Saturday, October 2, 2010
New Research: can intense love feelings be your medicine?
Love emotions really can behave like a drug in your body, according to new research that shows feelings of intense love can relieve pain.
Researchers from Stanford University studied the link between love and pain by scanning the brains of 15 college students who all professed to being deeply in love. The eight women and seven men were placed in brain scanners that tracked their body’s response to pain — in this case a heated probe placed on the palm of the hand.
In this research, looking at a picture of a loved one, compared with watching a friend’s pix reduced moderate pain by about 40 percent and eased severe pain by about 10 to 15 percent.
Why is this happening? Romantic feelings activate the brain’s dopamine system, and produces a mood of happiness and pleasure like any other strong pleasure activity like gambling, doing drugs or participating in a sport you love passionately. The released dopamine interacts with other parts of the brain that release natural painkillers and voila! You have your own center for pain-killer production!
Having a strong romantic interest is not only good for your heart, but trains you to seek the feeling of being in love as a welcome change from the perception of a tired and sick body.
Isn’t that the core message of romantic songs and stories? We can even compare the excitement of a new love in our lives to the "runner's high" produced by exercise...and understand why we all need a new love here and then, to revitalize our lives and bodies.