Crossing your arms reduces pain levels


The brain can be fooled to reduce the level of pain by simply crossing the arms. A study which found this to be true states that the brain believes the left hand can and will only carry out action on the left side of the body while the right hand will do the same for the right side of the body. When a person crosses his or her arms the brain doesn’t know how to perceive the action and begins to slow its functions. This means that the nervous system will be sluggish as well. One can say that all the attention is diverted from the pain to a state of uncertainty.

Of course, the pain relieving technique is working if the actual pain is felt in the hands and not in other parts of the body.

Dr. Giandomenico Iannetti, who conducted the study and led the team of scientists at the University College in London, believes that the pain-relieving technique is flawless. He said: “Perhaps when we get hurt, we should not only ‘rub it better’ but also cross our arms.” “Crossing your hands causes a mismatch and this makes the processing of pain more difficult. It works for other stimuli. The sensitivity of the brain is reduced. It is not a huge analgesic but we are testing it on people with chronic pain in their hands,” he later added.

The actual study was comprised of a laser which was set on the arms of a few persons, and an EEG scan. All test participants had to rate the pain they felt from 0 to 100. When they were asked to cross their hands the pain they felt much seemed more ‘bearable’ than before. The study appeared to be “small but significant” and the results revealed a 3% drop in the level of pain.

Dr. Iannetti’s research was published in the journal called PAIN. It represents a starting point as scientists only begin to understand the intricacies of the human body and its nervous system.


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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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