Holding Hands: A Natural Painkiller

Something as simple as a human touch can make all the difference when it comes to healing. Of course, married couples, particularly the happier ones, enjoy this and many other health benefits just by being together. A new study has found a wife under extreme duress can feel immediate relief merely by holding onto the hand of her husband.

Researchers tested this premise on 16 happily married couples, screened for their compatibility. Female patients were placed inside an MRI machine, aware they would receive periodic but mild shocks to an ankle. Brain images showed all the signs of emotional distress, yet all that activity took a nosedive when a husband touched his wife's hand. The touch of a stranger's hand also provided relief, just not as much.

Moreover, couples who scored high on the compatibility scale and were extremely close enjoyed the most benefits, including the ability to diminish pain.

These results certainly support a study I posted last year about one's healing properties being slowed in part to marital conflicts. Just a great example of your body's ability to adjust the way it reacts to pain.

Another way to handle the stressors in your life that never completely go away: Learn how to use a proven energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique.

Arizona Central January 30, 2006

New York Times January 31, 2006 Registration Required

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