Yarn Therapy and Cancer


Earlier this year, I was browsing through a knitting magazine (Interweave Knits) and read a short article on how crocheting helped one nurse through her cancer treatment.  Was it the crocheting or working with yarn that helped in the healing process?  Or maybe it was the actual crafting of something from a ball of yarn/string?  Well, it’s actually all of these.  By engaging in the creative process, an area deep in the brain called the amygdala is stimulated to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters and hormones, thereby, reducing pain, promoting sensations of pleasure and comfort, bonding, and relaxation.  This relaxed state, then, triggers the immune system to function more efficiently.   

Studies have shown that people who are ill engaged in the creative process ,  have lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and decreased need for pain medication.  For more information on creativity and healing, visit my other blog titled “Creativity in Healthcare“.  There’s alot of information there, so check it out.

And here’s the story from Interweave Knits (Spring) I mentioned a few paragraphs ago…

Boredom of seemingly enless hours of chemotherapy is almost as bad as the accompanying nausea and weaknessgrannysquares, according to one nurse diagnosed with cancer. “I couldn’t stand just sitting there doing nothing for hours on end…it was horrible.”  She took comfort with string and hook – crocheting afghan squares.  For this nurse, crocheting gave her a sense of normalcy, “I had something productive to do again, and when I got caught up manipulating the yarn, I could forget where I was and what I was really doing there.”  As her chemotherapy went on, her pile of afghan squares grew larger and she began feeling better.  “As the blanket got bigger, I got stronger…the chemo was doing its work and I was doing mine.” (Nurse undergoing chemotherapy in Hatboro, PA. Interweave Spring 2008; 13(1):24.

What I’m working on right now? 

cjA replica of my chocolate standard poodle, CJ, aka. Cowboy Junior.  Here’s a picture of the real C.J.   Of course, the knitted toy version is much smaller, more obedient, doesn’t stamp his front paws when he doesn’t get his way, and generally quieter. 


The yarn I’m using is Lionbrand Homespun Earth.



2 Responses

  1. a great site thanx Al

  2. Looks like you are a real professional. Did ya study about the theme? *lol*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: