Why Scratching Feels So Good? Science Explains


A mild form of pain. That is what scientists decoded before new study finds that itch owns an unmapped biological infrastructure. Before researchers found that itchiness has 'secret' pathways, the studies on itch revolved around pain - which gives similar sensation.

Why we scratch

Scratching is a reflex of mechanic procedure that happens to the skin's neurons. Scratching is simply our body's way to prevent itch signal from going up to the brain. Furthermore, the act of scratching releases dopamine - which is the reason it feels good afterward.

Itch can be a chronic condition

According to scientists at UC Berkeley, itch can be chronic due to the mechanical stimulation on in skin tissues. When it gets stronger, so does the reflex to scratch. It temporarily prevent signals from traveling to the brain but sometimes the itch is out of control, for instance, to those with kidney disease, eczema or diabetes, Berkeley reported.

10 percent of the global population suffers from chronic itch at one point, Buck Institute reported. However, the less attention and billion-dollar research costs might cause the delay to decode the real problem and find the solution.

Studying the itch

Scientists at UC Berkeley who try to decode itchiness, are studying organ functions and tactile disorders. Diana Bautista, one of the scientists in the university, explains that the organ study will help researchers to analyze the cause and find more insights on itchiness. They used star-nosed moles which is starfishlike appendage that has 10 times more nerves than the hand of a human. This is the 'most sensitive body part' in animal species. However, Bautista claimed that the study is limited by the environment condition that makes her unable to keep the moles.

Bautista also studies the spiders, precisely tarantulas, which own super-itchy hairs to be plugged into their enemies. She named the spiders after Donald Trump's wives, Marla and Melania. Both young spiders shed body hair once in a month for scientists to take and analyze.

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