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Thread: The Sensations of Sneezing.

  1. #1 The Sensations of Sneezing. 
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    I require some help in locating some scholarly papers on the sensations one may experience after sneezing. I'm curious about the subjective(?) sense of satisfaction, relief, euphoria(?), etc that some people get after the involuntary act of. Why do we feel the way we do after sneezing? What happens to us biologically that affects our bodies in such a way that brings about that sensation after a sneeze?

    I hope others here will find this topic to be of some interest as it does for me.


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    You would have to register to read it, I think... but seems pretty close to the mark:
    JAMA Network | JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association | THE PHYSIOLOGY OF SNEEZING

    Off hand, it's similar to scratching an itch. The relief sensation is to give the creature the sensation that they have done something beneficial- this impetus promotes the behavior- because it really is beneficial. Scratching an itch can remove the irritant from the skin. Sneezing can remove the irritant from the mucous membranes.
    In actuality, you won't know if the irritant has really been removed except for getting irritated again. But by having the feeling of relief, accurately or not, it promotes the behavior that rids the body of irritants that can do it harm.


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    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    You would have to register to read it, I think... but seems pretty close to the mark:
    JAMA Network | JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association | THE PHYSIOLOGY OF SNEEZING
    Thanks for the reference, at least I'll know what to shoot for when looking for other papers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Off hand, it's similar to scratching an itch. The relief sensation is to give the creature the sensation that they have done something beneficial- this impetus promotes the behavior- because it really is beneficial. Scratching an itch can remove the irritant from the skin. Sneezing can remove the irritant from the mucous membranes.
    In actuality, you won't know if the irritant has really been removed except for getting irritated again. But by having the feeling of relief, accurately or not, it promotes the behavior that rids the body of irritants that can do it harm.
    But unlike scratching an itch, isn't sneezing involuntary? It isn't like we can choose not to sneeze, especially when it sneaks up on you. The body purges the irritants whether we want to (sneeze) or not. The relief or euphoria-like sensations that comes after sneezing baffles me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    But unlike scratching an itch, isn't sneezing involuntary? It isn't like we can choose not to sneeze, especially when it sneaks up on you.
    You can suppress a sneeze and you can bring a sneeze on... But for the most part, it is involuntary.
    But a lot of our behaviors are. From the way we walk, our gait or stride, the way we pick and choose words to string sentences and the fact that when startled, your eyes widen and your mouth opens- you may even emit a sound and you take a defensive stance. There is a great deal of our behavior that is programming, even much of what we take for granted as "thought out" or "reflexive."
    We are a system made up of symbiotic cells working together. We're colonies, is what we are. Might want to spend some time thinking about the implications of that...

    All life on Earth is just cells. The majority of those cells build intricate ecology's and colony's (us and plants and other animals...)

    Kinda puts our 'intelligence' in its place, doesn't it?
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    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    I understand some sensations we experience have a practical function like the sensations after an orgasm, scratching an itch, rubbing or massaging an aching part of our body (headache or a sore muscle). Some popular notions of the sensations felt describes it as a mini orgasm-like experience. It sometimes feels like an ultimate form of satisfaction; especially when we feel a sneeze coming on, but then it goes away, comes back, goes away again, and then finally... Ahchoo!!! But from an involuntary reflex(?) action of sneezing? I find it very peculiar, and am honestly confused by what function the sensations one experiences after sneezing is suppose to achieve.

    I hope I'm not being overly silly by finding this interesting.
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    If you think that's puzzling, try figuring out what happens when an octopus sneezes.


    But I kinda covered why in post number 2... what part of it didn't add up?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    If you think that's puzzling, try figuring out what happens when an octopus sneezes.
    They do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    But I kinda covered why in post number 2... what part of it didn't add up?
    When the mucous membranes are irritated, the involuntary reflex action is sneezing; that which is for the body to purge itself of irritants. We are at times able to suppress this reflex action, but more often than not we aren't able to. When we suppress an act of sneezing we do not experience the enjoyable(?) sensation of relief. But when we do not suppress it, we do.

    If the sensations that follows after a sneeze is suppose to promote a certain (or series of) behavior(s), is that our body's way of telling us not to fight a coming sneeze; because it's beneficial to us? Did I get this right? I just find it odd that the sensations after sneezing can sometimes be so powerful. Is this because ensuring our respiratory functions isn't impaired by irritants is crucial to our well-being (as compared to scratching an itch; or not)? Could that be the reason why the sensations are so powerful?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    If you think that's puzzling, try figuring out what happens when an octopus sneezes.
    They do?
    Not that I know of. But for a brief moment, I blew your mind... I pictured it as "inky."
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    When the mucous membranes are irritated, the involuntary reflex action is sneezing; that which is for the body to purge itself of irritants. We are at times able to suppress this reflex action, but more often than not we aren't able to. When we suppress an act of sneezing we do not experience the enjoyable(?) sensation of relief. But when we do not suppress it, we do.
    Man, that's the truth. Or a shudder. Ever get a strange shudder, like you're cold when you're not? If I repress one of those, I feel terrible for the rest of the day.
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    If the sensations that follows after a sneeze is suppose to promote a certain (or series of) behavior(s), is that our body's way of telling us not to fight a coming sneeze; because it's beneficial to us? Did I get this right?
    Exactly- that colony comes into play, here. It's not an intelligent colony, but one programmed by millions and millions of years of trial and error.
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I just find it odd that the sensations after sneezing can sometimes be so powerful.
    Because along with punishment (Bad feeling for not sneezing) you can have encouragement or rewards for doing what the body needs. Which relates to your blushing post where you thought you were being silly...
    You actually... ummm... nailed it... (Cough!) talking about an orgasmic response. The body encourages the programming with rewards.

    Well trained little apes, aren't we?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Well trained little apes, aren't we?
    Thanks Neverfly, I get to learn something new everyday with my silly questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Well trained little apes, aren't we?
    Thanks Neverfly, I get to learn something new everyday with my silly questions.
    If I was any help at all- Glad I could be. But more members will post their input as well. When it comes to the effects of our evolution, I tend to dive in. Others may get more in depth on the bio-chemical and neurological which I'm more ignorant about.

    But the question was clearly far from silly. Especially considering how rarely people ask these kinds of questions that can lead to a greater self awareness as a whole.
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    Positive reinforcement.

    That's the descriptive I was looking for.

    Took me this long to think it up.
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    Reminded me of the vaccination ad. Amazing what you can see with super slo mo - that you never wanted to see in the first place.

    The Sneeze - YouTube
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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