Scientists have made the shocking discovery that it's your ankle, not your back, that feels the most awesome to scratch when you are itchy.
I assumed this might have something to do with the ability to reach the itchy body part. Like your back is hard to reach so it would feel the most wonderful when someone scratches it for you. Alas, the relatively easy-to-reach ankle, research shows, grants the most pleasure when scratched for itch-relief. The itch research was published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
The scientists, who are from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, studied three locations on 18 study subjects: ankles, forearms and backs. They rubbed the poor bastards' skin in a circular motion for 45 seconds with "cowhage spicules," an itch-inducing legume found in tropical areas. After that they assessed itch intensity and scratching pleasurability every 30 seconds for five minutes, asking the subjects to rate their itching and pleasure level on a scale of 0 to 10.
They perceived itching most intensely at the ankle and back, and they were happiest when they could scratch their ankles.
Are you wondering why people were paid good money to study something so weird? As is the case for most seemingly silly science, there is a good reason: The scientists are trying to find ways to relieve itching in people with skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis without damaging the skin. [ScienceBlog]