Therapeutic Knitting Guest Blog - Betsan Corkhill

Betsan Corkhill author of Knit for Health & Wellness has kindly written a guest blog post. We are all looking forward to meeting Betsan here at the Craft Barn on 4th October for our Therapeutic Knitting day. Betsan will be here to answer questions and talk about her findings. She will also be signing copies of her book. The book is now available to order online from our website. Take a look below and read Betsan's post................


'It’s great to be asked to write a guest blog in line with a Therapeutic Knitting day at the Craft Barn on Saturday 4th October. It promises to be an exciting day.

I’m Betsan Corkhill, founder of Stitchlinks. In the earlier years of my research into the benefits of knitting I was known as ‘That mad knitting woman’ by local GPs. I’m pleased to say that I’ve educated them sufficiently and doctors now refer patients to me for Therapeutic Knitting. Indeed, one of the world’s leading clinical neuroscientists, Professor Lorimer Moseley has written the foreword to my new book ‘Knit for Health and Wellness. How to knit a flexible mind and more…’ It has received 5-star reviews from clinicians, academics, researchers and, very importantly, knitters around the world. It’s fantastic to reach such a broad audience. My dream of getting Therapeutic Knitting accepted in mainstream healthcare has become a reality.

Betsan Corkhill

So how did I get to this point?
I gave up my career as a senior physiotherapist in 2002 having become frustrated at not being able to give my patients the time and treatment they needed. They needed a much broader input of care and guidance including social contact and help in regaining an interest in life and ‘joie de vivre’ again. What I call whole-person health care.

Whole-person health is a passion of mine. It involves looking at your health within the broader context of everything else going on in your life, environment and culture. Therapeutic Knitting enables you to do this to improve wellness whether you are fit and well or living with a medical condition.

After leaving physiotherapy I became a freelance Production Editor for a range of magazines. I became aware of the potential for knitting to improve health and wellness whilst working for a range of craft magazines. Large numbers of knitters from different backgrounds and cultures were saying the same things – knitting is therapeutic, knitting heals from within.

I was immediately interested and began collecting stories from knitters around the world. In 2005 I set out to research the scientific explanations for their claims and began looking at how the meditative, creative and social benefits of knitting can be used to improve health and wellbeing. What I’ve discovered is exciting.

Modern healthcare systems are set up to treat symptoms but there is a lot more to ‘feeling well’ than can be addressed with medication alone. Wellbeing isn’t about positive thinking it is about developing a ‘feelgood core’ which enables you to face up to, and deal with, life’s inevitable downs and challenges. None of us can escape these but Therapeutic Knitting nurtures a frame of mind and gives you an immediately accessible tool to enable you to ride the flow of life events.

Therapeutic Knitting will help you to develop a flexible mind, think creatively, plan forwards, become socially engaged, enjoy fun and laughter plus enable you to contribute constructively to those around you and society. It’s about giving, making, creating, belonging, community, having fun whilst also providing a means of ‘stopping’ - finding a quiet space in this rather mad 24/7 society. Therapeutic Knitting enables you to ‘stop’ ‘heal’ and ‘grow’.

It provides wellbeing at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. You can use it to improve your feeling of wellness, maximise future health and wellbeing, manage life’s day-to-day challenges and stresses as well as to complement medical treatment to enable whole-person care.

People have been asking me to write a book for some time. ‘Knit for Health and Wellness. How to knit a flexible mind and more…’ pulls together my work so far. There is something in it for everyone who wishes to improve their health and wellbeing – even non-knitters. As one reviewer put it ‘This book is for anyone wishing to find balance in their lives’.

As the established home of Therapeutic Knitting, Stitchlinks is a global support network for those who enjoy the therapeutic benefits of craft, particularly knitting and through it we can support each other to live well.

It is also a resource for clinicians, teachers and other professionals wishing to use Therapeutic Knitting with clients and a hub for research into the benefits. I founded Stitchlinks in 2005 because I recognised that people would need a central, trusted source of information to refer to.

You can get involved in Stitchlinks and the Therapeutic Knitting movement by keeping up to date through the free monthly Stitchlinks Newsletter, joining the Stitchlinks Forum, telling your friends about the benefits, even teaching a non-knitter to knit. If you have a medical condition, please tell your doctor and healthcare workers about Stitchlinks’ research and our community of friends who understand and care. This research is ongoing and you can be a part of this too, by sending in ‘your story’ about knitting.

Use Therapeutic Knitting as a tool to improve your health and wellbeing, develop a flexible mind, enjoy fun, laughter and easy banter with friends. It will enable you to live life to the full.

Come along to the Craft Barn Therapeutic Knitting day on 4th October where I’ll be available to answer your questions and sign a copy of my book.'