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Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction: An experimental comparison

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Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) has demonstrated a new role in health and therapy. Meanwhile, meditation is an traditional and effective method for coping with stress and staying healthy. This study compared the effectiveness of CCH and meditation as distinctive and parallel stress reduction interventions. Thirty graduate students and academic staff members in Taiwan who suffered from stress were selected by the General Health Questionnaire and randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups, ie, a CCH group, a meditation group, or a control group, for 8 consecutive weeks. Changes in physiological parameters were measured before, during, and after treatment. CCH and meditation showed their strength in the respective indices of stress. There was a significant difference in respiratory rate, heart rate, and electromyographic scores between the groups. Comparing pre- and post-effects, a decrease in heart rate and an increase in skin temperature was seen in subjects who practiced CCH. Increased skin temperature and decreased respiratory rate were also seen in subjects who practiced meditation, along with reduced muscle tension and heart rate. CCH and meditation have good effects in stress reduction. CCH is a particularly promising new approach to reducing stress.
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
open access to scientific and medical research
Open Access Full Text Article
http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S55743
Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction:
an experimental comparison
Henry SR Kao
1
Lin Zhu
2
An An Chao
3
Hao Yi Chen
4
Ivy CY Liu
5
Manlin Zhang
6
1
Department of Social Work and
Social Administration, University of
Hong Kong, Hong Kong;
2
Department
of Psychology, Renmin University
of China, Beijing,
3
International
Society of Calligraphy Therapy, Hong
Kong;
4
Department of Business
Administration, National Chengchi
University, Taipei, Taiwan,
5
Department
of Psychology, Fu Jen Catholic
University, Taipei, Taiwan;
6
Department
of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University,
Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
Correspondence: Henry SR Kao
Department of Psychology, Fu Jen
Catholic University, ZhongZheng Rd,
Xinzhuang District, New Taipei, Taiwan
Email Henry.srkao@gmail.com;
Kaohenry@hotmail.com
Background: Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) has demonstrated a new role in health
and therapy. Meanwhile, meditation is an traditional and effective method for coping with
stress and staying healthy. This study compared the effectiveness of CCH and meditation as
distinctive and parallel stress reduction interventions.
Methods: Thirty graduate students and academic staff members in Taiwan who suffered from
stress were selected by the General Health Questionnaire and randomly assigned to one of three
treatment groups, ie, a CCH group, a meditation group, or a control group, for 8 consecutive weeks.
Changes in physiological parameters were measured before, during, and after treatment.
Results: CCH and meditation showed their strength in the respective indices of stress. There
was a significant difference in respiratory rate, heart rate, and electromyographic scores between
the groups. Comparing pre- and post-effects, a decrease in heart rate and an increase in skin
temperature was seen in subjects who practiced CCH. Increased skin temperature and decreased
respiratory rate were also seen in subjects who practiced meditation, along with reduced muscle
tension and heart rate.
Conclusion: CCH and meditation have good effects in stress reduction. CCH is a particularly
promising new approach to reducing stress.
Keywords: calligraphic handwriting, meditation, stress reduction, intervention
Introduction
Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) involves use of a soft-tipped brush to write
special Chinese characters and is widely regarded as a unique art form. In the past,
research on CCH has focused mainly on how to execute and appreciate it artistically by
following the experiences of the great masters. During the last three decades, Kao et al
have conducted systematic research on the bodily and mental processes involved in brush
handwriting from a psychological perspective according to the psychogeometric theory
of Chinese character writing.
1,2
Recently, some of this research has established CCH
as having positive effects on cognitive enhancement in children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder
3
and cognitive recovery in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
4–8
There is also some clinical evidence that CCH can help with behavioral change and
emotional stability in patients with depression
1
or cancer.
8,9
In light of these findings,
we suggest that practicing CCH has a further role in improving the practitioner’s psy-
chological and physical health through training, therapy, and rehabilitative delivery.
Meditation forms part of Asian religion and philosophy, and is a traditional and effective
intervention for both mental and psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and
various stress-related physical symptoms.
10
Meditation essentially consists of a person sitting
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Kao et al
upright in a comfortable position and concentrating on a single
point continuously with mindfulness and attention. Meditation
has its origins in the religious practices of India, including Zen and
yoga. It is considered to be an emotion-focused method of coping
that does not aim to alter the sources of stress. Empirical studies
of meditation have confirmed significant improvements in physi-
ological and psychological functioning, such as body flexibility,
11
perceptibility,
12
cerebral activation, immune system function,
13,14
emotional calming,
15–17
and cognitive arousal and activation.
18–20
Stress and strain are universal experiences in people’s lives,
and are of serious concern to psychologists and medical and
health professionals. In a rapidly developing and globalizing
world, the competitiveness and pursuit of material life contrib-
ute to the causation and extent of stress felt in daily life. The
consequences of stress may be reflected in terms of behavioral,
psychological, and physical symptoms.
21–24
Preventative mea-
sures, strategic interventions, and effective reduction of stress
and strain are important issues in contemporary life. Common
interventions for stress reduction include relaxation, meditation,
biofeedback training, and emotional outlets. CCH is emerging
as a further form of therapy for stress intervention. The main
purpose of the present study was to compare the effectiveness
of CCH and meditation as methods of stress reduction.
Materials and methods
Participants
Thirty graduate students and staff members were recruited
from the National Central University in Taiwan and screened
by the 28-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28).
25,26
A cutoff of 4/5 was used to define the level of stress in this
study according to the GHQ-28 manual.
25
Participants were
randomly assigned to one of three groups, ie, a CCH group
(n=10), a meditation (n=10) group, or a control group (n=10).
Each participant reported normal or corrected-to-normal
vision, and being right-handed with no prior experience
of calligraphy or meditation. All participants gave their
informed consent to participate in this study.
