Unusual Therapy for Brain Injury Survivors


The article featured in this post is titled “Forge Offers Ironwork Therapy for Brain Injury.” I noticed the article on the BBC website. I am not an iron worker or therapist and I did not receive blacksmith therapy as part of my recovery from brain injury. I do not have enough information about the therapy to state whether or not it works. I do not know the program activities, duration, or cost, nor have I received any feedback from participants.  All I can say is that the concept is creative, unusual, and I do not understand how hitting metal could possibly be therapeutic for someone with brain injury.


Blacksmith Aaron Heath runs the courses
Blacksmith Aaron Heath runs the courses

People with head injuries, mental health problems and addictions have been offered the chance of blacksmith training as part of their recovery.

Courses have been set up at Oldfield Forge in Garway Hill, Herefordshire, by former nurse Nicky Heath and her husband Aaron, a blacksmith.

Mrs. Heath said her nursing career inspired her to think about therapy. “We believe [the programmes] will help heal vulnerable or emotionally fragile students,” she added.

Mr. Heath is in charge of the training. “I’ll get some fulfilment from passing the skills to others and keeping the craft alive. But my real passion is the actual work. I still enjoy getting my hands dirty,” he said.

Helen Mapp, from the brain injury charity Herefordshire Headway, believes the creative hands-on nature of the job is ideal for rehabilitation. “It is something to focus on, and when you’ve made something there is a sense of achievement,” she said.


Click here to read another Beyond Injury post about overcoming adversity.

Nicky Heath for creating a therapy that could potentially help people with head injuries, mental health problems and addictions; Aaron Heath for sharing his expertise as a blacksmith; BBC for sharing the story; Wikipedia for providing information about Hereford; Hereford Times for providing additional information about Aaron Heath; Google for helping me find the article and picture I used in this post; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.



  1. What ever works is the rule. What works for one person might niot work for another. Concentration and focus are critical skills to gain. Scott are you saying people with brain injuries shouldn’t take risks? Isn’t taking risks part of the learning process? Don’t all people learn by their mistakes? Safety is important but it shouldn’t become an obstalce to achievement, accomplishment and success. I have no problem with a brain injuried person doing something like this. More power to him and hope it can help others who want to try it!

    1. Ken, I certainly was not questioning the value of taking risks; I was questioning the value of someone with a brain injury (like myself) slamming a metal hammer against a piece of metal on a metal anvil. I don’t see that as a risk, I see it as a way to further damage the already injured brain. However, I also see the value in learning a trade, building confidence, honing hand-eye coordination, and improving listening/attention skills. I shared the information not to tell people what must be, but to ask people what they think.

      Thank you for sharing your comment.

  2. Very interesting. I think that building a skill and subsequently knowing you are very good at that skills is very healthy for a person’s self-esteem and mental health.
    Building a skill is an infinite task, because there always ways to improve and get better and I think committing to something that is infinite can be humbling, easing (because you don’t have to think about the limits) and healthy.

    1. Brook, I see that side as well, but does it bother you that a brain injured person would be hitting metal with metal on a metal anvil? ~ Scott

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