Tickling Can Be Harmful, Here Is Why

Posted by Sughra Hafeez in Health and Fitness

Tickling can cause laughter and it seems harmless but it can be dangerous.


Form of torture

Tickling was used as a form of punishment in the past by The Han Dynasty because it caused suffering without any marks on the body.


Aggressive form of torture

Nazi prison guards tortured prisoners by tickling them with a feather. Tickle sensation involves signals from nerve fibers associated with both pain and touch. An article in the British Medical Journal describes Ancient Rome, Victims were tied up, their feet soaked in salt, and then goats would have at them with their tongues.


Anticipates pain

Tickling activates the part of the brain that anticipates pain said the researcher at the University of Tuebingen.


Anticipation of pleasure

Charles Darwin said that tickling provokes laughter through the anticipation of pleasure.

Not a happy phenomenon

Richard Alexander wrote an article published by the New York Times that "Ticklish laughter is not the happy phenomenon that many have assumed it to be."

He added, "A child can be transformed from laughter into tears by going the tiniest bit too far[Tickling] does not create a pleasurable feeling just the outward appearance of one."


According to Psychotherapist Tracy Lamperti:

Gateways to the victim, […] [are] successive, thought-out strategies used by a perpetrator with the victim and/or the family in order to facilitate their being able to carry out the acts of sexual abuse on the child with the highest probability of being able to do it without getting caught."

"While not all adults who tickle children are paving the way to sexually abuse them, tickling is a good example of the grooming process. When trust can be won over and defenses can be disarmed, the offender is then able to have their way with the child."

"With the example of tickling, the perpetrator is able to publicly and/or privately tickle just a little bit. The act is carried out cheerfully and playfully. In this ‘controlled experiment’ the offender is able to see if anyone is going to set a limit, ‘Oh, Uncle John, we have a no tickling rule in our family. Stop tickling Sam"



People generally cannot tickle themselves because the brain distinguishes between sensations we create for ourselves and sensations others create for us.



However, some people have the ability to tickle themselves. Experts say being able to tickle Yourself could be a sign of schizophrenia.


Supernatural Experience

"Successful self-tickling [is] associated with more frequent self-reports of unusual perceptual experiences (such as supernatural experiences) and passivity experiences in particular (such as a feeling of being under the control of an outside force or power)," The researchers, from the University of Lille in France said.


According to the ScaryMomm website:

If a child is too young to talk, don’t tickle them. Better safe than sorry.

Before tickling, ask. While it takes away the element of surprise, you can be playful about it.

Come up with a signal that means “Stop” if they’re laughing too hard to speak.