81% of people feel happier during and after knitting.

physiotherapist Betsan Corkhill and Dr. Jill Riley performed a study of 3,500 knitters from 22 different countries in 2011.

Betsan is the pioneer of therapeutic knitting. Her work strongly suggests that the bilateral, cross midline, rhythmic repetitive, automatic nature of knitting movements attribute to a deep, meditative calm. In fact much of her success in gaining authority in the medical community has come from ceasing to refer to it as a craft, and instead as a form of bilateral rhythmic psychosocial intervention.


Studies have also implicated higher serotonin release or turnover in the development of repetitive activity.

Serotonin is known to regulate mood, reducing anxiety and depression. In fact the body is more dependent on serotonin in stress induced stereotypies than dopamine, and is actually used in pharmaceutical medications for relieving the repetitive behaviors related to anxiety disorders.

85% feel reduced

A Craft Yarn Council research survey of 3,100 subjects showed an overwhelming response to using knitting as a therapeutic activity.

This falls in line with the work of Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer of mind and body medicine who developed the ‘relaxation response’ – the physiological counterpart to the fight or flight syndrome. He says that the repetitive action of knitting can induce a relaxed state similar to meditation, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and the other harmful effects of repeated stress.

76% use it to cope with health challenges.

The physicality of knitting combined with it’s repetitivity and required focus have a soothing effect on the body. It induces what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as ‘flow’: a state of being where we are so focused that we don’t have enough attention left over to monitor other feelings. Stitch by stitch, our sense of time, body, and identity disappear from consciousness, and we feel part of something larger.

Betsan has also run studies with chronic pain patients whose results mirror this concept. Relieved pain while knitting with no kick-back following the activity suggests that distraction is not the sole mechanism at work.