Procedures
Participants in the three groups received standard treatment
in separate rooms that were quiet, well lit, and free from
interference. Each group engaged in its respective training
activities. Each treatment session lasted 33 minutes and
26 seconds (see Figure 1), with one session per week for
8 consecutive weeks. Before the treatement, there was a
6 minute, 43 second preparatory process. All participants
underwent baseline measurements of all physiological
parameters in 43 seconds. They sat silently with their eyes
open for 2 minutes. They then performed a color test for
stress arousal (2 minutes), which was followed by closing
their eyes for 2 minutes in preparation for treatment with
calligraphy or meditation. After 20 minutes of treatment, the
recovery process (6 minutes 43 seconds) was the same as that
before treatment. We used the baseline measures (the first
43 seconds) before the treatment as the pre-test physiological
parameters and the baseline measures (the second 43 seconds)
after the treatment as the post-test physiological parameters.
Each participant in the CCH group participated in a standard
calligraphy training protocol led by a trained researcher. The
content of the Chinese calligraphy characters was chosen at
random from a handbook of classic calligraphy writing. All
participants used the same sized brushes and normal rice
paper. The meditation group was instructed on the details of
the standard technique of meditation, which required the par-
ticipants to mindfully control and focus on deep abdominal
breathing with eyes closed. The procedure was the same as
Figure 1 Standard treatment procedure for calligraphy and meditation.
Notes: Stroop test is a demonstration of interference in the reaction time of a task. When the name of a color (eg, “blue,” “green,” or “red”) is printed in a color not denoted by the
name (eg, the word “red” printed in blue ink instead of red ink). Participants are asked to identify the printed color. It will arouse some stress states after nishing the Stroop test.
Abbreviations: mins, minutes; secs, seconds.
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Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction
in the CCH group. Participants in the control group received
no particular training during sessions.
Physiological parameters
Changes in heart rate, electromyographic scores, skin tem-
perature, and respiratory rate were measured before, during,
and after each treatment session over 8 consecutive weeks.
The BioGraph-Pro-Com+ system (Thought Technology
Ltd, Montreal, Canada) was used to monitor indicators of
stress. To avoid the influence of diurnal fluctuation on physi-
ological parameters, the treatments and measurements were
performed at fixed time periods across days.
Stress-related symptoms
The Chinese version of the GHQ-28
25,26
was used to
measure the participants’ stress symptoms, and consists of
four subscales, ie, somatic symptoms, anxiety and insom-
nia, social dysfunction, and severe depression. The test was
administered to each participant before the experiment to
select participants. The validity and reliability of this test is
established to be acceptable.
27–30
In our study, the GHQ-28 had
satisfactory internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha 0.96).
Statistical analysis
Effectiveness was tested using the Statistical Package for
Social Sciences version 19.0 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY,
USA). One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for quantita-
tive variables or chi-square for qualitative variables was used
to compare the demographic characteristics and the baselines
or the pre-treatment among three groups. Two-way repeated-
measures analysis of variance was used to evaluate physi-
ological parameters, with a pre-post contrast effect being the
within-group factor and the method of intervention methods
as the between groups measure. Post hoc multiple comparisons
were performed by using the Last Significant Difference (LSD)
adjustment. The paired samples t-test was used only when the
pre-post main effects were significant within groups.
Results
Sample characteristics
A total of 30 participants (13 males and 17 females, aged
19–35 years) meeting our inclusion criteria were recruited.
The demographic and clinical characteristics of the three
groups at baseline are shown in Table 1. Results of the
ANOVA and the chi-square tests showed that none of the
demographics, GHQ total and subscale scores, and physi-
ological parameters had any significant differences among
the three groups (all P.0.05), except for heart rate (HR)
(P=0.049).
Effects of intervention on physiological
arousal
There was a significant difference in the pre-post comparison
for heart rate (F(1,27)=10.960, P=0.003, effect size 0.289). The
interaction effect between pre-post and the groups was also
significant (F(2,27)=5.436, P=0.010, effect size 0.287). Paired-
samples t-tests showed that both CCH (P=0.003) and medita-
tion (P=0.002) significantly decreased the post-treatment heart
rate, but no pre-post difference was found in the control group.
Table 1 Demographics and baseline measures by treatment group
CCH
group
(n=10)
Meditation
group
(n=10)
Control
group
(n=10)
P-value*
Age, years
mean (SD)
24.30 (4.76) 25.00 (4.47) 25.60 (4.88) 0.827
Sex 10 10 10 0.581
Male 5 5 3
Female 5 5 7
GHQ, mean (SD)
Total 1.08 (0.41) 1.13 (0.60) 1.43 (0.66) 0.347
Somatic
symptoms
1.13 (0.52) 1.40 (0.82) 1.72 (0.87) 0.223
Anxiety
and insomnia
1.29 (0.62) 1.10 (0.87) 1.85 (0.88) 0.108
Social
dysfunction
1.09 (0.29) 1.36 (0.48) 1.26 (0.46) 0.353
Severe
depression
0.81 (0.47) 0.70 (0.67) 0.87 (0.61) 0.804
Physiological parameters
HR 86.55 (9.39) 76.70 (7.72) 82.30 (8.24) 0.049*
EMG 7.14 (8.69) 3.75 (1.52) 3.54 (1.89) 0.239
ST 31.15 (4.90) 33.43 (1.40) 33.38 (1.79) 0.194
RR 12.99 (6.13) 17.08 (9.00) 15.76 (4.65) 0.405
Note: P*0.05.
Abbreviations: GHQ, General Health Questionnaire; HR, heart rate; EMG,
electromyography; ST, skin temperature; RR, respiratory rate; SD, standard deviation;
CCH, Chinese calligraphic handwriting.
