“Get Your Pain All Stitched Up”  by Betsan Corkhill  (www.painconcern.org.uk/pages/page80.php)

“There are already large numbers of people who use knitting and cross stitching as effective methods of coping with pain…it appears that it goes much deeper than simply occupying people. It tackles the issues of chronic pain, depression and long term illness on several levels and we think it’s breaking the vicious cycle of rumination and hyper vigilance that it’s so easy to fall into….When people become ill, or have an acute episode the attention that surrounds them is enormous. Then there comes that crucial point when they are discharged or signed off work and just when they need the social support the most, it often stops completely. Often the patient is left with nothing but their thoughts, which can quickly become negative and destructive due to boredom, pain and isolation. I saw large numbers of people, who just existed, on my rounds as a community physio, and although their medical treatment was excellent, their quality of life was zero….Cardiff University Psychology department will be carrying out the first stage of a research programme which will look at whether cross stitching and knitting can break the cycles of rumination in those suffering depression and chronic pain. The research will be overseen by Dr Ulrich von Hecker, an expert in depression and carried out by Research Psychologist Jeni Brown.”

Timeless Healing by Dr. Herbert Benson and Marg Stark, Scribner.

“Dr. Herbert Benson of Mind Body Institute and Harvard Medical School has developed this therapy following his groundbreaking study….To elicit relaxation response, Dr. Benson recommend that you choose a technique that conforms to your own beliefs. The relaxation response can be evoked by a large number of techniques, including: Meditation…progressive muscular relaxation…knitting and crocheting. Dr. Benson and his colleagues at the Mind Body Institute in Boston found that relaxation response is very useful in healing several stress related ailments, including anxiety. Here are some of the conditions healed or cured by elicitation of the relaxation response in combination with self-care strategies such as nutrition, exercise, and stress-management: Patients with chronic pain experienced less severity of pain, more activity, less anxiety, less depression, less anger, and they visited the managed care facility where they received care 36 percent less of- ten in the two years after completing the program…. Women suffering from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) experienced a 57 percent decrease in severity….Patients who suffered from anxiety or mild or moderate depression were less anxious, depressed, angry, and hostile….Patients undergoing painful X-ray procedures experienced less anxiety and pain and needed one- third the amount of pain and anxiety medications usually required….Patients who had open-heart surgery had fewer postoperative arrhythmias and less anxiety following surgery….Migraine and cluster headache sufferers found they had fewer and less severe headaches…..Patients with hypertension experienced significant decreases in blood pressure and needed fewer or no medications over a three-year measurement period….Seventy-five percent of patients with sleep-onset insomnia were cured and became normal sleepers. Sleeping also improved for the other 25 percent, and most patients took significantly fewer sleep medications.”

“The Benefits of Knitting” by Lisa Akers (www.bestillandknit.com)

“Knitting has been scientifically shown to increase right and left brain interaction. Because it requires two hands to knit, both sides of the brain are stimulated. Many people pay a lot for therapy that does the same thing. There’s a technique called EMDR (eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing) that many therapists use to help people get through times of stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also be used to overcome traumatic experiences. The process works like this (in my best non-psychologist understanding) – you are directed to think about the problem you want to clear up while you are externally stimulated by tapping, a light, or some other stimuli that alternates from your left to your right. This effectively gets both sides of your brain processing the same information, and allows you to let go of the emotional attachments that are causing you problems. Now you can just knit your way through it. Spend some time knitting and thinking about what’s bothering you. You can find a good solution!”

“A Guide for Bringing Knitting and Spinning into Elementary through High School Classrooms” by C. Bordhi (www.catbordhi.com/documents/KnittinginSchools.pdf)

“In every setting, initially skeptical administrators and staff were won over by the results: attention-deficit (ADHD) students who seemed transformed, evaporating management problems, increased engagement in learning, in some cases more regular attendance, and a beneficial atmosphere of alert, peaceful contentment and community in the classroom….When knitting is integrated into the curriculum and integrated into the daily routine of class (for instance, when students are encouraged to take out their knitting during discussions or other times when hands and eyes are free), an alert peacefulness arises in the room, opening up a window for education….Knitting develops fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, math skills and what Multiple intelligences educational researcher Dr. Howard Gardner calls ‘Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence’. Since both hands hold needles and each hand has its own job, both sides of the brain are engaged and performing an internal rhythmic patterning that underlies the development of language skills, particularly reading and also math. A classroom community of knitters frequently makes great strides in what Dr. Gardner calls “interpersonal Intelligence,” as they mentor each other, share conversation while working productively, encourage one another, and enjoy the calming yet challenging task of knitting. In addition, knitting develops key habits that lead to success in academics and in careers: persistence, concentration, and collaboration.”

