Roll up your sleeves, grab a lump of clay and sit on the stool by the spinning wheel. No, we’re not reenacting the famous romantic scene from Patrick Swayze’s Ghost (sorry, ladies), we’re simply beginning our session of therapy.
Recently, I tried pottery for the first time. I won’t lie, I was very hesitant and not really in to the whole idea at first. But then something happened. As the wheel started spinning and the clay began to form, I found myself immersed in a state of peace and relaxation. Surprisingly, I even started to enjoy myself! After making what looked like a cross between a vase and an astray, I was intrigued, so I decided to further investigate.
Yes, pottery is therapeutic. And yes, it is real.
In fact, therapeutic benefits of pottery have been found in patients suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. The relaxing environment provided by pottery encourages positive and creative energy, and seems to alleviate symptoms of depression. The reasoning behind this is simple; while engaged with clay, one is required to pay attention to detail, use a careful and gentle touch and get hands-on with heat and water. All of these factors help explain how pottery helps treat depression.
Understandably, pottery promotes a sense of calmness and mitigates the perception of pain, leading to a slower heart rate and lower blood pressure. These benefits are extremely vital to patients suffering from bipolar disorder.
In addition, getting your hands dirty and enjoying some clay time is very beneficial for senior citizens (hope my grandpa is reading!). As is the case with most senior hobbies, pottery helps maintain social and physical fitness, as well as a higher sense of self-esteem. The combination of calm and concentration also enables seniors to maintain high levels of cognitive activity and emotional stability.
Besides all the great benefits, playing with clay happens to be fun and challenging. So get your creative juices flowing, embrace the mess and let’s get the pottery started!