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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Jan 2024 - 2 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 01

Sci Rep




Spatial factors influencing the pain-ameliorating effect of CT-optimal touch: a comparative study for modulating temporal summation of second pain.


Meijer LL, Baars W, Chris Dijkerman H, Ruis C, van der Smagt MJ


Recent studies show that CT-optimal touch, gentle slow stroking of the skin, can reduce pain. However, much is unknown regarding the factors influencing its pain-ameliorating effect, such as tactile attention and touch application site. The current study investigates in 36 healthy individuals, whether CT-optimal touch can reduce temporal summation of second pain (TSSP) compared to CT non-optimal touch and tapping the skin. TSSP refers to activation of the C-nociceptors; by stimulating these fibers a burning and/or tingling sensation can be elicited. All participants underwent three conditions on both the contralateral and ipsilateral side of pain induction. The results show that tapping the skin did not reduce TSSP, meaning that pain reduction through touch cannot be explained by tactile attention effects. CT non-optimal touch only reduced TSSP when applied on the ipsilateral side. Importantly, CT-optimal touch effectively reduced TSSP when applied on the contralateral or ipsilateral side. Furthermore, CT-optimal touch was more effective in reducing TSSP compared to CT non-optimal touch and Tapping. This study shows that that CT-optimal touch can reduce TSSP and this effect appears to be independent of touch application site, which is highly relevant for implementing CT-optimal touch as a treatment.