Scientists say that looking at old photos and remembering our past can ease our pain

Flipping through childhood photos and recalling the old days could be a drug-free way for people to ease low-grade pain, say researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Couple looking at family album
Scientists believe nostalgia could be a drug-free way for people to relieve low-grade pain

Scientists have found that flipping through childhood photos and reminiscing about the good old days can actually help relieve pain.

Brain scan showed that feeling nostalgic can relieve some pain such as headache by reducing activity in areas involved in pain perception.

Study participants were shown a series of 26 nostalgic images while hooked up to an fMRI machine and administered varying degrees of pain from a heat generator attached to their wrist.

Nostalgia could be a drug-free way for people to relieve low-grade pain, researchers say.

Professor Huajian Cai, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: “As a predominantly positive emotion, nostalgia serves various adaptive functions, including a recently revealed analgesic effect. .

According to research, old memories can ease pain


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“Participants’ behavioral results showed that the nostalgia pattern significantly reduced participants’ perception of pain, especially at low pain intensity.”

The images depict scenes and items from so-called “normal childhoods” such as popular animated TV shows, school playground games or sweets.

Another group was shown a series of different images showing scenes and objects from modern life.

Lower pain levels were recorded for the same amount of heat transferred from the wristband, for those looking at the nostalgic images.

The bitter-sweet images also reduced activity in two parts of the brain known to be involved in pain perception – the left gyrus and the hippocampus.

Another region called the thalamus was also found to be responsible for transmitting nostalgia information to parts of the brain involved in pain perception.

Professor Cai added: “The results of the present study suggest that the thalamus, as an important brain region for pain regulation, is also involved in the pain-reducing effects associated with nostalgia.

“These findings demonstrate the analgesic effect of nostalgia and, more importantly, elucidate its neural mechanisms.”

The findings were published in the journal JNeurosci.

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Fry Electronics Team

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