Table 2 Repeated-measures analysis of variance on signicant
physiological arousal parameters
Effects F df P-value Effect size
HR
Pre-post 10.960 1.27 0.003 0.289
Pre-post × group
5.436 2.27 0.010 0.287
EMG
Pre-post 0.838 1.27 0.368 0.03
Pre-post × group
3.620 2.27 0.04 0.211
ST
Pre-post 10.540 1.27 0.003 0.281
Pre-post × group
3.981 2.27 0.031 0.228
RR
Pre-post 18.887 1.27 0.000 0.412
Pre-post × group
16.383 2.27 0.000 0.548
Abbreviations: HR, heart rate; EMG, electromyography; ST, skin temperature;
RR, respiratory rate.
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Kao et al
There was a significant difference in pre-post scores between
the CCH group and the meditation group (P=0.033), with the
CCH group showing a greater decline on treatment than the
meditation group (see Table 2 and Figure 2).
For the electromyographic data, the interaction effect
between pre-post and the groups was significant (F(2,27)=3.620,
P=0.040, effect size 0.211). However, there was no sig-
nificant main pre-post effect (F(1,27)=0.838, P=0.368, effect
size 0.030). The two active interventions had a different impact
on post-treatment measures. Electromyographic scores in the
CCH group increased, but not significantly so. However, the
meditation group (P=0.000) and the control (P=0.036) group
showed a significant decrease in electromyographic scores after
treatment. There was also a significant difference in pre-post
changes in scores between the CCH group and the meditation
group (P=0.036, see Table 2 and Figure 3).
For skin temperature, both the main pre-post effect
(F(1,27)=10.540, P=0.003, effect size 0.281) and the interac-
tion effect (F(2,27)=3.981, P=0.031, effect size 0.228) were
statistically significant. The CCH (P=0.019) and meditation
interventions (P=0.005) significantly increased the par-
ticipants’ post-treatment skin temperature. Furthermore, the
CCH group’s ST (1.42) showed greater pre-post rise than ST
increased of the meditation group (0.66) after the treatment,
while no pre-post difference was found in the control group
(see Table 2 and Figure 4).
For respiratory rate, the study groups showed different pat-
terns of treatment effect as the intervention proceeded, which was
indicated by a significant two-way interaction (F(2,27)=16.383,
P=0.000, effect size 0.548). CCH training increased the post-
treatment respiratory rate, but the change was not significant.
The pre-post changes were significant (see Table 2 and Figure 5)
in the meditation (P=0.000) and control (P=0.024) groups. The
pre-post changes in the meditation group were significantly dif-
ferent to the changes in the other two groups (P=0.016 versus
the CCH group and P=0.013 versus the control group).
Discussion
The present study investigated the effects of CCH training
and meditation (an established interventional approach), and
compared these with a control group. The results of the present
study show that 8 weeks of CCH training had a significant
attenuating effect on physiological parameters of arousal
(heart rate, electromyographic scores, skin temperature, and
respiratory rate) in participants suffering from stress on a
daily basis. The effectiveness of CCH compared favorably
with that of meditation, which is a well established method for
stress reduction. These findings are encouraging, in that CCH
represents an equally useful technique for reducing stress.
89.12
82.95
75.57
84.38
80.23
70.11
Post
Pre
CCH Meditation
Control
65
70
75
80
85
90
HR, beats/min
Figure 2 Heart rate pre- and post-treatment for the three groups.
Abbreviation: CCH, Chinese calligraphic handwriting.
0
Pre
CCH
Post
Control
Meditation
2
4
3.78
6.71
2.55
1.67
6
8
5.19
3.51
EMG, µs
Figure 3 Electromyograghic (EMG) pre- and post-treatment for three groups.
Abbreviation: CCH, Chinese calligraphic handwriting.
Pre
Post
Control
CCH
Meditation
31.5
32.5
33.5
33.63
33.01
32.68
32.96
34.1
34.29
34.5
32
33
34
ST, °C
Figure 4 Skin temperature (ST) pre- and post-treatment for three groups.
Abbreviation: CCH, Chinese calligraphic handwriting.
Pre
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
17.97
17.62
16.85
11.35
16.92
16.13
Post
CCH
Control
Meditation
RR, times/min
Figure 5 Respiration rate (RR) pre- and post-treatment for the three groups.
Abbreviation: CCH, Chinese calligraphic handwriting.
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Calligraphy and meditation for stress reduction
Specifically, CCH training slowed the heart rate, increased
the skin temperature, and decreased the respiratory rate.
These results are consistent with the findings of previous
studies, ie, that participants experience relaxation and emo-
tional calmness when performing CCH.
9,31
In 2006, Kao
argued that the act of brushing required heightened attention
and concentration on the part of the practitioner, and thus
resulted in emotional stabilization and physical relaxation.
32
It seemed that their bodily activities were inconsistent with
their calming mental state, which reflected convincingly that
practicing the CCH integrates the mind and the body in this
graphonomic process. Further, years of empirical research
have found that the act of calligraphic handwriting is capable
of improving the writer’s cognitive activity.
3–8
A review of the
literature on various art therapies, including dance, music,
drama, and painting, shows that some of these practices have
positive effects on relaxation and emotional expressiveness,
but bring about little improvement in the practitioner’s cog-
nitive abilities.
33
However, the main difference between art
therapies and CCH is that CCH considerably benefits the
practitioner’s cognitive and verbal scores, while at the same
time promoting relaxation and expressiveness. Therefore,
this treatment effect may be more significant in people who
are particularly vulnerable to behavioral or cognitive impair-
ment, such as adults with Alzheimer’s disease and children
with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as those
suffering from stress or strain, eg, cancer patients. Further
research should investigate whether practicing the writing of
different typographical styles of Chinese characters will also
bring about changes in physical state, mood, and cognitive
ability. If empirically confirmed, we could identify different
styles of characters targeting different groups of patients.