“Teenagers in Stitches” by L. Broadbent (www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8123-1657093_1,00.html)

“A new craze for knitting among U.S. teens is having amazing health benefits…And as its popularity has grown, so have the tales of its extraordinary health benefits….Many U.S. schools are encouraging children to knit during class. ‘The general perception is that if a kid is knitting, they’re not paying attention, but they are listening,’ says Devorah Zamansky, the assistant principal at the Manhattan Centre for Science and Mathematics….’You can really see it helping them to focus, particularly the hyper kids.’…Jennifer Ashling, a high school student, was never destined to make it to college. She was always too distracted and disruptive in class. Then she took up knitting. Her concentration and her grades improved, and now she’s on a diploma course.  Bobbie Sanders was a teenage gang member when his attention deficit disorder was diagnosed….He, too, took up knitting and hasn’t been in detention for over a year…Juliet Bernard used to suffer from panic attacks when she travelled on trains and found that when she picked up her knitting, they stopped. So she persuaded a psychologist friend to conduct an experiment on her. ‘When we are active, our brains show beta waves; when we are meditating or doing something soothing and repetitive, our brains show alpha waves….my brain shows far stronger alpha waves when I am knitting than when I am doing yoga or meditating.'”

“Scatterbrain? ADHD Could be Sabotaging Your Career and Relationships”  by N. Quistgard-Devivo, (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_1_36/ai_n15895440/pg_2)

“It’s sometimes easier for ADHDers to concentrate on pleasurable activities, and therapeutic to enjoy tangible results.”Having a hobby–gardening…knitting, any kind of hands-on endeavor–is a great outlet for ADHD energy,” says Hailing Zhang, M.D..”

Adult ADHD: 50 Tips on Management by E. M. Hallowell, M.D. and  J. Ratey, M.D. (www.addresources.org)

“Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color…Children and adults with ADHD can do their best under rather odd conditions. Let yourself work under whatever conditions are best for you…Know that it is O.K. to do two things at once: carry on a conversation and knit, or jog and plan a business meeting. Often people with ADHD need to be doing several things at once.”

Sensory Strategies for Living with ADD by R. Rotz, Ph.D., & S.D. Wright review by K. McConlogue  (http://www.additudemag.com/experts.asp?DEPT_NO=408&SUB_NO=41)

“Child psychologist Roland Rotz, Ph.D., and ADD coach Sarah D. Wright believe that purposeful fidgeting (which some take to be simple restlessness) can be a good thing. This is especially true for people with ADHD. “Restlessness is not just trying to ‘get out of the fidgets’ in order to become calm…It is rather an attempt to self-arouse to become focused.”…Fidget to Focus is geared toward helping readers find socially acceptable forms of fidgeting…Over the years, I’ve found it helpful to knit during meetings. Moving my fingers and feeling the texture of the wool help me focus on what others are saying.”

“Medicating Kids” Frontline Documentary, PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/talk/index3.html)

“Viewer responses: “When I was in a private elementary school twenty years ago, I had terrible trouble focusing. I fidgeted a lot, couldn’t sit still, couldn’t complete any assignment that couldn’t be done in one sitting, etc. My teacher’s solution? She taught me how to knit, and allowed me to knit in class. Knitting helped my focus tremendously. I knitted all the way through high school and in college I was able to wean myself from it, having practiced concentrating to the point where I could do it on my own. Now I have two degrees in math.”

