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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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Knit, Crochet, and Heal

The medical community is realizing knitting and crochet can be good for one's health.

Staff Report (August 20, 2007)

Have you ever wondered why people who craft yarn into garments always seem to be smiling and happy? It turns out that the repetitive actions needed for knitting and crochet can bring the mind and body to a state called a "relaxation response" that is quite similar to what people experience with techniques such as repetitive prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines.

In fact, Bob Ferguson, who operates one of the industry's most successful independent stores, a Ben Franklin in Redmond, WA, calls his knitting classes "Yarn Yoga."

Research at the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute has found that when an individual is knitting her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit and crochet.

In the U.S. many institutions are taking advantage of these health benefits by incorporating knitting and crochet into the activities that they provide. Gilda's Clubs, which offer family cancer support in locations across the U.S., now provide knitting to help with the emotional upheaval of dealing with cancer. At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, knitting is used to lower stress for its clients. Children and their parents are seeing the benefits of knitting and crochet as well. Grade schools from Oregon to New Jersey have incorporated knitting into their curricula, not only for the health benefits, but to help build creativity and improve math skills.

"Knitting benefits an individual's emotional and physical health. Knitting can reduce stress in an individual who is trying to manage the severity of their chronic illness. It can also help reduce stress in individuals who lead very hectic lifestyles," said Gary Scholar, Health & Wellness Consultant to the employees of the American Hospital Association.

"I have incorporated knitting classes in my Health & Wellness programs for employees because of the health benefits. I would like to see implemented at children's hospitals a program to teach sick children how to knit so they have something to keep their minds occupied and be proud of what they have made if they are in the hospital for an extended time,"

A new children's book, ANGORA, I'm Knot Just Fluff I'm Always Enough, was recently published by Scholar about a bunny who is taught by her mother and grandmother how to knit using magic carrot knitting needles to give her self esteem to dance in her dance recital.

"For many years we've heard stories and witnessed how knitting and crochet have positively affected people’s lives. We once asked our customers to share their stories of how knitting and crochet have changed their lives on our website, and to date, we’ve received over 500 touching and personal submissions," said Ilana Rabinowitz of Lion Brand Yarn. "It has only been in recent years that studies have brought to light the mental and physical benefits that crochet and knitting enthusiasts can look forward to while participating in this wonderful hobby."

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