Can you trick the brain into thinking an itch is being scratched?

Research on how to relieve itching using a mirror has won an Ig Nobel Prize for improbable  — but thought-provoking — research.

German researchers have shown that the brain can be tricked into thinking an itch is being scratched if the limb on the opposite side is scratched through judicious use of a mirror.

Their experiments on 26 men with an artificially induced itch on an arm showed that scratching the unaffected arm alleviated their itch to some extent, providing they simultaneously saw an image of the itchy arm being scratched.

This could be done with either

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