Knitting has been tagged women’s work, for old people, not worth talking about, and lets face it, its had a huge stigma for quite a number of years.

But in fact, knitting is one of the most theraputic practices there is. It helps with pain. It helps with depression. It helps with anxiety. It helps with stress. And on top of that is just plain enjoyable.

Knitting can also be very creative, depending on how far you want to take it. Some knitters will stick with just the plain knit and purl, other will start working complicated patterns, and using many different colours and stitches in their knitting.

I have been knitting since I was five years old and could not imagine life without it. Of course, there are times when it is put aside if one is too busy, but it always comes out again in times of need. At times, I have actually felt compelled to knit – and that is because it is relaxing and stress reducing. I just cast on some stitches and started knitting. It the action of doing it that is the relief. 

Betsan Corkhill – has been working with knitting as therapy since 2005, and the results have been amazing. Studies have been conducted in the UK on how knitting works on the body and brain. It has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety just by the action of working those two needles. Knitting is rhythmic, while at the same time, engages the brain enough so that it can let go (or forget) pain, stress, anxiety or depression.

Betsan has a number of PDFs that can be downloaded to help you along the way:

A small selection of reading off her site that can help:

25 ways knitting and stitching can help with pain

25 ways knitting and stitching can help with depression

25 ways knitting and stitching can help with stress

25 ways knitting and stitching can help conquer addiction

25 ways knitting and stitching can help with dementia

Stitchlinks Guide to Good Posture

Troubleshooting Knitting – a guide for those with hand arm and neck problems

Changing your Mind about Pain NEW

Laughter Therapy – this YouTube video makes us laugh every time 🙂 NEW

Saving Starfish – integrating care and compassion into a system based on business ethics – changing health systems by Betsan Corkhill. Published in Pain News September 2013

Pain Medicine versus Pain Management – an important paper by Professor John Loeser and Professor Alex Cahana, calling for a change in healthcare systems

What if Pain was a Verb – Alex Cahana at TEDxBellevue

Pain News (British Pain Society Journal) – Knitting and Pain. See page 44

Pain News – Therapeutic Knitting study day report (page 171). Letter to Editor (page 184)

Victoria’s Story – Creativity and Pain Relief – how I recovered from CRPS and a drop foot

Guide to recognising a stroke – please read as this could save a life

Happy Boxes

Laughter Therapy to set you up for the day – YouTube video guaranteed to have you laughing

Airing Pain Programme 11
 – Knitting, Music and Pain (podcast). Click on arrow to listen

Explain Pain – David Butler and Lorimer Moseley talk about their book. YouTube video

Lorimer Moseley talks about pain. Brief YouTube video well worth listening to.

I encourage you to visit her website, and her blog

There is also a book  Knit for Health and Wellness, that can be bought online or from Betsan herself if you live in the UK.

Knitting for Therapy is becoming more well known as anyone and everyone can take part – individuals, groups, companies wanting to reduce the stress in the office place, mature people, hospitals, schools – absolutely anyone! Age and gender is no obstacle, from the very young (soon as they can hold needles) to the very old (which will keep the brain active).

The knitter can be as creative or as simple as they like. A beginner, or an experienced knitter taking up the needles again after a long period of not knitting.

Happy Knitting.



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