Pinch, cut, hitting it with a hammer, etc., we instinctively put a finger into the mouth. We put it there or at least start blowing on it. Why are we doing this?
To answer this seemingly simple question, science had to go a long way in studying the human nervous system. Back in the 17th century, scientists assumed that some receptors were located throughout the human body that transmits signals to the brain about deformation. The brain interprets such signals as pain. It took a long time before neurons were discovered, the principles of the nervous system, and the transmission of nerve impulses.
One of the most interesting scientific stimuli that strongly affect the emotional state of a person is a sensation of pain. Therefore, it is not surprising that much attention was paid to precisely the methods of transmitting pain sensations in science. In 1965, two researchers Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzak developed a theory called the Gate control theory of pain. It tells us that there are several types of axons (processes of nerve cells through which impulses are transmitted), some of which are responsible for opening the so-called “gate”, along which pain signals are transmitted through nerve cells, while others are responsible for closing these ” gate “. In fact, our pain is determined by the effectiveness of these neurites. The theory states that axons that block the flow of pain signals can be activated by a physical action: vibration of a certain frequency, massage, or temperature.
What do we do when we hit hard, for example, with our knee against something solid? Immediately we begin to instinctively rub it: of course, this will not benefit the tissue irritated after the impact, but it activates those axons that are responsible for reducing the transmission of nerve impulses that are transformed into pain. Similarly, with a damaged finger – squeezing lips or airflow affects the work of nerve endings, which reduce pain. Over tens of thousands of years of evolution, we have learned to do this instinctively, without thinking about the reasons, but only recently has man been able to understand the essence of his actions.