Yarn Therapy and Cancer

 crochetingyarnmousecrocheting

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.

homespun-earth

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Knitting and art

paton-chunky-tweed

My first post described the similarities between knitting and creating a painting.  The act of knitting also helps in the thinking process that goes into the initial phases of a painting, at least for me.  To begin a painting usually entails 3 elements: reading, imagery, and thinking.  These three components, then, swirl in my mind/brain during a ‘percolation’ phase, which can last a few days to months.  Then, I get the ‘aha’ moment, and I know how I want the new painting to be.

So, how does knitting fit into the ‘percolation’ phase of a painting?      

The quietness of knitting, the background noise of a low-volumed TV, repetiveness of knitting and purling, and the relaxed state of mind relaxes the entire physical body.  It’s as if the body is breathing a big, long and deep sigh – ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Knitting is soothing for the mind, body, spirit and emotions.  And that is what I need, i.e., a relaxed state, to think about starting a painting.  At the moment, my mind and brain is in the ‘percolation’ phase of a new painting, so check back soon.  In the-mean-time, join me at my other blog Creativity in Healthcare and website Marti Hand.com – see you there!

Btw, the yarn in the serving bowl is Paton’s Chunky Tweed, and this is what I’m having for dinner tonight 🙂 – Yummy~

Polyphemus – the cyclops…

Hi, my name is Polyphemus, and I’m going to__________________you.  Remember the Chucky movies?  Jokingpolyphemus here, of course.  Let me start again….

Je m’appelle, Polyphemus.  I am a cyclops, and a member of the primoridal race of giants.  My father is Poseidon who is known as the “father of the sea.”  Our most outstanding feature, among other very fine qualities, is our large single eye. 

Our race, the cyclops, originated in Greek mythology and later in Roman mythology.  We are characters in many  fine books and plays by Hesiod, Homer, Virgil, and many others.  It’s been said we gifted Zeus the thunderbolt, Hades’ his helmet of invisibility (and the cloaking device for the Romulians :)), and Poseidon’s trident.