Meditation is rapidly becoming a contemporary brand of
Oriental medicine. Consistent with other studies of medita-
tion, the present study confirmed that practicing meditation
can ameliorate several symptoms of psychological stress,
ie, reduce heart rate, increase skin temperature, promote
muscle relaxation, and slow the respiratory rate. However,
this therapy is generally regarded as emotion-focused, and
is not able to address the sources of stress. Recent medita-
tive treatments are more oriented toward mindfulness-based
interventions, eg, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
34
and
mindfulness-based stress reduction,
35–37
which are popular in
contemporary psychotherapy.
In this regard, researchers have found that the cognitive
aspects of mindfulness meditation, such as mindful breathing,
may cause changes in the cognitive processes associated with
stress management. Trait mindfulness may be predictive of a
decreased frequency of negative automatic thoughts during
the brief practice of mindfulness training.
38–40
This cognitive
improvement enriches the therapeutic function of meditation,
and thus establishes it as an effective form of complementary
and alternative medicine.
Although this study produced some encouraging results,
it has some limitations. First, the sample size was small, and
there was a significant difference in mean heart rate between
the three groups at baseline. However, subjects in the CCH
and meditation groups both showed a significant decrease
in heart rate during the study. Secondly, the main pre-post
effect was significant, and the mean change for the pre-post
measure in the CCH group was pronounced. Thirdly, we
undertook no training for participants in the control group.
The 20-minute no-treatment regimen required subjects in
the control group to sit quietly in a silent room, as for the
meditation intervention. Therefore, electromyography scores
and respiratory rates decreased significantly, which is also
observed with the practice of meditation. Future research
needs to consider designing more comprehensive and more
efficacious components of CCH.
As traditional methods, both CCH and meditation have
positive effects in terms of stress reduction. The main dif-
ference between CCH and meditation is that CCH integrates
the mind and body during writing in the form of enhanced
cognitive facilitation and verbal ability, while still main-
taining a relaxed state and physiological slow-down.
8
The
results of this study demonstrate that CCH training and
meditation are both practical and effective methods for
stress reduction.
Disclosure
The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.
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... 283). 1 Because the calligraphy activity needs individuals' bodily functions (e.g. the movements of the wrist), executive functions (e.g. the images of shapes and procedures of the writing), and attention (e.g. the focus on the using materials for calligraphy activity), this activity involves integration of mind, body, and character within a process of dynamic graphonomy. 2 Because of the aforementioned features of calligraphy activity, research on effects of calligraphy activity has been investigated across multiple populations, including patients with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairments, 3,4 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinomas, 5 and people experiencing stress in the general population. 2 Changes observed in the aforementioned studies include lessened psychological distress and improved cognition. ...
... 283). 1 Because the calligraphy activity needs individuals' bodily functions (e.g. the movements of the wrist), executive functions (e.g. the images of shapes and procedures of the writing), and attention (e.g. the focus on the using materials for calligraphy activity), this activity involves integration of mind, body, and character within a process of dynamic graphonomy. 2 Because of the aforementioned features of calligraphy activity, research on effects of calligraphy activity has been investigated across multiple populations, including patients with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairments, 3,4 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinomas, 5 and people experiencing stress in the general population. 2 Changes observed in the aforementioned studies include lessened psychological distress and improved cognition. ...
... Via cognitive feedback, it is postulated that patients with schizophrenia may attend preferentially to the calligraphy activity, thus suppressing their psychotic symptoms. 2,13,14 The present RCT aimed to investigate whether calligraphy activity is effective in improving emotions, cognition, psychotic symptomatology, QoL, and mood in a large sample of people with schizophrenia. Specifically, the present RCT recruited 150 participants, which is more than four-fold higher than in previous studies of calligraphy activity. ...
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Background Prior research has shown preliminary evidence that calligraphy activity improves various body functions and decreases severity of psychotic symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia. However, major limitations of earlier studies include small and heterogeneous samples. The current large-scale randomized controlled trial examined effects of calligraphy activity on cognition (including attention), emotions, psychotic symptoms, quality of life, and mood in people with schizophrenia. Methods One-hundred-and-fifty patients with schizophrenia were randomly allocated to the treatment group (receiving calligraphy activity) or the control group (receiving general activity), both of which lasted for 24 weeks (70 minutes per session; one session per week). Assessments were conducted at pretest, posttest, and three-month follow-up. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Chu’s Attention Test, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, World Health Questionnaire on the Quality of Life-Brief Form, and Visual Analogue Scale were used. Results Improved cognition and attention were found in both groups, although no group effects were shown. The treatment group appeared to show lower severity of positive symptoms at follow-up than posttest, whereas the control group appeared to show the opposite pattern. Improved mood was found in the treatment group. Conclusion This study provides evidence regarding effects of calligraphy activity on increasing cognition and potentially decreasing severity of positive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Calligraphy activity can be incorporated in clinical occupational therapy and may be provided to supplement medication treatment. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03882619; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03882619
... There are few empirical studies of calligraphy conducted on individuals with mental health problems (Alyami, 2015;Kao et al., 2014;Ugurlu et al., 2016). These studies have mostly addressed Chinese calligraphy art. ...
... These studies have mostly addressed Chinese calligraphy art. In a random controlled study conducted over eight weeks, Kao et al. (2014) found that both traditional methods of Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) and meditation had positive effects in terms of decreasing stress. A promising new approach to reduce stress, the act of CCH has been found to focus one's mind and body and provide him or her with physiological and psychological relief (Kao et al., 2014). ...
