knitting needles and crochet to combat anxiety, stress and loneliness in cancer patients – Corriere.it

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Anguish and stress do not help those with cancer, but they are inevitable for most patients. The calm induced by knitting, however, with its methodical and repetitive system, led to think of the wool therapy as an integrative opportunity for the recovery path of psychophysical well-being, and not just for patients. Thus was born, in 2012, Gomitolorosa, a non-profit association that promotes knitting in hospitals as a tool to reduce anxiety in patients, especially cancer patients, using balls produced with Italian wool in overproduction. And while knitting, artifacts are created to donate to people in need, promoting solidarity and recovering wool from special waste, doing good for the environment. Alberto Costa, founder of the non-profit organization and internationally recognized breast oncologist for his contribution to the advancement of breast cancer treatment.

Psychological distress for 70% of patients

Virtually all cancer patients, when they discover the presence of a tumor and even for many years to follow, they try fear, anger, distress, sleep and emotional disturbances. Several statistics have found that about 70% of patients show symptoms of psychological distress: anxiety and depressive disorders significantly interfere with both adherence to treatment and quality of life. Scientific studies have shown acupuncture to be truly effective, which can relieve nausea and pain; while yoga, exercise, relaxation and meditation techniques they are useful in relieving chronic fatigue, stress, anxiety and can improve the quality of sleep, often disturbed in cancer patients. There are still no targeted experiments on lanatherapy, but clear benefits can be seen from the experience of the association. Staying focused on knitting needles and balls helps those who experience suffering to feel pain less – explains Costa -. Not only: reduces anxiety and stress, abstracts the brain from worries, slows cognitive decline, increases self-esteem. And knitting in a group facilitates the processes of socialization, helping the sick and family members against the risk of depression that also passes through isolation.

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Wool, from special waste to solidarity resource

The basic idea of ​​Gomitolorosa that knitting benefits can be gained for physical and mental health. The commitment to promoting well-being is expressed through the activation of lanatherapy meetings in the waiting rooms of 10 (for now) Italian hospitals to facilitate the recovery of the psycho-physical well-being of patients and family members, using knitting as a real relaxation exercise. Practically interested women are given an individual kit and knit or crochet during chemotherapy sessions or while waiting for hospital visits, tests and treatment. And wool from special waste becomes a solidarity resource: Not everyone knows that what once was considered a wealth for farmers, wool, which has now become a cost – concludes Alberto Costa -. The shaved fleece is no longer attractive to the market and if it is not sold it is considered a “special waste” by European law, with disposal costs that are often not easily sustainable by farmers. Thus our association is created a virtuous circular economy mechanism where waste is transformed into an artifact, passing through environmental protection, solidarity, therapy, well-being, sharing, socialization. Thanks to the partner Lanificio F.lli Piacenza, the association recovers native Italian waste wool (otherwise burnt or abandoned in the fields) and creates balls of pure virgin wool certified in 14 different colors according to an international code that gives each disease a different shade . The artifacts made free of charge by over 1,500 volunteers will then be donated to other non-profit organizations, who will use these creations to raise funds for their research projects.

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June 10, 2021 (change June 10, 2021 | 17:49)

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