Doing Good Deeds Actually Reduces Physical Pain

A new study has found that doing a good deed not only helps the recipient, but brings the giver physical pleasure and pain relief. “Acting altruistically relieved not only acutely induced physical pain among healthy adults but also chronic pain among cancer patients,” concluded the study. The researchers looked at the impact of being a good Samaritan in 280 people through two pilot studies and three experiments. MRI scans of patients’ brains found that an act of perceived kindness had an instant, deactivating impact on the portion of the brain that registers painful stimulation — the medial prefrontal cortex. The results of their experiments were so clear, the authors felt that altruism may be used as a supplement to pain medication and behavioral therapies. “Our findings suggest that incurring personal costs to help others may buffer the performers from unpleasant conditions,” the study authors conclude.