Researchers claim philanthropic activities reduce pain
Kathmandu, December 31
Recent studies found that volunteering works and other good deeds reduce physical pain.
The studies, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on Monday, claimed that people who get involved in altruism reduced their physical pain. The researchers tested various scenarios of altruism in 287 people, as per CNN.
One of the study found that those who volunteered to give blood after an earthquake experienced less pain than those who did a routine test, despite the use of a larger needle.
Likewise, another research claimed that people who freely devoted their time to revise a handbook for the children of migrant workers experienced less pain when exposed to cold temperatures than people who did not volunteer.
In another context, the researchers hired cancer patients living with chronic pain and asked them to cook and clean for themselves or for the benefit of others at their treatment center. When they were helping others, their pain levels dropped. When they did the work for their own personal benefit, the pain-relieving effect was reduced by over 62%, as reported in CNN.
Similarly, in another study, researchers asked participants to consider donating money to help orphans; if they chose to do so they were asked to rate how helpful they believed their donation would be. The brains of those participants were then scanned via MRI while they received a nasty electric shock to their hands.
Results showed that the pain-control centers in the brains of those who gave financial donations reacted less to the painful sensation than those who did not give money. On top of that, the more people believed their altruistic actions were helpful, the less their brain responded to the pain.
Researchers also suggested that medicine should consider using altruism to "supplement current behavioral therapies to treat pain."