What Does Acupuncture and Knitting Have in Common?


O.K. the obvious answer is that they both use needles. However, while I was pulling out my fall sweaters, I began to think a little more about the qualities that knitting and acupuncture have in common. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

When it comes to sweaters…

  • A knit sweater is a completely interconnected system of stitches working together to create a whole.
  • Different sweaters can have different patterns.
  • With time, a sweater can show wear and tear, and its shape can change from over-stretching, but in skilled hands the shape can be restored.
  • A knit sweater can protect you from the elements — balancing your temperature.
  • One broken stitch can unravel the entire system, however, it can be fixed if you know how.

Acupuncture has similar characteristics.

  • Like the stitches in a piece of knitting, the system of meridians that run throughout the body are completely interconnected to create a whole.
  • Like the varied patterns in knitting, in traditional Chinese medicine, we are treating patterns (i.e. combinations of symptoms) and different patients may have different patterns of energy flow, even when they present the same symptoms. An example of this is a frontal headache; Two patients may have this same symptom, however, the pattern of energy blockage can be quite different, so they would receive different acupuncture treatments for the condition.
  • s a sweater “breathes” and allows protection from the elements, our bodies energy flow depends on internal conditions (sleep, food, emotions…), and external conditions (seasons, climate, relationships). With dramatic changes in any of these, the flow of energy can be disrupted. Acupuncture helps the body to adapt to changes in the environment, climate or seasons. It helps your body to deal with common cold or heat stroke, by restoring free flow of energy.
  • Like a broken stitch in knitting, when the flow of energy is blocked along the meridians, discomfort, illness and disease are the end result. These blockages can be repaired with skilled hands.

When knitting, its important to be aware of your posture; avoid the hunkered-down and hunched over tendency which can cause back pain. Also, if you suffer any repetitive injuries such as carpal tunnel, or if you have arthritis in your hands, wrists, elbows, or shoulder, you might want to limit the time that you spend knitting to prevent flare-ups.

I am also an avid knitter. The process of knitting has similarities as well: For both acupuncture and knitting, to get the best results, you need to be in a Zen space when you knit or practice acupuncture. If you approach the process with love, then both processes will bring joy — both to yourself and to those who receive your efforts.

I’m sure there are many more analogies, and I’d love to hear some from you! As the season begins to change, I’m arranging my wardrobe to be prepared for cool mornings, hot afternoons and colder evenings. A little preparation ensures that I will be ready to face the elements. I’m looking forward to wrapping myself in some cozy, soft sweater favorites, and planning to knit a few new patterns! I am also making sure that I’m preparing my body for a season of wellness with a change of diet; I’m eating and drinking warmer foods and beverages, using relaxation methods to help me get enough rest, and yes, I’m seeing my acupuncturist to ensure that my energy flow is optimal. I’m looking forward to a Fall that is full of energy and light.


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The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA


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