This post is part of a ten day series of posts on the healing benefits of crochet that I’m doing to celebrate the release of my new book, Crochet Saved My Life. I hope you’re enjoying the series so far!

I didn’t put any limitations or parameters on the conditions I would cover when I asked people if they wanted to be interviewed for my book on the health benefits of crochet. I’m so glad because this allowed people to tell me about things that I would never have thought to ask specifically about. Here are five health conditions I knew little or nothing about until a woman who crocheted to help heal told me about them.

1. Menière’s disease

What it is:

I have to confess that I’d never heard of Menière’s disease until blogger Elisabeth Andrée told me about it. I learned a bit from her story and then researched on my own to find out that this is a condition of the inner ear that has two primary problematic symptoms: hearing loss and loss of balance. The cause for this condition is unknown. It is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time, and there is no known cure.

How crochet can help:

Menière’s disease, especially for someone who is it in both ears, can progress to a point where the individual’s abilities become limited. For Elisabeth Andrée it got so bad that it resulted in job loss and resulting financial instability. This can easily lead to depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Crochet can help manage the symptoms of these secondary conditions.

Furthermore, when you lose one of your senses, it can be vital to increase your experience of your remaining senses. Menière’s disease can cause hearing loss. Crochet offers the chance to indulge in sight and tactile sensation to help compensate a little bit for this loss.

2. Chronic Lyme disease

What it is:

I had heard of Lyme Disease before (everyone knows it’s that disease you can get from ticks) but didn’t know much about it until I heard from Tammy Hildebrand. I learned that Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics but for some people the treatment doesn’t work and it becomes a chronic condition symptomized by fatigue, headaches, joint pain caused by inflammation, sleep disorders and mood disorders including depression.

How crochet can help:

As with Menière’s disease and other chronic conditions, Chronic Lyme often causes depression in patients and crochet can be used to relieve the depression.

Crochet is also especially helpful in conditions such as this where the patient often suffers from a combination of insomnia and fatigue. The individual may often be too tired to do most things and yet can’t sleep which is frustrating. Crochet offers a meditative, relaxing task that allows the crafter to feel productive despite not having the energy to go do more active things.

3. Restless Leg Syndrome

What it is:

Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition in which the legs twitch unstoppably and painfully. This usually happens when the person is lying down or resting, which often interferes with sleep, and in fact RLS is considered to be a sleep disorder.

How crochet can help:

Sara-Jane told me that she has found that crocheting can actually help reduce the twitching in her legs. She is not sure quite what happens in the body that causes this but has found time and time again that if she picks up a hook and yarn she can get her legs to stop moving.

This condition is linked with insomnia, which crochet is useful in dealing with. People with insomnia sometimes find that the meditative act of crocheting is helpful to reducing sleep problems. At the very least it can be part of a total nighttime ritual designed to maximize sleep potential.

Furthermore, RLS symptoms are generally exacerbated by stress. Crochet is a stress-relieving activity.

4. Schizophrenia

What it is:

Most people do have an idea of what schizophrenia is so it’s not necessarily “unusual” but I’ve included it in this list because it remains one of the most stigmatized mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is often misdiagnosed for many years before the patient finally receives the correct diagnosis. When they do, they may be horrified, because of the stigma attached to it.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes the person to have trouble thinking clearly, responding to situations or emotions in an acceptable manner and distinguishing between what is real and what is not. Symptoms include memory problems, difficulty paying attention, irritability and social withdrawal. It is common for people with schizophrenia to have hallucinations, especially auditory hallucinations, which is why many people know it as the condition in which “you hear voices”. There are different types of schizophrenia that have different specific symptoms.

There is not agreement in the medical/ mental health community about what causes schizophrenia. However, it does appear to be a genetic condition.

How crochet can help:

I interviewed Aurore who identified four key ways that crochet has helped her with her condition:

  1. She knows that crochet is real which helps her manage her hallucinations and the anxiety that accompanies them.
  2. Crochet is a productive outlet for channeling some of her magical thinking.
  3. She is able to get a better grasp on the passage of time and to experience a sense of continuity that she doesn’t get elsewhere and desperately needs because of her schizophrenia.
  4. The act of crochet assists Aurore in dealing with the anxiety that surrounds her condition.

