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 grooming.
Gorillas are primates

and they can groom

because they have flat nails.

What to do when you itch



Scratching is the wrong response to itch
Grooming is the correct response to itch
Your itch is below the surface



Scratching doesn't let you reach your itch
Grooming lets you reach your itch

will let you reach the source of your itch.

Grooming away your itch


1- Press your nail into the skin of the itching area for 1 or 2 seconds.
Move your nail a bit and repeat.

2- Try to refine your position with every press until you feel that your nail is exactly on top of your itch.

3- When you reach that precise spot; stay right where you are, increase the pressure on your finger and lengthen your stroke to over 30 seconds.

What is human grooming?

Human grooming rediscovered - Video

Scratching and grooming compared

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

Scratching-Grooming comparison


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



An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch


Low level pain causing
a desire to groom

Identify the cause of your itch

Itch is pain

Your itch is below the surface
Scratching-Grooming comparison