Beauty as a Pain Relief Remedy


We’ve all felt that ecstatic rush of wonder as we gaze upon a particularly transcendent piece of art. Art moves us, thrills us, makes us ponder or smile. And now a group of Italian researchers have found that beautiful art can also reduce the perception of pain.

The study subjects gazed upon paintings that they either found beautiful or ugly while simultaneously being zapped by a short laser pulse. The pinprick sensation was then rated in intensity. The people who were looking at art they considered beautiful rated the pain as significantly lower than when they were looking at something they found ugly.

These findings could go a long way towards creating hospital environments that are more aesthetically pleasing, rather than purely sterile and functional. After all, healing requires more than just consideration of the human body; it requires making a connection to the human soul.

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