Unless you’re a high school art teacher, your last experience with making pottery was probably, well, in high school. And if you’re being honest, you probably didn’t appreciate it for what it was back then. Not only was playing around in the clay pure fun, but it was also good for your health! Making ceramics has proven to have numerous health benefits associated with it, including stress reduction, pain relief, and more. Here is a list of 6 health benefits that making pottery can have.

1. Ceramic Making can Help to Relieve Stress

Remember the times that you spent as a child playing in the dirt. Did anyone ever tell you to put your hands in it and wiggle them around? No, but you did it anyways. This is because the tactile (touch) sense is the first of the senses to develop, prompting children to explore and touch just about everything they can. When making pottery, the tactile sense is engaged, which promotes a deeply meditative state, mimicking the simplistic childhood state of exploration through touch. As the rest of the world falls away, your blood pressure reduces, and your breathing regulates itself. After just 45 minutes of working with the clay, there is a measurable difference in your cortisol levels–the hormone associated with stress. A lower cortisol level means that, by the time you finish up, you are significantly less stressed than when you started.

2. Making Ceramics can be a Natural Pain Killer

Because of its stress relief qualities, making pottery can also be a natural pain killer for some stress-related pain. People with high levels of stress tend to tense muscles within their body for prolonged periods of time, leading to pain associated with tension-type headaches, migraines, back pain, neck pain, etc. When working with clay, cortisol levels significantly decrease, reducing stress and increasing muscle relaxation. As muscle groups relax, some of the pain associated with stress may fade away.

3. Making Pottery with Others can Increase Happiness

Dopamine is a hormone which is released when a person does something that they enjoy, such as listening to a song that they like, eating their favorite meal, or having a pleasant conversation with someone. Making pottery with others and engaging in social activities, such as taking a pottery workshop or class, can increase the level of dopamine in your bloodstream, causing you to feel happier. The release of dopamine can also encourage you to repeat behaviors that were pleasurable in the past, so if you enjoyed your experience in the clay workshop, you may keep returning and find that you’re making even more friends!

4. Pottery Making can Help to Increase Emotional Stability

Could you use more balance in your life? The process of making pottery is shown to contribute to emotional stability for several reasons. When making ceramics, your mind and body enter a deeply meditative state due to the intense focus that the craft requires. This meditative state allows your frustrations and worries to melt away. During this time, physical manifestations of heightened emotions–namely high blood pressure and muscle tension–will regulate themselves, allowing for your emotional state to “reset.” Additionally, during this time, you may be reflecting consciously or unconsciously on certain situations that have caused a recent heightened emotion state. Allowing yourself to feel and acknowledge these emotions rather than suppressing them is the key to achieving emotional stability.

5. Making Pottery can Reduce Symptoms of Certain Mental Disorders

A common symptom of many mental disorders is an elevated cortisol level, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. Disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Clinical Depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can benefit from ceramic-making, as just 45 minutes of working with the clay can significantly reduce these cortisol levels and minimize symptoms associated with them.

6. Pottery Making can Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis

Some symptoms of arthritis, which refers to inflammation of one or more joints, are stiffness and pain. Typically, arthritis tends to get worse with age, however, there are ways in which those suffering with arthritis can get some relief. The Mayo Clinic recommends that those with arthritis do low-impact exercises to help combat joint pain and promote joint dexterity. One good, low-impact exercise for the hands–a common area for joint pain–is clay throwing on a pottery wheel or hand-building ceramics. An indirect benefit of ceramic-making for arthritis sufferers is the stress relief component, which can also contribute to less inflammation in the joints.

Pottery Studio in Gatlinburg, TN

In the heart of Gatlinburg’s Arts and Crafts District, Fowler’s Clay Works welcomes any opportunity to give someone the gift of ceramic making. With his wife Cheryl and daughter Ava by his side, Mike Fowler has been creating unique pieces and teaching aspiring potters of all levels at Fowler’s Clay Works in the Great Smoky Mountains since 2015. Fowler’s Clay Works offers ceramicists of all abilities the opportunity to get their hands dirty by making a pot or mug at workshops taught by Fowler’s Instructors. While our 1-2 hour classes won’t turn you into a professional potter, they can help light the spark of a new hobby or, if it’s been a while, help dust off those old clay-tossing skills.

Whether you’re coming in to shop for a piece, watch the Fowler’s potters work, or take a class of your own, we’re glad to have you. Come visit us at 1402 E. Parkway, Suite 10 in Gatlinburg, TN, or take a look at our website. To schedule a pottery class, book online today or email us at fowlersclayworks10@gmail.com.