ZenTangle helps cancer patients untangle anxious thoughts

EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) – Mary Jane “MJ” Posey has always loved art.

“I like to color. I like to draw,” Posey said as she drew on a piece of paper. “I like to create different things.”

Posey recently picked up a new art form called ZenTangle. Judy Wanner, a certified ZenTangle specialist, taught Posey how to do it.

“There are five basic strokes,” Wanner said. “If you can do a dot, a circle, a dash, parentheses and an s-shape, that is all you need.”

Posey creates all kinds of things, from tiles to Christmas ornaments.

“The final product’s always pretty good,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s enjoyable.”

More than just drawing, ZenTangle helps cancer patients untangle anxious thoughts.

“It eases your mind,” Wanner said. “You certainly, certainly lose any worries while you’re doing this because you really are just thinking about each individual stroke.”

That is why ZenTangle is offered at the Wellspan Ephrata Cancer Center. It helps patients like Posey keep their minds off all the tough things that cancer brings.

“I lost my hair, but it didn’t matter,” Posey said. “I covered my head up with a handkerchief which they call a ‘do rag.'”

“It’s enjoyable. The time goes by fast and it’s relaxing,” she said of her drawings. “If you accomplish one thing in a day’s time, you accomplished something, no matter how big or small.”

ZenTangle is also used to help stroke patients regain fine motor skills and improve mental function. There is even evidence that ZenTangle helps people sleep better.

Wellspan offers classes. Beginning ZenTangle is open to all cancer patients and caregivers. Classes will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 in the small conference room at the Ephrata Cancer Center, 460 N. Reading Road, Ephrata. RSVP by calling Helen Lawson at 717-721-4835.

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