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Touching loved ones ease the pain: continue research of Israeli scientists

The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published an article by Israeli and American scientists Paul Goldstein, Irit Weisman-Vogel, Simone Shammai-tsuri and Guillaume Dumas, dedicated to conducted their study on touching close people to brain activity.

According to the findings of researchers, when loved ones hold each other’s hands, it sinhroniziruete their brain activity and helps relieve pain. The average pain intensity, the study showed, after touching the closest person is reduced by 34%.

This publication talks about the continuing work on the subject, which Paul Goldstein told the editorial in 2017, devoted to the physiological mechanisms of sensory analgesia and the role of empathy loved one in the process.

Currently, Goldstein conducts his research in the laboratory of cognitive and effective neuroscience in boulder (Colorado, USA).

In the summer of 2017 Dr. Paul Goldstein told our editorial about the study, the results of which showed that if a couple is in a romantic relationship, the touch of partners leads to a synchronization of heartbeat and respiration. Then it was on the second study of this series. The first study, which was published the year before, showed that the touch of a male partner to hand-women eases the pain experienced by the latter. The purpose of the second study was the understanding of the physiological causes of this process.

In the study, the results of which a year ago published the journal Scientific Reports, was attended by 22 heterosexual couples. The scientists measured the heartbeat and respiration, and confirmed his hypothesis that touching increases the synchronization of these rhythms between partners. However, according to Goldstein, he and his colleagues got an unexpected result – it turned out that when one partner experienced the pain and the partners didn’t touch each other, synchronization of breathing and heartbeat was gone. Scientists have put forward the hypothesis that, not feeling the touch of the partner, the woman applies other techniques of pain management, preventing synchronization. The more you touch a close person eases the pain of a partner, the stronger the synchronization between heartbeat and breathing partners, the researchers note. However, while Goldstein stressed that scientists have not yet found a causal relationship between these two phenomena. He noted that this is the first study that examines the process pain as a social situation of communication between people.

The idea is to explore the relationship between physical touch and pain level of the partners came to Dr. Goldstein four years ago during childbirth of his wife. «I was sitting with my wife in the delivery room, she was in labor, she was very hurt and tormented me, that I don’t know how to help her. And the wife asked me to hold her hand, explaining that this reduces the level of stress and pain. For me this was a very emotional situation, and when our daughter was born, I decided to study this process scientifically,» said Goldstein.

Touching loved ones ease the pain: continue research of Israeli scientists 04.03.2018

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