Holding hands ease the pain- Research confirms

The human body is amazing. It is capable of doing amazing reactions in response to other people’s feeling.

The act of holding hands of your loved ones shows affection and care. It gives the patient courage. We often see people holding the hands of other people while checkup at the hospital, before a surgery, during an important announcement and many other examples.

The latest research highlights that if you hold your loved one’s hand when they are in pain, it will comfort them more. It will even help for both of your brains to synchronize.

The pro-social behavior is deep-rooted in humans, and it is evident from the way our bodies respond to such things. When two people are in a synchronizing relationship i.e. dancing or signing, it is even possible that heart rates synchronize too.

If you add the element of romance in it, it gets even more interesting. Research now tells that the hearts of romantic partners beat at the same rate. (Read complete research by clicking HERE). So it practically makes the “one heart” concept true.

The latest study designed and investigated by a postdoctoral researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder named Pavel Goldstein.

It focuses on the changes in physiological synchronicity while one partner is in pain and the other is trying to comfort, out of love. The results show that this helps significantly to reduce pain and it also causes the respiration and heart rate of both people (patient and attendant) to synchronize with each other.

(Read the complete research here)

They called this phenomenon as “interpersonal synchronization,” this same thing is now explained with depth. The research studied wave pattern of brain and recorded the changes as through behavior when their partners tried to comfort them by holding hands.

It is said that this is the first brain-to-brain couplings study that is investigated in the context of pain relief and control just by the touch of a human.

You can read the complete article HERE, it is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For this study, the researching team questioned 22 heterosexual couples regarding different scenarios while they monitored the activity of their brain with the help of an electroencephalograph.

The age of these participants was between 23 to 32 years and only those people were selected who were together for at least one year or more. During the study they were given a freedom to either sit together in one room but not with a touching contact with each other or sit in different rooms.

The scenarios based questions lasted for 2 minutes each. These questions were asked again but with the women participants subjected to mild heat-induced pain on their arms.

It was revealed that for both partners, just being close to each other showed a correlated synchronicity in a brain wavelength, which is called alpha mu band. It is particularly responsible for developing focus and attention.

This activity increased when the partner was holding the hand of a woman while she was in pain. When they were not holding the hands, the brain coupling was no more visible for the record.

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As per Goldstein, it seems like pain interrupts this interpersonal synchronization between two partners and when they are in touch, it is back. Additionally, the team tried to study the male partner’s levels of empathy. It was revealed that high empathy is correlated with more intense brain coupling. So this is why the pain of woman lowers.

This interpersonal touch may diminish the margin line between oneself and other. But this study didn’t study any same-sex couples or couples with another type of relationships (non-romantic).

The outcome of the study indicated the power of human touch. The researching team says that despite the ways of communication in this era, the physical interaction is what has more value. It is so powerful that it can even reduce the pain.

They also added that there is a requirement of detailed analysis to understand the actual mechanisms that will explain this pain relief treatment just by holding hands. We expect more research in this aspect in near future.

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