When you’re in pain, hand-holding can help your brain waves sync with your partner’s and relieve your discomfort, according to a study conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Haifa in Israel.
This study involved 22 heterosexual couples, ages 23 to 32, who had been together for at least a year. Researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain wave activity as the couples sat together without touching, sat together holding hands, and sat in separate rooms. They then repeated the experiment while subjecting the female partner to mild heat pain.
According to the researchers, sitting together – with or without touching – resulted in synchronicity of some brain wavelengths associated with focused attention. This synchronicity was highest when the couple held hands while the woman was in pain. Results of this study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).