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Knitting might be the best medicine

A report that claims knitting could have health benefits making it worthy of being prescribed on the NHS sets Jane Bates on a flight of fancy

A report that claims knitting could have health benefits making it worthy of being prescribed on the NHS sets Jane Bates on a flight of fancy


Picture: iStock

According to a newspaper article, knitting ‘could save the NHS’ and practitioners should consider prescribing it as an alternative to medication.

The story was based on a report commissioned by the charity Knit for Peace, which outlined the range of health benefits knitting can bring – clacking away with the needles apparently lowers blood pressure, reduces depression and can slow the onset of dementia.

Imagine calling your surgery for a repeat prescription. ‘Six balls of the four-ply wool/acrylic mix please, in pink.’

So chilled out

Then the receptionist says they don’t take repeat orders over the phone because that is how mistakes are made. ‘Only last week someone was nearly given powder blue mohair in error,’ she explains.

As a knitter, you are so chilled out that you don’t mind using the surgery’s convoluted, hypertension-inducing online ordering system that used to make your hair fall out with frustration.

Pharmacies would look like haberdashers as patients ditched the beta-blockers and statins for handicraft materials. Your expensive GP would be replaced by Mrs Higgins-Smythe of the Women’s Institute who would teach you how to make jumpers for unsuspecting relatives.

Someone would make tea

Patients would sit and chat, knitting and purling, and someone would make tea.

Of course, the drug companies wouldn’t like it at all, and it would be crochet hooks at dawn with the yarn producers. But they would soon learn to relax and stop posturing – a complicated cable design should knock the fight out of them.

Then we will all be nice and cosy in our new woollies next winter when the Beast from the East dumps snow on us again. Oh, and I think I have just found a way to achieve world peace.


Jane Bates is an ophthalmology nurse in Hampshire 

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