5. Post Partum Depression

What it is:

This condition isn’t actually “unusual” to me. It’s a form of clinical depression (something I am all too familiar with). Plus I’d read a lot about in the past so I knew about it. Nevertheless, I decided to include it here because it is so often misunderstood. Many people mistakenly think that it’s something all new mothers go through because of the sleeplessness and stress of having a new baby in the home.

Postpartum depression, like other types of clinical depression, is a pervasive feeling that can include sadness and crying as well as anxiety, irritability, self-esteem problems, sleep issues and more. Women suffering from postpartum depression may have thoughts of suicide or even thoughts of harming their baby, feelings that are more extreme than what would be considered a normal part of the “baby blues”.

It isn’t known what causes PPD. There are many risk factors that make a woman more susceptible to it (including a history of depression) but there is no specific known cause.

How crochet can help:

Crochet can help reduce the symptoms of all types of depression for a myriad of reasons. It boosts serotonin levels, which is one physical reason that it helps. It helps the individual relax, calm down, break negative cycles of rumination and focus on a positive activity. It boost self-esteem as the crafter makes decisions, sets goals and completes projects.

Crochet can be an especially great craft choice for new moms who may only have a minute or two to take for themselves. It is a portable craft that requires very little equipment and can be easily picked up and put down and picked up again. Rachel Brown shared with me for my book that crochet was one of the few things that actually helped her feel better every day while she made her way through PPD.

As with all of the other health conditions on this list, nobody should try to treat themselves for Post Partum Depression. Proper treatment includes the help of a medical doctor, therapist or psychiatrist.

Which of these five conditions did you know about before reading this post?


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Elisabeth Andree Reply

    By what you write here – in summary form – I can see how much research you’ve done and how much time and energy you have put into writing your book. I respect you for that! And I admire anyone who has grabbed the hook in order to guide her or his life into a better and more enoyable direction. To answer your question: I “knew” the conditions 2 through 4 from the books of my study Health Education. Number 1 was unknown to me until about 20 years ago: (

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      Thanks so much. I really did invest a lot of time into researching this topic. And even though the book is now done, I’m continuing to research because it’s become something of such great interest to me. The women who reached out and shared their stories, you included, really helped me to feel like this was a topic worth not only investigating but trying hard to share with others to raise awareness of a variety of illnesses as well as the healing benefits of crochet.

  2. I’d heard of all of them except Menière’s disease. A very interesting list, thank-you for sharing it.

  3. Sacredcrocheter Reply

    I had not heard about Meniere’s disease until now. I’m also blown away by the fact that crochet can help schizophrenia. It made me recollect a conversation I had with a young woman and her husband in the emergency waiting room of a hospital. The woman had a large quantity of beautifully colored yarn with her in a bag and was crocheting. Naturally I asked her about her work! As the conversation progressed, she explained to me that she was a schizophrenic waiting to be admitted to the Behavioral wing because of a serious episode she recently experienced. Her husband told me that she didn’t go anywhere without her yarn and hook but that she wouldn’t be allowed to keep her hook and yarn once she was admitted due to “safety” restrictions. I felt so bad about that because it was obviously so comforting to her. I never forgot her story and hope she and her husband are doing well.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @Sacredcrocheter What a touching story. Thanks so much for sharing it. I do hope that the woman got the right treatment and found her way quickly back to the hook.

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  6. I have had Ménière’s disease since my early 40’s. One doctor told me it was just a dirty trick played on some people. I have found this to be true. I can see how crochet would be good because it makes you focus and an attack can leave your body totally fatigued. Thanks, I am always eager for help with this diease.

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  8. Crochet also helps me keep Arthritis from my hands. If I do not crochet some each day, my hands start to get stiff. It has a multi-beneficial benefit – I crochet Lap Robes for nursing home and Shut-ins, Hats for Homeless, Footies for Children’s ward, and beaded bookmarks which I sell to finance the others.

    Also, since I crochet everywhere I go, people want me to teach them, and so it goes on and on! Little did my Grandma know what a blessing she created when she taught me to knit, crochet, and tat when I was age 3 to 5!!

  9. Lisa Palermini Reply

    I have been knitting or crocheting daily since 2012 and am self taught. I have Multiple Sclerosis and was diagnosed in 2014. It helps me with my hands, memory exercise, stress and especially depression. I take small projects, like wash cloths with me everywhere. They are easier for me to remember a pattern and hold because of my hands. I really enjoy giving them as gifts and am starting to crochet/knit with a new group of ladies to give to different causes. This has truly been a life saver for me. ❤️

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