There appeared to be some sort of synchronising going on in the brains of the couples that offered an analgesic-like effect.
Women experience less pain when holding the hand of a person they love, a study claims.
Researchers, including those from the University of Colorado in the US, exposed women to some degree of pain and then asked them to report how painful it felt under different conditions.
They enlisted the assistance of 20 couples willing to undergo several experiments, consisting of having the women hold onto a tube through which hot water could be pumped to induce pain.
In the study published in the journal PNAS, the women and their significant others were placed in different sorts of situations.
In some, the man held the woman's hand as the hot water was applied; in others, the man sat nearby but did not offer a hand.
In all of the cases, both volunteers were asked to rate the degree of pain the woman was experiencing, 'Medical Xpress' reported.
Researchers found that the women reported on average experiencing less than half as much pain when they were holding their loved one's hand.
They suggest that hand holding can offer two types of benefits to a person in pain.
The first is that touching or being touched releases chemicals in the brain that make pain easier to bear, researchers said.
The second is that there appeared to be some sort of synchronising going on in the brains of the couples that offered an analgesic-like effect, they said.