The power of love is not limited to sweetening the soul. It has tangible, physical effects, to the point that it could be prescribed as a pain reliever. Its therapeutic capacity has already been demonstrated in a study carried out by the Stanford University Medical Center (USA).
A thermal stimulator was applied to 15 people to cause slight pain in the hand. At the time, they were shown a photograph of their partner and an acquaintance of equal attractiveness. Brain reactions were analyzed through an MRI. This proved that only the image of the person they loved reduced the painful impulses registered by the central nervous system.
A recent experiment has shown that this effect is more intense when there is physical contact with the couple. Researchers from the universities of Haifa (Israel) and Colorado Boulder (USA) monitored 32 couples who enjoyed a stable relationship. First, they did it separately: each one showed a different heart and respiratory rate. When putting together, their rhythms tended to synchronize.
It is a curious phenomenon known as interpersonal synchronization by which we convert the people with whom we feel especially united into a biological mirror. That physical empathy leads us to calm down and reduce the pulsations if the other does it, or to alter us when the couple is agitated.
The experiment continued with heat stimulators applied to the arm of one of the members of each pair. With each stab of pain, the timing was altered, but it was enough for them to hold hands to restore balance quickly, with the consequent feeling of relief.
Sean Mackey, head of the Stanford University study, explains it from a scientific point of view: “Love-induced analgesia is associated with the brain’s reward centers and appears to involve primitive neurological aspects, activating deep structures that could block pain at a spinal level, similar to how opioid pain relievers work. “
This means that when a woman takes her partner’s hand during childbirth or when a mother caresses her son’s forehead when his gut hurts. A psychological connection takes place that causes our brain to produce substances that soothe and comfort us: so less paracetamol and more love.