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Discovery

299 EpisodesProduced by BBC World ServiceWebsite

Explorations in the world of science.

26:47

Controlling Pain

What if your brain could naturally control pain? Professor Irene Tracey and her colleagues are trying to unlock the natural mechanisms in the brain that limit the amount of pain we feel.

We hear about how children learning judo are taught special techniques and from ex-marine Chris Shirley who ran a marathon carrying a 45kg rucksack and could ignore the pain of the blisters and torn shoulder muscles.

One study found that religious people feel less pain than agnostics by looking at a picture of the Virgin Mary. Neuroscientists and psychologists are beginning to understand how this is possible, how the brain can block out pain in the right circumstances, so is this something we could all benefit from?

Picture: The statue of the Virgin Mary, Credit: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images

Producer Geraldine Fitzgerald

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