Crochet is a very healing craft. The repetitive motion of moving a hook in and out through yarn is soothing, meditative and relaxing. This makes it a great craft for people who are suffering from a variety of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, the active motion of the hands can be good in a physical way for certain health conditions requiring physical therapy for the hands.
Here are ten health problems that might be eased a bit by crochet:
1. Depression. Crochet is a great craft because it takes you out of the hectic space inside your own head and gives you a focused activity. This can greatly ease the symptoms of depression. Crochet provides a relaxing, meditative place where the mind can rest. Moreover, it allows you to get excited about new projects and to be proud of the projects that you’ve created. Both of these things are beneficial for people who are suffering from depression. Depression can sap excitement so finding things that excite you is crucial. And depression is directly correlated with low self-esteem so it’s great if you can create products that you are proud of and that can help you feel good about yourself again.
2. Anxiety. The same traits that make crochet a terrific craft for people who are dealing with depression are also useful for people who suffer from anxiety and even extreme anxiety like panic attacks. The repetitive motions of the task are soothing. The task itself provides you with a focus for the brain so that your mind can ease up on whatever is making you anxious. In cases of social anxiety, crochet can provide you with a comforting tool to take with you when you go into public and to focus on when the surrounding environment makes you feel stressed out.
3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Believe it or not, crochet can be useful for people who are suffering from OCD. People with this condition must often engage in repetitive activities. Sometimes these activities are harmful to the self or disturbing to others. In some cases, crochet can be used as a diversionary tool that takes the place of the negative repetitive activities and serves as a positive substitute for the individual suffering from this condition. Also, as with depression, the productive making of things can help boost the self-esteem that often lags in people with OCD.
4. Addiction. There are many different types of addiction and there are many different things that can be done to overcome addiction. Crochet may be helpful in that it keeps the hands busy and distracts the mind. You may be thinking about binging on food but if you can turn your focus to your crochet work and stay out of the kitchen for awhile then you’ll slowly break that food addiction. Crochet alone won’t typically stop addiction but it can be a powerful tool for people who are using other methods to break an addiction of almost any kind.
5. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who suffer from PTSD often experience traumatic flashbacks. In some instances, crochet has been shown to provide relief for these people. The crochet work serves as a tangible object that grounds the person in reality and helps them to remember that they are no longer in the situation that is causing them such extreme emotional pain. Anxiety and depression are both associated with PTSD and of course we’ve already looked at how crochet can assist with that aspect of the issue.
6. Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme emotional highs and lows. There is a difficulty in moderating those emotions so the individual may stay awake for days and suffer delusions of grandeur and then crash into a deep depression. This is a serious condition that obviously requires outside treatment but crochet can play a soothing role for people who are suffering from the condition. It can help with the depression side of bipolar disorder in the way that we’ve already discussed. It can also provide a productive activity during manic times. It’s never great to be severely manic but it’s better to spend that time crocheting like crazy then going out and being promiscuous or otherwise reckless during a manic phase!
7. Physical Pain. Crochet is a great distraction and that makes it a great tool for pain management. There are many instances during which a person doesn’t want to take pain medication, such as during a third trimester pregnancy. There are also cases where chronic pain can’t be adequately controlled with pain medication. In both instances, crochet can be a positive distracting tool to keep your mind away from the pain. Thinking about it less will help dull the feeling of the pain.
8. Hand Problems. Crochet can be used as a form of physical therapy for people who are suffering from conditions with their hands. Children who are having trouble developing their motor skills are one example. Another is the elderly person who wants to keep the hands limber despite arthritis problems. Some modifications to the craft may need to be made (such as using chunkier yarns and ergonomic crochet hooks) but this can definitely be a useful tool for people with such conditions.
9. Stress-Related Health Conditions. The relaxing nature of crochet makes it a great craft for people who are suffering from stress related health conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Focusing on a soothing craft can help to decrease stress levels and improve overall health. What’s more soothing than the soft caress of yarn and the ease of moving a hook in and out, in and out, over and over?
10.Memory Loss. There are some studies that indicate that crochet may be useful for people who are suffering from the early stages of age-related memory loss. Taking on a new interest, developing new skills and doing something productive for others are all helpful preventative tools and crochet can do all of those things for many people.
Crochet might not cure these conditions but it can help some people manage the symptoms. It’s a low-cost craft and one that is easy to learn so why not at least try it to see if it is something that can help you!