GIG Design’s team discussed observations of a seamstress exhibiting stress in the workplace.

Observations of the work environment included details of the lighting, noise, temperature, and peer engagement.

The work space is an open area of approximately thirty seamstresses, all sitting at a sewing station actively engaging in production of a product.

Observations of the seamstress were noted to be signs of distress as exhibited by facial expressions, frequent posturing with head tilted into hand through elbow support, uncharacteristic pauses of production.

Following a lifestyle profile and sensory assessment she identified as under-responsive to sensations.


This form of regulating the nervous system is categorized by muted, delayed responses, and low sensory registration. This individual passively regulates their nervous system, has a high threshold to sensory stimuli, and passively reacts to sensations. They may appear uninterested, apathetic, or self-absorbed but it’s likely their nervous system isn’t picking up on tactile, posture, audible, and pressure sensations. Generally this person misses cues and directions. A hyposensitive nervous system is under-responsive.

A seamstress that is hyposensitive may exhibit low energy, minimal interaction, and low tactile sensations. These behaviors may cause future onset of pain, anxiety, and injury.

Our initial strategies to reduce cost of pain, anxiety, and injury:


  • Incorporating 30-45 minute breaks to reduce postural slumping, leaning with fatigue.
  • An ergonomically fit sewing station and training reduces back pain or onset of musculoskeletal issues.
  • Regulating sleep, diet, and exercise improves body strength.


  • A variety of peer support from different departments to initiate work breaks improves interaction.
  • Peer accountability improves awareness to task, policy, culture values.
  • Communication through socialization and workplace events builds autonomy of culture and individual.


  • Hand strengthening (pinch, grasp) to improve agility with needles, fabrics, sewing machine.
  • Tactile reinforcements to improve digital (finger) joint pressure awareness.
  • Task modification to improve body tolerance or daily duties for prevention of future hand and wrist injuries.


Camille Dieterle, Brittany Frederick, Anita Joy Prins