Scientists from UCL (University College London) and the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy have found that just looking at you body can help reduce pain – Deskarati
Published in the journal Psychological Science, the research shows that viewing your hand reduces the pain experienced when a hot object touches the skin. Furthermore, the level of pain depends on how large the hand looked – the larger the hand the greater the effect of pain reduction.
Flavia Mancini, the first author of the study, said “The image that the brain forms of our own body has a strong effect on the experienced level of pain. Moreover, the way the body is represented influences the level of pain experienced.”
During the experiment, 18 participants had a heat probe placed on their left hand. The probe temperature was gradually increased, and participants stopped the heat by pressing a foot pedal as soon as they began to feel pain. The scientists used a set of mirrors to manipulate what the participants saw during the experiment. Participants always looked towards their left hand, but they either saw their own hand, or a wooden object appearing at the hand’s location.
The team found that simply viewing the hand reduced pain levels: the pain threshold was about 3°C higher when looking at the hand, compared to when looking at another object.