Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

First, Whack Yourself With A Hammer...

You do it...admit it. Don't pretend there aren't times when nothing but a good $#@!! will make you feel better. Hopefully, these times are relegated to events associated with serious pain and not just watching your favorite team mess up again. If that's the case, there is a bit of good news for you: swearing can actually relieve physical pain (not the kind caused when your team loses, however).
Researchers at Keele University in Staffordshire, England, just published a two-year study in NeuroReport which claims that physical pain can be reduced through use of swearing. I actually thought the study was interesting. Here's what researchers did.
First of all, one has to create a sensation of pain...I doubt many folks are going to volunteer to get their thumb whacked with a hammer, so something seemingly benign must be incorporated...this is what I found interesting: the "normal" way to cause pain for an experiment is to use icy cold water...really! The reason for ice water? It leaves no mark and does no physiological harm. (Tell that to my mom who used to toss ice water on me to get me out of bed during my rebellious and sleepy youth)
Anyway, subjects were asked to hold a hand in ice-cold water for as long as they could stand it. Upon retrieving the hand, the subjects were asked to repeat either a swear word or a neutral word. Those involved in swearing felt the pain dissipate faster than those who used neutral words.
The researchers posit that wearing induces the "fight or flight" response which "nullifies the link between fear and pain perception." Thus, it works with physical pain but not with the anguished caused by fumbles or double play ground balls (one of which caused me to throw a remote control down two flights of stairs...a long time ago when I was less mature).
So, the next time you do something clumsy and wish to mitigate the physical pain...feel free to go all George Carlin on us.
Just not in front of the kids.


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