Although the beneficial effects of cooling on pain have been known at least since the time of Hippocrates and Galen, the biological mechanism for this form of pain relief was a mystery. Now, in studies of chronic pain in rats, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have discovered that cooling analgesia's effects occur through activation of a recently identified protein called TRPM8, one of a group of protein receptors that mediate specific stimuli, such as hot, cold, taste, or touch (Proudfoot CJ et al. Curr Biol. 2006;16:1591-1605).
Stephenson J. Cool Relief. JAMA. 2006;296(11):1345. doi:10.1001/jama.296.11.1345-a