by Daniel Laberge
Human grooming

Don't scratch your itch; groom it

Itch is a perfectly well-designed natural sensation, telling you where your body needs attention.

Scratching and grooming compared

Your ancestors' claws have evolved into flat nails
so you can groom the cause of your irritation.

Are all these animals scratching?

Tap an image to enlarge it

 

All these animals are scratching

except the last one.

 

The gorilla is a primate

and primates can groom

because they have flat nails.

What to do when you itch

Left: Scratching - Right: Pressure grooming

Scratching and grooming strokes compared
The itch is beneath the surface of the skin

Reaching and eliminating the itch

Scratching and grooming strokes compared

will let you reach the source of your itch.

HOW TO REACT TO ITCHES

Scratching and grooming compared

You use your brain when you groom, you don't when you scratch.

NOTE

Scratching is the wrong response to itch

Only primates have the right tools

The anesthetic effect

Scratching is bad for your skin

Itch is low level pain

Itch

Old
definition:

An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch

New 
definition:

Low level pain causing
a desire to groom

Sources of itch

Itch is pain

Itch and pain are signals to groom

Scratching and grooming strokes compared
The itch is beneath the surface of the skin
Scratching and grooming strokes compared