Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

#@%#!! me – That’s Eased the Pain

NOVEMBER 2011, THE SUNDAY TIMES

It is news that might leave those prone to four-letter outbursts wanting to, well, swear.

A television experiment has shown that the use of expletives is of greatest benefit in combating pain when uttered by those not accustomed to doing so.

The findings emerged in a test involving the television presenter Stephen Fry and the actor Brian Blessed for tonight’s episode of Fry’s Planet Word on BBC2.

As part of his research into the link between swearing and pain management, Richard Stephens, of Keele University, asked the two men to see how long they could keep a hand in freezing water, first while repeating “neutral” words and then while swearing.

Fry, who rarely uses expletives, was able to keep his hand submerged in the water for 38 seconds when he repeatedly said “functional”, a word he had earlier chosen. When he repeated the task using the f-word, he was able to leave it in the water for 21/2 minutes.

Blessed, a regular user of expletives, went through the same process but was able to hold his hand under the water for slightly less time when swearing than when repeatedly saying “wooden”, his choice of neutral word.

Stephens explains that swearing raises adrenaline, allowing an individual to cope better with pain, but adds: “Someone who swears a lot habituates to swearing. It loses its potency.”

Richard Brooks








#@%#!! me – That’s Eased the Pain

YES! We agree!

There is a lot of truth to this article and its evidence can be seen in our own work with clients. It’s not for everyone of course but at specific key stages in certain clients’ programmes of care we may encourage a much more direct, dynamic and experiential piece of work to help a client release stuck or repressed emotions.

People can present with emotional issues, such as feeling depressed, or with physical problems – backache, migraine or IBS for example. These are simply the symptoms that point us towards the real source of the issue.

A few of the methods more commonly used are Voice Work, Chanting, Sound Therapy, Inner Child Regression, Mime, Psychodrama or Deep Memory Process. These are just a few from our range of choices. This work is often deeply enjoyable with immediate, powerful and permanent experiences of release.

Over a lifetime, we collect emotional experiences that get stuck inside us and this kind of experiential work enables the participant to access and discharge the more negative hived-off emotional energy, which is normally so inaccessible. Pent-up emotions can be discharged in a massive, powerful and often exhilarating release. Indeed, accessing this ‘divine rage’ is a defining moment for many clients as they reconnect with whatever they have been cut off from, become conscious, aware and remember their authentic self.