How Holding Hands With a Loved One Literally Eases the Pain at the Doctor’s Office

couple-holding-hands-on-the-beach
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To make a painful experience—things like an IV insertion to a broken arm—not so bad, hold on to your partner’s hand.

Research from the University of Colorado at Boulder that used electroencephalography [EEG] to measure brain wave activity found that physical contact with a loved one helps diminish the hurt, likely because it causes brain waves to sync up, allowing the person in discomfort to tap into the other person’s calmer state, a phenomenon that’s known as interpersonal synchronization.

“You may express empathy for a partner’s pain, but without touch it may not be fully communicated,” according to cognitive neuroscientist Pavel Goldstein.