London: A new study has suggested that crossing your arms across your body after injury to the hand could help lessen pain.
Scientists from the University College London said crossing the arms across the body might confuse the brain over where pain is occurring.
They suggested this is because putting hands on the "wrong" sides of the body disrupts sensory perception.
In a small proof-of-concept study of 20 people, the team used a laser to generate a four millisecond pin-prick of pain to participants` hands, without touching them.
The results from both participants`` reports and the EEG showed that the perception of pain was weaker when the arms were crossed over the "midline" - an imaginary line running vertically down the centre of the body.
"In everyday life you mostly use your left hand to touch things on the left side of the world, and your right hand for the right side of the world," the BBC quoted Dr Giandomenico Iannetti, from the UCL department of physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience, who led the research, as saying.
"This means that the areas of the brain that contain the map of the right body and the map of right external space are usually activated together, leading to highly effective processing of sensory stimuli.
When you cross your arms these maps are not activated together anymore, leading to less effective brain processing of sensory stimuli, including pain, being perceived as weaker," added Iannetti.
The study has been published in the journal Pain.