... In a random controlled study conducted over eight weeks, Kao et al. (2014) found that both traditional methods of Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) and meditation had positive effects in terms of decreasing stress. A promising new approach to reduce stress, the act of CCH has been found to focus one's mind and body and provide him or her with physiological and psychological relief (Kao et al., 2014). However, no studies were found in which the effects of calligraphy were examined on individuals with mental health problem in Muslim countries. ...
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This research was conducted to determine the effect of calligraphy on the anxiety and depression levels of adolescent psychiatric patients. It was conducted with adolescent psychiatric patients ages 14–17 in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia Region. They were allocated a calligraphy (n = 40) or a wait-list (n = 39) group. Those in the calligraphy group participated in 60-min calligraphy sessions for three weeks. The state anxiety levels of adolescents who applied calligraphy decreased gradually when compared with adolescents in the control group. The difference between the third-week mean post-test state anxiety scores of the adolescents in the calligraphy and control groups was significant (t = 2.34, p = .02). The trait anxiety scale and depression scale mean post-test scores of the adolescents in the calligraphy group were lower than in the control group. The difference between two groups was significant. Calligraphy can be potentially used as a beneficial method for reducing anxiety and depression.
... a et al., 2015;Brattico & Pearce, 2013;Brattico & Varankaitė, 2019;Cattaneo, 2018;Chan et al., 2017Journal ;Chatterjee, 2006;Chatterjee & Vartanian, 2016;Julia F. Christensen & Gomila, 2018;Chu et al., 2018 ;Coles et al., 2019;Fish, 2019;Iigaya, P.O'Doherty, & Starr, 2020;Jacobs, 2017 ;Jiang, Chen, & Xie, 2020;Kandel, 2013;H. Kao, Lam, & Kao, 2018;H. Kao, Zhu, & Chao, 2014; H. S. R. Kao, Xu, & Kao, 2021;Kwok, Bai, & Kao, 2011;Milovanović & Medić-Simić, 2021;Nadal & Skov, 2013Nalbantian, 2013;P.Kirsch, Drommelschmidt, & S.Cross, 2013;Sun, Han, & Jiang, 2020;Trojanoa, Grossia, & Flashc, 2009 ;C.-M. Wang & Chen, 2020 ;T. Wang, Mo, & Ce Mo, 2015;Wassiliwizky, Koelsch, Wagner, & Jacobsen, 2017;Xu, Kao, & Zhang ...
... research related to neuroaethetics is the use of Chinese characters as a therapy for various neuro-psychiatry disorders. By starting this research, it is hoped that the potential of calligraphy as a therapy will also appear in calligraphy in other areas in various parts of the world. (Chan et al., 2017Journal ;Chu et al., 2018 ;H. Kao et al., 2018;H. Kao et al., 2014;Kwok et al., 2011;Min Xu & Kao, 2013) CONCLUSION Based on bibliometric studies using vosviewer and biblioshiny, it appears that fields related to aesthetic psychology, and neuroscience since 2005-2021 show an increasing number of documents and there are areas that can still be developed in many future researches. It appears that neuroaes ...
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Therapy in the field of neurobehavior is developing rapidly. A new field has emerged that affects the quality of life of patients. The literature review continues to grow. The purpose of this study was to conduct a bibliometric analysis to determine the position of the neuroaesthetic field and the potential for research related to keywords. The method used consists of five steps. This field has the potential to be developed continuously because it has entered into discussions related to behavior and behavior therapy. It is necessary to carry out a bibliometric analysis to broaden a better picture of the neuroaesthetic position. This makes it easier to find topics that are still under-researched.
... Applying CCH in training induces positive results in several parts of the human body. The benefits of CCH as mind-body exercises for the improvement of mental health [2,7], mild cognitive impairment [8], emotional stability in cancer survivors [9], spatial working memory [10], stress control in individuals [11], and attention control [12] have been reported. Moreover, Chen et al. [13] emphasized that practicing CCH had a significant effect on improving brain network efficiency. ...
... In recent decades, CCH research has mainly been conducted in the clinical, psychological, and rehabilitation fields. In previous studies, the manipulation of the Chinese brush was controlled in each experiment [9][10][11]. The differences caused by different Chinese brush manipulations require more attention. ...
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This study aimed to investigate the effects of finger grip and wrist position on Chinese calligraphy handwriting (CCH). Thirty participants were recruited in the study and asked to manipulate the Chinese brush using two finger grip methods (three-finger grip and five-finger grip) and two wrist positions (suspended wrist and raised wrist). Three experimental writing tasks were applied to investigate writing stability, agility, and hand–eye coordination, and to evaluate the completion time(s), area of error (cm2), and error times. Subjective responses (arm aching level, ease of grip, exertion level, and comfort) regarding the four combinations of Chinese brush manipulation were measured. The results indicated significantly better performance with the three-finger grip for the stability and agility tests, and with the five-finger grip for the hand–eye coordination task. Using the suspended wrist position for CCH allowed better agility and hand–eye coordination than the raised wrist position. In consideration of the results of the four operational combinations, the three-finger grip with a suspended wrist position demonstrated the best performance in both objective and subjective measurements. It is recommended for application in the early learning stage. These findings can be considered when teaching Chinese brushes for beginners of CCH in schools.
... Result: Chinese handwritten calligraphy has the same effect as meditation and has the effect of reducing stress. (Kao, Lam, & Kao, 2018;Kao, Zhu, & Chao, 2014) Sixteen under graduate students were randomized into calligraphy groups and control groups. One subject is experienced in writing Chinese handwritten calligraphy for more than 3 years, the rest have little experience. ...
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Javanese calligraphy (hanacaraka) is a derivative of the Devanagari letters, also known as hanacaraka. Javanese script is estimated to have started to be used in the Islamic Mataram era in 1608. This letter is used in various manuscripts in the form of chronicles, poetry and other literary writings. There has been no writing in the form of a review related to the potential that can be used for therapy. The users of this letter are Javanese, the number of Indonesian people and it is ofcially taught at the elementary & junior high school level in the provinces of Central Java and East Java. We will describe the forms of Javanese letters and their potential use from the Neuroaesthetic side.
