Power of positive thinking 'can help beat pain'
Positive thinking can lower the body's sensitivity to pain, research has shown.
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 40pc.
The finding suggests 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, which is published in journal 'Pain'.
A thermal probe was used to apply heat to their forearms and evoke pain.
Lead researcher Dr Tim Salomons, from the University of Reading, said: "Of the 34 participants given secondary hyperalgesia, half were trained to control negative thoughts related to the pain, the other half was given training unrelated to the pain stimuli. We then examined the groups' secondary hyperalgesia. The results were striking. The 'pain-trained' group achieved a 38pc reduction in secondary hyperalgesia, while the control group reported an increase of 8pc."