Green is the new gold as science confirms looking at green reduces pain

Looking at the colour green can reduce pain by triggering opioid receptors in the brain, according to this study.

A recent study has revealed that staring at green light can literally decrease pain, trigger positive feelings, and have a soothing effect…well, in mice at least.

While this particular experiment, published in the journal Science Translation Medicine, has not been replicated in human beings as of yet, the results do add credibility to former studies which revealed that looking at the colour green can reduce physical and psychological discomfort.


While green light treatment (verdant viewing) has produced positive outcomes in pain reduction among individuals with conditions including fibromyalgia and migraines, scientists had not been able to describe how until recently.

To figure out how it works, the authors of the study “experimented with mice that had been bred to be an animal model of arthritis,” as per IFLSCIENCE. Early tests showed that “full-field green light exposure reduced nociceptive [i.e. painful] behavioral responses,”  demonstrating that the colour did in fact “help the rodents to feel more at ease.”

green light

Mice aside, what does this mean for humans? Could this ‘greener’ pain relief option work for us too? Well, while this specific experiment hasn’t made that 100% clear, authors of the study do declare that the results produced “suggest that this signaling pathway could be exploited for reducing pain.”

As reported by IFLSCIENCE, the overall findings from the published study point to green light alleviating painful sensations by “stimulating cone cells, which then initiate a signaling pathway that results in the activation of opioid receptors in the DRN.” Who knows? maybe one day, we’ll be able to ditch the panadol and just look at green light instead. Fingers crossed!