Matters of the heart: Love has the power to heal pain
According to experts, having a loved one next to you in times of an injury or pain can help in the healing process
Cricketer Virat Kohli recently suffered a shoulder injury and was unable to play for the Bengalore team at the ongoing IPL tournament. It was during this time that his girlfriend, Anushka Sharma, flew down to the city to be with the cricketer, and their pictures together went viral. In a video, shot around the same time, Virat is seen holding red roses in his hand, probably gifted by his ladylove.
In the past, there have been several instances of celebs jetting off to meet their loved ones post an injury or some emergency. Psychiatrist Gittanjali Saxena says that it is essential to have a loved one next to you during difficult times. She says, “An injury is usually a traumatic experience. Normally, after such incidents, an individual can experience stress reactions, which can include fear, helplessness and aches. When a person experiences an injury, he or she feels insecure, fearful and unsure. The presence of a loved one makes the victim hopeful and secure as he or she feels that there is someone who is in charge of the situation.”
Psychotherapist and relationship coach Neeta V Shetty, says love has a healing effect. She says, “Having a loving and empathetic partner next to you during pain, injury and illness promotes healing and well-being, improves your health, and psychologically offers a sense of comfort and security to the loved one. Love is often called a drug that activates the reward centre of the brain. This, in turn, blocks the pain at the spinal cord level.” She adds, “Love also produces oxytocin, the feel good hormone, which reduces cardiovascular stress, improves the immune system and decreases cell death and inflammation. It also produces norepinephrine and dopamine hormones, which increase the feelings of joy and pleasure, and help you get distracted from pain and discomfort. Hugging and holding hands with a loved one instantly reduces stress levels, which in turn reduces pain and inflammation. It has been proven through research that if a husband held his wife’s hand during childbirth and labour, it reduced labour pain.”
On the other hand, not having a loved one next to you during an injury may also increase your recovery time. Shetty says, “Being alone during an illness and injury further increases the stress hormone, cortisol, in our body. This tends to increase pain and inflammation as well as reduce the immunity level, which weakens our ability to heal. There is also an increased level of anxiety in a person with no caretaker around during illness. A person tends to feel more alone because of restricted moments and dependability on someone else and this can also lead to depression and anxiety during this time.”