Swearing IS a real painkiller, say scientists

Science, Tech Digest news

Are you prone to swearing after you’ve stubbed your toe or taken a knock while playing football? Chillout. Relax. Swear as much as you like; it’s nature’s natural painkiller.

That’s the new finding from a study by the Keele University, whose research confirms that swearing can be an effective form of relief.

However, there is a stipulation to go along with the findings; according to Richard Stephens of Keele’s School of Psychology, those who swear the most are likely to be able to withstand the least amount of pain.

While he admitted there was no “recommended daily swearing allowance”, the team did state in America’s Journal of Pain that those who controlled their outbursts also managed their pain better. Using the “ice-water challenge” to test subjects’ pain-thresholds, researchers found that those who swore just a few times a day could handle the icy pain for twice as long. Those who swore frequently, pushing as many as 60 foul words out a day, found no benefits from their tirades.

According to the scientists, the relief comes from an emotional response called “stress-induced analgesia”, also known as “fight or flight”, which produces adrenalin. Swearing is an emotional manifestation of your desire to fight the pain, and your body reacts accordingly. Frequent swearers no longer associate their outburts with the same emotional response, and so don’t reap the same benefits.

So, the next time you head down to the doctors with a sprained ankle, perhaps ask for a list of super-strong swear words to shout rather than a packet of paracetamol, providing you haven’t the potty mouth of a South Park character.

Via: The Independent

Gerald Lynch
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