Henna tattooing has been in practice for thousands of years, and is traditionally used for special occasions like holidays, birthdays and weddings in Africa, Pakistan, India, and the Middle East. In contemporary India you just cannot think of a wedding without the Mehndi (henna) Night where the bride, her family, relatives and friends get together to celebrate the wedding to come.
There’s one group that has taken this ancient art form and given it a new, modern purpose. Henna Heals is a community of henna artists based in Canada that creates beautiful flowering henna crown tattoos for women who have lost their hair to cancer and chemotherapy.
In 2010, Sarah Walters’ mom asked her if she would create a henna crown for a friend who was receiving chemotherapy treatment. Walters explained that this was the moment she realized she wanted to continue helping others in a similar way.
“I was excited for the opportunity! After that, I knew I wanted to make [the crowns] accessible to anyone and everyone who had lost their hair during chemo. “
Walters now permanently offers henna crowns to clients. She creates one-of-a-kind crowns for each customer based on any inspiration photos they bring and/or their personalities. Walters is also mindful of the cancer patients’ treatment so she only uses completely plant-based henna. Best of all, Walters offers henna crowns by donation so they’re accessible to any who want them.
Walters states that the henna crowns have an almost life-changing transformation effect on the wearers, “My clients are always so excited when they first see their finished henna crown. They tell me that they feel beautiful, and can’t wait to share it with their families and friends.”
One person wrote to her “Thank you again for giving me such an incredible gift. I feel like a walking work of art! We so enjoyed getting to know you. You are an amazing artist and such a gracious person.”
Walters hopes that the crowns have a positive impact on all her clients, “I hope that my henna crowns give cancer fighters a reprieve from a stressful time in their lives. I hope they feel beautiful and loved.”
The henna crowns, which feature traditionally feminine floral patterns, religious symbols and messages of hope, help women suffering from cancer, cope with the loss of their hair to cancer. For people suffering from cancer, losing their hair to chemotherapy is a demoralizing difficulty that only adds to the emotional and physical struggles that come with their disease.
“For cancer patients, the henna crowns really are a healing experience,” said Frances Darwin, the founder of Henna Heals. “This is all about them reclaiming a part of themselves that would normally be perceived as ill or damaged or not nice to look at and making it more feminine and beautiful.”
Courtesy: hennaheals.ca, unisoultheory.com, www.king5.com, inkarmy.com, trinnyand susannah.com