“Building Close-Knit Communities:Handcraft Makes a Comeback” by Cara Bafile

“Knitting is a great activity for students with ADHD. It makes a great recess activity, and it meshes with the multiple-intelligences philosophy. And it’s catching on in schools around the country!….Teachers talk about why knitting works. ‘I started teaching crochet to a little girl who was depressed,’ counselor Nancy DeClark told Education World. ‘She would not talk, so I gave her a crochet hook and some yarn and taught her the basic single crochet stitch. Eventually, I gained her trust and the relationship was formed.’….One of DeClark’s most accomplished knitting students is a boy who is severely learning disabled and struggles academically. He is a successful knitter, and he feels proud of himself. He has even taught other students to knit… ‘Knitting works well because it is portable and cheap…it also brings together many parts of the multiple intelligences approach — mathematical-logical intelligence, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and naturalist.'”

“Ask A Specialist” Discussion Forum by Shari Gent, M.S.,Education Specialist  Diagnostic Center Northern California

“Because AD/HD is a neurological condition, children with AD/HD often have sensory differences. Most experts consider AD/HD to be related to under-stimulated, under-active, areas of the brain. Many research studies (Barkley, 2006) have shown that children with AD/HD have greater variability in sensory arousal patterns and tend to be underactive to stimulation. Children with AD/HD often seek stimuli in order to alert them to their environment and help them organize incoming information….The principle behind fidget toys is to stimulate the arousal level so the child becomes more attentive. Crafts, such as knitting and braiding can also be productive fidgets as many adults will attest. Toys are often introduced during times when the child is expected to sit quietly without much physical activity and during transitions. Children with AD/HD have most difficulty transitioning from unstructured to structured settings, such as returning to the classroom from recess. A short transitional activity involving fidget toys, coupled with quiet music can often assist the student to refocus after returning from recess.”

“Dementia: Can it be prevented?” by associate professor Michael Woodward  (www.alzheimers.org.au/upload/DementiaPreventedSept05.pdf)

“…some 14 activities including…intellectual, leisure and social activities….walking, knitting, music…..were associated with a 38% lower risk of developing dementia over an average of 3 years in 1,772 people over age 65 initially free of dementia.”

“Knitting fad doesn’t discriminate” By Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News (www.detnews.com/2005/metro/0503/25/D01-128659.htm)

“Following doctor’s orders, every day at lunchtime David Hogg, 47, pushes away from the desk at his computer analyst’s job in Farmington Hills and picks up his knitting….Hogg suffers from chronic high blood pressure. Medications and the relaxation he gets from building rows of colorful yarn into scarves and sweaters for family and co-workers has helped to keep his condition in check….Harry Smith didn’t learn to knit in school. He was taught as a child by his grandmother, who watched over him during his sometimes frightening asthma attacks….He said the methodical counting and hand manipulations calmed him when he had difficulty breathing, and it also kept him busy while his friends played.”

“Occupational Therapy/Crafts” by www.michigan.gov (www.michigan.gov/cis/0,1607,7-154-28077_28313_33124-110976–,00.html)

“As in the Industrial Arts class, students in the Crafts class learn and re-learn  many leisure time activities and handcrafts. Students who have discontinued previously enjoyable  hobbies and crafts due to loss of vision learn tactual techniques and methods of adapting their skills.  Students have many opportunities to learn unique leisure activities and satisfying crafts.  From leather stitching projects to pottery to complex needlework, students learn that there are a wide variety of techniques available that enable them to enjoy both new and old activities.  Some people are looking for pleasant pastimes that they can enjoy with friends, such as leather craft or mosaics.  Other students are interested in skills like sewing or knitting….Often students become excited when they learn that hobbies they once thought they could no longer practice, such as crocheting or macrame, are still quite possible when a different approach is taken.”

“Try A Yarn Craft Kit For Good Old Fashioned Fun” (blog.sensoryedge.com/2006/02/try-yarn-craft-kit-for-good-old.html)

“Yarn craft kits are a wonderful activity to teach your child. Fine motor skills are exercised as your child learns to hold crochet hooks and knitting needles. Cognitive skills are reinforced as your child concentrates on following yarn craft directions, and the reward is a fabulous creation made by your child’s own hands.”