A study has shown that just crossing ones hands may alleviate pain as this action can end up confusing the brain.
The brain which is normally accustomed to the left hand carrying out tasks on the left hand side, and the right hand carrying out tasks on the right, gets momentarily confused when the hands are crossed.
This confusion reduces vulnerability to pain.
Dr Giandomenico Iannetti, the lead author of the study at the University College London explained, "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 - for example when picking up a glass of water on your right side you generally use your right hand. Crossing your hands causes a mismatch and this makes the processing of pain more difficult. It works for other stimuli. The sensitivity of the brain is reduced. It is not a huge analgesic but we are testing it on people with chronic pain in their hands."