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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guest Post "Why Every Hospital Should Have a Crafting Room"

Why Every Hospital Should 
Have a Crafting Program

A group of women sitting around together to knit and crochet while they cope with treatment for long-term illness sounds a bit like something you’d expect to see in hippie commune, not something that would be found in a modern hospital. It’s true; most hospitals today don’t have organized craft programs for their patients. However, the few that do have found that the benefits are massive, and even in those hospitals that don’t offer such programs it is often possible to find people crafting on their own as a means of improving their healing process.

Crochet, in particular, is a craft that lends itself well to hospital settings. It is a craft that requires limited tools; it can be done with just a crochet hook and a single ball of yarn. It is easy to put it down and pick up right where you left off so it works if your illness causes you to rest/ nap frequently or if you may be interrupted during your work for treatment. It is an easy craft to learn, can be done by almost all ages and is adaptable for use by people with various physical limitations.

The most important thing, though, is that crochet is able to help with the healing process for a diverse array of both physical and mental health conditions. Just a few examples include:

•         Pre-labor anxiety and pains for patients on third trimester bed rest. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in California has a knit and crochet program for mothers-to-be. The repetitive task of crochet helps releases serotonin, which acts as a natural painkiller providing non-narcotic relief to these women. The task is soothing, reducing anxiety and helping the woman to form a bond with her unborn child.

•         Depression. The serotonin release of the craft also acts as a natural anti-depressant. Additionally, crochet helps boost self-esteem, provides a focused task for breaking the negative cycle of rumination, reduces anxiety and encourages mindfulness, all things which play a role in depression treatment.

•         High blood pressure and related conditions. Dr. Herbert Bendon, the Director of the Institute for Mind, Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School did research that found that needlework lowers blood pressure by creating a relaxation response in the body.

Individuals can utilize crochet for all of these things and more, but the benefits are magnified when crafting is done in group settings. The craft brings the group together around a safe, calming activity. This encourages social connections, facilitates conversation, allows participants to teach and learn from each other and creates group bonding, all of which lead to a more positive outlook that in turn leads to better overall treatment success. Crafting in hospitals can improve support groups, therapy sessions and the morale of entire floors of patients.

Unfortunately, most hospitals aren’t set up for craft groups. Those hospitals that do offer groups often have help from dedicated volunteers and the support of key staff. Research has shown that settings where occupational therapists are employed often have a higher rate of acceptance for this type of group than those without OT staff. Still, with outcomes improved for patients of all kinds when crafting is available, it makes sense for hospital administration to consider implementing a plan that includes a little bit of yarn.

This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo of the blog Crochet Concupiscence. She is the author of Crochet Saved My Life, a new book about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet.

**If you would like to write a "Guest Post" for Crochetoholic's Place please refer to the "rules" under the "Guest Post" link under the header. Submit all "guest Posts" for review to crochetoholicdebb@msn.com   

Note: All information is the opinion of the"Guest Post" author, unless otherwise noted. Crochetoholic'x Place does not guarantee or may not agree with any of the material covered in this article.


  1. Yep....I agree!!!

  2. But we already knew all this didnn't we..hey how do I change my settings so those stupid verification thingys don't come up..I don't like them either..so hard to read sometimes..

    1. yes we did ..lol...ok go into your design at the top of your blog right side and then go into settings, should be under the comments section just click "off"on the "word verification" that should do it...


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