Optical Illusions: Stretching and Shrinking Hands Can Relieve Arthritis Pain – Study (Video)

By on Apr 20, 2011 in Education, Health, Science, Universities Comments

An optical illusion discovered accidentally by academics at The University of Nottingham can significantly reduce, and in some cases even temporarily eradicate arthritic pain in the hand, several international news sites reported.

Optical Illusion
Image Credit: DailyMail.co.uk

According to The University of Nottingham‘s Press Release dated April 14, 2011, by tricking the brain into believing that the painful part of the hand is being stretched or shrunk, the researchers were able to halve the pain felt by 85 percent of sufferers they tested.

The discovery happened by chance during the University‘s Community Open Day in April last year. According to reports, one of the highlights of the event is for the public to experience some of the body distortion illusions. Using Nottingham‘s unique MIRAGE technology, a real-time video capture image of a hand is taken and manipulated thru the use of computer fooling the brain into believing that the hand is stretching or shrinking.

Dr. Catherine Preston shared what happened that lead to the discovery: “During the course of the day the grandmother of one of the children wanted to have a go, but warned us to be gentle because of the arthritis in her fingers. We were giving her a practical demonstration of illusory finger stretching when she announced: ‘My finger doesn’t hurt any more!’ and asked whether she could take the machine home with her! We were just stunned — I don’t know who was more surprised, her or us!”

The team contacted a local osteoarthritis support group and asked them to take part in a series of tests to confirm the effectiveness of what they have discovered.

According to the Press Release, “the results, reported in a letter to the latest edition of the journal Rheumatology, showed a marked reduction in pain — on average halving the discomfort for 85 per cent of volunteers. Some reported greater reduction in pain for stretching, some for shrinking and some for both. The pain reduction only worked when painful parts of the hand were manipulated.”

Below is the video of the optical illusion from Youtube uploaded by NottmUniversity:

Illusion could halve the pain of osteoarthritis, scientists say
Credit: Youtube / NottmUniversity

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