We all have heard about how a mere touch can heal better than most medication. There have been countless cases where a loved one’s touch has healed even the most chronic of pains. However, none of these incidents were earlier backed by scientific studies, thus projecting these incidents as more of a fable than truths.
In time, lots of studies were conducted for ascertaining this theory. According to various studies conducted across the world by different researchers it was found that not only does touch lower the stress levels, but also bolsters the immune system. It was found to be beneficial in wound healing, anxiety, and lowering pain. By using the theory of mind over matter, the scientists have been aiming to improve the body’s natural defenses without using any medication.
Psychological stress hinders most of our body functions, thus making it harder for the body to heal itself. This is what the use of touch therapy aims to eliminate.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Israel’s University of Haifa have provided scientific backing to this fact. Their study proved that when lovers hold hands their respiratory and heart rates fall in sync which automatically reduces pain.
This is brilliant news for the medical fraternity, for if doctors could use this study efficiently it would lead to a lot of people getting off addictive medicinal drugs meant to help their pain. It’s a common enough problem which is found worldwide. The addictive components of many prescriptive or over-the-counter medicines lead to the patient becoming enslaved to it, which worsens the situation rather than remedy it.
The study we mentioned had this structure:
- Pavel Goldstein, a pain researcher at University of Colorado Boulder whose research focuses on investigating pain communication using physiological and behavioral tools, conducted this study.
- 22 couples were put in a delivery room scenario and put through a series of tests. The women were subjected to mild heat pain while the men were supposed to shift between certain actions.
- The different sets of actions were sitting together holding hands, sitting together without holding hands, and sitting in separate rooms.
- Without any pain the couple’s heart rates and breathing were synchronized even while sitting together. However the synchronization stopped when pain was administered. Interestingly enough, when the couple held hands through this, the pain reduced marginally.
The idea for this case study occurred to Goldstein while witnessing his wife give birth. He observed that holding his wife’s hands seemed to help her ease her pain. He theorized that touch communicated empathy, an act that behaved as a pain killer.
According to Goldstein he is hopeful that with moving the research forward there will emerge methods to treat patients without non addictive medications creating a hindrance.
Goldstein has a B.A. in Statistics and Psychology, a Masters in Biostatistics, and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Haifa (Israel). The study in discussion was also conducted in Israel and was included in the journal Scientific Reports.