The Beatles knew the score in 1964, but now a group of scientists have found the true power that can come from holding hands.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Haifa have found that by holding the hand of a loved one, not only do you feel more connected to them but your breathing, heart rate, and even brain wave patterns will start to synchronise. The study also found that holding hands can even reduce your partner's pain – mind blown.
The study monitored 22 heterosexual couples, aged 23 to 32 who had been together for at least one year and then it put them through several two-minute scenarios as ‘electroencephalography (EEG)’ caps measured their brainwave activity. The scenarios included sitting together not touching; sitting together holding hands, and sitting in separate rooms. Then they repeated the scenarios as the woman was subjected to mild heat pain on her arm.
The study found that by merely being in each other's presence, with or without touching, was associated with some brainwave syncing however if the couple was holding hands when the woman was being subjected to the mild heat pain, the coupling of the brain waves increased the most.
Researchers also found that when she was in pain, and her partner couldn't touch her, the coupling of their brain waves diminished.
According to Science Daily, this study is the latest in a growing body of research exploring a phenomenon known as "interpersonal synchronisation," in which people physiologically mirror the people they are with.
The lead scientist in the study says that one reason for this could be because we have so little human interaction now in our days (thanks social media) that when we do experience a physical touch – it can be really powerful.
"We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world, and we have fewer physical interactions," said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder. "This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch."
So the moral of the story - hold hands - it will take your pain away.
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