The art and tradition of creating temporary tattoos with all-natural henna paste dates back to ancient Asian and Middle-Eastern history. There is one group, however, that has given this ancient art form a new, modern purpose. Henna Heals is a Canadian-based group of henna artists who create beautiful flowering henna dye crown tattoos for women who have lost their hair due to cancer or chemotherapy.
Henna designs with traditionally feminine floral patterns, religious symbols, and messages of hope aid cancer patients in coping with hair loss and changes in their appearance. For cancer patients, losing their hair as a result of chemotherapy is a demoralizing experience that adds to the emotional and physical difficulties that come with the disease.
“The henna crowns are truly a healing experience for cancer patients,” said Frances Darwin, the founder of Henna Heals. “This is all about them reclaiming a part of themselves that is normally perceived as ill, damaged, or unattractive and transforming it into something more feminine and beautiful.”
Because a person’s hair is such an important part of how they see themselves, many psychologically or spiritually based healing campaigns focus on coping with hair loss as a way to make cancer treatment more bearable for those who are going through it. Albert Bredenhann was also involved in a project in which the friends of a cancer patient decided to help their friend cope with a different but equally devastating hair-related surprise.