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A Lover's Touch Eases Pain as Heartbeats, Breathing Sync

Hand-holding is a supportive, romantic gesture, and, according to a new study, it's also a powerful pain reliever. Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher at CU Boulder, found that the only thing that he could do during the birth of his child was to hold his wife's hand. And, it actually seemed to help ease her pain. So, he took his hunch to the lab.
His team found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync up and her pain dissipates.

"The more empathetic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching."

Goldstein hopes the research will help lend scientific credence to the notion that touch can ease pain — and their work is useful as health care providers seek opioid-free pain relief options.

So, listen up, fathers-to-be. There's no need to feel helpless in the delivery room. Sure your knuckles might get a little crushed, but you can literally lend a hand and really help.


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