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Pleasant Pictures and Pain

Zoomer Report2020-3-5By: Libby Znaimer

Here’s something easy that may soothe pain without drugs. Look at a pleasant picture. Canadian researchers say this may work simply by taking the mind off the pain and creating a better mood.

The study in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says  pain can be amplified when combined with negative emotions. Researchers gave the subjects small but painful electric shocks. During the shocks, subjects looked at:

•    A pleasant image, such as water-skiing in summer.
•    An unpleasant image, like a vicious bear.
•    A neutral image, such as a book.

When subjects saw the unpleasant pictures while getting shocks, they showed stronger pain response than when they looked at pleasant pictures.

The same researchers previously found pleasant music could also decrease aches.

Bottom line they say mood enhancers like photography or music — can be used in the health care. They’re inexpensive and have no side effects.

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