Wool Therapy: The Benefits of Knitting

Knitting brings to our minds visions of elderly ladies gathered around and wittering away an afternoon. However, things are changing! Learn all about wool therapy today!
Wool Therapy: The Benefits of Knitting
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Knitting. When you hear this word it probably brings to mind an image of a little old lady sitting and knitting a sweater for someone in the family. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, knitting has become a social phenomenon that offers many benefits for your physical and mental health. Are you interested in learning about the benefits of knitting?

Today on our site, we’d like to invite you to learn all you can about this traditional hobby that’s both magical and original at the same time. Are you ready to pick up the needles?

Benefits of knitting for your brain


A stitch to the left, one to the right, pass it over the top….knitting is not something simple that you can pick up in a just a few minutes. It requires rhythm, mental agility and demands that your hands are active at all times.

However, it’s also extremely satisfying when you see your very own multi-colored scarf, a sweater for your partner or an original purse that no one else has.

Knitting is a social phenomenon that many are calling “wool therapy”. That is to say, it’s an exercise with innumerable benefits for your health and is highly recommended for everyone. Big, small, young, old, men, women, children with behavior problems, those suffering from stress…

Come and learn all about the benefits of knitting below.

1. Knitting exercises both hemispheres of the brain

Graphic of working of the brain

One of the best benefits of knitting is the effect is has on your brain. The simple act of passing a strand of yarn from one needle to another enormously improves your cerebral coordination. However, by adding more complexity to the garment you’re creating, your mental dexterity will further enhance your rhythm and coordination.

It may be surprising, but knitting is really therapeutic for anyone with motor skill problems. Because of this, it’s even been found to improve attention and focus in activities with children with mental problems. Don’t wait any longer! Teach the little ones in your home to knit. It’s not just for old ladies any more!

2. Reduces stress

Balls of yarn and knitting needles

Many people often get together in parks to knit. They sit on a bank, get out their yarn and needles and get to work while they relax and talk or simply focus on the activity in hand. In no time at all they realize that their problems and worries are melting away.

Knitting is relaxing. The act of focusing your attention opens the doors to a calm state of mind that offers many benefits to those who are experiencing stress or anxiety.

3. Knitting improves mood

As we mentioned before, many people often get together to knit and chat amongst themselves while carrying out this interesting task. Knitting promotes sociability, sparks new friendships and brings people together. 

However, you don’t have to leave your house to knit. Being alone will also allow you to savor the silence of your own thoughts while increasing your endorphin levels to relax you and give you a pleasant sensation of well being.

4. It improves your motor skills

Woman doing knitting

Surely at some time or another, you’ve noticed how agile your grandmother’s hands are when she’s knitting, creating a precious piece of handiwork out of yarn. She may have suffered from osteoarthritis or painful carpel tunnel syndrome, but her fingers and hands moved naturally.

Knitting is an exercise that keeps the hands moving and prevents them from becoming stiff and rigid. Moving them warms them up, which makes pain lighter and less noticeable. This healthy exercise is worth practicing at least an hour a day. Those suffering from arthritis can go a little easier.

We should also point out that knitting improves children’s fine motor skills. It also helps improve their writing and makes them more skillful.

See also: 7 Subtle Ways to Increase Physical Activity Every Day

5. Knitting raises self esteem

Does that surprise you? How can something as simple as knitting improve your well being? Knitting is not just a hobby, knitting involves a goal: making a pair of gloves, a sweater, a fall pullover. Finishing a piece of clothing can be really rewarding, it’s all about setting a goal and achieving it.

There’s something gratifying about giving someone you care about a piece of clothing that you spent many hours making. It’s more than a gift: you’re giving your time, your imagination, art and feelings in every stitch.

Knitting isn’t an ancient art for old ladies. Knitting brings generations together and is linked to many great therapeutic benefits. We often talk about walking for a half an hour each day or drinking a glass of warm water with lemon. So, today we’re inviting you to take up a new healthy habit: discover the benefits of knitting today!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Baxendale, S. (2019). Ability to knit may be impaired following right temporal lobe resection for drug-resistant epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports, 11, 22–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebcr.2018.10.001
  • Brosseau, L., & Léonard, G. (2017). Knitting as a Promising Pain Self-Management Strategy for Older Women With Osteoarthritis of the Hand. JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 23(3), 179–180. https://doi.org/10.1097/rhu.0000000000000503
  • Clave-Brule, M., Mazloum, A., Park, R. J., Harbottle, E. J., & Birmingham, C. L. (2009). Managing anxiety in eating disorders with knitting. Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 14(1), e1–e5. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03354620
  • Collier, A. F. (2011). The Well-Being of Women Who Create With Textiles: Implications for Art Therapy. Art Therapy, 28(3), 104–112. https://doi.org/10.1080/07421656.2011.597025
  • Corkhill, B., Hemmings, J., Maddock, A., & Riley, J. (2014). Knitting and Well-being. TEXTILE, 12(1), 34–57. https://doi.org/10.2752/175183514×13916051793433
  • Fraser, C., & Keating, M. (2014). The Effect of a Creative Art Program on Self-Esteem, Hope, Perceived Social Support, and Self-Efficacy in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 46(6), 330–336. https://doi.org/10.1097/jnn.0000000000000094
  • Guitard, P., Brosseau, L., Wells, G. A., Paquet, N., Paterson, G., Toupin-April, K. et al. (2018). The knitting community-based trial for older women with osteoarthritis of the hands: design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-018-1965-2
  • Riley, J., Corkhill, B., & Morris, C. (2013). The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood: Findings from an International Survey. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(2), 50–57. https://doi.org/10.4276/030802213×13603244419077

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.