Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scratching An Itch

It's one of the sweetest, cruelest tricks of nature, that the more you scratch an itch, the worse it itches, but the better it feels when you scratch it. It's an awful but wonderful feedback loop that unfortunately has to painfully end, but is great / not great while it lasts.

I'm not sure why scratching an itch should feel so good. Is it because the nerve ending around the itch location are excited already, resulting in amplified tactile pleasure sensation from the scratch? Or is there any real pleasure at all? Maybe there is simply a temporary cessation of pain (the itch) which your mind interprets as pleasurable, even though all that's really happened is a brief return to normalcy. I'm not sure. It could well be the latter, but it's hard to quantify it in the moment.

Point is, we all get little phantom itches from time to time. And some less so. Dry skin on your elbow. A rogue mosquito bite. A jagged piece of fabric nestled somewhere deep in your shirt, hidden well enough to keep from being removed but close enough to the surface to continually taunt the skin cells next to it. Those itches happen. It's nice that the Yang to that Ying feels so freakin' good. I'll take the occasional itch as long as I can reach it to give it a good scratch.

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