Art therapy for cancer patients the magic of mandala making
A receptionist from Hong Kong’s Umaniahera, Jeera Kueong’s Lai never raised a paint brush or showed no interest in creative arts – until she came to know that she is not cancerous.
When he discovered the second stage of breast cancer four years ago, his sister encouraged him to communicate with the help centers supported by the Hong Kong Cancer Fund (HKF).
“I was the first person in the family who was cancer, so I did not know how to deal with it or face the problem,” said Kwang.
Founded in 1987, HKCF is the largest cancer assistance organization in the city and offers professional information and services to people dealing with cancer. The extensive welfare program consists of 60 daily and weekly activities, such as yoga, meditation, qigong, art therapy and more.
Mandala Art was added to the mix six years ago. “Mandala” means “sacred cycle” in Sanskrit. Mandala art often has circular patterns of geometrical patterns around a central point, which represent the continuation of communication and life.
Kwong, 56, underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. A day after the Keekayapti session, in the HKFG Center at Kwai Chung, I met Mandla’s technical workshop and immediately signed.
With nearly ten participants, the class in the three-day workshop at the center of Quai Chung small in the center. On the first day, they learn about many different styles of this expressive artistic form prevailing in many cultures and are sometimes used to help meditate.
Attendees set the pattern and started painting. Silence lives in the form of a coach who guides them in meditation.
“The teacher taught us to be aware of ourselves, to try to hear our breath and to calm myself,” remembered Kwang, who found it pleasing.
After surgery, she is still suffering from pain in her left breast. But they melted between 10:00 to 06:00 during those courses where they were completely absorbed in painting.
“I enjoy my journey for drawing, and I do not care about the results.”
Quang’s work will continue in a public exhibition as part of the heart travel exhibition at CONET H6 Center in 99 Queens Road in downtown from June 16 to July 1. It will include 30 works of 23 cancer patients and survivors who participated in the course of the year to highlight the benefits of this treatment.
Many research suggests that art therapy can help patients deal with chronic diseases such as cancer. In a study of Timothy Boetz published in the journal of the American Medical Association Journal of Internal Medicine in 2013, researchers analyzed more than 27 studies on creative art remedies associated with 1576 cancer patients.
The three major consequences were that such treatments reduced other psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. There was a significant decrease in the symptoms of pain. More importantly, researchers mentioned improvement in quality of life in patients who came in contact with them.
Art therapy is offered by many healthcare providers and non-hospitals around the world as a complement to the treatment of cancer patients.
More than 220 participants have participated in this Mandala Art Workshop so far. Wang Bin Han, assistant director of the Health and Welfare Center of HKFF, says women are the main beneficiaries of this cycle – 94 percent of women’s health programs, and this is also true of the workshop.
Wang says that the responses of attendees vary, although often positive. Some say that it has helped to calm their thoughts, because the activity was a welcome distraction from the stress, emotions or pain of their illness. Others say that this form of creative expression has led self-discovery or self-meditation.
“Many of them said that they saw their illness or their life from a different angle,” says Wang.
It was an experience of former investment director of investment firm Howwood Ting Mei-ke in Hong Kong.
Ting had diagnosed breast cancer in the first stage of the early 60’s, in the beginning of the 60s and incorporated its path to healing surgery. He completed his treatment with traditional Chinese medicine. If everything is fine then its annual examination will be 15 years of free from cancer.
Like Kwang, Ting did not take advantage of his artistic side until learning the Porsche board. Two years ago, I tried it for the first time.
After cancer, there are regular tests in his life which can cause stress. “It is always a concern for me to wait for the doctors, because you are not sure if the report is good or not,” she said.
After joining Mandala Art, Ting developed a more positive attitude to deal with cancer. She remembers one of the early episodes in which she made a painting on purple hearts.
“I was a little disappointed,” she remembers. “I always draw outside lines.” Later, he was able to compare the activity and manage his illness.