Holding the hand of someone you love can help with pain and make it hurt less.
It is believed touching someone you love provides a ‘reward’ in the brain which makes the pain easier to bear.
Women given their partner’s hand to hold experienced half the amount of pain they did when left alone, after scientists passed hot water through a tube in their hand, shares Daily Mail.
A study of 20 couples also found women holding a man’s hand during a painful experience like childbirth may get more sympathy.
The secret is believed to be that touch synchronises a couple’s brains, so they undergo a painful experience in a similar way.
That empathy from a partner may be why women holding hands may experience less agony.
The study’s lead author, Dr Pavel Goldstein, from the University of Colorado, said: ‘I got the idea for this study in the delivery room when my daughter Emily was born. Hand-holding was very helpful for my wife.
‘We found two people’s brains synchronise when they were holding hands, which can have an analgesic effect when one is suffering pain. It may be that empathy is transferred through touch.’
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, follows evidence that skin-to-skin touch can reduce babies’ pain during medical procedures and adults’ anxiety and blood pressure in reaction to stress.
It states: ‘Our findings indicate that hand-holding during pain administration increases brain-to-brain coupling in a network that mainly involves the central regions of the pain target and the right hemisphere of the brain observer.’
It certainly worked for me during labour. Did you hold your partner’s hand during childbirth?
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