May 2003

Relieving Stress

This issue's Tip of the Month is about relieving pain and stress. No, I do not want to talk about how celebrities use needlework to relieve the stress of their busy lives, we all have heard about Julia Roberts and her knitting story. I want to talk about the stress and pain resulted from needlework.

Sometimes when you work for a long time, you might feel numbness in your fingers and pain in the neck and shoulders. Last year, a physical therapist visited our local guild and had some tips to reduce these kinds of pains. Her tips have helped me a lot, so I want to share them with you. They might help you too. We all love needlecraft, but it should be fun, not to cause pain and suffering for us. Following are her recommendations:

  1. Every morning, fill the sink with warm water and soak your hands and arms in it for a few minutes. A little massage under water will help too.

  2. Stop your work, knitting, crochet or embroidery every 30 minutes. Take a walk or do something else and let your hands rest (weeding in the garden does not help). You can do some hand exercises by slowly making a fist and opening you hands, stretching your fingers, several times.

  3. Place a small pillow under your working arm to help hold your work up. This will reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.

  4. If your wrists bother you, try wearing craft gloves. Make sure the glove is exactly your size. If the glove is too tight, it will reduce your blood circulation and add to the problem.

  5. Try to work on dark colors in a well-lit area to stop eyestrain.

  6. If you knit or crochet too tight, try loosening your gauge, your hands and arms will thank you in the long run.

  7. Last but not least, if you work at night, stop working a few minutes before you go to bed. Take time to stretch your arms. This will help reduce numbness in your fingers while you sleep.
Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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