We applied the latest neuroplasticity and behavior change research to develop Craftcare Workshops.
After eight weeks of crafting with no prior experience, participants in a clinical study saw improvement in at least one cognitive area:
Clinical Psychologist and CraftJam Advisor
Dr. Danielle Ramo is a clinical psychologist and research leader in mental health and wellbeing in the digital age.
She works at the cross-section of product design and research. She infuses science-backed principles into mental health products and leads evaluations of behavior change technology.
Dr. Ramo has designed the Five Elements of Craftcare training materials and pre- and post-workshop assessment surveys to help increase and track the wellbeing and performance of Craftcare Workshop attendees.
The design of our Craftcare Workshops is based on scientific evidence to help you perform better.
Psychology Today: Drawing on the Effort-Driven Rewards Circuit. Decreasing depression may literally be in your hands.
Brain-wise, moving our hands activates larger areas of the cortex than movement of other parts of the body such as our legs or back muscles.
And more importantly, what drives that effort-driven rewards circuit are physical activities that involve our hands, particularly activities that produce tangible products that we can see, touch, and enjoy.
A number of small studies claim that art therapy reduces depression through helping people with mood disorders resolve emotional problems and release repressed feelings.
Journal of Clinical Ontology: Knitting to improve cognition and reduce stress in cancer survivors: A pilot study.
Clinically significant improvement of psychomotor speed (+19%), delayed memory (+38%), attention (+25%), immediate memory (+38%), verbal fluency (+19%).
The Guardian: How embroidery therapy helped first world war veterans find a common thread.
[…] the men could perform meditative, transformative work that was essential to their rehabilitation from their physical and mental wounds. […] Embroidery was widely used as a form of therapy for British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers wounded in the war. […] Another study has shown that embroidery and sewing can allow individuals to work through mental trauma associated with war.
Paper: Neuroplasticity and Implications for Mental Health
One study amongst many that finally caused a paradigm shift was conducted on four Swedish men dying of cancer. In the last days of their lives they learned a new skill; knitting. Post-mortem examination revealed that a brand new neural network had developed in their brains. The study proved that new neural networks can form in the brain through to the very last breath (for an overview of pioneering studies on neuroplasticity, see Doidge, 2010).
Blog post: This is Your Brain on Crafts
Learning a new skill increases the amount of myelin being produced in our brain, which is the key to forming new brain connections.
BBC: The ‘flow state’: Where creative work thrives
The nature of creative work promotes a specific type of flow state “unclear goals, uncertain feedback, the possibility of surprise, and rapid meaning-making are cognitive properties of creative flow along with properties shared with other flow domains: taking place in a reality outside the everyday, effortless attention, action and awareness merged, balance between skill and challenge, time distortion, spontaneity, non-distractibility and no self-consciousness or personal fears.”
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