Artists in Recovery

A study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that an interactive computer program called ‘Embedded Arts’ is safe and well-tolerated by patients receiving occupational, recreational or physical therapy.



Digital “painting” created by an Embedded Arts participant; courtesy of Lise Worthen-Chaudhari

A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that an interactive computer program designed as a rehabilitation biofeedback tool called ‘Embedded Arts’ is safe and well-tolerated by patients receiving occupational, recreational or physical therapy.

“The purpose of the system is to tap into artistic and creative neural pathways. Using real-time data from biophysical sensors, the program integrates creative process within rehabilitation therapies by transforming them into art,” said principal investigator Lise Worthen-Chaudhari, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and associate director of the Motion Analysis and Recovery Laboratory at Ohio State.

Movement of the body, measured by a motion sensor, was transformed into graphic art on a computer screen using custom software. Movement was detected in three dimensions and plotted in two dimensions on the computer screen as an abstract painting. The user could see the picture being drawn on the screen in real-time as they moved, or could view the composition at the end of their session.

“We know that these patients need to move their bodies to help them heal, and this is an artistic process to help people move more as part of their therapy. Movement is medicine,” Worthen-Chaudhari said. “We found that patients just go ‘in the zone’and come up with designs that are really beautiful. This enables patients to create fun, individualized images that represent their personal healing.”


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