The ankle has surpassed the back as the most gratifying spot to scratch. The news is according to a study conducted by researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina at the start of January last year. Healthy volunteers were made to itch on the forearm, back and ankle by rubbing them with a plant known as cowhage that has tiny hairs that irritate the skin.
The participants were not allowed to scratch the affected areas for five minutes, and they were asked to record how itchy each spot felt. They were then given the go-ahead to scratch and awarded marks out of ten for how pleasurable the sensation had felt. The sensation experienced was akin to having sex, it was found out.
Professor Francis McGlone, a member of the International Forum for the Study of Itch, said of the study: ‘It was interesting that the ankle was the itchiest site and that the most pleasure came from scratching it, because the back has been well-known as a preferred site for scratching.’
There are specific nerves linked to itching and when we relieve an itch by scratching it it gives us pleasure. The science behind it? Seems kind of ridiculous; eating is pleasurable as it encourages us to feed, sex is pleasurable because it encourages us to reproduce and scratching an itch is pleasurable as we are much more inclined to do things if they are pleasurable.