Resist the natural impulse to look away and your injection will be less painful, claim scientists at University College London whose new study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

Prof Patrick Haggard said: "You always advise children not to look when they are having an injection or a blood sample taken, but we have found that looking at the body is analgesic - just looking at the body reduces pain levels.

"So my advice would be to look at your arm, but try to avoid seeing the needle - if that's possible. "

Researchers also found that if the body part was made to appear larger, by using a mirror, then the analgesic effect of simply looking was also increased. The bigger the hand or arm appeared the less extreme the pain.

The study shows that pain is both sensory and emotional in the way in which is it experienced and could lead the way for new treatments for pain.

Posted by Penny Hosie on 11.2.11

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