Romance Can Reduce Pain – Literally
Romantic love can make you feel better fast.
Being intensely in love not only makes you giddy, it also reduces your response to pain, according to a study.
Volunteers in the study, who were in the early stages of a romantic relationship, were subjected to an episode of “moderate heat pain,” according to an article published on PLoS ONE, an online journal of scientific studies
The researchers, from Stanford University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, found that during the episode, respondents had fewer feelings of pain if they were looking at a picture of the person they were in love with. The researchers based that conclusion on neuro-imaging as well as reports from the participants.
They concluded as well that the pain-reducing benefit was equal to holding hands with a partner.
The subjects also played a word-association game designed to distract them from their pain, and the researchers found that their pain reduction was the same as when they looked at their partner’s picture. However, when they looked at the picture of an attractive friend, their pain reduction was significantly less.
Because the positive responses prompted action in the “reward-processing” sections of the brain, the researchers said that scientists could begin to develop manufactured anesthetics that could duplicate the process—and make patients feel much less pain. (PLoSONE)
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.