Nociception

From Spanking Art
Illustration of nociception. A heat source (A) stimulates nociceptors in the skin of the body part that is close enough to the heat to be at risk of suffering damage (B). A signal is transmitted through nerves (C) to the brain (F), where the signal is decoded as the sensation of pain.

Nociception is the physiological system by which one feels the sensation of physical pain. The term nocicepion was coined by the English neurophysiologist Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1857 - 1952).

Nociceptors (nerve endings which are also called pain receptors) detect stimuli that have the potential to damage tissue: mechanical, thermal or chemical changes above a set threshold. Once stimulated, a nociceptor transmits a signal along the spinal cord, to the brain.

In sadomasochism, one common goal is to trigger nociception safely, i.e. to cause pain without the risk of injury. The most popular method is to strike the skin of a suitable body area, e.g. with the open hand, a whip, cane or any other spanking implement, thus providing a mechanical stimulus for nociception. Less common methods use heat (e.g. wax play), electric (e.g. violet wand) or chemical stimuli (e.g. figging).

The gate control theory of pain, proposed by Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack, postulates that nociception (pain) is "gated" by non-nociception stimuli such as vibration. Thus, rubbing a body part that hurts (such as spanked bottom) relieves pain by preventing its transmission to the brain.

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