Group craft activities in occupational therapy work!

EEG analysis sheds light on social buffering during craft activities.


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A study from Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan found that having people around while you work can make you feel relaxed and boost positive brain activity. In psychiatry and occupational therapy, group activities in the same room have been considered adequate. However, there was only a little scientific proof now.

Previous research has indicated that craft activities alone can help people concentrate, showing specific brainwave patterns linked to focus. This also leads to more relaxation, as shown by increased parasympathetic activity in the body.

To explore this further, a team of researchers led by Professor Ryouhei Ishii and graduate student Junya Orui from Osaka Metropolitan University’s Graduate School of Rehabilitation Science investigated how doing craft activities around others affects brain activity.

The researchers studied 30 healthy young adults while they did craft activities. They looked at their brainwaves and how their nervous systems reacted in three situations:

  • When someone did the craft alone
  • when two people did separate crafts simultaneously
  • when two people did crafts together, with one person watching the other

They found that when two people did separate crafts simultaneously (the “parallel” condition), their bodies relaxed more than when they did crafts alone. Also, in all situations, people who showed brainwave patterns related to concentration had more relaxation in their bodies compared to those who didn’t show these patterns.

Mr. Orui said, “This study provides electrophysiological evidence that working in the presence of peers and focusing on craft activities can boost parasympathetic activity, even without physical contact or verbal interaction. “In the future, we aim to investigate the structures and environments for more effective occupational therapy based on these findings.”

This study proves that doing group craft activities is helpful in occupational therapy. It shows how important it is to include social activities in treatment. This research can improve therapy programs, enhancing well-being and results for people in treatment.

Journal Reference:

  1. Junya Orui, Keigo Shiraiwa et al., Social Buffering Effects during Craft Activities in Parallel Group Session Revealed by EEG Analysis and Parasympathetic Activity. Neuropsychobiology. DOI: 10.1159/000531005.


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