Swearing can reduce pain

Firing off expletives can cut pain

Gordon Ramsay is always getting told off for doing it, but research now shows that swearing can actually be useful – by reducing pain.

A study carried out by Keele University’s School of Psychology found that people who cursed in response to pain could cope with being hurt for nearly 50 per cent longer than those who didn’t use expletives.

Nearly 65 undergraduates were involved in the study, which saw them submerging their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice.

Then they repeated the exercise repeating a non swear word.

Researchers found volunteers could keep their hands in ice for an average 45 seconds longer when repeating the swear word.

Researchers believe swearing has a pain-reducing effect because the associated aggression triggers the body’s natural fight-or-flight response, in which the feelings of pain are downplayed in favour of a pain-tolerant machismo.

One of the researchers warned, though, that if people want to use this pain-lessening effect to their advantage they need to do less casual swearing and only do it when they really need it.

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