Researchers determine the optimal stroke Tempo

Some parents may have suspected: Slow Stroke affects babies not only soothing, but also analgesic. The rhythmic touches could even have medical potential, researchers report in the journal “Current Biology”. The effect, however, depends on the speed of a caress.

In the study, the Team examined children doctor Rebeccah Slater of the University of Oxford the impact of a caress to more than 60 healthy newborns. The physician observed, such as the brain and body of the babies a few days old to a stab to the blood reacted in the heel. While some of the children got pats, had to other without.

Slowly gaining

In fact, the Caress eased the pain response in the brain of the baby. Most of the effect at a slow speed of three centimeters per second. The babies were stroked with a soft brush in this speed, the leg, the brain activity through the pain significantly weaker than their peers without a stroke unit.

Also, children very quickly – with 30 centimeters per second – have been petted, were much more sensitive to pain than the slow gestrei chelten. The effect of the caresses corresponds approximately to the externally applied anesthetic, such as creams, patches or Sprays, emphasizing the Team of Slater. For their measurements, the researchers of the electrodes used on the scalp of the newborn.

In all the groups was the same, that’s similar to many of the children moved during the Insertion, the face. The slow gestrei chelten babies showed this pain grimace but only about half as long as the children without strokes. No effect had the Stroke on the Pulling of the foot. This was but a Reflex of the processes without the involvement of the brain, the Team reported to Slater.

Even adults could benefit

The relief of pain, the researchers explain, with a certain group of nerve fibers in the skin, the so-called afferent C-fibers. This would be activated at a stroke speed of approximately three centimeters per second – also in adults.

“Parents caress their children intuitively with this optimum pace,” says Slater. “If we are to understand the neurobiological basis of techniques such as baby massage, we can advise parents better, as they reassure their children.”

“The study is legitimate,” says the President of the society for children and youth medicine (DGKJ), Ingeborg Krägeloh-Mann, who was not involved in the investigation. “The researchers have demonstrated the positive effect of a caress on baby’s first neuro-physiologically.”

Also, the mechanism of pain relief through a specific group of nerve fibers is quite plausible, explains the head of the University clinic for paediatric and youth medicine in Tübingen.