Knitting is getting praise from some sources with more "authorit-tye". Check out this excerpt from the latest Creative Knitting with Bobbie Matela e-mail (emphasis added):
When things are not going well, or we are anticipating a life changing event, many of us turn to our knitting. This may be because knitting makes us feel a bit calmer, or the accomplishment of making a beautiful, useful knitted item is a boost to our ego, making us feel a little more in control. Scientific research from the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard now confirms this experience. The Lion Brand Yarn company released the institute's findings which I am happy to pass on to you.
It turns out that the repetitive actions needed for knitting and crochet can bring the mind and body to a state called a "relaxation response" that is quite similar to what people experience with techniques such as repetitive prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines. Research at the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute has found that when an individual is knitting her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit and crochet.
In the U.S. many institutions are taking advantage of these health benefits by incorporating knitting and crochet into the activities that they provide. Gilda's Clubs, which offer family cancer support in locations across the U.S., now provide knitting to help with the emotional upheaval of dealing with cancer. At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, knitting is used to lower stress for its clients. Children and their parents are seeing the benefits of knitting and crochet as well. Grade schools from Oregon to New Jersey have incorporated knitting into their curriculum, not only for the health benefits, but to help build creativity and improve math skills.
"Knitting benefits an individual's emotional and physical health. Knitting can reduce stress in an individual who is trying to manage the severity of their chronic illness. It can also help reduce stress in individuals who lead very hectic lifestyles," said Gary Scholar, Health & Wellness Consultant to the employees of the American Hospital Association.
"I have incorporated knitting classes in my Health & Wellness programs for employees because of the health benefits. I would like to see implemented at children's hospitals a program to teach sick children how to knit so they have something to keep their minds occupied and be proud of what they have made if they are in the hospital for an extended time."
I think you'll agree with me how nice it is to hear that something so enjoyable is also good for our health! I have also decided that from now on I will pick up my knitting whenever I'm feeling a little anxious or need to solve a problem.
Preach it! Now I can tell my husband that stash purchases are actually keeping me healthy!