Reducing Pain Perception
Spanish Surgeon Dr. Angel Escudero (http://dr.escudero.com/) has a theory that pain can be reduced just by salivating! The body communicates stress in various ways; one is by creating a dry mouth when under stress. We know that stress amplifies pain perception and that reducing stress in this situation, reduces pain perception. Dr. Escudero has concluded that if we keep our mouths salivating, we can reduce pain, because the brain gets feedback that this specific stress mechanism has been eliminated. Hence no further need for pain signals.
Dr. Angel Escudero calls this method "NO‐ESI‐THERAPY" and it works, thousands of operations have been conducted under this method. As I see it, the method uses two main mechanisms; Focus of attention (away from pain) and Salivating (stress reduction signal). The patient focuses on salivating, which signals to the brain that pain signals (originally instigated due to stress) are no longer required. The patient speaks out loud, commenting that the painful body part is becoming numb and making comments directed towards comfort and numbness rather than focusing on reducing the pain. Trying to reduce pain merely focuses on the painful aspect, which of course increases it.
This theory is interesting from both a clinical and sports perspective because increasing saliva is a rapid and ‘mobile’ solution that anyone can adopt.
Perhaps this is one aspect that Type 2 diabetics need to be aware of? Many type 2 diabetics are overweight and in pain, if they unconsciously find pain relief when eating (salivating) the pain/over eating cycle is never going to subside.
The ramifications of this could be dramatic for sports people too. Could the endurance athlete concentrate on producing saliva in order to reduce the pain of a long distance race? The fact that Boxers are known to endure huge amounts of pain without complaint could be partially due to salivation? Perhaps gumshields used in competitive boxing could give the human body the impression that the boxer has food in the mouth and instigate saliva mechanisms – reducing pain perception? Steve Mycoe