Touch & Pain Response

I know this article on the surface seems a little silly but I was intrigued by the "mirroring effect" & the brain response (I've bolded some sections)

As my FM pain responds to nothing I will give even a silly notion a go!

Why rubbing it better really DOES work: It hurts less if we clutch ourselves, find scientists
By David Derbyshire Last updated at 9:40 AM on 24th September 2010

Clutching the area where it hurts can ease the pain, say scientists

Gently rubbing a bump or scrape really does make it feel better, a new study shows.
Scientists found that people experience far less pain when they touch a sore part of their body with their hand.

However, rubbing away pain only seems to work when we do it to ourselves, the researchers say.
The finding helps explain why most of us instinctively clutch an arm or leg when it is injured - but are usually reluctant to let anyone else go near it.

The British scientists behind the study believe that touching an injury helps to reset the brain's internal 'map' of the body - a process that appears to play a key role in the perception of pain.
The researchers studied the soothing power of touch using a well-tested laboratory experiment that inflicts pain on volunteers without causing physical damage.

Prof Patrick Haggard of University College London, an author of the study, said: 'The index and ring fingers are placed in warm water and the middle finger in cold water. This generates a paradoxical feeling that the middle finger is painfully hot.'

In the experiment, the volunteers were asked to place both hands into the water until they felt pain.
Once their fingers were lifted out of the water, they were asked to record how much pain they were experiencing on a scale.

When they were allowed to bring their two hands together - so each sore finger was touching its opposite number - the painful heat experienced in the middle finger dropped by 64 per cent, the researchers report in the journal Current Biology.

But on occasions when they kept their hands apart, the pain levels stayed the same.
Touching the hand of somebody else made no difference to pain levels. And the pain levels only dropped when all the volunteer's fingers were touching.

Dr Marjolein Kammers of University College London, said the study shed light on the origins of pain in the brain.

'Pain isn't just the signals coming from the body to the brain, but it is also the way the brain processes those signals,'' she said. ''We have shown that when a person puts their hands together it reduces the pain.'

She believes that sensations of pain are closely linked to changes in the brain's internal map of the body.

Past studies have shown that amputees experience pain in their missing limbs, feet and hands when this map goes wrong. The brain is so confused by the mismatch between its internal map of a whole body - and the reality of a missing limb - that it triggers the sensation of pain.

Doctors have cured 'phantom limb syndrome' by asking a patient to stand in front of an angled mirror with their stump hidden behind the glass and their intact arm reflected in its place.
The position of the mirror creates the illusion that the patient has two hands again. When the patient commands both fists to open, his real fingers obey - and the hand in the mirror appears to do the same. In many cases, the pain goes away.

Dr Kammers said the mirror treatment helped to fix the brain's body map.

'What we have shown here is that this body representation isn't just involved in chronic pain, but in acute pain,' she said.

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Hi Diva55 ,

'Pain isn't just the signals coming from the body to the brain, but it is also the way the brain processes those signals,'' she said. ''We have shown that when a person puts their hands together it reduces the pain."

The way the brain processes those signals , this is what I've been rabbiting on about in different posts.

This is what the Perrin Technique seeks to rectify so the signals , from all the senses, get rectified and work properly.
It's not such a daft idea , but you may need to keep your hands together permanently .
Throw in LP , Amygdala and a mirror??

Would it not make more sense to try to fix the part of your brain causing the problems ??

LOL keeping hands together permanently!

Ive had a look at most of the techniques you mentioned none caught my eye.

I was put through CBT / GET by the NHS. Surprisingly they didnt push it too much as I think I made it obvious what I thought of it.

I suppose people with little understanding of their condition may find some parts useful on how to manage their condition a little better. They did explain things like pain pathways and pacing.

Im not against anything that helps individuals whether its understanding their condition or a way of managing it a little better but Im totally against anything that is pushed as a cure-all.

I agree a brain fix does make more sense!


Senior Member
New England
Thank you! I think this is a very intelligent, helpful article. I've just spent days with a dog who keeps licking a sore paw but won't let me touch it. I know that she is trying to help herself too, and maybe she is. Sometimes vets can't help just like doctors can't always help and remedies don't work, but self massage/touching might just improve the situation.