The act of scratching results in an increase in the flow of blood to the area, while also releasing serotonin, which subsequently eases the muscles being physically stimulated.
We’ve all spent days glaring into our computer screens with stiff backs, holding awkward positions without even realizing it. Unconsciously, we move our fingers over our backs in motions similar to that of scratching. In no time at all, our eyes are closed and we’re scratching our backs, experiencing what we might call a ‘temporary paradise.’ This feeling makes us feel so relieved that it is a legitimate struggle to turn back to the spreadsheet on the screen.
Have you ever realized how that tiny little scratching action, even devoid of an itch, causes you to feel much better than you did 60 seconds ago? Before you unknowingly started scratching your back?
Why do we scratch?
Scratching is nothing but a defense mechanism to get irritants off our skin. The atmosphere that we exist in consists of a lot of suspended particulate matter that can settle on our skin and cause irritation. The dermal cells in our skin are also flanked with sensory receptors called nociceptors, which are sensory neurons that respond to pain.
Scratching is a contagious action, like yawning. Studies have shown that people do tend to scratch themselves upon seeing others doing so. You might even feel itchy and scratch yourself even as you’re reading this article.
Scratching is a reflexive action that is carried out numerous times in a day, whether or not we realize it.