July 26, 1995

Stress Reduction's Common Thread

Relieving stress may be more than a fine point for the more than 30 million American women who sew, according to a recent study. The study, commissioned by the American Home Sewing & Craft Association (AHSCA), shows that women who sew experience a significant drop in heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate compared with women who participate in other leisure activities. The results seem to indicate that sewing helps women relax while they focus on a creative endeavor. "Women who sew have always told us that they felt sewing was a relaxing pastime, and some even go so far as to say it's 'better than therapy,' " says Len Ennis, AHSCA's executive vice president. The study was conducted last spring by clinical psychologist Robert H. Reiner, PhD, director of Behavioral Associates, a cognitive-behavior therapy facility in York City. "The importance of a hobby or creative pursuit cannot be overemphasized," he says. "If we don't allow our bodies to rest from the pressures of everyday life, we are placing ourselves at risk for heart disease or other illnesses." For more information write or phone Reiner at 114 E 90th St, New York, NY 10128, or (212) 860-8500.