Study shows a glass of water reduces pain just as well as a lollipop
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by authors Peggy Mason, PhD, professor of neurobiology, and Hayley Foo, PhD, research associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago, is the first to show that while ingesting food or drink, a powerful painkilling effect occurs.
They found a region in the brainstem called the raphe mangus (known to blunt pain during sleep and urination) that regulates this pain response. The brainstem is what controls our breathing and perspiration subconsciously.
In their experiment on rats, they found the animals didn’t lift their paws off a hot light bulb under their cages when they were eating a chocolate chip or drinking sugar water. They were even more surprised to find that even when they replaced the sugar water with regular water; the rats also delayed lifting their paws off the hot cage floor.
When they gave the animals bitter quinine; they found the rats made a “gape that’s akin to a child’s expression of ‘yuck.’” And they reacted to the heat under their cages quickly. So, the researchers concluded that only pleasurable food triggers pain relief.
Surprisingly enough, when the rats were ill; the chocolate chip didn’t delay the pain response, only plain water delayed the pain under all conditions.
Mason believes this effect is in humans as well, previous studies showed sugar water reduced pain in infants getting booster shots.
This brainstem controlled pain relief effect might have been a natural blessing for animals in the wild. The brainstem trigger made sure they would eat as much as possible (when the food is non-toxic and pleasurable) and not be distracted by pain while they were eating.
The researchers though consider this natural pain killing effect, a problem for modernized humans because of the large quantities of pleasurable foods available to us around the clock. The brainstem (which functions subconsciously) will trigger you to eat the entire bag of (pleasurable) potato chips until its empty, even though the conscious mind knows it’s full and should stop.
Should obesity be blamed on our brainstems triggers?
No. Since the research shows plain water triggers the same effect as hedonistic foods.
Peggy Mason concludes: “Ingestion is a painkiller but we don’t need the sugar, so replace the doctor’s lollipop with a drink of water.”
Though not heavily researched, a few water cure studies were out as far back as 1984 when Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, authored the book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. Dr. “Batman,” while serving time as a political prisoner in an Iranian jail, cured the inmate’s peptic ulcers with water and it was then he realized that dehydration was the cause behind many symptoms of bodily disease and that “hydration” of the dehydrated should be a first step in cure before drugs are given to mask the symptoms. (See New York Times article)
He applied these findings to controlling asthma with salt and water, linked dehydration to the cause of pain in many degenerative diseases and dehydration to be the cause of high cholesterol levels and lowered blood volume.
And not to forget the very far-out discoveries of Masaru Emoto and his Messages from Water. Though criticized for lack of experimental controls, his photos of water crystals made by exposing the water to different words, music or pictures and then freezing and observing the impact they have on the crystal structure are fascinating.
“Emoto theorizes that since water has the ability to receive a wide range of frequencies, it can also reflect the universe in this manner. He found that water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. Emoto believes that since people are 70 percent water, and the Earth is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill.”
Below are samples of frozen water crystals: Left from a polluted lake and right is the crystal formed after the water was blessed:
How are Frozen Water Crystals Photographed?
“Analgesia accompanying food consumption requires ingestion of hedonic foods,” appears in the October 14th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
The Water Cure Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
Tima Vlasto grew up in New York City and studied at Skidmore College, Columbia University and the School of Visual Arts.
She is a web developer, writer and illustrator.
In 2004, she Illustrated and authored the children’s picture book, “Don’t Feed the Animals” which received honors by the Hellenic Book Club, honorable mention by the National Library of Greece in the Books for Learning category and was a recommended book for ages 4-8 by the Starbuck’s “Commitment to Communities” program in Greece.
The hardcover Greek and English versions sold out in 2008. The book is now available on Kindle on Amazon.com