Stasia's Place Of Grace


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Just What The Doctor Ordered...

In case knitting isn't enough to soothe your soul during this sometimes-frantic season, I enthusiastically recommend this:

From the package: "The first 'inner-active' computer adventure that combines ancient yogic breathing and meditation with modern biofeedback technology. Not just a game but a tool for balancing mind and body."

If you enjoy computer games, Eastern meditation traditions, beautiful scenery and colors and sounds, and feeling more relaxed and creative and centered, then you'll love this. I hesitate to call it a game because it is a wonderful tool for learning and using breathing techniques to reduce the effects of hypertension, migraines, anxiety, depression, and stress... and yet it is a very fun process in a game format!

You enter "The Sun Realm" on a quest (how excited I was to see the Fiona Fountain there!) You learn to control your body and mind's energy ups and downs through a series of fun events such as Zen archery, balancing rocks, controlling the flights of kites or birds using your mind, etc. When you succeed at each, you gain various keys and tools which will allow you to progress to different parts of the magical land.

The game comes with a biofeedback sensor (with USB connection) into which you place the fingers of your non-mouse hand. The computer senses your heartbeat and breathing rate (and other signals) through these sensors, and only when you have achieved the required state of increased or decreased energy can you complete the tasks. These tasks, in turn, teach you how to control your body and mind when you are not connected to the computer, giving you more control when stressed by your boss or traffic, or helping you increase your energy when you're feeling worn out.

Try the demo at the company's site or at Amazon to see what it's all about.

This is one of the best Christmas gifts I think I've ever received! And luckily it came before Christmas, and Fiona's second surgery next week, so that I can be in a good frame of mind by the time both take place.


Animal Breed Zip Code

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Warm And Cozy

Fiona is all warm and cozy for the holidays in her Klaudette The Knotty Sheep T - she's a fiber afficianado for sure!

It is chilly here in Wisconsin - 27 degrees - and we have snow and are expecting more tonight. I'm cozied up, knitting on my diagonal Brooks Farm yarn scarf.

Tonight I'm going to attempt to weave a quick scarf (ha! Famous last words!) of Berroco "Pleasure" on my Ashford rigid heddle loom... wish me luck (and stop laughing, those of you who know how weaving and I get along!) I also have two colorways of Kary's handpainted sock yarn, and I'm thinking those might weave up beautifully as well... I'll keep you posted!

Have a cozy evening!

Animal Breed Zip Code

Monday, December 12, 2005

We Knew It All Along...

Today my psychiatrist* found me knitting as I waited for our appointment. He was quite happy to see me doing it. He told me that recent research indicates that doing fine handwork such as knitting is as beneficial as physical exercise in increasing seratonin levels in the brain. He thinks it is a shame that more people nowadays don't engage in such activities, but feels they will come to be recommended more and more for their therapeutic benefits.

    Note: Knitting does not, however, replace the benefits of aerobic and deep-muscle physical exercise, which should be a primary part of anyone's anit-depression regimen, in addition to talk therapy, medication, and other appropriate measures. If you are feeling down, overwhelmed, overtired, or cranky this holiday season, please contact your physician for assistance, as all are signs of depression which is common at this time of year. There is help available!

    Another Note: Whoever it was who had the "brilliant" idea to put blaring TVs in physicians' waiting rooms is mightly lucky they weren't near me while I held onto two very pointy sticks... can't anyone just be quiet? Maybe they do it to increase your blood pressure and stress levels so you'll keep bringing them business!

The doctor went on to tell me of his own thoughts about how, in the "old days", people relieved their stress and got a lot of self-worth from working with their hands [and probably from not being around blaring TVs in waiting rooms... ahem.] It is his opinion that as our society has grown more technology-based, it has become almost "too efficient", and we do not get such healthy benefits from our daily lives spent at, say, computer keyboards.

Another doctor with whom I discussed this subject some time ago also opined that computers, cell phones, and other technological devices have allowed us to take on more than we can mentally and emotionally handle - we are so productive that we get no necessary "down-time" to ease our souls. We become overwhelmed by all that we can now do, never thinking whether we should be trying to accomplish so much!

So if you've ever wondered why you are inclined to knit while stressed, or if you have noticed that you're becoming "addicted" to knitting, you are not alone: there is a real physical response to the activity that makes you crave it! Just like runners who get an endorphin "high" after a good workout, your body is producing "happy" chemicals every time you pick up those sticks or that spindle, and your body likes the chemical response!

I think needles and yarn should now be covered by insurance for therapy purposes, don't you?

Have a happy day - KNIT or SPIN!

* I choose to have a psyciatrist administer and monitor the antidepressant medications that are recommended by my rheumatologist as part of my fibromyalgia treatment program (the same seratonin that helps ease depression is thought to decrease the pain over-perception that is one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.) It is my belief that chemicals that alter the brain's activity are best overseen by a doctor who specializes in that area, rather than a GP - your own mileage may vary.

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Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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