Pain relief in positive thinking

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POSITIVE thinking can lower the body’s sensitivity to pain, according to new research.

A five-minute session of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) reduced the physical pain symptoms of volunteers who had burning heat applied to their arms by almost 40 per cent.

The University of Reading’s findings suggest that CBT could be a useful treatment for people suffering from chronic back problems or conditions such as fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain.

A total of 34 men and women aged 21 to 38 took part in the “mind over body” study. In a series of hour-long sessions, a thermal probe was used to apply heat to their forearms and evoke pain.

The CBT-trained group reduced the self-reported “unpleasantness” of the eight pain sessions by 58 per cent.