Crafters have known for a while that their favorite creative activities offer feel-good benefits. One large study, which surveyed 3,545 knitters, reported a significant relationship between knitting and relaxation, stress relief, and happiness. Now experts also credit such crafting activities with protecting the brain from damage caused by aging – a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Olmstead County, MN, on elderly participants showed that knitting, other crafting activities, games and reading – activities that require the use of multiple parts of the brain – may help keep the brain sharp since they were associated with reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment.
Crafting may have yet another health benefit: helping people with chronic pain. While studies have yet to be conducted, a group of 50 chronic pain sufferers who meet regularly at the Royal United Hospital’s pain clinic in Bath experienced such positive results from knitting that more pain clinics in the U.K. began using knitting therapeutically. Who knows what the power of crafting will do next.