Swearing ‘helps to reduce pain’

10 08 2009

 

Gordon Ramsay

TV chef Gordon Ramsay is notorious for his swearing

“I thought this story was interesting as it shows how the inner emotions need a release.  Not condoning this language or using God’s name in vain.  It does give a clue to how we tick.”   

Uttering expletives when you hurt yourself is a sensible policy, according to scientists who have shown swearing can help reduce pain.

A study by Keele University researchers found volunteers who cursed at will could endure pain nearly 50% longer than civil-tongued peers.

They believe swearing helps us downplay being hurt in favour of a more pain-tolerant machismo.

The work by Dr Richard Stephens’ team appears in the journal NeuroReport.

Dr Stephens, from Keele’s school of psychology, came up with the idea for the study after swearing when he accidentally hit his thumb with a hammer as he built a garden shed.

If they want to use this pain-lessening effect to their advantage they need to do less casual swearing
Researcher Dr Richard Stephens

He recruited 64 volunteers to take part and each individual was asked to submerge their hand in a tub of freezing water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice.

They were then asked to repeat the experiment, this time using a more commonplace word that they would use to describe a table.

Despite their initial expectations, the researchers found that the volunteers were able to keep their hands plunged in the ice water for a longer period of time when repeating the swear word.

Read rest of story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8147170.stm

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