Scientists from University College London released a report yesterday that supported the claim that a simple crossing of arms in front of the midsection dramatically reduces the feeling of pain.
Supposedly blocking some signals to the brain, the crossing of arms interrupts normal message pathways as pain signals work their way around our nervous systems. "We're not completely sure how the neural pathways get confused, but we can measure a distinct reduction in pain", says Dr. Dewey Spanker, lead researcher.
More than 100 test subjects submitted themselves for the clinical trials but only about 75% of the tests yielded the expected result. "Yes, well some of our testing did not support our theories", says Spanker. "With simple headaches, constipation, heartburn and gas, the crossing of arms did prove to be a significant help, for pain that is. We found that in gas testing, the crossing of arms reduced pain by virtue of forcing out the gas. Results were sometimes inconclusive there. And a bit smelly as well".
Dr. Spanker's research fell a little flat when testing subjects that had been whipped, caned, struck with a baseball bat or electrocuted. They reportedly did not feel the same pain reduction after crossing arms. "It was personally difficult for me to perform some of that testing, I have to admit", says Spanker, "but our volunteer subjects just wouldn't stand still".
Despite some mixed results from the study, the published results do show a breakthrough in how the brain processes pain signals. More detailed research is planned, though Spanker admits he will have to recruit a new batch of volunteers. "Yes, well a few of the original participants were waiting for me in the parking lot last time, Clearly the crossing of the arms doesn't work for everything, but that's what pot is for".