January 18, 1996 in Features

A Stitch In Time Leaves Heart At Rest Study Underscores The Relaxing Benefits Of Sewing

By The Spokesman-Review
 

In an era when high-priced exercise machines are touted as stress busters, it may be a surprise to learn that something as economical and practical as sewing is relaxing.

Sewing is more relaxing than painting at an easel, playing a card or video game, or reading a newspaper, according to a study for the American Home Sewing and Craft Association by New York biofeedback expert and psychologist Robert Reiner.

Using 30 participants, Reiner asked them to perform 10 minutes of each activity, in varying order, while their heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration rate were monitored. What was interesting, Reiner said, was that heart rates increased for all activities except sewing.

The results were no surprise to Kathy Olewiler, manager of Northwest Fabrics and Crafts in north Spokane. “I agree. It’s very relaxing,” she said.

Olewiler says that sewing is a way for people to be creative and enhance their self-esteem. However, it is only relaxing if you enjoy sewing, she said.

She believes most people sew in order to create something, because often it is more expensive to sew an item than to buy it ready-made. “They get a lot of satisfaction out of it,” she says.

The association’s Beth Mauro said that in the past, people made their own clothes to save money. Now, they are more likely to sew for other reasons, including relaxation.

The results of the study are especially important to women, Mauro said, because stress is a leading health issue for women - and any activity that helps reduce stress is useful. , DataTimes


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