... Nonetheless, the important point is that the coexistence of these 2 utopian identities does not lead to a dissociative state in the person, and his integrity is preserved. To explain this coherence despite the contradiction in these 2 utopias, one can note an old Iranian art which, unlike the discussed cases, has exactly the same rules and principles in both of these 2 utopias, and this unity has preserved the coherence of this culture and its people against traumas: Calligraphy: Although perhaps the only calligraphic art that has a prominent name in studies is the art of Chinese calligraphy, and its effectiveness have been studied in various studies, especially in reducing stress (65), controlling nervous arousal after earthquakes (66), et cetera, and even review studies support the effectiveness of this type of complementary therapy (67). However, it seems that Iran's history of calligraphy is also a turning point in this culture. ...
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Epidemiologic and etiological studies of dissociative disorders are a challenging area in psychiatry. These challenges become more complex when noting that the existing theories cannot explain the differences observed in certain cases; for example, studies in Iran have reported the prevalence of dissociative disorders (dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and depersonalization disorder) as less than 0.6%, and there has been no reported case of dissociative identity disorder (DID) in this country; meanwhile, the prevalence of all dissociative disorders in the general population of the US has been reported as 18.3%, and the prevalence of DID as about 1.1%. Although several studies indicate the high prevalence of dissociative symptoms in many Iranian psychiatric illnesses, dissociative disorders as a stand-alone disorder have a very low prevalence in Iran. The present article attempts to propose a possible hypothesis for the answer to the above questions through a different cultural conceptualization and seeks to be of some help to future studies in this area. Certainly, this hypothesis requires a careful study to be validated.
... Этот вид каллиграфиибольше, чем арт-терапия; по сути, это симбиоз культуры, здоровья, лечения и реабилитации. Занятия каллиграфией сочетают в себе физические, умственные и эмоциональные процессы и объединяет зрительную деятельность, пространственные способности и когнитивное планирование (HSR, Zhu, Chao, Chen, ICY L, & Zhang, 2014). ...
Article
Nowadays, the art of calligraphy is being revived. Computer typing, has largely replaced handwritten version, however it cannot develop fine motor skills, memory training, and concentration. Thus, a person does not receive a certain training set necessary for the harmonious development of brain activity. In recent years, the direction of "calligraphy therapy" has been developing, which is precisely aimed at filling the missing skills. In modern pedagogy, inclusive education comes to the fore in importance. Methods of working with people with special needs are being developed, including the direction of "art pedagogy", that is, learning through art. And it is precisely oriental (art) calligraphy (Chinese, Japanese), which is a whole philosophy and art that has developed over many centuries, that can fully meet new pedagogical tasks. The article proposes the concept of a new method of inclusive education - "art calligraphy", which can be used as one of the elements of art pedagogy for working with people with special needs.
... Calligraphy is a practice of meditation (Kao, 2010). The intervention of color therapy was planned to be ended with free-hand calligraphy in the last session as calligraphy is a medium used for relaxation (Kao et al. 2014). For this purpose a black chisel tip marker was provided to the subjects. ...
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This study was designed to adopt art therapy from an Islamic perspective by adding/including shapes and designs of Islamic origin. This was basically color therapy and was designed to find its effectiveness in reducing depression, anxiety. Stress and enhancing psychological well-being of university students with high and low-religious levels from Islamabad and Rawalpindi. This study was carried out in two phases. The first phase was to develop Islamic adult coloring book with Islamic patterns and calligraphy. The second phase was the main study, and it was an experimental study which included screening out a sample, consisting of mild to moderate levels of depression, anxiety and stress and high and low-religiosity levels. A sample of 60 university students received Islamic patterned art therapy. On the basis of religiosity, two groups were formed as either a high-religious group or a low-religious group with individuals in both groups completing fourteen sessions. Pre- and post-test assessments were undertaken via the psychometric tools DASS-21, psychological well-being scale and religiosity scale. Statistics from the independent sample t-test and paired sample t-test and repeated measures ANOVA for within group and between group comparisons, revealed that there was a significant difference from pre-test to post-test assessments of depression anxiety and stress and psychological well-being, whereas there were nonsignificant gender differences on the bases of high and low-religiosity levels. Therefore, it could be concluded that Islamic patterned art therapy was found effective in reducing depression anxiety stress and increasing psychological well-being of university students.
... It is the use of a soft-edge brush to play as a form of art, special Chinese characters on the moves of the great masters. In 2014, Kao and colleagues referring in the last three decades to the psychogeometric theory of Chinese character have focused systematically in a study of mental processes and the body resorting to the use of the method of writing Chinese calligraphy [69]. According to the authors, therefore, the practice of writing Chinese calligraphy could be used to improve the mental and physical health through stress reduction. ...
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Handwriting analysis dates back to many centuries ago. Graphology is a discipline that investigates personality and intellect of the individual through writing, indeed handwriting of the human being is an expression of his or her essence. Graphology examines a writing in order to extract unfiltered information about innate temperament and subconscious nature of who has traced the letters. The present paper highlights the historical and methodological approaches of graphology and its usefulness in human knowledge in order to give a glimpse of the complexity of this discipline. We have gradually focused on the description of the various fields with which, over time until today, the graphologists have dealt according to experimental and epistemological methodologies along a spectrum that ranges from studies on the character, the neuronal and biological correlates, the use in the forensic field, until to the contributions to career counseling and personnel selection. This manuscript aims to provide a quantitative picture of the handwriting analysis trying to combine insights from different sources and exploring conditions, limits and possibilities of its subject matter and methods involved. Handwriting analysis draws reliable conclusions about the spirit personality of a writer. We suppose that graphology and psychology could complement each other, and in this perspective, we explore the hypothesis of the existence of a bidirectional relationship between psychology, graphology and neuroscience which allows to gain insight into ourselves and others.
