples for crochet can be found here: https://theyarnbowl.com.au/collections/hooks/clover, or search ‘ergonomic crochet hook’ to find your nearest supplier
- Another easy modification is to put a crochet hook through a tennis ball or ‘beauty blender’ to allow for a bigger grip.
Accessories: Tools like Portuguese Knitting Pins and Crochet Rings can be used to keep your yarn tension even without having to depend on your hands to do so.
Warm-Up Exercises: Prior to starting your project, perform some hand and wrist warm-up exercises to improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of injury. Your hand therapist can provide exercises that are specific to your hands.
Listen to Your Body: If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, it’s essential to consult with a hand therapist or healthcare professional.
Knitting and crocheting are not just hobbies; they are therapeutic practices that can enhance your physical and mental well-being. We encourage you to embrace these crafts as a means to relax, create, and care for your hands. Remember to enjoy the process and let your creative spirit flourish, all while taking good care of your hand health.
If you are experiencing finger, hand or wrist pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.
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