Holding the hand of a loved one to comfort them really does help reduce pain, a US study has shown.
Dr Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder was inspired to conduct the research after witnessing the birth of his daughter four years ago.
He said: “My wife was in pain, and all I could think was, ‘What can I do to help her?’ I reached for her hand and it seemed to help.
“I wanted to test it out in the lab: Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?”
His team found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.
Dr Goldstein said: “The more empathetic the partner, the stronger the analgesic effect and the higher the synchronisation between the two when they are touching.”
Researchers examined 22 couples …
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