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Therapy in the eld of neurobehavior is developing rapidly. A new eld has emerged that affects the quality of life of patients. The literature review continues to grow. The purpose of this study was to conduct a bibliometric analysis to determine the position of the neuroaesthetic eld and the potential for research related to keywords. The method used consists of ve steps. This eld has the potential to be developed continuously because it has entered into discussions related to behavior and behavior therapy. It is necessary to carry out a bibliometric analysis to broaden a better picture of the neuroaesthetic position. This makes it easier to nd topics that are still under-researched.
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A 4‐year qualitative study examined the influence of teaching hatha yoga, meditation, and qigong to counseling graduate students. Participants in the 15‐week, 3‐credit mindfulness‐based stress reduction course reported positive physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and interpersonal changes and substantial effects on their counseling skills and therapeutic relationships. Students expressed different preferences for and experiences with the 3 mindfulness practices. Most students reported intentions of integrating mindfulness practices into their future profession.
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Chinese calligraphy has been scientifically investigated within the contexts and principles of psychology, cognitive science, and the cognitive neuroscience. On the basis of vast amount of research in the last 30 years, we have developed a cybernetic theory of handwriting and calligraphy to account for the intricate interactions of several psychological dimensions involved in the dynamic act of graphic production. Central to this system of writing are the role of sensory, bio-, cognitive, and neurofeedback mechanisms for the initiation, guidance, and regulation of the writing motions vis-a-vis visual-geometric variations of Chinese characters. This experiment provided the first evidence of cortical excitation in EEG theta wave as a neural hub that integrates information coming from changes in the practitioner's body, emotions, and cognition. In addition, it has also confirmed neurofeedback as an essential component of the cybernetic theory of handwriting and calligraphy.
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In recent years, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments have increased in popularity. This is especially true for treatments that are related to exercise and mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in the treatment of both mental and physical illness. MBIs, such as Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which are derived from ancient Buddhist and Yoga philosophies, have become popular treatments in contemporary psychotherapy. While there is growing evidence that supports the role of these interventions in relapse prevention, little is known about the role that MBIs play in the treatment of acute symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even less is known about the importance of specific components of MBIs (eg, mindfulness meditation [MM]) and the overall impact that these interventions have on the experience or expression of psychological distress. Moreover, few studies have rigorously evaluated the dose-response relationship that is required to effect positive symptom change and the mechanisms of change that are responsible for observed improvements. This review will define meditation and mindfulness, discuss the relationship between stress and health and how MM relates to therapeutically engaging the relaxation response, and review the empirical findings that are related to the efficacy of MM in the treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms. Given the paucity of research that examines the applications of these treatments in clinical populations, the limitations of applying these findings to clinical samples will be mentioned. A brief review of the issues related to the possible mechanisms of change and the dose-response relationship regarding MBIs, particularly MM, will be provided. Finally, limitations of the extant literature and future directions for further exploration of this topic will be offered.
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This paper presents an overview of psychological research on the Chinese art of calligraphy (Shufa). Using a theoretical framework, we have investigated the scientific nature of calligraphic brush handwriting as well as its treatment effects on behavioural and clinical disorders. The paper begins with an introduction to Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters, and the character structures. This is followed by an account of a research‐based framework of the psychological characteristics of Chinese calligraphy handwriting (CCH). Our basic research includes measures of the writer's physiological changes associated with the brush‐writing act, and the results show that the practitioner experiences relaxation and emotional calmness evident in decelerated respiration, slower heart‐rate, decreased blood pressure, and reduced muscular tension. The cognitive effects of the CCH practice included quickened response time and improved performance in discrimination and figure identification, as well as enhanced visual spatial abilities, spatial relations, abstract reasoning, and aspects of memory and attention in the practitioners. Following these findings, our applied and clinical research has resulted in positive effects of the CCH treatment on behavioural changes in individuals with autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); on cognitive improvements in reasoning, judgement, and cognitive facilitation; and on hand steadiness in children with mild retardation; as well as enhanced memory, concentration, spatial orientation, and motor coordination in Alzheimer's patients. Similarly, we have successfully applied the CCH treatment to patients with psychosomatic diseases of hypertension and diabetes, as well as mental diseases of schizophrenia, depression, and neurosis in terms of the patients' emotions, concentration, and hospital behaviours. This new system of CCH behavioural treatment has also been applied to users of other writing systems. In summary, the present CCH research has its roots in a Chinese art, has been scientifically investigated, and offers an alternative approach to improved health.Preparation of this paper was supported by a grant (NSC 92‐2416‐H‐008‐030) from the National Science Council, Taiwan, while the author was with the Institute of Human Resource Management, National Central University, Taiwan.Cet article présente une vue d'ensemble de la recherche en psychologie sur l'art chinois de la calligraphie (Shufa). Utilisant un cadre de référence théorique, nous avons examiné la nature scientifique de l'écriture calligraphique au pinceau ainsi que ses effets thérapeutiques sur les troubles comportementaux et cliniques. L'article commence par une introduction de la calligraphie chinoise, des caractères chinois et de la structure des caractères. Ceci est suivi par un exposé du cadre de travail basé sur la