A Lover's Touch Eases Pain as Heartbeats, Breathing Sync

Published: June 26, 2017

Holding hands

Fathers-to-be, take note: You may be more useful in the labor and delivery room than you realize.

ICS's Dr. Pavel Goldstein recently published work on “interpersonal synchronization,” the phenomenon in which individuals begin to physiologically mirror the people they’re with.

The study of 22 couples, found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates. Dr. Goldstein came up with the idea after witnessing the birth of his daughter, now 4.

“My wife was in pain, and all I could think was, ‘What can I do to help her?’ I reached for her hand and it seemed to help,” he recalls. “I wanted to test it out in the lab: Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?”

Read more at CU Boulder Today: A lover's touch eases pain as heartbeats, breathing sync