The Octaband® as a Motivational Tool for Psycho-social, Physical and Educational Goals with Adolescents and Adults
The Octaband® can be used with older children and adults for team building, group therapies, and more. The Octaband® is particularly useful for motivating otherwise under motivated teens and adults to exercise or engage socially with others. Introducing each activity thoughtfully and playfully and setting expectations before beginning will help ensure the activity’s success.
How you use the Octaband® will depend upon the age, abilities and challenges of your particular clients and your goals for them. The Octaband® is being used successfully by occupational therapists, music teachers, physical education teachers, adaptive physical education teachers, physical therapists, physiotherapists, recreation therapists, special needs and classroom teachers, dance/movement therapists, music therapists, expressive therapists, and social workers. The Octaband® can be used in a multi-sensory way to improve psycho-social, physical, and educational skills.
Using the Octaband® for Psycho-social Goals
Movement for Self-Expression, Leading and Following
Using music with a lively but moderate beat with participants in a circle, seated or standing, with each person holding the Octaband leg in 1 or 2 hands:
Each person leads a movement with the Octaband® that everyone can follow, one person at a time. The rest of the group follows the leader’s movement. Giving each person approximately the same amount of time to lead, the leader suggests the next consecutive person in the circle lead.
Untie the Knot
Participants must work together to untie the knotted Octaband®, without letting go of the handles.
Here are two ways to tie the Octaband® in a loose knot:
- The group leader weaves the legs of the Octaband® into a knot-like configuration, leaving end loops exposed. Leader asks each participant to hold one end of loop.
- One at a time, have each participant cross the circle, moving under or over an Octaband® leg.
While holding on to the legs of the Octaband®, participants must work together to undo the knot without letting go of their Octaband® strap. This might involve carefully ducking under or climbing over legs of the Octaband®. For additional challenge, have participants follow above instructions without speaking.
Consecutively have each person raise and lower the Octaband®, creating a wave like motion.
Using the Octaband® for Physical Exercise
Using Octaband® with Music
Use music with a lively but moderate beat. Begin with participants seated in a circle, including the group leader, with each person holding the band in 1 or 2 hands. Instruct the participants to:
- Move in time to the music.
- Coordinate breath with movement as everyone raises arms up on the in-breath, bringing arms down on the out-breath.
- Shake arms to release tension.
- Swing arms from side to side.
- Cross both arms in front and then out to the sides.
- Bring one arm up while bringing the other arm down.
- Lift arm up diagonally across the body, and bring it down. Repeat with the other arm.
- Pull on the legs, bending your elbows, and release, extending your arms.
- Lean your body toward the center, as you grasp the leg in front of you, one fist in front of the other.
Continue with participants withstanding in a circle:
- In a circle, walk to the music clockwise.
- Reverse directions, walking to the music counterclockwise.
- Change the pace of walking.
- Stand still, and repeat the movements done while seated.
- Vary the pace of moving together up and down, sometimes suddenly, sometimes slowly.
- With a beanbag on top, have them move from one place to another as a group, keeping the beanbag on the center.
- Twirl into the center and out.
- Move freely while still holding on.
- Have participants contribute their ideas for ways to use the Octaband®.
The following Octaband® exercises were written by Francine Godfrey, exercise physiologist, with the help of students, Melinda Morgrage & Ekaterina Shevchuk.
With the Octaband® on both arms, or on one arm at a time. These are to be done with the assistance of a care partner.
- Follow all medical precautions, especially for hip replacement.
- Be aware of individuals’ physical limits.
- Make sure not to hyper-extend rotator cuff muscles (shoulder).
- Tension is not important.
- Slow, controlled movements are more important and safer than fast movements.
- Repetition is very beneficial.
- *Caregiver benefits: caregiver should participate and get personal benefits as well!
- Pull apart horizontal arms
- Pull apart diagonal arms
- Rowing / Pull Backs
- Vertical scissors with arms straight, band tense
- Horizontal scissors with arms straight, band tense
- Pulling up pants with bending forward at pelvis
- Up and down (with ball)
- Arm Circles
- Abduction / Adduction with legs extended and toes flexed
- Leg extensions
- Bands stretched with arms, leg lifts with toes touching band
- Attach band to leg of chair (low level) – Step over with feet back and forth
The novelty that the Octaband® provides can make learning and exercise fun for teens and adults, motivating them to contribute their unique perspectives and thereby bolstering the benefits. Dance/movement therapist Rena Kornblum offers: "The concept of group connection is a nice way to invite individual dancing to music while still having a concrete connection to everyone else. The Octaband® lends itself to group connection and imagery. There seem to be endless ways to use it."