recherche sur les caractéristiques psychologiques de l'écriture calligraphique chinoise (ECC). Notre recherche de base inclut des mesures des changements psychologiques chez les personnes pratiquant cet art. Les résultats montrent que ces personnes vivent une relaxation et un calme émotionnel qui sont mis en évidence par une respiration décélérée, des pulsations cardiaques plus lentes, une pression artérielle diminuée et une tension musculaire réduite. Les effets cognitifs de la pratique de l'ECC incluaient un temps de réponse plus rapide, une amélioration de la performance pour la discrimination et l'identification d'une figure et une amélioration sur le plan des habiletés visuo‐spatiales, des relations spatiales, du raisonnement abstrait et d'aspects de la mémoire et de l'attention. Suivant ces données, notre recherche appliquée et clinique utilisant un traitement avec ECC nous a permis d'obtenir des effets positifs sur plusieurs plans : des changements comportementaux chez des personnes autistes, des personnes avec trouble de déficit de l'attention et des personnes avec trouble de déficit de l'attention avec hyperactivité; des améliorations cognitives dans le raisonnement, le jugement et la facilitation cognitive et plus d'habiletés manuelles chez des enfants ayant un retard intellectuel moyen; ainsi qu'une amélioration de la mémoire, de la concentration, de l'orientation spatiale et de la coordination motrice chez des patients ayant l'Alzheimer. Similairement, nous avons appliqué avec succès le traitement avec ECC auprès de patients souffrant de maladies psychosomatiques d'hypertension et de diabète et auprès de patients ayant des maladies mentales comme la schizophrénie, la dépression et la névrose. Chez ces patients, les effets se sont faits sentir sur le plan des émotions, de la concentration et des comportements à l'hôpital. Ce nouveau système de l'ECC en tant que traitement comportemental fut aussi appliqué auprès d'utilisateurs d'autres systèmes d'écriture. En somme, la présente recherche sur l'ECC prend racine dans un art chinois, a été étudiée scientifiquement et offre une approche alternative de traitement pour améliorer la santé.Este artículo presenta una visión de conjunto de la investigación en psicología sobre el arte de la caligrafía china (Shufa). Utilizando un marco de referencia teórico, hemos investigado la naturaleza científica de la escritura caligráfica al pincel, así como los efectos terapéuticos de la misma sobre los trastornos clínicos y del comportamiento. El artículo inicia con una introducción a la caligrafía china, los caracteres chinos y la estructura de los caracteres. En seguida se presenta una explicación sobre el esquema experimental de las características psicológicas de la escritura caligráfica china (ECC). Nuestra investigación básica incluye la medición de los cambios psicológicos en las personas que practican este arte. Los resultados muestran que estas personas experimentan un estado de relajación y una calma emocional que se manifiestan como una respiración desacelerada, pulsaciones cardíacas más lentas, una reducción en la presión arterial y una disminución en la tensión muscular. Los efectos cognitivos de la ECC incluían un menor tiempo de respuesta, una mayor discriminación e identificación de figuras, y también una mejora en las habilidades espaciales, en las relaciones espaciales, en el razonamiento abstracto y en aspectos diversos de la memoria y la atención de quienes la practicaban. Después de estos resultados, nuestras investigaciones clínicas y aplicadas han generado efectos positivos en cuanto al uso de un tratamiento mediante la ECC, al aplicarla a cambios conductuales en el autismo, en el trastorno por déficit de atención (TDA) y en el trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad (TDAH), mejoras cognitivas en el razonamiento, en el juicio y en la facilitación cognitiva y mayores habilidades manuales en aquellos niños que presentan un retardo intelectual leve, además de un mejoramiento en la memoria, la concentración, la orientación espacial y la coordinación motriz en pacientes con Alzheimer. Asimismo, hemos aplicado exitosamente el tratamiento con la ECC en pacientes con padecimientos psicosomáticos, hipertensión y diabetes, y también con enfermedades mentales como la esquizofrenia, la depresión y la neurosis, pacientes en quienes los efectos se hacen sentir en el plano de las emociones, la concentración y los comportamientos en el hospital. Este nuevo sistema con la ECC como tratamiento conductual también se ha aplicado a personas que practican otros sistemas de escritura. En suma, la presente investigación sobre la ECC tiene sus raíces en un arte proveniente de China, ha sido estudiada con el método científico y representa un método alternativo de tratamiento para mejorar la salud.
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Three decades of theory-based research has established the effectiveness of Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) in causing cognitive activation, physiological slowdown, emotional stability and perceptual sharpening. Successful applications of these findings have included (1) behaviour changes in children with autism, ADHD and mental retardation; (2) elderly disorders in Alzheimer's and stroke patients; (3) psychosomatic diseases in hypertension and diabetes; and (4) emotion and conduct changes in psychiatric patients. A general CCH system has been developed for users of Chinese as well as alphabetic writing systems.
Article
The present study aimed to demonstrate whether Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) could help normal aged people or probable Alzheimer's disease (pAD) patients by altering and enhancing some of their symptoms and disorders. When assessing Clinical Memory Scales, the results showed that both spatial ability and pictorial memory were enhanced after normal aged participants (n=66) wrote Chinese characters with specified visual-spatial forms containing directionality for 30 min, and that longterm practitioners of CCH improved in spatial ability but not in pictorial memory. Mild to moderate pAD patients (n=28) benefited in short-term memory, drawing, verbal orientation, and motor co-ordination after a 30-min CCH session after assessment using Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). It was found that the performance of mild to moderate Alzheimer patients (n=9) on picture free-recall and computing also improved in MMSE score after a 30-day CCH training schedule. CCH may prove useful in improving language, attention and hand-eye co-ordination in mild to moderate AD patients without the need for drug or hormone therapy.
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This exploratory study examined the influence of a personal practice of Zen Buddhist meditation on the professional work of clinical social workers. Three areas were explored with a sample of 10 clinical social workers who had practiced Zen meditation for at least 5 years: practice framework, clinical practice, and interactions within larger systems. Analysis of the data generated from semistructured interviews revealed 3 interrelated, overarching themes: awareness, acceptance, and responsibility. Implications of these findings for the practice of clinical social work are offered.