Knit for Health and Wellness is by Betsan Corkhill of www.stitchlinks.com. As a physiotherapist she began to feel that what many patients needed was approach that focuses on the whole person, an approach that understands that the psychological well-being of the patient is key to healing.
It was after a career change, while working for a craft magazine, that Betsan began to realise from reader’s letters that there were therapeutic benefits to crafting; distraction from pain, changing mindsets, something to motivate and get a sense of achievement from. Betsan was sure that learning to knit and knitting therapeutically could be the activity to give people suffering from mental health disorders, chronic pain and long term medical conditions an interest to help their psychological well-being and their physical health as a result.
The book is a self-help tool to assist the reader to actively get involved with improving your own situation. There are 10 chapters which start with learning to be proactive in your health and wellbeing and on the potential of therapeutic knitting. The rest of the book focuses on how to knit therapeutically – on the importance of knitting in quiet and finding an inner peace; the benefits of knitting as a group activity; how to sit; how to select your yarn and tools and how you can use your knitting to help manage your conditions.
I love that the book has lots of quotes from real knitters – it puts the ideas behind therapeutic knitting into context and a will strike a chord with most knitters.
“I can actually feel all the tension just fade out of me. I become totally focussed on the rhythm of my hands and I can just let go of everything I’ve been carrying around all day”.
For me it is these quotes – responses from people who took part in a 2010 survey conducted by Stitchlinks and the University of Cardiff – and the helpful “points to peruse” sections at the end of each chapter that I kept finding myself thumbing through.
I think that the book will be an excellent tool for discovering how knitting can help with body and mind, but I also think it will be successful as a book to have by your WIPs and just dip into. The points section at the end of each chapter have little nuggets of mindful hints that the preceding chapter has discussed, but they can stand alone as pearls of wisdom as and when you need them.
“Use your knitting to break destructive negative thought cycles…
…use an ‘intricate’ project to distract your mind from any life problems or symptoms of illness, such as pain. It will put you in control…
…Focus on the feeling of deep relaxation and learn what this feels like. Practise recalling this feeling at times when you don’t have your knitting to hand”
You don’t need to be new to knitting to enjoy the book – it is an interesting read and there are chapters in there that I think every knitter should revisit, particularly on the importance of knitting posture and avoiding injury and also on planning your projects mindfully – not only a lesson in choosing the right pattern in terms of the time you have, the texture and feel you want or the level of skill you want to employ, but a good antidote to startitis, surely!
Knitting for Health and Wellness, by Betsan Corkhill is available on kindle now and costs £6.17.
The book will be published in paper format in September. For more details you can check out the Stitchlinks website.